News Ltd kicking more sand in the public’s face: just why are Murdoch’s papers recycling the old “CFCs not CO2” zombie climate myth?

The state of the climate debate in Australia under News Ltd

The state of the climate debate in Australia under News Ltd

Rupert Murdoch’s News Limited, which controls 70% of the Australian print media, are without doubt doing the Australian public a great disservice with their constant stream of climate disinformation.

It is not enough for News Limited to shape the narrative as “believers versus sceptics”, thus creating a sense of false balance. They take it a step further by willfully distorting the public’s perception about the causes of climate change while simultaneously undermining their trust in the scientific community.

Recent evidence of this can be seen across News Limited publications and websites these past two days.

Nearly every organ of Murdoch’s Australian media empire has been actively pushing the discredited theory that CFCs are to blame for warming (not CO2). Here is the audit trail:

  • The story first appeared in The Australian by Graham Lloyd on Monday 3 June (see here)
  • It then made it onto Andrew Bolt’s blog on 7:27pm the same day (see here)
  • A reference was made on Piers Ackerman’s blog on 4 June at 12:45 am (see at the end of the article)
  • Reference to it was published in the Cut and Paste section of The Australian today.

Note how the same message is weaved into different articles across multiple platforms?

Clearly the intent is to hit the broadest number of readers across all demographics: from the tabloid pages of the Herald Sun to the faux-paper-of-note pretensions of The Australian aimed at a more “elite” audience. Note they all appear within a day of each other.

Note also that in last night’s Q&A program, Senator Cory Bernardi referenced this News Limited generated fiction.

Cause and effect clearly demonstrated on national television.

Based on the uniformity of the message, tone and content it is clear the voice of the independent journalist is irrelevant at News Limited.

What matters is the message and broadcasting it on all frequencies to a mass audience. The resurrection of the “CFCs not CO2” myth is but a single example of propagating misinformation over a broad spectrum (News Limited papers and web platforms).

And the message is simple.

Climate change isn’t happening, don’t trust the scientists.

I’m not going to address the science, but simply direct readers to the refutation at Climate Science Watch. I also note Crikey have picked up on the errors contained in Graham Lloyd’s article as well (pay wall sorry).

However, upon reflection something has been missing in both my comments and Crikey’s analysis.

And it is not about focussing on the minutia of the debate, which this whole episode is merely another tedious example.

It’s time to consider the bigger picture.

The desperate last phases of the climate debate: throwing sand in our faces

When somebody is losing a fight, and they feel the tide of victory flowing against them they’ll resort to increasingly desperate tactics.

Consider the final moment of many films where the hero and villain square off to fight. Shots, punches and kicks are exchanged as the fortunes of both protagonists ebb and flow.

But there comes a moment when both protagonists and the audience recognise the villain is in the throes of their final and inevitable defeat.

What does the villain do?

They grab a handful of sand or dirt and throw it into the face of their opponent.

It’s a sign of desperation, a feint intended to stem defeat by distracting and irritating their opponent. Sometimes it works, but generally it signals they have nothing left to fight with but dirty tricks. The message to the audience is clear: “They are deceitful, even in their last moments”.

It’s a trope used countless times. In fact, my daughter’s favourite film The Lion King contains it. In the final confrontation between Scar, who has usurped the throne and Simba (the rightful heir to the title of Lion King) the villain scatters burning ash in latter’s eyes in a final act of defiance.

Which is exactly what News Limited is doing, they are throwing sand in the face of the public and scientists in desperation.

Welcome to this new phase in the climate debate.

In raising long discredited “zombie” climate myths News Limited is reaching for sand to throw in all our eyes.

One can see why this would be the case. Public acceptance of the science is overwhelming; most accept humanity has changed the planet. Did we forget to mention 97% of climate scientists accept the science?

Everyone but the climate sceptics recognise their increasing irrelevance and what is clearly the death throes of their movement.

But they have one more trick to play, one last desperate gamble…

They’re clutching for a handful of sand to cast into the faces of their opponents.

Lose the debate and lose the kingdom: for Murdoch the climate debate is about one thing, can you guess?

For the owner of News Limited and his army of minions the trajectory of public opinion must be troubling. So they are throwing everything at it.

Misinformation and zombie climate myths are their sand. But why? That is a question worth asking.

