The October Off-Topic Thread

By October 8, 2017Other

This thread is for readers who have something they want to say which is not relevant to the topic under discussion. You are allowed one link. Two links throws your comment into moderation, and it then has to wait for me to read it and decide.

Join the discussion 74 Comments

  • Welcome to the Revivalist series to remind people about interesting contributors who are underestimated or forgotten. In this edition the psychologist Liam Hudson, the Australian poet R D Fitzgerald and Barry Humphries.

  • Don Aitkin says:

    Thanks, Rafe. Interesting stuff that is well presented.

  • Neville says:

    Good speech by Tony Abbott at the GWPF.

  • Thanks Margaret and Neville. Dont miss George Orwell’s short essay on “Politics and the English Language” (you can google it!).

  • spangled drongo says:

    How to achieve security in the modern world:

    “I took down my Rebel flag (which you can’t buy on EBAY any more) and peeled the NRA sticker off my front window. I disconnected my home alarm system and quit the candy-ass Neighborhood Watch. I bought two Pakistani flags and put one at each corner of the front yard. Then I purchased the black flag of ISIS (which you can buy on EBAY) and ran it up the flag pole.

    Now the local police, sheriff, FBI, CIA, NSA, Homeland Security, Secret Service and other agencies are all watching my house 24/7. I’ve NEVER felt safer and I’m saving $69.95 a month that ADT Insurance used to charge me.

    Plus, I bought burkas to wear when I shop or travel. Everyone moves out of the way, and security can’t pat me down. (If they say I’m a male wearing a burka, I just say I’m feeling like a woman today).

    Safe at last.”

    • Chris Warren says:

      This is nothing but a rancid right wing provocation by nutters …. for example;

      “Then I purchased the black flag of ISIS (which you can buy on EBAY) and ran it up the flag pole. ”

      These fools confuse the flag of ISIS – an Egyptian figure, with ISIS modern religious extremists.

      The only ISIS flags for sale on Ebay are here:

      These nutters confuse Sydney Cove with Botany Bay, confuse ships Captains logs with Commanding officer Journals, and act all too complacent over Aboriginal poisonings.

      Several US retailers have withdrawn Confederate Flag merchandise. Although, unknown to drongo, Ebay still sells some items, such as:

      • spangled drongo says:

        Get over yourself, blith!

        I wonder if anyone else could ever get science, history, geography, humour and reality so totally confused as you manage to.


  • spangled drongo says:

    Why is it that our “brightest” minds just don’t get it. Who are the real deniers:

  • spangled drongo says:

    Well, look who’s involved in a paper that minimises global warming:

    “Our assessment is that this preindustrial period was likely 0.55°–0.80°C cooler than 1986–2005”

  • spangled drongo says:

    A realist’s POV

    American Journal of civil Engineering:

    “No evidence of significant climate change beyond natural variability was observed in this temperature record. Using a Climate Sensitivity best estimate of 2°C, the increase in temperature resulting from a doubling of atmospheric CO 2 is estimated at approximately 0.009°C/yr which is insignificant compared to natural variability.”

  • spangled drongo says:

    Great speech from the man who has had the greatest electoral victory this century:

    “Last night I gave the annual Global Warming Policy Foundation Lecture in London. As I have been saying for a while now, energy policy needs a complete re-think. I hope you find the speech below thought provoking.

    Yours sincerely


    “Dare to doubt”

    “Thank you for giving me the same platform that you’ve previously given to fellow Australians John Howard and George Pell. I will strive to be worthy of their example and their friendship; to offer a common sense way through the climate conflict; and, also, to place this particular issue in the broader search for practical wisdom now taking place across the Western world.

    It would be wrong to underestimate the strengths of the contemporary West. By objective standards, people have never had better lives. Yet our phenomenal wealth and our scientific and technological achievements rest on values and principles that have rarely been more widely challenged.

    To a greater or lesser extent, in most Western countries, we can’t keep our borders secure; we can’t keep our industries intact; and we can’t preserve a moral order once taken for granted. Eventually, something will crystalize out of this age of disruption but in the meantime we could be entering a period of national and even civilizational decline.

    In Australia, we’ve had ten years of disappointing government. It’s not just the churn of prime ministers that now rivals Italy’s, the internal divisions and the policy confusion that followed a quarter century of strong government under Bob Hawke and John Howard. It’s the institutional malaise. We have the world’s most powerful upper house: a Senate where good government can almost never secure a majority. Our businesses campaign for same sex marriage but not for economic reform. Our biggest company, BHP, the world’s premier miner, lives off the coal industry that it now wants to disown. And our oldest university, Sydney, now boasts that its mission is “unlearning”.

    Of course, to be an Australian is still to have won the lottery of life, and there’s yet no better place to live and work. But there’s a nagging sense that we’re letting ourselves down and failing to reach anything like our full potential.

    We are not alone in this. The Trump ascendancy, however it works out, was a popular revolt against politics-as-usual. Brexit was a rejection of the British as well as of the European establishments. Yes, the centrist, Macron, won in France but only by sidelining the parties that had ruled from the start of the Fifth Republic. And while the German chancellor was re-elected, seemingly it’s at the head of an unstable coalition after losing a quarter of her vote.

    Everywhere, there’s a breakdown of public trust between voters and their leaders for misdiagnosing problems, for making excuses about who’s to blame, and for denying the damage that’s been done.

