I thought I would pass on the American presidential election, having no vote and disliking both candidates about equally. Instead I thought I would write about the recent ACT elections, which are now done and dusted.

Unusually, given the complications of the voting system, it was all over by ten o’clock on polling day. The Liberal Leader conceded defeat and the Labor Leader claimed victory. Within a week it was plain Labor had twelve seats, the Greens two and the Liberals eleven. There will be another four years of Labor rule in the ACT, in a quasi Coalition with the Greens, and in 2020 Labor will have been in power for 19 years, when voters will have another opportunity to make their feelings known.

Making sense of election outcomes used to be one of my trades, and I found this election more interesting than most. It occurred in an extraordinary context: the Legislative Assembly had been enlarged from 17 seats to 25. So Canberra voters were now in new electorates with some new names and all new boundaries. As a consequence, a new set of hopefuls offered themselves to the electorate. In the old Assembly there had been two five-member seats and one with  seven members. Now there were five seats with five members, so the quota for election (1/6 + 1, or 16.7 per cent of the total vote) was still the same for most candidates.

There seemed to me to be two main themes. The first was whether Canberra should go down the light-rail option for public transport, and since the Labor Government had already decided that it would do so, and had drawn up the contracts so that it would be expensive for an incoming Liberal Government to terminate them, a subsidiary theme was that the Liberals, thoroughly ‘anti-Tram’, were proposing to waste money. The second theme was that the Labor Government was already fifteen years old, and it was therefore time for a change. The Liberals proposed a new hospital, but that was quickly matched by the incumbents, the difference being the timing. On the whole I thought that the Liberals’ campiagn was better and more professional, and at least where I lived the Liberal candidates were actually visible.

The outcome was seen as a dreadful loss to the Liberals, whose private polling had told them they were on track for victory. So what happened? The change in the size of the Assembly and all that followed from that has to make comparisons with the past awkward to say the least. In addition, we need always to remember that over the years the electorate changes. About one per cent dies every year, and about one and a half per cent arrive each year through coming of age and immigration from elsewhere in Australia. In 2012 243,000 people were enrolled to vote in the elections of that year, compared with 283,000 in 2016. That represents an increase of 16.5 per cent. My rough estimate is that only about 75 per cent of those who had voted in 2012 also voted in 2016. That’s a substantial difference.

In addition, there is not simply a swing from one side to the other. There are all sorts of movements. Here is an example from the late 1960s, a time when the Vietnam war was a principal election issue. The table comes from Stability and Change in Australian Politics. These are the same people, interviewed in both 1967 and 1969, and reporting what they would have done in 1967 and what they did in 1969. OK, it’s nearly fifty years ago, but the principle is the same.


The first column in the table, marked 1967, shows a summary of the options available to voters in 1967 (how they said they would have voted then). A certain amount of estimation, drawn from census and immigration data, has gone on to determine the proportions of new voters and dead voters in the marginal totals*. Then follow seven options for those respondents in 1969, followed by the total in 1969. You can read horizontally: 28.3 per cent of the respondents who said they voted for Liberal or Country Party candidates in 1967 did so in 1969 too, just less than one per cent of them voted DLP, nearly six per cent went over to the Labor Party, 1.7 per cent did not vote, for whatever reason, 1.3 of them had died. The outcome, 38.8 per cent of the vote, is rather less than the actual share we estimated for the Coalition, at 42 per cent.

You can read the table vertically: 28.3 per cent of the respondents voted Liberal or Country Party on both occasions, 1.5 per cent voted DLP in 1967, 5.0 per cent voted for Labor, with those voting for the rest giving a total of 41.5 per cent, again a bit smaller that the actual, at 43.4. (These data are sample data, so there is an error.) If you want to concentrate on ‘swing’, there was a swing to Labor of 4.7 per cent, which had been behind in 1967 (-1.3) and was ahead in 1969 (+3.4).

You can read diagonally: 28.3 per cent were solidly Coalition, 3.5 per cent solidly DLP and 29.5 per cent solidly Labor. Throw in the 0.6 per cent who were solidly ‘Other’, just to bump up the total, and you get 62 per cent who stayed with the same party on both occasions. Straight conversion? In 1969 Labor picked up nearly 5.8 per cent from the Coalition, but lost 5.0 per cent to the Coalition, so there wasn’t much in it. Labor gained more from ‘circulation’ — from the arrival of new voters and the death or old ones.

What the table shows, above all, is that there is great deal of movement from one election to another. Because of our preferential voting system and the culture of compulsory voting, each election outcome is a series of exchanges among  the major party groups and the others. That is as true today as it was then, and perhaps even more true, because much of the survey evidence over the past fifty years is that the major party groups are slowly losing ground to single-issue groups and outfits like the Greens and One Nation — parties which express strong feelings of one kind or another that are to a degree at a tangent from the main parties.