Murdoch is desperate to continue setting the political and social agenda within Australia and the English-speaking world. News Corporation is the agency of his will; they are his legions of flying monkeys.

Here is something we may not have considered in speculating over News Limited’s role in the climate debate.

Why is it that Fox News, The Australian, The Wall Street Journal and all other organs of the Murdoch empire are unanimous in their contempt for the science? Consider this…

The climate debate, from Murdoch’s perspective, is as much about forestalling action as it is about Rupert Murdoch.

It is about Murdoch’s king making and opinion making abilities. It’s about his power. It is about how much he has, and how effectively he can wield it.

It is about how media power shapes the conversations we have in political debates, around the proverbial water cooler and over the BBQ on a Sunday afternoon.

How much does it say about the power of Murdoch and News Limited (which fervently believes it can shape the tone of all political conversation within our nation) that it can no longer control the debate or public perception on climate?

What does it mean when public opinion slips from the control of the opinion makers?

Lose the ability to shape the debate, and you lose the kingdom.

All empires are fictions and all power is perceived.

This is especially the case today with the internet reshaping the media, rendering the traditional gatekeepers less relevant than they once were.

A king-maker who has built his empire on public perception, mass entertainment and sports broadcasting understands this intuitively.

From the Tampa Affair, the denial of the Stolen Generations and the climate debate, Murdoch has sought to shape our nation and values for decades.

Does it come as a surprise that public respect for the media in Australia is at all-time low? This is not a coincidence, nor some chance correlation.

News Limited’s reporting on climate change is at odds with people’s everyday experiences of a changing planet. Should you believe Andrew Bolt or the evidence of your home burning to the ground over Australia’s “Angry Summer”?

Remember how the Carbon Tax was going to be the ruin of us all?

The disconnect between what News Limited wants the public to believe, and what the public experiences is growing further apart. A crisis of credibility is engulfing News Limited, and they’ve failed to recognise it.

And their response to this growing disconnect?

The recycling of this old zombie climate myth (CFCs not CO2), a desperate attempt to throw sand in our faces. The whole CFC meme of the past few days is merely to distract the public with an irrelevant fact, while also enraging activists and scientists with its stupidity.

It is as if Murdoch has thrown sand in our eyes and is screaming in our faces: “See, see! I still set the agenda!”

How much time and energy will we expand on countering the “CFC not CO2” zombie myth one more time?

Stop focussing on the sand in your eyes, irritating as that may be.

Look at who is throwing the sand.

Advice to the scientific community: well, not that “you” asked

At the heart of scientific practice is error reduction: detecting, and correcting errors. Both your own and that of your peers. It is a valid means to ensure research results support theories; that theories reflect the actual state of the world.

However, in the climate debate a focus on error reduction – for example correcting people or journalists on the “CFCs not CO2” issue – is counter productive.

We will forever be chasing down errors, and attempting to correct people’s misconceptions. It is a rabbit hole we have spent too much time dwelling  in – chasing down a misconception here and another piece of disinformation there.

We are Red Queens, forever running as fast as we can in a vain attempt to merely stay in the same place.

Yes, we can catch one error and force a correction printed in the pages of The Australian. We can get the Australian Press Council to issue a statement against the likes of Andrew Bolt. But in that time, ten thousand errors have flown from the pages and blogs of News Limited.

We catch an error and declare it victory. Time to consider the bigger picture.

Think of the climate debate like this…

Until recently we thought the universe was the solar system with the Earth at its centre. Then we thought the universe was no more than our home galaxy, The Milky Way.

Our perception was stunted, limited to the local.

Then Hubble took his famous images of red shifted objects…

… and the Universe exploded into view, revealing its immensity and majesty. Our view of the universe and ourselves was profoundly changed.

We need to think about the climate debate in this manner: broader, deeper and more sophisticated.

No more error correction please: turn your big brains to more profound questions.

Back to Murdoch, the King Lear of the Anthropocene.

The King Lear of our time: Murdoch

To return to the film The Lion King (no really!) you may be surprised to learn it is loosely based upon Hamlet. Shakespeare’s tale is a cautionary one about those who usurp thrones and marriage beds, and the tragic consequences of those actions.