    Since the Global Financial Crisis, at least in the West, growth has been slow, wages stagnant, opportunities limited, and economic and cultural disruption unprecedented. Within countries and between them, old pecking orders are changing. Civilizational self-doubt is everywhere; we believe in everyone but ourselves; and everything is taken seriously except that which used to be.

    Just a few years ago, history was supposed to have ended in the triumph of the Western liberal order. Yet far from becoming universal, Western values are less and less accepted even in the West itself. We still more or less accept that every human being is born with innate dignity; with rights, certainly, but we’re less sure about the corresponding duties.

    We still accept the golden rule of human conduct: to treat others as we would have them treat us – or to use the Gospel formula to “love your neighbour as you love yourself” – but we’re running on empty.

    In Britain and Australia, scarcely 50 per cent describe themselves as Christian, down from 90 per cent a generation back. For decades, we’ve been losing our religious faith but we’re fast losing our religious knowledge too. We’re less a post-Christian society than a non-Christian, or even an anti- Christian one. It hasn’t left us less susceptible to dogma, though, because we still need things to believe in and causes to fight for; it’s just that believers can now be found for almost anything and everything.

    Climate change is by no means the sole or even the most significant symptom of the changing interests and values of the West. Still, only societies with high levels of cultural amnesia – that have forgotten the scriptures about man created “in the image and likeness of God” and charged with “subduing the earth and all its creatures” – could have made such a religion out of it.

    There’s no certain way to regain cultural self-confidence. The heart of any recovery, though, has to be an honest facing of facts and an insistence upon intellectual rigour. More than ever, the challenge of leadership is to say what you mean and do what you say. The lesson I’ve taken from being in government, and then out of it, is simply to speak my mind. The risk, when people know where you stand, is losing their support. The certainty, when people don’t know where you stand, is losing their respect.

    Of course, we’re all nostalgic for the days when governments and oppositions could agree on the big issues; but pleading for bi-partisanship won’t create it. As my government showed on border protection policy, the only way to create a new consensus is to argue the case, to make a decision, and then to let the subsequent facts speak for themselves.

    The modern world, after all, is not the product of a successful search for consensus. It’s what’s emerged from centuries of critical enquiry and hard clash. Without the constant curiosity and endless questioning that has driven our scientists and engineers, and the constant striving for improvement that’s long guided our planners and policy makers, there’d be no cures for disease, no labour-saving appliances, no sanitation, no urban improvement, no votes for women, no respect for minorities; in other words, no modern world.

    That may not actually bother some green activists whose ideal is an Amish existence, only without reference to God. But it should bother anyone and everyone who wants longer, safer, more comfortable and more prosperous lives.

    Beware the pronouncement, “the science is settled”. It’s the spirit of the Inquisition, the thought- police down the ages. Almost as bad is the claim that “99 per cent of scientists believe” as if scientific truth is determined by votes rather than facts.

    There are laws of physics; there are objective facts; there are moral and ethical truths. But there is almost nothing important where no further enquiry is needed. What the “science is settled” brigade want is to close down investigation by equating questioning with superstition. It’s an aspect of the wider weakening of the Western mind which poses such dangers to the world’s future.

    Physics suggests, all other things being equal, that an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide would indeed warm the planet. Even so, the atmosphere is an almost infinitely complex mechanism that’s far from fully understood.

    Palaeontology indicates that over millions of years there have been warmer periods and cooler periods that don’t correlate with carbon dioxide concentrations. The Jurassic warm period and the ice ages occurred without any human contribution at all. The medieval warm period when crops were grown in Greenland and the mini-ice age when the Thames froze over occurred well before industrial activities added to atmospheric carbon dioxide.

    Prudence and respect for the planet would suggest taking care not lightly to increase carbon dioxide emissions; but the evidence suggests that other factors such as sun spot cycles and oscillations in the Earth’s orbit are at least as important for climate change as this trace gas – which, far from being pollution, is actually essential for life to exist.

    Certainly, no big change has accompanied the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration over the past century from roughly 300 to roughly 400 parts per million or from 0.03 to 0.04 per cent.

    Contrary to the breathless assertions that climate change is behind every weather event, in Australia, the floods are not bigger, the bushfires are not worse, the droughts are not deeper or longer, and the cyclones are not more severe than they were in the 1800s. Sometimes, they do more damage but that’s because there’s more to destroy, not because their intensity has increased. More than 100 years of photography at Manly Beach in my electorate does not suggest that sea levels have risen despite frequent reports from climate alarmists that this is imminent.

    It may be that a tipping point will be reached soon and that the world might start to warm rapidly but so far reality has stubbornly refused to conform to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s computer modelling. Even the high-priests of climate change now seem to concede that there was a pause in warming between the 1990s and 2014.

    So far, though, there’s no concession that their models might require revision even though unadjusted data suggests that the 1930s were actually the warmest decade in the United States and that temperatures in Australia have only increased by 0.3 degrees over the past century, not the 1 degree usually claimed.

    The growing evidence that records have been adjusted, that the impact of urban heat islands has been downplayed, and that data sets have been slanted in order to fit the theory of dangerous anthropogenic global warming does not make it false; but it should produce much caution about basing drastic action upon it.