Given all that, what can we say about the 2016 ACT elections, where we do not have data like those in the table above? As stated before, there was a 16.5 per cent increase in the total electorate, and probably only 75 per cent of those who voted had done so at the last election. Quite a few didn’t turn up to vote, since the voters made up only 88 per cent of the electorate. On the other hand, informal voting was tiny, about 2.5 per cent.

Well, the ACT system is one of proportional representation, which is like the system in voting for the Senate. So it is hard to work out, unless you do a vast amount of work, just what voters wanted. The party totals showed a swing away from the three major party groups — minus 2.2 per cent for the Liberals, and minus 0.5 for each of Labor and the Greens. As it happens, that is pretty similar to the swing away from them four years earlier as well. In fact the Greens’ vote in 2016, proportionately, was only two thirds of their vote in 2008. Who did well? All the minor groups and independents.

We can’t easily work out the normal ‘two-party preferred’ equivalent for a five-member PR contest. But if you look at the party leaders, the distribution of their surplus votes tells you something. Labor’s Andrew Barr’s surplus went two-thirds to other Labor candidates, and not quite one fifth to the Greens. In contrast Liberal leader Jeremy Hanson’s surplus was  much more tightly transferred: 93 per ent to other Liberal candidates, one per cent to the Greens and two per cent to Labor. Read into it what you will.

Hanson fell on his sword, accepting the blame for the result. I thought that was quite unnecessary at the time, and this essay follows my feeling that there was far too much uncertainty in the pattern of voting for anyone to claim responsibility for anything. The data suggest that the only thing we can say is that Labor scraped back in, while the Liberals didn’t attract enough voters to pass the combined Labor + Greens tally, though there wasn’t all that much in it.

And, finally, the major parties, including the Greens, are continuing to lose market share, just as the newspapers are. Where it will all end I don’t know. But I feel that in the Federal sphere the same loss of market share is going on, too.

*Constructing a table like this one is actually quite complicated, and there is a long footnote setting out how it was all done. I’m happy to send it to anyone who is interested. Because of the amount of estimation and the fact that while the 1967 sample is an excellent one, those who survived to 1969 are not as good a sample of the 1969 electorate, not too much notice should be taken of individual cell entries.

Join the discussion 69 Comments

  • Chris Warren says:

    ACT elections are quite unlike any other. IN the past there has been a strong preference for independent governments eg “Residents Rally” and “Moore Independents”. There have also been Osborne and Rudendyke independents.

    The recent elections seem to indicate a turning point in that all seats went to ALP, Greens, Libs with independent candidates receiving relatively miniscule votes.

    Maybe this will be the pattern from now on.

    • Don Aitkin says:

      But, as I say above, the share of the vote won by those three party groups went down in 2016, and had gone down in 2012 from 2008. What do you think will happen if this pattern continues?

  • JMO says:

    As a near lifetime Labor voter (and once, maybe twice, voted Green), I was surprised and shocked to hear Labor won!

    I voted on local issues and decided to vote for Jeremy Hansen, ie Liberal. To me he was a genuine guy, ex army married with 2 children and anti-tram.

    The tram was a highly divisive issue. It is very expensive, highly disruptive and divisive, and near useless. This isthe benchmark I use to tell whether it is a Green projects, and it was spot for the tram. The tram proposal is to service the city and the town Gungalin (Canberra has satellite towns around the city and Parliamentary Triangle – eg Woden, Tuggeranong, Belconnen), you think if you are spending over a $1billion you would put it to good use eg go past a hospital, stadium or the airport, but NO it went to the sole Green Legislative Assembly member’s seat, who holds the balance of power, and will cancell express bus routes, so residents will have to catch a local bus to take them to the tram station!!. Ideology gone mad.

    The tram cost will only be made up, just if you apply a optimistic future land valuation along the rout – and yes have another developers picnic.

    Part of of the tram line has to go along Northbourne Avenue (heading north from the city) where there are over 700 trees. ALL OF THEM are being cut down for the tram. A few after the election every block along Northbourne Av, is fenced off and the tree cutting has started. I am near tears when I see this. And yes the Greens are not only OK with this but it is their orignal proposal.

    I was horrified the Greens wanting to chop them down 700 trees and Labor to GUTLESS to stare them down. As a near lifetime Labor voter I switched to Liberal and now consider there is only one thing worse than the Greens – it is Labor who is to gutless to stare the Greens down. As far I am concerned the Chief Minister is a disgrace to the Labor party and he exudes utter arrogance ( I shudder and look away every time I see him on TV) he once said he never listened to anyone over 40 (he was 42 at that time!). He also has made Canberra a developers picnic with ugly brutal architecture buildings sprouting up everywhere – and loads and loads of apartments to the point of “reclaiming” the lake. Ye,s that’s right the East Basin of Lake Burley Griffin is much smaller today – to make room for apartments. It gets worse, the buyers of Stage 1 apartments enjoyed their water views – for 2 /3 years before Stage 2 commenced. Stage 2″reclaimed” even more of the lake for the next row of apartments- Stage 1 residents are now looking a brick wall across the new street. Whilst Stage 2 have a somewhat diminished water views and may be slightly apprehensive of any hint of a Stage 3

    It does not stop there parks a being “reclaimed” for apartment, for example the beautiful inner city Glebe Park is far smaller now to make room for more apartments. It is clear to me both the Green member, Shane Rattenbury and Andrew Barr have no idea of parental responsibility and children needs – yes they are both for homosexual marriage, anti plebiscite and, have no and cannot have any, children. Where do the children play? I say (Cat Stevans).