But I’m reminded of another of Shakespeare’s plays when I consider Murdoch and his need to control the climate debate in our politics and in our private conversations.

King Lear, the dying king who divides his kingdom among his ambitious children. It is a decision that begins a chain reaction of events ending in ruin.

Murdoch is that monarch whose time is coming to an end; he is the king who divides the state among his children. Like Lear, it is his selfish, ego driven decisions that precipitates the ruin of all.

King Murdoch – the Lear of the early twenty-first century – would rather let our planet burn then admit he no longer sets the agenda on the climate debate, nor countenance being wrong.

Rub the sand from your eyes, ask why it has been thrown.


[A few errors in first draft got through, fixed]

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129 thoughts on “News Ltd kicking more sand in the public’s face: just why are Murdoch’s papers recycling the old “CFCs not CO2” zombie climate myth?

  1. john byatt says:

    This crackpot science goes back at least to 2008

    The paper before that Lu (2010, Phys. Rep.) has now come in for a real spanking from Grooß and Müller (2011) in “Do cosmic-ray-driven electron-induced reactions impact stratospheric ozone depletion and global climate change?”. From the abstract:

    … Here we show that these arguments based on the CRE mechanism are inconclusive. First, correlations of satellite data of CFC-12, N2O and CH4 from ACE-FTS show no evidence of significant loss of CFC-12 as predicted by the CRE mechanism. Second, conclusions drawn about a possible CRE impact on the atmosphere, based on correlations of different observed atmospheric parameters, do not have a physical basis. Finally, predictions … based on these correlations are not reliable for either the ozone hole or global surface temperatures.

    In my opinion the term ‘inconclusive’ is very polite indeed. The paper shows very clearly that there is no loss of CFCs through interactions with cosmic rays since if there was you’d see a change in the ratio of CFCs to CH4 or N2O (relatively long-lived gases) in the stratosphere. And you don’t.

    • I’m an alumnus of Waterloo, Lu’s university. His paper has caused great embarrassment to the professorial and alumni community. But it appears he is well funded. On that basis there seems to be a deal with the devil. Oh well. At least the so-called contrarians can’t hide behind the “pal review” crap they spew.

  2. Nick says:

    You have it precisely. Bread and circuses,the worship of the crazy elite,and polemic dressed as information. The intoxication of power. Murdoch screams for press freedom under the banner of freedom of speech. With his freedom secured he sets about abusing it,intimidates politicians,demonises sub-groups, avoids being informative,dispassionate and inclusive,and ignores protest and correction,or exploits the latitude of token self-regulation by issuing a tiny correction months after the lie has gotten halfway round the world. At other times News will sell controversy and slander knowing that the costs will be trivial…at least the bugging and bribery in the UK has blacked his eye.

    Our resident clowns will persist in thinking that nothing is afoot,and pretending to be ‘skeptical’ and in control …”what? they just report the news,they don’t set the agenda!” and ” I came to my own conclusions about the economy and environment,News cannot shape my views”.

    Indeed,why is Lu everywhere in the News empire,and why was Bernardi brandishing it with talking points in place? Certainly it proposes an alternative mechanism,so the scale of the paper’s claims is a quantum above the many papers on facets of observed change and predictions within the GHG theory,so it is potentially newsworthy…but it has been previously debunked!

    News is being steered by the disinformation rump of the energy big boys,either because internal resources are so poor that they cannot source and review their own content,or because they are actively colluding to promote the interests of Rupert and his peers.

  3. Sou says:

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, WTD. It’s happening on WUWT too. Anthony’s totally lost the plot. I wouldn’t have believed the increasingly incredibly stupid articles in the past 24 hours if I hadn’t seen them with my own eyes.

    The latest is: “It’s the Insects” – but that’s only one of them. Sorry to do this again – but you probably wouldn’t believe me otherwise:

    I think the 97% was the last straw – after Marcott, Lewandowsky etc. It’s addled their brains and the deniers are acting as if they are punch drunk. Same on Forbes. The Heartland articles are getting stupider by the day.

  4. Eric Worrall says:

    As Watts says, its early days. But if you guys are willing to embrace the theory that a gas which constitutes 0.04% of the atmosphere is the overwhelmingly dominant driver of global climate, then you shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the idea that the contribution of small concentrations of other gasses which have a far more potent greenhouse effect could be significant. Frankly I think its a bit of a stretch – but interesting nevertheless.