    Then there’s the evidence that higher concentrations of carbon dioxide (which is a plant food after all) are actually greening the planet and helping to lift agricultural yields. In most countries, far more people die in cold snaps than in heat waves, so a gradual lift in global temperatures, especially if it’s accompanied by more prosperity and more capacity to adapt to change, might even be beneficial.

    In what might be described as Ridley’s paradox, after the distinguished British commentator: at least so far, it’s climate change policy that’s doing harm; climate change itself is probably doing good; or at least, more good than harm.

    Australia, for instance, has the world’s largest readily available supplies of coal, gas and uranium, yet thanks to a decade of policy based more on green ideology than common sense, we can’t be sure of keeping the lights on this summer – it’s akin to Saudi Arabia being in a petrol drought, and in the policy-induced shift from having the world’s lowest power prices to amongst the highest, our manufacturing industry has lost its one, big comparative economic advantage.

    About 20 years ago, in Australia, limiting carbon dioxide emissions first became a goal of public policy. It was the Howard government, back in 1997, that originally introduced the Renewable Energy Target, a stealth carbon tax, requiring energy suppliers to source a percentage of their power from new renewable generation. But in those far off days, it was just 2 per cent.

    During the energy discussions around the Howard cabinet table, I recall thinking “why not encourage more solar hot water systems to reduce power use” and “why not incentivise the installation of solar panels to help power people’s homes”?

    Way back in the 1980s, in my final provost’s collection at The Queen’s College, Lord Blake had observed: “Mr Abbott needs to temper his robust common sense with a certain philosophic doubt”. If only more of us had doubted sooner and realised sooner how easy it was with renewable power to have too much of a good thing!

    Unsurprisingly, a conservative cabinet did indeed respond to farmers’ worries about the drought then gripping eastern Australia; and the public’s then eagerness to support environmental gestures with other people’s money. We thought we could reduce emissions, or at least limit their increase, without much disruption to everyday life, hence these gestures to the zeitgeist. Where the subsidy was modest and the impact on the power system minimal, our thinking ran, why not accommodate the feel-good urge to be “responsible global citizens”?

    In its last few months, the Howard government even agreed in-principle to support an emissions trading scheme. But Howard was shrewd enough to know how the most important consequences of any policy were often the unintended ones. His government’s refusal to ratify the Kyoto climate change treaty, even though we’d secured a good deal for Australia, showed his caution about the impact of emissions reduction on power prices and the wider economy.

    For the incoming Labor Prime Minister after 2007, though, climate change was nothing less than the “greatest moral challenge of our time”. The Rudd-Gillard government believed in an emissions trading scheme, no ifs, no buts, and in a ten-fold increase in the mandatory use of renewables.

    For a while, the Liberal-National opposition was inclined to go along with it. My own leaning for the first year or so was not to oppose it; but my doubts about the theory of climate change were growing and my sense that an ETS would turn out to be a “great big new tax on everything” was hardening.

    To a party audience in country Victoria in October 2009, I observed that the so-called settled science of climate change was “absolute crap”; and after winning the opposition leadership had a secret party room ballot to oppose an ETS because it was not our job to enter into weak compromises with a bad government.

    As it happened, the 2010 election was more about power prices than about saving the planet. Under great political pressure, then Prime Minister Julia Gillard, declared “there will be no carbon tax under the government I lead”. But early in 2011, as part of her minority government’s deal with the Greens, she committed to a carbon tax that would put wholesale power prices up by 40 per cent.

    The 2013 election was a referendum on Labor’s carbon tax – as well as Labor’s complete loss of control over our maritime borders – with a thumping win to the Liberal-National Coalition.

    In July 2014, the Abbott government abolished the carbon tax, saving the average household about $500 a year. In early 2015, we reduced the Renewable Energy Target from 28 to 23 per cent. It wasn’t enough, but it was the best that we could get through the Senate. My cabinet always had some ministers focussed on jobs and cost of living; and others more concerned with emissions reduction, even though our contribution to global emissions was barely one per cent.

    Inevitably, our Paris agreement to a 26 to 28 per cent emissions reduction was a compromise based on the advice that we could achieve it largely through efficiencies, without additional environmental imposts, using the highly successful emissions reduction fund; because, as I said at the time, “the last thing we want to do is strengthen the environment (but) damage our economy”.

    At last year’s election, the government chose not to campaign on power prices even though Labor was promising a 50 per cent Renewable Energy Target (requiring a $50 billion over-build of wind farms) and a 45 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030 (requiring a new carbon tax). After a net gain of 25 seats at the previous two elections, when we had campaigned on power prices, we had a net loss of 14 when we didn’t.

    And subsequent events have made the politics of power once more the central battleground between and within the two main parties. Although manufacturing, agriculture and transport are also large carbon dioxide emitters, the politics of emissions reduction has always focussed on power generation because shifting to renewables has always been more saleable to voters than closing down industry, giving up cars and not eating beef.

    As a badge of environmental virtue, the South Australian state Labor government had been boasting that, on average, almost 50 per cent of its power was wind-generated – although at any moment it could vary from almost zero to almost 100 per cent. It had even ostentatiously blown up its one coal- fired power station.