    Canberra is loosing its Garden City image.

    And don’t get me on about their 100% renewables by 2020.

    • Aert Driessen says:

      Spot on JMO! I too was surprised that the Green/Labor coalition won (order reflects influence, not numbers). Doesn’t say much for the intelligence or analytical capacity of ACT residents. I was going to say another 4 years of the same, but I think it will be worse.

    • Alan Gould says:

      Agreed 100%, JMO,
      Like you I, have been a habitual Labour voter, but now recoil from them, voted them second last at both the Fed and the ACT elections, the Greens occupying bottom place. I am made heartsick by the present and proposed destruction of Northbourne Ave, jittery about the rise in both rates and power prices that will accrue from the tram’s $1 billion and the 100% Renewable idiocy, demoralised by the degraded calibre of politician that triumphalises with his odious policies and vaunts over us; Barr was once a Year 12 student in a relief class I took.
      Powerlessness is the longer term feeling I have had with regard to dwelling in Canberra. The place was one of the great urban conceptions of our species, and that balance between Arcadia and city amenity was a pleasure to be part of during the years it had intelligent and tactful management. Its doom came with the erection of The Lakeside Hotel in The Acton Basin that began the exclusion of the city’s finest asset, its SW aspect toward The Brindabellas, and the foisting of State-style self-gov’t on us despite the declared will of the populace. That Arcadia/Metro balance needed vigilance, intelligence, and tact to be successfully worked, and Self-gov’t placed it in the hands of a very much smaller pool of wit to accomplish this, the 17, then 25 local aspirants who scramble for those seats. The motivation to move back to Queanbeyan is strong – (I owned our first house there). Why/ Because the minnows in the small pool think themselves gropers, not the pilchards they are. I have no prior loyalties to this town where I have lived for 50 years, and now my allegiance to it shrivels.
      That said, Don, your anatomising of this recent election was first rate, lucid and helpful as ever.

  • Ross says:

    Where will it end?
    I imagine forming coalition governments with other smaller parties, as is the norm in Europe and Britain.
    Pretty obvious, I would of thought.

  • Chris Warren says:


    This all depends on your morality and global political economy.

    It is true that:

    ” nothing at all the ACT did, nothing that Australia as a whole could do, would have any discernible effect on global temperature, even in a century?”

    but if the industrial world as a whole or the OECD banned petrol cars, replaced flights with hydrogen trains, and supplied electricity through renewables, I would expect the stage would be set for addressing AGW. It would then be reasonable to expect developing nations exporting into OECD economies to roll out the same technologies. The core logic is that nations using fossil fuels obtain an unfair competitive advantage, so the only way we can have a global impact is if every economy reduces fossil fuels.

    China and India are not going to reduce if Australia or New Zealand and other do not based on your reasoning.

    There are plenty of hydrogen powered trains – https://www.google.com.au/search?client=ubuntu&channel=fs&q=hydrogen+powered+trains&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&gfe_rd=cr&ei=86oeWM_ZMKfM8ge1p5nAAg

    and Germany is moving to ban petrol and diesel vehicles – http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/germany-petrol-car-ban-no-combustion-diesel-vehicles-2030-a7354281.html

    It is morally unacceptable for other states to sit on their hands and do nothing. If we do this it is quite reasonable for Germany and other states to place barriers on Australian exports because we have unnecessarily maintained a cheap, unethical, and unsustainable fossil fuel economy.

    The whole point of international meetings and agreements is to get past this “but if I as an individual do something the impact will not be discernible” canard.

    • spangled drongo says:

      Deluded Chris thinks the solution is to render your society broke, impotent and dysfunctional as long as you can grab the high moral ground and declare your society CO2e emission-free.

      You will never achieve that of course but it’s not the disastrous result, it’s the claim that counts.

      Hydrogen has been tried as a general vehicle fuel and was a failure. Those German BMWs that tried it here are long gone.

      I have been through years of light rail agony on the Gold Coast and while it was relatively straight forward compared with Canberra it was a disaster in many ways. Free busses would be better and cheaper.

      As for banning petrol and diesel, stop kidding yourself. When cheap renewable electricity is available, maybe, but that won’t happen anytime soon.

      The only way that will happen is with Nuclear power, as James Hansen said.

      And I can just see that happening in Canberra.

      We need more Lomborg and Hansen and less Chris.