    In any case, the authors of the study are claiming a correlation of 0.97 – I thought you guys would have been excited about it.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Genes are also small. Somehow they result in evolution. Who knew?

    • john byatt says:

      Eric CFC’s are greenhouse Gases

      now work out what Lu is claiming and has no evidence for but only a correlation.

      his correlation breaks down because it wholly depends on the planet cooling over the last decade. (including the ocean) which it hasn’t

      “The paper shows very clearly that there is no loss of CFCs through interactions with cosmic rays since if there was you’d see a change in the ratio of CFCs to CH4 or N2O (relatively long-lived gases) in the stratosphere. And you don’t.”

      FFS work out what he is claiming ,

      • Eric Worrall says:

        Claims of ocean heating are based on the assumption that a single float can measure the temperature of 100,000 sq kms of ocean to a depth of 2000m to an accuracy of 2/100ths of a degree.

        If you’ve ever gone swimming, you’ll notice how frequently you encounter warm and cold currents just wandering wading along the shore, and how abrupt the changes in water temperature are – so the concept that a single float can measure such a large volume of ocean to that level of accuracy is complete BS.

      • john byatt says:

        Unless of course you are claiming that that a single float is showing cooling as both watts and jo nova try to do by ignoring the 700-2000m depths.

        did you forget that you claimed that the OHC was not rising because SST was not rising.?

        Is there anything in the science that you do understand?

      • Nick says:


    • Watts is spam. He’s been wrong about everything else, why would he be suddenly right about anything. He’s a 50-50 on naming the day that follows Tuesday and precedes Thursday How’s his Arctic ice recovery doing?

      C’mon, Worrall, Weatherboy is getting desperate. He knows Lu’s a bust. Besides, he’s too pre-occupied with his internecine battle with PSI trying to determine which is nuttier.

      • Eric Worrall says:

        Its global warming which is bust John – or Cook and the rest of you wouldn’t be putting so much effort into trying to defeat the “deniers”.

        Trenberth suggested recently that the current flat period is transient – but I didn’t notice him putting any numbers to its expected duration.

        And the following email shows the alarmists were worried about natural cooling, and the impact on their credibility, as far back as 2008.

        Yeah, it wasn’t so much 1998 and all that that I was concerned about, used
        to dealing with that, but the possibility that we might be going through a
        longer – 10 year – period of relatively stable temperatures
        beyond what you
        might expect from La Nina etc.

        Speculation, but if I see this as a possibility then others might also.
        Anyway, I’ll maybe cut the last few points off the filtered curve before I
        give the talk again as that’s trending down
        as a result of the end effects
        and the recent cold-ish years.

        Cook is just the latest effort to bolster your dying religion.

      • I am a cultist. I believe in gravity. I believe in quantum theory. I’m hemming and hawing over string theory. I believe in experimentation. Models of the universe can and do work. I know the effect of CO2 can be replicated in a high school lab. I know the science is over a hundred years old. I’m pretty sure that an ex-Weatherboy whose claim to fame is 15 minutes on a demented right wing talk show probably has little to add to the sum of human knowledge.

        Although I also know that some worship him. And claim all other beliefs are false. And they don’t think they’re in a cult – usually because they can’t think.

        Lu’s a bust. Watts is a Heartland shill – and he’s afraid O’Sullivan has him outflanked in the battle for the gullible Libertarian market.

      • Steve says:

        Eric, You’ve asked for people to make predictions about the near future climate. Because of the variation from year to year, I don’t tend to predict yearly global temperatures, but in 2010 I publicly predicted that 2010-2019: will be the hottest decade ever recorded.
        Would you like to make a prediction about the present decade?

      • Scientists predicted the Arctic would melt. There’s been an 80% reduction in volume since 1979. Weatherboy predicted recovery. Worrall loses.

  5. Eric Worrall says:

    Talking about kicking sand into the public’s face, some interesting revelations of Cook’s private game plan for defeating the deniers.