    In September last year, though, the wind blew so hard that the turbines had to shut down – and the inter-connector with Victoria and its reliable coal-fired power failed too. For 24 hours, there was a state wide blackout. For nearly two million people, the lights were off, cash registers didn’t work, traffic lights went down, lifts stopped, and patients were sent home from hospitals.

    Throughout last summer, there were further blackouts and brownouts across eastern Australia requiring hundreds of millions in repairs to the plant of energy-intensive industries. Despite this, in a display of virtue signalling, to flaunt its environmental credentials (and to boost prices for its other coal-fired plants), last March the French-government part-owned multinational, Engie, closed down the giant Hazelwood coal-fired station that had supplied a quarter of Victoria’s power.

    The Australian Energy Market Operator is now sufficiently alarmed to have just issued an official warning of further blackouts this summer in Victoria and South Australia and severe medium term power shortfalls. But in yet more virtue-signalling, energy giant AGL is still threatening to close the massive Liddell coal-fired power station in NSW and replace it with a subsidised solar farm and a much smaller gas-fired power station relying on gas supplies that don’t currently exist.

    Were it not rational behaviour based on irrational government policy, this deliberate elimination of an essential service could only be described as a form of economic self-harm.

    Hydro aside, renewable energy should properly be referred to as intermittent and unreliable power. When the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, the power doesn’t flow. Wind and solar power are like sailing ships; cheaper than powered boats, to be sure, but we’ve stopped using sail for transport because it couldn’t be trusted to turn up on time.

    Because the weather is unpredictable, you never really know when renewable power is going to work. Its marginal cost is low but so is its reliability, so in the absence of industrial scale batteries, it always needs matching capacity from dependable coal, gas, hydro, or nuclear energy. This should always have been obvious.

    Also now apparent is the system instability and the perverse economics that subsidised renewables on a large scale have injected into our power supply. Not only is demand variable but there’s a vast and unpredictable difference between potential and dispatch-able capacity at any one time. Having to turn coal fired power stations up or down as the wind changes makes them much less profitable even though coal remains by far the cheapest source of reliable power.

    A market that’s driven by subsidies rather than by economics always fails. Subsidy begets subsidy until the system collapses into absurdity. In Australia’s case, having subsidised renewables, allegedly to save the planet; we’re now faced with subsidising coal, just to keep the lights on.

    We have got ourselves into this mess because successive federal governments have tried to reduce emissions rather than to ensure reliable and affordable power; because, rather than give farmers a fairer return, state governments have given in to green lobbyists and banned or heavily restricted gas exploration and extraction; and because shareholder activists have scared power companies out of new investment in fossil fuel power generation, even though you can’t run a modern economy without it.

    In the short term, to avoid blackouts, we have to get mothballed or under-utilised gas back into the system.

    In the medium term, there must be – first – no subsidies, none, for new intermittent power (and a freeze on the RET should be no problem if renewables are as economic as the boosters claim); second, given the nervousness of private investors, there must be a government-built coal-fired power station to overcome political risk; third, the gas bans must go; and fourth, the ban on nuclear power must go too in case a dry country ever needs base load power with zero emissions.

    The government is now suggesting that there might not be a new Clean Energy Target after all. There must not be – and we still need to deal with what’s yet to come under the existing target.

    In the longer term, we need less theology and more common sense about emissions reduction. It matters but not more than everything else. As Clive James has suggested in a celebrated recent essay, we need to get back to evidence based policy rather than “policy based evidence”.

    Even if reducing emissions really is necessary to save the planet, our effort, however Herculean, is barely-better-than-futile; because Australia’s total annual emissions are exceeded by just the annual increase in China’s.

    There’s a veneer of rational calculation to emissions reduction but underneath it’s about “doing the right thing”. Environmentalism has managed to combine a post-socialist instinct for big government with a post-Christian nostalgia for making sacrifices in a good cause. Primitive people once killed goats to appease the volcano gods. We’re more sophisticated now but are still sacrificing our industries and our living standards to the climate gods to little more effect.

    So far, climate change policy has generated new taxes, new subsidies and new restrictions in rich countries; and new demands for more aid from poor countries. But for the really big emitters, China and India, it’s a first world problem. Between them, they’re building or planning more than 800 new coal-fired power stations – often using Australian coal – with emissions, on average, 30 per cent lower than from our own ageing generators.

    Unsurprisingly, the recipients of climate change subsidies and climate change research grants think action is very urgent indeed. As for the general public, of course saving the planet counts – until the bills come in and then the humbug detector is switched on.

    Should Australia close down its steel industry; watch passively while its aluminium industry moves offshore to places less concerned about emissions; export coal, but not use it ourselves; and deliberately increase power prices for people who can’t install their own solar panels and batteries? Of course not, but these are the inevitable consequences of continuing current policies.

    That’s the reality no one has wanted to face for a long time: that we couldn’t reduce emissions without also hurting the economy; that’s the inconvenient truth that can now no longer be avoided.

    The only rational choice is to put Australian jobs and Australia’s standard of living first; to get emissions down but only as far as we can without putting prices up. After two decades’ experience of the very modest reality of climate change but the increasingly dire consequences of the policy to deal with it, anything else would be a dereliction of duty as well as a political death wish.

    I congratulate the Global Warming Policy Foundation for your commitment to rational inquiry; your insistence that the theory must be made to fit the facts, rather than the other way round; your concern to do good, rather than just to seem good; and for the hope I share with you: that, in the end, the best policy will turn out to be the best politics.