    • Alan Gould says:

      Far more “morally unacceptable” in my view is to release alarming information through the public media before even the dataset that must underpin this information has had a chance to run its advertised course. And yet this morning on ABC radio I hear that 2016 is the “hottest year on record’ when there are still 53 days of the year to unfold. Not that the announcement of this is a surprise; The Guardian newspaper told us in August (with four-and-a-half months of the year to run) that 2016 was “expected” to be the hottest on record. This same trick was played in 2015 with an announcement that 2015 was “hottest” in mid-November, and again in 2014 (mid-December) when that year was hottest. Why make these announcements in the knowledge you have not yet collected all the data? Well, I wonder if imminent important climate conferences have anything to do with it, Lima in 2014, Paris in 2015, Geneva in 2016 – all to be blazoned.
      Far more jeopardising to our future than bothering about a trace gas that comprises 0.04% of atmosphere, is essential to plant photosynthesis and is 95% due to the planet’s natural processes, or fretting at a 0.8 degree celsius rise in earth temp over 130 years (consistent with the natural fluctuation to be expected from a planet emergent from the 17th century’s ‘small ice-age’ and the longer term emergence from the last big one 11,000 years ago) – yes, Chris, FAR MORE JEOPARDISING AND IMMORAL is the relentless alarmist spooking of the populace on this negligible problem and the wanton damage that is being done to transform Science from an investigative discourse to a puritan orthodoxy where all the behaviours of strident puritanism and even some conspicuous witch-hunting manifest themselves. I fear a future where “Church Of Climatology’ and ‘True Believers’ have become accutate epithets for the practice of Science.
      Meanwhile Chris, instead of watching your websites, why not watch the sun that delivers this ‘dangerous warming’ in the first place. Lowest solar activity for more than a century was announced the other day- where this refers to identified sunspots, and might augur what has been long expected, a solar quiescence similar to the Maunder or Dalton cycles that were associated with conspicuous climatic minima in the past.
      Is it the empowerment that comes from spooking people Chris, or have you some clinching dataset that contains not only the transitorily valid, but the resiliently sufficient as an argument that our future is endangered?

  • Neville says:

    I think we should leave Chris to his silly fantasies, he just doesn’t understand simple logic and reason or simple maths and science. Here’s the pie graph for France that shows that fossil fuels, bio waste still generates 51.1% of their total primary energy. Nuclear generates 45.8% of TOTAL energy and Geo solar&W just 0.9%.


    Here AGAIN is the US govt EIA projections for co2 emissions until 2040. Co2 emissions will increase by 34% by 2040 and the graph shows that most of that increase will come from developing countries like China India etc. Whatever OECD countries do will not make a scrap of difference.


    • Nga says:

      “Co2 emissions will increase by 34% by 2040 and the graph shows that most of that increase will come from developing countries like China India etc. Whatever OECD countries do will not make a scrap of difference.”

      Neville, do you understand the term non sequitur?

      Even Lomborg, who you enjoy citing, advocates a carbon tax and a tenfold boost in R&D for renewables, CCAS etc …

  • Neville says:

    Nga, here’s what Lomborg had to say about many of their CAGW icons earlier this year. His team has the maths, science and economic authority to compare alarmism to proper evidence, data and PR research. This is a very good summary of so called CAGW. As he says in many ways warming is a good thing.


    And here again is his Paris COP 21 summary taken from his PR study. No measurable change to temp by 2100 at all. And BTW he uses the same software that the IPCC uses and the much higher ECS as well. OH but it will WASTE endless trillions of dollars by 2100 for no measurable change.


    • Nga says:

      Neville, you’ve inadvertently established one of the reasons why Lomborg can’t be taken seriously, he plays both sides of the fence with a bewildering array of contradictions. Lomborg’s factual claims in your links mostly represent a minority view and I see no reason for preferring them.

      I also note that you’ve downplayed the disbenefits of coal, including the fact that we have a blank cheque that will end up costing taxpayers many billions of dollars in mine site remediation, only a small portion of which is covered by state deposit schemes. Almost certainly the taxpayer will have to foot the bill. Then there are the health impacts of air pollution and the emergence of Black Lung among miners; the latter will be another costly blank cheque for the taxpayer.

      Kicking the petroleum addiction will drain the Greater ME of the money that funds terrorists and make the area a geopolitical backwater, hence trillion dollar wars like those in Afghanistan and Iraq will become a thing of the past.

      The costs of solar and wind have tumbled so I don’t see why denialists find them so, well, alarming. Storage battery costs are also tumbling while performance continues to improve, Tesla’s Powerwall 2.0 being a case in point. By the time we get to Powerwall 4.0 (or its equivalent), l suspect early adopters will drop off the grid in the tens if not hundreds of thousands. Don’t underestimate the power of the green dollar.