    To achieve this goal, we mustn’t fall into the trap of spending too much time on analysis and too little time on promotion. As we do the analysis, would be good to have the marketing plan percolating along as well. So a few ideas floating around:

    • john byatt says:

      which is why they used the abstracts rather than pouring through the full papers,

      a method more likely to underestimate the total consensus

      • Eric Worrall says:

        It kind of blows the cover of the Cook effort as a scientific paper though, don’t you think? More of a partisan publicity stunt.

      • john byatt says:


      • Cook’s brilliant analysis really winds the deniars up. I love it.

      • Eric Worrall says:

        … we mustn’t fall into the trap of spending too much time on analysis and too little time on promotion …

      • Eric Worrall says:

        Cook’s brilliant analysis really winds the deniars up. I love it.

        Its another junk science effort, which is quickly falling apart under its inadequacy, as scientists whose work has been misclassified as “endorse” raise a fuss.

        Dr. Tol is so pissed off at the misclassification of his work, he’s actually put in quite a bit of work demonstrating the failures of the Cook methodology. The misclassification of Tol’s papers by itself knocks at least 1% off Cook’s “consensus”.

      • john byatt says:

        Which is why they used the abstracts.

        promotion of the facts is the most important aspect of the whole exercise.

        The undeniable fact that their is a consensus needs to be understood within the Global community

        As Luntz said, if the community come to realise that there is a consensus , its game over for our disinformation campaign

      • john byatt says:

        too stupid as usual ,

      • Poptech? I’d forgotten about him. Everyone else has too.

        I look forward to his letter to the journal being published. Kidding – that’s not how blogscience works, I know. I derive much pleasure from his demented conspiracy theory warblings. He appears to have demonstrated he hasn’t read the methodology either. I’m not surprised.

        Why doesn’t the deniar club do their own study and submit it to a peer-reviewed journal? I think I know the answer to that one. In your heart of heart you do too.

        Cook’s is just another paper, from many, that reach about the same result. Your demonisation of him, as in Mann, Trenbreth, Briffa, has backfired.

      • Nick says:

        The only ‘objections’ to Cook et al have been by liars like Scafetta and Idso,or hasty idiots like Tol who did not read the methodology.

        We figured that out some time ago,but Eric wants to go round again? Stupid man.

    • Mark says:


      I think you entirely miss the point about the 97% number. It doesn’t matter in the slightest that the old Doran study which also found a 97% consensus was hopelessly flawed and doesn’t stand a moments scrutiny. It doesn’t matter in the slightest that the Cook study is hopelessly flawed and is falling apart as we watch.

      All that matters is that the number is out there. and forever and a day, the spruikers of the scare will use it as though it is based on solid science. It didn’t matter to these people that Doran was laughably inept. And it won’t matter that Cook is totally discredited. It probably wouldn’t even matter if Cook is forced to retract, unlikely as that might be given that the wagons are now being circled.

      No, every time someone doubts the fact of or extent of the consensus, the 97% number will be rolled out. And because it is too time consuming to reiterate the reasons why the number is crap every time its used, it’ll pass into folklore.

      Of course in 40yrs time, when someone tries to show that there was a strong belief in that old failed theory of AGW, the doomsayers of that time will assert that the 97% figure was just a media beat-up just as they now assert that the cooling world of the 1970’s was a media beat-up. The more things change.

      • Nick says:

        It doesn’t matter to you to read the methodology before you uncritically accept the validity of the ‘criticism’ of Cook et al…you idiots!

        “It won’t matter that Cook is totally discredited” Rubbish! If it is discredited,it will matter…but you and your tour guides have not discredited it! You have declared victory before even reaching the contended ground. Go on,have a go of reading it for yourself,Humpty.

        Conspiratorial ideation [wagons circled] Do you expect stupid attacks on the paper to go unremarked?? Watts presented an aggrieved trio,Idso Scafetta and Shaviv, who proved in their ‘testimony’ that they were willing to misrepresent their own papers,and misunderstand the methodology in Cook et al.

        “…it is too time consuming to reiterate reasons why the number is crap..” You never offered any in the first place,you just jumped when told.

        The more things change,indeed.

      • Mark says:

        “Conspiratorial ideation [wagons circled] ”

        You’re complaining of conspiratorial ideation? In a thread where its asserted that there is a conspiracy in News Ltd to misled the world on AGW so as to retain the ability to misled the world.

        You are too funny.,….