    I’m reminded of the story of a man randomly throwing pieces of paper from the window of a train. Eventually his companion asked him why he did it. It keeps the elephants down, he said. “But there are no elephants here”, his companion replied. “Precisely; it’s a very successful method”.

    A tendency to fear catastrophe is ingrained in the human psyche. Looking at the climate record over millions of years, one day it will probably come; whatever we do today won’t stop it, and when it comes, it will have little to do with the carbon dioxide emissions of mankind.”

  • Chris Warren says:

    Poor ol’ denialist Spencer is in a bit of hot water, or so it seems.

    The latest global temperature demonstrates that we have now reached a new record for September.

    Although Spencer forgot to mention this. He just notes the fact that the anomaly is 0.54C, the highest on record even higher than El Nino years.

    He also failed to provide any data, which he usually does, or even a link to data which he usually does as seen for August and previous months.

    One can only wonder why?

    See August for example at:

    IN fact denialists keyboards have now been stunned into silence.

    The wattsupwiththat coterie seem to have forgotten that September even exists.

    The September data for Australia is even worse – 0.59C.

    • spangled drongo says:

      Don’t forget this bit, blith.

      What does it remind you of?:

      “Most people, to a greater or lesser extent, accept that carbon emissions are a problem which must be addressed. But with Al Gore there is no room for any uncertainties — you swallow whole the apocalyptic vision in his films or you are a ‘denier’. He and his ‘climate ambassadors’ whom he has trained to spread his message resemble a charismatic church whose leader must be paid constant homage. He is an obstacle to serious debate.”

    • dlb says:

      Yes, the pause does seem to be over, though warming is still only 0.13C a decade since 1978.
      I had to smile when a few optimists at WUWT thought they could see a mini el-Nino earlier this year and were blaming this for the recent warm months.

      Spencer did put a link up to the data this month, though he just let the record September pass without comment.

      • Chris Warren says:

        Did, he?

        Do you happen to have a link?

        I found this:

        but the data is old.

        I would like to review the full dataset.

        If you want to understand global warming, surely any hitting of global record highs, without El Nino effects, even if it is just a single, day, week or month, is worthy of serious attention by any neutral observers.

        • Chris Warren says:

          The University of Alabama has made the obvious comment.

          Global Temperature Report: September 2017
          Warmest September in satellite temperature record

          Article ID: 682192. Released: 3-Oct-2017 2:05 PM EDT
          Source Newsroom: University of Alabama Huntsville

          This makes Spencer’s silence all the more peculiar.

        • dlb says:

          That was the same data as I got from the recent post at his blog. I don’t how it could be old when it takes in September 2017? Unless it has been updated.

        • dlb says:

          Sorry, he did say at the start of the post that the September value is up on August, but did not mention it being a monthly record.

          In the comments section he gave a reason “Increased precipitation activity is the main reason for a surge in tropospheric temperatures. Whether it was the hurricanes that did it is uncertain…I doubt it, since the SH also warmed up”

          Any idea where one can find a data base on global precipitation to verify his hypothesis?

        • Don Aitkin says:

          Why do you think so, Chris? It is usually easy to explain why a single day was unusually hot, cold or wet, and also for a week. That’s just weather. Ole Humlum’s climate4you should be out any day now, and it will have all the temperature data for September. I haven’t been following it.

          If you accept the temperature data for the last 150 years, which I do for the sake of this comment, temperatures have been rising very slowly in a cyclical way, with cooling periods following the warming periods. If this is the consequence of the end of the little ice age, or the relatively cool few hundred years from about the 15th to the 18th centuries, there is nothing really to say about it. If it is something else, then by all means let us hear about it.

          • Chris Warren says:

            Whether the current warming is a consequence of coming out of a little ice age is interesting but I cannot link it in with modern trends simply because today’s warming is accompanied with cooling above the CO2 band.

            Any warming arising from emerging from a Little Ice Age would not be accompanied by dramatic cooling of the stratosphere for some 30 years.

            The upper cooling and the over-30 years of data, is the key(s) to what otherwise could be a mystery.

            Also warming arising from coming out of a Little Ice Age is unlikely to produce large disparities between north and south, and the material in Jean M. Groves, Little Ice Ages: Ancient and Modern seems to suggest these glaciations were similar in both north and south hemispheres once the variation of different land masses and elevations are taken into account.

            These two factors seem to exclude the Little Ice Age or any biassed trend derived from the relatively cool 15 to 18th centuries.


          • spangled drongo says:

            Blith, apart from your complete lack of comparable data, you forgot to mention your penchant for sandwich boards and wet knickers as your major criteria.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Poor ol’ blith always fails to get the basics, let alone the truth.

    And don’t the most blitheringly ignorant alarmists just love to wallow in the D word?

    Al Gore, unhinged:

    But please enlighten us as to what Spencer is “denying”, blithluv.

    Bearing in mind our tiny data base plus the fact that we have warmed similarly every thousand years [give or take a century or two] perhaps he could tell us all how this September compares with a similar one during the MWP???

    As the engineers said in that paper I listed upthread: “Using a Climate Sensitivity best estimate of 2°C, the increase in temperature resulting from a doubling of atmospheric CO 2 is estimated at approximately 0.009°C/yr”


  • Chris Warren says:

    Here are wattsupwiththat comments when there was an artificial cooling trend coming out of the last El Nino.