      The writing is on the wall for the horse and buggy, my dear Neville: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horse_and_buggy#/media/File:Horse_and_buggy_1910.jpg

      • Ross Handsaker says:

        While coal dust is a nasty health hazard for coal miners there is a similar problem with the manufacture of solar panels. Silicon, which is used in solar panels is sawn by discs and the resultant dust called kerf (about 50% of the silicon is wasted) causes severe respiratory problems when inhaled by workers. Also, silica gas is highly explosive and can spontaneously combust! Sulphur dioxide (implicated in acid rain) is also produced in the manufacturing process.

        The manufacture of wind turbines requires concrete and steel, neither of which can be made with renewable energy.

        Both solar and wind power are old technologies and in my opinion belong to the horse and buggy days. Using batteries to store energy is also old technology – their live span is short, toxic chemicals are used in their manufacture and pose environmental hazards upon disposal.

  • Chris Warren says:


    Governments and researchers are developing battery technology, hydrogen power and renewables and are also starting to ban fossil fuel vehicles.

    Hydrogen buses are already running around the streets of some cities and we now have trains that can run on hydrogen. They will be in regular service in December 2017 in Germany.

    The ACT is establishing a 1.25MW hydrogen electrolyser, which converts electricity to hydrogen.

    Denialists may bark, but the caravan moves on.

    • Don Aitkin says:

      But why are they necessary if their effects will make no difference to global temperature? You seem uninterested in the basic question.

      • Nga says:

        Don, once the technologies that can arrest anthropogenic carbon dioxide output have matured in the countries that can afford to develop them and take on the role (including the risks and cost ) of early adopters, they can transferred to the major developing economies, such as India, China and Brazil. Once this happens a very significant difference in global temperature is possible. This is obvious and it is a point that has been made many times before and some technology transfer has already happened. You appear to be unwilling to see the big picture.

      • Chris Warren says:


        They will have an impact if rolled-out sufficiently.

        And the only way to have an impact is if such measures, or equivalent alternatives, are rolled-out.

        The only reason these measures are being introduced is because they replace fossil fuels. There is no other reason.

  • Don J A says:

    Don, Totally off topic but are you aware of the presentations mentioned in JONOVA here http://joannenova.com.au/2016/11/events-in-canberra-melbourne-sydney-see-dr-tim-ball-tony-heller-and-sen-malcolm-roberts/ Any chance you could represent us at the Canberra presentation and give your slant? Please Don J A!

    • Don Aitkin says:

      Tony Heller is staying with us. But I can’t go to the presentation in the Parliament because of another function much earlier agreed to.

  • Neville says:

    Don I think you’re wasting your time trying to get through to Nga and Chris. Data, evidence etc can be ignored as far as they are concerned.
    Tony Heller seems to get a rough reception from some of the sceptics at WUWT , Climate etc and some others.
    I haven’t got the temp data skills that some of the technical people have but I find he is able to hold his ground against them.
    Steve Mosher is a strange character who seems to delight in confusing the issue at every turn. He’s not a sceptic but he does have a history of also putting the boot into some of the true believers at times.
    But he always goes out of his way to condemn Tony whenever his name comes up. I hope Tony and Tim have a good visit and that you also gain from some of their ideas. Any chance of a youtube video for those of us who are unable to attend?

    BTW I still think that the “Great Global Warming Swindle” holds up rather well and is a much more factual and accurate account than Gore’s AIT. The scientists involved seem to be more genuine and honest to me.

    • Nga says:

      Neville, even Judith Curry has pointed out that Tony Heller (Steven Goddard) produces bogus numbers: https://twitter.com/curryja/status/483006570876243968

      Tony Heller (Steven Goddard) has written half a dozen posts on his blog blaming Obama for birtherism (?!) and he routinely accuses climate scientists of engaging in a grand conspiracy and perpetrating a hoax. Denialists don’t get much odder than Tony.

      Anyway, Nev, enjoy being a True Believer. Your happiness is important to me.

    • Don Aitkin says:

      I think that you will be able to get a copy of the press conference today and the presentation tomorrow evening from Malcolm Roberts’s office.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Alan Gould

    You probably misheard the ABC report. There is no such claim on the ABC website that I can find. You did not indicate whether this was an ACT, Australian or global claim.

    However there is a statement in print ie:

    “Prof Will Steffen, a climate change expert and researcher at the Australian National University, told Guardian Australia it was “virtually certain” that 2016 would be the hottest year on record.”

    This seems consistent with your citation from the Guardian so there is no real problem here. The previous hottest year (for Australia) was 2013 so to exceed even this is disturbing.

    The global predicament is depicted here: http://www.climate-lab-book.ac.uk/spirals/

  • Chris Warren says:

    Alan Gould

    The clinching data set is the satellite data showing a temperature change of over 7 degrees per century, clinching the fact that dramatically less heat is being returned to space than previously.

    • Ross Handsaker says:

      Which data set are you looking at? According to NOAA, outward long-wave radiation leaving the top of the atmosphere since say, year 2000, there have as many positive (more “heat” lost to space) as negative years.

      • Chris Warren says:

        Ross Handsaker

        The data is “MSU & AMSU Time Series” C14 (ie around 40 km high). The graph fluctuates but I cannot understand what positive and negative long-wave radiation is.