      • Nick says:

        At least I am amusing, while you are simply crazed…you alleged Cook et al was ‘discredited’…you and your tour guides have done no such thing. Reality inversion:it really makes you come across as mad, Mark.

        You have alleged [with whatever level of facetiousness I don’t care] that Cook et al. –discredited by decree– is highly unlikely to be retracted,”now that the wagons are being circled”…your evidence for demands on the editors to retract,and resistance from them? None. Perhaps you have decided that the readership of SkS makes editorial decisions at IOPscience? Ideation,invention…bonkers.

        The thread points out some of the copious evidence for an agenda at News Ltd…’conspiracy’? No it’s public knowledge. News Ltd in Australia has form for distorting science,promoting crackpots and the IPA [often one and the same] and bullying via blogs. You can disagree if you’re stupid enough,I guess.

        As for News’ modus operandi, it is long understood

      • Sou says:

        Mark, have you read the Cook paper?

        Have you gone through each of the 4000 odd abstracts and decided the scientists were saying something other than what they wrote?

        Or maybe you have you done your own analysis of published climate science. (Scratch that last one. No point even if you had because you’d have come up with a 97% consensus but would still deny it.)

  6. john byatt says:

    Tol Wiki

    Tol characterises his position as arguing that the economic costs of climate policy should be kept in proportion to its benefits.[6][7][8]

    He argues against the 2 °C ‘guardrail’ target for limiting temperature rises.[9] Tol does not advocate another target, but has recommended a carbon tax of $5/tC

    he thinks that a global temperature increase above 2Degc Tol characterises his position as arguing that the economic costs of climate policy should be kept in proportion to its benefits.[6][7][8]

    So you have economist who accepts that humans are causing global warming.

    possibly you think that the consensus has some other meaning?

    • john byatt says:

      correction, above 2Degc is wonderful

    • Eric Worrall says:

      You seriously think papers by someone who suggests that global warming is not a serious problem, that it should be kept in proportion, is an endorsement of the IPCC position?

      No wonder Cook got his 97% – if his crowdsourced team were as desperate as you to clutch at straws to bolster their faith.

      • john byatt says:

        Eric does Tol accept that humans are causing most of the warming ?


        That is the IPCC position

      • Nick says:

        Still does not understand the methodology,the meaning of ‘endorse’ and what is being endorsed in the paper…getting utterly ridiculous, Worrall.

        When –when–are you going to read the paper?

      • Sou says:

        You have a point, Eric. Tol argues with the IPCC position. Here he finds climate sensitivity is most likely higher than the IPCC estimate.

        Click to access ccbayes.pdf

        Whatever, he’ll soon have to “endorse the IPCC position” at least in part. Tol is a lead author of one of the WGII chapters in the current IPCC report so you can consider him a part of the IPCC.

    • Eric still hasn’t read the methodology. It’s wondrous, truly wondrous.

  7. john byatt says:

    PIOMAS Arctic volume update possibly today , lets hope it is holding, not good for NH if there is further loss

  8. Returning to the News and Murdoch efforts of derailing public opinion, this game plan seems highly risky. Ultimately scientific argument and real world observation will prevail, leaving their media empire looking compromised, partisan and cheap. Given that circulation across the print media are declining and A Bolt’s TV program ratings falling is this just a desperate effort of shrieking louder to a particular loyal demographic?

    What surprises me in all this is that pricing carbon emitting fossil fuels to reflect the full cost of their consumption is a common application of everyday accounting practices, referred to as including the cost of an externality in the price of that good or service. An every day example is replacing tyres on a car, the cost of the new tyres includes the cost of an approved disposal of the old tyres, ground up for use in surfacing roads or bundled up and sunk of shore to create artificial reefs for example rather than piled up in paddocks for some one else to worry about at a later date.

    Pricing fossil fuels to reflect their true cost allows consumers to make more accurate decisions on what source of energy to use and how much to use, nothing sinister in that and music to the ears of every free market aficionado.

    Perhaps the Murdoch media is just trying to ensure that the vested interests in the fossil fuel industry are allowed to maximise their profits for as long as possible.