    “Global average temperatures over land have plummeted by more than 1C
    Comes amid mounting evidence run of record temperatures about to end
    The fall, revealed by Nasa satellites, has been caused by the end of El Nino.

    “The news comes amid mounting evidence that the recent run of world record high temperatures is about to end.

    wattsupwiththat also crudely suggested that; “… some experts will be forced to eat their words.”.

    Now it seems it is the denialists who must cop their own medicine.

    So why are they so silent now?

    Climate got their tongue?

    • spangled drongo says:

      Except that most of their history wasn’t very gilded at all.

      Most of it was hard yakka and hope.

      The few breaks they got, the smart ones made the most of but many walked out backwards. Also many are still out there plugging along simply because it’s in their DNA and they wouldn’t be anywhere else.

      It’s a fascinating but very over rated story.

      What is fascinating these days, marg, is the clever and capable daughters that are filling the breach.

      • margaret says:

        “No member of a squatting dynasty listening in the dead quiet of the woolshed could wonder what Myers meant, though it is a subject long avoided. A map of the the Western District is essentially a map of massacre sites.

        Myers pointed out that as long ago as 1841, a Supreme Court judge named John Walpole Willis, sitting in Melbourne, declared in a long judgment concerning “the Port Phillip District” that the pastoral lands had been stolen from the Aborigines.

        Willis wrote that “the colonists and not the aborigines are the foreigners; the former are exotics, the latter indigenous, the latter the native sovereigns of the soil, the former uninvited intruders”. Unsurprisingly, Willis was soon enough recalled to England, and his judgment lay undisturbed for more than a century and a half before Mabo.

        But there had been an earlier crime visited upon many of those who came to the Western District from Scotland, too. They were victims or witnesses of another form of genocide: the Highland Clearances.”

        History repeats.

        • spangled drongo says:

          “the colonists and not the aborigines are the foreigners; the former are exotics, the latter indigenous,”

          That is an indication of the respect aboriginals have always received from whites.

          Read the journals of the early explorers, marg, and see how they all were very respectful of the aboriginals too. How they were often hauled before a court if they had altercations.

          Even if those altercations arose from being ambushed by aboriginal tribes that far outnumbered them.

          When those early colonies were formed by people that were also driven from their own homeland, those early settlers would have understood the aboriginal situation better than anyone today.

          But you can’t spoil a good story for the sake of truth.

          Particularly when it is so PC with the revisionists.

          As usual, you need to get more sceptical, marg.

  • dlb says:

    Following on from our Australian aboriginal discussion last week, Associate Professor Darren Curnoe of the UNSW asks; was agriculture the greatest blunder in human history?
    Well A.P. Curnoe is well and truly in the hunter-gatherer romance club, blaming agriculture for disease, empires, wars, inequality and other maladies like dental decay.

    Read it at “The Conversation”

    • spangled drongo says:

      Ya gotta wonder about those academics, hey, dlb?

      You get the impression, like with the Club of Rome, they want what’s left of us back in the trees after 99.9% jump off a cliff.

      But you notice they never lead by example.

  • spangled drongo says:

    When the World Health Organisation tells lies and makes claims that are the reverse of the facts, why shouldn’t our climate gatekeepers be audited?

  • spangled drongo says:

    A few words of wisdom in the Townsville Bulletin for the bed-wetting JCU scientists WRT the Great Barrier Reef coral.

    “NEWS of the Great Barrier Reef’s demise have indeed appeared to be premature – as predicted. Cairns-based environmental science body, Tropical Water Quality Hub, released exciting news this month in an email titled: Signs of recovery on bleached coral reefs.

    This evidence is directly in line with the views of James Cook University’s Professor Peter Ridd who said this year that corals were experts at adapting to changing environments and that they would recover – as they had done in the past.

    Tourists also appear on the video saying they can’t believe how beautiful the Reef is after what they’d been told about its imminent demise.

    Check it out for yourself at

    I can’t wait for Midnight Oil to come back to spread the good news and for my Facebook feed to be cluttered with ecstatic posts from The Greens and GetUp!

    Somehow, I think I’ll be waiting a long time.”

    • spangled drongo says:

      Marg, please don’t swallow the white culture hate of the Groaner that claims that an aboriginal artist who was very unsophisticated in business was treated worse than any other person in the same situation would have been.

      It’s a bit like your massacre stories.

      And what has now been done to rectify the situation shows plainly that you need to be sceptical of this fake “news”.

      But even so, unless the family have improved their business awareness they will become the prey of much worse scoundrels.

    • dlb says:

      From “The Gideon article” sanctimonious newspaper they are.

      “It is not, however, the end. Indigenous art and culture more broadly – story in all its forms including visual art – has been appropriated since first colonial contact.”

      So what?

      Namatjira was appropriating white-fella style art with his landscapes. Good luck to him and his decedents I reckon.