        Can you clarify?

        • Ross Handsaker says:

          Thanks Chris

          The web site I was looking at, http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov, used this terminology to describe the variations in OLR at the top of the atmosphere. Quote: “Negative OLR are indicative of enhanced convection and hence more cloud coverage typical of El Nino episodes. More convection activity in the central and eastern Pacific implies higher colder cloud tops, which emit much less infrared radiation into space”.

    • Neville says:

      Chris what satellite data-set are you talking about and what is this claim about 7 degrees per century?
      Nick Stokes’ software shows no stat sig warming for about 23 years for UAH V 6 and the balloon data is similar to this as well.
      And HAD 4 shows a warming trend since 1850 of just 0.5 c per century and that’s well below the average temp deviation per century for the last 8,000 years. Using Greenland and Antarctic ice core data. What are your sources?

  • Chris Warren says:


    You cannot use UAH data as it only covers – tlt, tmt, ttp, tls channels. Nonetheless the “ls” data is showing a cooling trend at 18 km height of 3.4 degrees per century.

    See: http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/MSU2-vs-LT23-vs-LT.gif

    I have already cited the source of the over 7 degrees – “MSU & AMSU Time Series” C14 (ie around 40 km high).

    I am not aware of any UAH data that collects at this level.

    UAH data of 3,4 degrees (at 18KM) is consistent with MSU & AMSU data of over 7 degrees (at 40 KM).

    It is all very, very clear.

  • Neville says:

    Chris, here is the UAH V 6 data for TLT from Roy Spencer. The hot spot above the tropics is supposed to be at a height of 10 to 12 klms. But the UAH V 6 data shows just 0.12 c per decade warming since 1978 ( that’s 1.2 c century) and a reduced warming trend of just 0.018 c per decade or 0.18 c per century since 1998. Here’s Roy Spencer’s latest update.


    And here’s Ken Stewart’s update for the data last month showing the much reduced warming trend since 1998.

    https://kenskingdom.wordpress.com/2016/10/18/the-pause-update-september-2016/ The S Polar region has been cooling since DEC 1978 and OZ has been cooling since 1998 and that trend is about -0.65 c per century in the lower troposphere. He will update this shortly.

    https://kenskingdom.wordpress.com/2016/10/18/the-pause-update-september-2016/ Nick Stokes’ data also shows no stat sig warming for UAH V 6 in the lower trop for 23 years. And he updates UAH data every month as it becomes available.

    • Nga says:

      Neville, Dr Roy Spencer is a barking mad lunatic whose “science” has led him to reject the theory of evolution in favour of creationism (the ID variant). Here is “Roy the Scientist” batting for Jesus:

      “I finally became convinced that the theory of creation actually had a much better scientific basis than the theory of evolution, for the creation model was actually better able to explain the physical and biological complexity in the world.”

      Christopher Booker, who you also love citing, makes similar claims while adding the bizarre claim that a sniff or ten of white asbestos never did no-one any harm.

      Neville, could you start citing sources that aren’t whackjobs? That means no Andrew Bolt, Jo Nova, Christopher Booker, Roy Spencer and other such oddballs. How about citing the peer reviewed high impact work of bright young scientists to support your case? You do realise, don’t you, that historically in science it is the bright young things that have overturned the received wisdom, not reactionary old fossils.

      Max Planck: Science advances one funeral at a time.

      • dlb says:

        Yeah right. Bright young things are also well known for jumping on idealistic and feel good causes. Getting involved in politics or religion and signing up to fight in stupid wars.

      • Ross Handsaker says:

        So, Roy Spencer’s credibility as a climate scientist is lost because of his religious views. How sad that such a view is held.

        • Nga says:

          Sorry Ross H, but plenty of God Botherers have enough nous to not let religion stampede all over science. Spencer doesn’t get off the hook just because he thumps the Bible.

  • Neville says:

    Sorry Don I linked twice to Ken Stewart’s site and landed in moderation again. My fault.

  • Neville says:

    Here is the Malcolm Roberts press conference video with Dr Tim Ball and Tony Heller. Note the Law Dome graph showing cooling over the last 2,000 years from Antarctica.


    BTW here is the Cowton software again with most of the temp data-sets except UAH V6. RSS V 3 TLT shows a trend of just 0.04 c per decade since 1998 or 0.4 c a century. And the IPCC preferred HAD 4 data shows a trend of just 0.5 c per century since 1850. Of course over that time the planet was recovering from a minor ice age.


  • Chris Warren says:


    I have already explained why you cannot just use UAH data to represent the impact of greenhouse gases. It is too limited.

    You have been misled by Ken Stewart and his cherry-picking subsets of data. The actual trends are at the bottom of the real data file you can see here:


    Stewart’s manipulations contradict the data – so I suppose that is why Stewart never cited his source.

  • David says:


    ” …and it enables me to tell you that 1.5 per cent of nothing is, wait for it!, nothing”

    If you believe that it is zero then say so. Be the precise scientist you claim to be and stop hiding behind your use of adjectives.

    ‘Discernible’ means above to be discerned. Go and read the essay, for goodness sake!

    • Don Aitkin says:

      David, you just are a mystery and a puzzle. You still haven’t read the essay. You sit in a comfortable tree, and split hairs or do something else inconsequential. Human beings can’t really discern differences of temperature unless they are marked. The differences that will come even if… are less than a degree, much less than a degree. Humans couldn’t discern the difference (always supposing they could remember what it was like forty years ago), and even our current thermometers aren’t reliable beyond a hundredth of a degree. From the essay which you won’t read:

      ‘In short, none of these calculations does anything at all to global temperature, at least anything that would be discernible. The authors point out that you only see any differences because they used measurements to three decimal places, which is much more precise than what we can learn from thermometers. In point of fact nothing that we can do has any measurable effect on global temperature, partly because China and India aren’t in the list of industrialised countries, and partly because the effects would still be small even if they were included.’

      • Nga says:

        Gee, Donald, my stone house is down a dirt road on a farm (very unlikely to be burgled), it is on a slight rise (very unlikely to be flooded) and surrounded by a massive rock garden containing no highly flammable vegetation 30 metres in each direction (unlikely to burn in a bush fire). Yet you and I both know that only a fool doesn’t take out house and contents insurance just becase they think they are safe.

        Compared to what we pay for other forms of insurance, the cost of GHG mitigation, which is essentially a form of insurance, amounts to pin money. What we are insuring against is the slim possibility (maybe 5% to 10%) of catastrophic warming that is a distinct possibility if anthropogenic GHG emission growth is unchecked. In fact, I suspect the cost of GHG mitigation will end up being less than zero since solar, wind and battery technology will eventually cost significantly less than fossil fuel dependence. I personally look forward to getting off the grid once it becomes economic to do so, because I get at least two or three prolonged power disruptions every year at the moment.

        Remember, Donald, if you are a friend of oil you are a fifth columnist for Daesh and al-Qaeda. In fact, there is a strong case for prosecuting the more perfidious denialist oil supporters under anti-terrorism laws.

  • Neville says:

    Chris you’ve linked to the same UAH v 6 data that Ken uses after every monthly update. The GLOBAL warming for the entire record is just 1.2 c per century, but the GLOBAL warming trend since March 1998 is just 0.18 c per century. These are using annual trends and certainly no manipulation at all.

    The S Polar region has cooled since DEC 1978 and the cooling trend is stronger again since 1998. OZ has a warming trend since DEC 1978 of 1.6 c per century but there has been a strong cooling trend since 1998 and it is now about minus 0.65 c per century. No manipulation at all but proper use of the available monthly data.

    Go to the Cowtan software link i supplied and check the RSS V 3 TLT data since 1978 and you’ll find a warming trend of about 1.4 c per century. But start at 1998 and the trend drops to just 0.4 c per century, less than a third of the longer trend. Of course co2 levels are much higher since 1998 but paradoxically the trend is much lower. Not much support for your CAGW argument is it ? This is not a sceptic site and Ken Stewart didn’t adjust their data either.

  • Chris Warren says:

    spangled drongo

    Here is one of your alarmists who are using the latest data to claim that 2016 will be a record hot year.

    Maybe you should email him and ask him to answer your question.

  • Neville says:

    Chris there’s another problem you have about very little warming in the satellite data since 1993. There has been no stat significant warming in the satellite data since that time or nearly a quarter of a century. That’s using Nick Stokes’ calculations and not a sceptic site by any means. Way before the big NATURAL el nino peaks in 1998 and 2016. Don’t forget if there had been a strong NATURAL la nina cooling over the last couple of years we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Think about these strong NATURAL ENSO events and PDO shifts and you may begin to understand our scepticism.

    The year 1993 is at a much lower point when you look at the UAH V 6 temp graph. Also the PR McKitrick ,Vogelsang study found that there was little temp trend in the balloon data ( 1958 to 2012) other than a step change in the late 1970s. Here’s their summary of that 55 year period and the study. https://climateaudit.org/2014/07/24/new-paper-by-mckitrick-and-vogelsang-comparing-models-and-observations-in-the-tropical-troposphere/
    Their bottom line summary.
    Bottom Line

    “Over the 55-years from 1958 to 2012, climate models not only significantly over-predict observed warming in the tropical troposphere, but they represent it in a fundamentally different way than is observed. Models represent the interval as a smooth upward trend with no step-change. The observations, however, assign all the warming to a single step-change in the late 1970s coinciding with a known event (the Pacific Climate Shift), and identify no significant trend before or after. In my opinion the simplest and most likely interpretation of these results is that climate models, on average, fail to replicate whatever process yielded the step-change in the late 1970s and they significantly overstate the overall atmospheric response to rising CO2 levels”.