      • Don Aitkin says:

        Yes, Namatjira painted landscapes in the European style. Today’s artists in the Kimberley use Belgian linen canvases and do their own stretching. They use oils and acrylics, not ochre. That just seems natural to me — they are using the best media that are available. They don’t have to go on finding the right bark…

  • Re the Namatjira story. Once or twice in a lifetime you find yourself on the inside of a story in the press. It is a very interesting experience and it usually does not reflect well on the credibility of the media.
    Last week or so I was in the Gallery that was set up by the original Mr Brackenreg. They are selling work by my late wife Kilmeny Niland. I was there while phone calls were going back and forth to finalise the settlement.
    Much can be said about the way the story has run in the press and I will only mention a few things.
    First it would have helped to write that Dick Smith donated a considerable sum to the foundation to get the matter settled so the people in the gallery could have some peace.
    The sum was given in memory of Mr Brackenreg who Dick Smith knew and trusted in the way that Albert Namatjira knew and trusted him. His trust was vindicated. Over 60 years the legacy is intact. Consider what could have happened otherwise.
    The Brackenreg Gallery did shows for Namatjira before other galleries were interested.
    As for imagining that white artists would not have been treated the same way, there are white artists whose work has been with the gallery over many decades and there has been no fuss about it because there was no reason to be upset about the way the work was handled.

    • spangled drongo says:

      Thanks, Rafe.

      • margaret says:

        The Paul Daley article is one that doesn’t mention Dick Smith, others have, that’s why I prefaced the link.
        Paul Daley is the indigenous affairs reporter for the Guardian so he is obviously going to have a bias towards the wrongs that have occurred towards people like Namatjira. The headline is a bit of a “grabber” but it’s not incorrect if you compared white artists of the same caliber.
        Dick Smith seems to have solved a festering sore.
        I love Kilmeny Niland’s illustrations. Just saying.
        Spangled Drongo you are a suck.

        • margaret says:

          Oh have gone to moderation with unaccompanied link so here it is again

        • margaret says:

          Money was the problem of course … Dick’s money helped give agency back to the Namatjira family, his granddaughter has just died but at least she lived to see it happen.

        • There was no festering sore, just a nasty racist beatup.
          We expect that from The Guardian and it was disappointing to see The Australian playing the same game.
          They gave themselves away in the paper on October 14-15 with a spread of a Namatjira “which can new be published without having to be pixilated”. However the painting is by Namatjira Junior, who was born in 1955, some time after the date they ascribed to the picture. Dozens of his pictures are on the net unpixilated.
          Fake news?

          • spangled drongo says:

            Marg has a season ticket, Rafe:

            “Is there a collective noun for those who make a living out of publicly decrying the evils of whiteness? Consider for example, a cacophony of virtue-signallers, a soliloquy of self-flagellants, a dirge of self-loathers, a nursery of penitents, and a turgidity of neo-Pharisees.”


          • margaret says:

            I don’t know about that, maybe. All I know is I saw a fabulous exhibition in 2003 at the National Gallery called Seeing the Centre: The art of Albert Namatjira 1902-1959. In that exhibition there were also quite a few paintings by other Namatjiras who are related and I’ve seen same in Adelaide Art Gallery.
            They are a talented family. Just like yours.

          • margaret says:

            Spangled Drongo I’m not a subscriber to any newspaper… I cherry pick for truth

          • margaret says:

            Festering sore – hyperbole Don?

          • spangled drongo says:

            “I’m not a subscriber to any newspaper… I cherry pick for truth”

            But you still miss a lot, margluv:

            “We sat down with the Productivity Commission. We looked at the Indigenous space. $30 billion is spent in this space annually. $30 billion on 500,000 people and you still see the problems you get to see. What that tells me straightaway as a businessman, because I run my own business, is there’s a lot of fun and games going in there and we need to sort that out and we need to find out where the wastage of our funding is. – Chair of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council, Warren Mundine, speaking on Q&A, August 29, 2016.”

            That’s $60,000 per head on people that don’t pay any tax.

          • dlb says:

            “Is there a collective noun for those who make a living out of publicly decrying the evils of whiteness? ”

            Such virtue signalling and self righteousness smacks of self-gratification. There is a colloquial collective noun for these people, it that starts with W and ends with the plural S.

          • Don Aitkin says:

            I don’t know where ‘festering sore’ came from, but I would have thought it a cliche rather than hyperbole.

  • margaret says:

    Pffft … you make no sense

    • margaret says:

      The thread for replies is rigged, and you’re all w……rs to use dlb’s cliche …there’s not one good woman among you, so smug, so self-important, so together, so alone.

  • Neville says:

    Global oceans have now cooled since 2015. This latest data is from HAD SST 3.

  • Neville says:

    There will be a massive increase in new coal powered stations etc by 2040 according to the IEA and other sources. This boom in coal will mainly come from SE Asia. OZ will supply a lot of this massive increase but we are too stupid and gutless to make use of our cheap and reliable coal at home. Why is it so?
    Massive New Coal Boom To Fuel Southeast Asia’s Booming Economies

    Date: 27/10/17
    Power Magazine

    The International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that about 100 GW of new coal-fired power generation capacity is expected to come online in Southeast Asia by 2040, more than doubling the region’s current coal power capacity. Global coal-fired generation capacity to grow by nearly 50% over today’s levels.

    The International Energy Agency (IEA) says the need for cheap electricity in Southeast Asia will drive global demand for coal for power generation through 2040, even as many countries continue to retire coal-fired plants and cancel projects for new coal facilities.

    IEA, which is set to release its World Energy Outlook 2017 on November 14, this week said India and Southeast Asia will account for the majority of the use of coal in the coming years, as those areas’ economies continue to grow and demand for electricity rises.

    “Coal maintains a strong foothold in [Southeast Asia’s] projected consumption, not only because it is markedly cheaper than natural gas, but also because coal projects are in many cases easier to pursue as they do not require the capital-intensive infrastructure associated with gas,” the IEA said in a report in advance of the release of the November outlook.

    The agency said about 100 GW of new coal-fired power generation capacity is expected to come online in Southeast Asia by 2040, increasing the region’s installed capacity to about 160 GW. The IEA said 40% of the new capacity will be built in Indonesia. The group said Vietnam, the second-largest consumer of coal in Southeast Asia behind Indonesia, will become the region’s largest importer of coal by 2040.

    A report this week by Wood Mackenzie, a UK-based research and consulting firm with offices worldwide, including five in the U.S., said thermal coal imports by Southeast Asia will more than double to 226 million metric tons by 2035, up from 85 million metric tons today. The group said imports into Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and other parts of South Asia will jump to 284 million metric tons during that period, a 72% increase from this year’s levels.

    At the same time, Chinese imports of coal—China in 2016 again became the world’s top importer of coal, overtaking India—will drop about 40% over the next two decades as the country ramps up its use of other energy sources, including wind and particularly solar, where it dominates the world market in terms of installed solar capacity and the production of solar panels.

    China this year has canceled plans for more than 100 new coal plants, although Chinese companies are either building or planning to build more than 700 new coal plants worldwide, according to Urgewald, a German environmental group. Urgewald in July said more than 1,600 coal-fired power plants were either under construction or being planned in 62 countries, a number that would increase global coal-fired generation capacity by 43% over today’s levels.

    Kiah Wei Giam, a principal analyst for coal and gas markets at Wood Mackenzie, this week at the Singapore International Energy Week said: “Coal is still the most affordable technology in power generation,” despite “pushback in coal development” due to concerns about pollution. Giam said coal demand will remain high at least until renewable energy sources and energy storage solutions become more economically competitive.
    Full story

  • margaret says:

    Bruce Pascoe, author of Dark Emu: Black Seeds : Agriculture or Accident?

    • spangled drongo says:

      That’s very interesting, marg.

      I always wondered why, if aboriginals were aware that plants grew from the seeds they produced, which you would think anyone who lived with plants would, that they didn’t take the seeds of plants they travelled hundreds of miles to eat at very specific times of the year and plant them all over the country where they have subsequently grown from plantings by other people since.

      Think Bunya Pines, Macadamias etc.

  • Neville says:

    The only reason we are wasting trillions $ and reacting to their crazy CAGW claims are easily shown to be bogus.
    Many new PR SL studies have found that there is no recent measurable acceleration in the rate of SLR.
    Here are a number of new studies to back up the sceptic point of view. Evidence and data should win every time. So why are the media, IPCC and the world’s govts telling porkies about their so called CAGW?

    • Chris Warren says:

      What absolute, incompetent rubbish.

      The IPCC has NOT said that there has been sea level acceleration. The IPCC has also said that accelerated sea-level is very unlikely in the 21st Century.

      Yet more cherry-picking canards from Neville and co. A very dirty trick.

      • spangled drongo says:

        What’s this, blith?:

        Looks like pretty substantial acceleration to me.

        Real sea level rise in tectonically stable parts of the world like the east coast of Australia is nothing.

        Moreton Bay tide gauge is 0.09mm/y +/- 0.68mm/y with noise that is seven and a half times the signal.

        IOW, not only no acceleration, no SLR. Nothing!

        • Neville says:

          SD I think we should remember that Chris also believes that the human race could disappear by 2100.
          He can’t tell us how our 7+ billion pop would be wiped out but is willing to believe the silly ideas proposed by a retired ( and now deceased) Uni prof.
          At least Dr James Lovelock pulled himself together and admitted that he was wrong about his once extreme views about climate change.
          I don’t think that Chris’s nonsense is worth a reply.

          • Chris Warren says:


            You are stooping to base fabrications. Where is there any evidence for your crazy suggestion:

            “Chris also believes that the human race could disappear by 2100.”

            It is a typical tactic of denialists to cover their ears and eyes when confronted with either authoritative global scientific consensus or inconvenient truths from renown eminent scientists such as Frank Fenner who established the Centre for Resource & Environmental Studies (CRES) at ANU.

            Your comment “the silly ideas proposed by a retired ( and now deceased) Uni prof.” was fake, crude and obnoxious.

            While there has been a slight increase in sea levels there is no reason that this will continue in the future if the amount of atmospheric CO2 continues to increase.

            Sensible people should read the IPCC at

            Most sensible people understand that if greenhouse gases constantly increase that the Earth’s temperature will constantly increase.

            It is not difficult to understand that this will cause many catastrophic events in vulnerable areas and in the final analysis, across the globe as a whole.

          • spangled drongo says:

            “While there has been a slight increase in sea levels there is no reason that this will continue in the future if the amount of atmospheric CO2 continues to increase.”

            Two bob each way now blith?

            But please explain how the world can warm yet SLs not rise?

            Without blithering, that is.

            The IPCC AR5 adopted ice mass loss estimates that were exaggerated. Far more than AR4.


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