    • Chris Warren says:


      This is the third time I have indicated you cannot just use UAH data,

      The 7 degrees greenhouse effect is much further out.

  • David says:

    David, you just are a mystery and a puzzle. ….”

    I have simply asked you clarify a vague claim about Australia’s ability to control climate not being “discernible”. There is a difference between a small effect and zero effect.

  • Neville says:

    Here is a recent study of OZ droughts since 1500. Their findings make interesting reading when we consider the silly nonsense and predictions from Flannery and Bom / CSIRO scientists. Here is part of the study.
    “1792 was one of the worst drought years Australia has experienced since 1500. Patrick Baker, Author provided.

    An obvious question is how do our modern droughts and floods stack up against earlier events? Of the five most extreme single years of drought in the past 500 years (when averaged across all of eastern Australia), not one occurred after 1900.

    In contrast, two of the five wettest years in our data took place after 1950 (2011 was the wettest year in the 513-year record). The 1700s were particularly dry with three of the five worst drought years, but also notably had the most prolonged wet period (1730-60).

    In eastern Australia, wet and dry conditions cycle back and forth over several decades, driven by the oceans around us.

    When we compared the data to a recently developed index of changing atmospheric pressure called the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO), we found remarkable consistency between the two. The IPO tells us when we have unexpectedly warmer or cooler sea surface temps and air pressures. The IPO also interacts with El Nino and La Nina to make them stronger or weaker.” END of the quote.

    So silly Flannery and BOM / CSIRO scientists couldn’t be more wrong with their stupid predictions. Here is the study.


    And here is the Vance et al study that found that OZ had much worse droughts over the past 1,000 years. In fact the 12th century was the worst century for droughts. Remember co2 levels were supposedly ideal when the worst droughts occurred.


    • Nga says:

      Neville, I just checked this story out. One of the the lead authors on that project, Patrick Barker, says:

      “The only long temperature reconstruction from Australia is the Huon pine from Mt Read and it showed no evidence of either the Little Ice Age or the Medieval Warm Period. In fact, that reconstruction is several thousand years long and shows little evidence for large, persistent temperature swings in the past.”

      Say wot? The denialist claim that the LIA and MWP were global turns out to be bovine excrement. And no large temp swings in thousands of years?! Good night nurse and thank your mother for the rabbits.


      • David says:

        Nga, confusing poor Neville with a fact obtained from this universe instead of the alternative universe Neville lives in, is against the rules. 🙂

  • Neville says:

    Nga here are some PR studies showing many examples of a MED WP in the SH. Here a few from Antarctica . And the Calvo et al study found that southern OZ has seen a reduction in temp over the last 6500 years.


    Here’s a few from NZ. http://www.co2science.org/subject/a/australiamwp.php

  • Chris Warren says:


    “… very little warming in the satellite data since 1993”

    A picture is as good as a thousand words:


    • spangled drongo says:

      You like that picture, hey chrissy?

      Did you check the amount of warming since the last peak during which time we have had the greatest increase in ACO2 in the history of civilisation?

      How about 0.12c?


      If I put you in a room and turned up the thermostat 0.12c you would probably put a jumper on.

      You are arguing about angels on pinheads.

    • Neville says:

      Chris the data shows no stat sig warming since 1993 and that graph you linked to could be shown as a series of columns that would more accurately show the 0.12 c per decade warming since 1978. Don has displayed a column graph months ago. But the UAH V 6 warming trend since March 1998 is just 0.018c per decade or 0.18 c per century.
      If you can’t understand this I can’t help you and yes HAD 4 shows just 0.5 c per century warming trend since 1850. All this after our planet’s recovery from the coldest sustained period over the last 10,000 year. Our planet’s climate always changes NATURALLY and if you don’t understand this you are beyond help.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Spangled Drongo

    You are just repeating previous stuff like a worn out record.

    I have already explained why you cannot just use UAH data.

    I have already explained the cherry picking of those who pick post 1997 data.

    I have already explained that the greenhouse effect is found in the upper stratosphere (40KM).

    • spangled drongo says:

      Chrissy luv, your endless agreement with yourself about dancing angels does not amount to an explanation of anything.

      Broaden your focus and see the real world.

      I didn’t go to university because I was too busy getting an education.

      • spangled drongo says:

        Meant to add that as one of “les deplorable” I found that I managed to work things out for myself with good results over my lifetime and avoiding the “explanations” from the chrissy types, always proved an advantage.

        A few others are beginning to discover that situation lately.

        • Nga says:

          “Meant to add that as one of “les deplorable” I found that I managed to work things out for myself with good results over my lifetime … “

          Sometime in the next four years, the deplorables will see they were conned and it will all end in tears. I’ve already heated up the popcorn …

          • spangled drongo says:

            You may be right, enge luv, but I doubt it will be as bad as we were conned by the lunar left or as the lunar left have been conned by the LL meeja.

            At least “les deplorables” have woken up, which is more than can be said for enge et al:

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