    • john byatt says:

      It has always been about delay, the longer the delay then the worse the outcome.
      A truly misanthropic agenda, they are perhaps just too stupid though to realise what the full impacts will be,

      stressing that we still have a budget, to keep global temperatures below two degrees works against us, while we need to work as quickly as possible to replace fossil fuels, the fossil fuel industry want to use up the whole budget and then leave others to face the full consequences.

      We see this in QLD with the coal export industry getting as much out of the ground as they can, they know that their business is doomed to collapse, not when they run out of coal but when the cost of the ongoing extreme events forces action

      QLD budget has had to provide $9 billion for disaster costs just over the next few years

    • Cugel says:

      Murdoch’s megalomania is surely beyond question, which I think is at the root of his denial campaign. It’s also behind his campaigns against the UN and the EU – anything larger than nation states (which he knows he can put the elbow on). Murdoch want to keep the supra-national realm for himself, his dynasty and other mega-rich megalomaniacs. AGW implies international enforceable action for a global issue, a precedent Murdoch does not relish. If it was just something which impacted oil-barons he wouldn’t give a toss.

      That’s how I see it, and I think it fits the evidence available.

  9. mandas says:

    If you want to see probably the worst example of News Limited crap, check out this staggeringly stupid and hypocritical piece (warning – it will make you very angry):

  10. Mark says:

    On the other hand,maybe Lu is an interesting and legitimate news story that legitimate media outlets have a perfect right (indeed obligation) to pass onto their readership. That readership can then make up their own mind.

    It’s a peer reviewed paper. Its news. Its right that it be reported.

    You may not like it. You may think its false. But deciding that others should be shielded from it because of your views is…well SOP from the greens these days.

    As to all the gumph about Murdock controlling the output from all his outlets – well its too silly for words. But if that’s your beleif there’s no disproving it. then again there’s no evidence for it, either.

    Finally, I don’t know where you get the notion that public opinion is moving in favour of the alarmists. It seems every new survey I see is either the opposite of that or at least neutral. And the actions of the world politicians shows that they are picking up on the idea that the people are no longer concerned about the doomsday stories.

    • Nick says:

      Ah, group consciousness only exists in those who disagree with you,eh?
      But what of the ‘group consciousness’ of News Ltd? The Lu paper is pushed in global territories,despite individual papers with individual editors who have so much autonomy under Rupes. They all decide to pass Lu on to a readership,without the context that his previous near-identical paper was debunked. Ah yes its just the ‘newsworthiness’ and the harsh realities of the media network’s modest resources! What about other papers on climate?

      Find an ex-parrot of a paper,or one revising estimates, that can ‘teach the controversy’ and be spun into the IPCC/scientist/researcher ‘admits’ . The Australians approach to climate science reporting is documented in excruciating detail by Robert Manne and by Tim Lambert at Deltoid…their approach is patented,false balance at best,to outright misrepresentation…as you might have seen if you caught sight of a ‘correction’ weeks after the article.

      ‘there’s no evidence for Murdoch controlling the output from all his outlets’ Use of ‘Murdoch’ is shorthand for the editorial control very clearly exercised by people like Chris Mitchell. Meanwhile ,Murdoch has disproportionate control over the company due to unique voting powers. The homogeneity of News Ltd’s output is pretty bloody obvious,too.

      • john byatt says:

        We see an agenda,

        mark should look up the word conspiracy

      • Nick says:

        Really,this is also a critique of the globalised media model. Large media corporations gather national papers into a stable,degrading the diversity of coverage more often than enhancing it. There are obviously economies of scale,and means to present significant stories rapidly over many territories,but the contraction of hard copy sales means that news diversity suffers.

        Then there are cases like this where an anti-consensus,low info quality agenda is quickly served by an international propagation of garbage science.

    • You can find scientists who think vaccines cause autism — does News Ltd have an “obligation” to report their nonsense? You can find scientists who think the world is 6000 years old — does News Ltd have an “obligation” to report their nonsense? You can find scientists who think evolution is a lie and that humans appeared in their current form a few thousand years ago — does News Ltd have an “obligation” to report their nonsense and ‘let the readers decide’?

      It’s not as if The Australian has previously published 90 articles examining scientific papers which fell in line with the consensus and then they decided to publish this one just to mix things up a bit. News Ltd, especially The Australian, presents a view of climate change heavily slanted in favour of denialism. Denialist talking points receive prominent and repeated coverage, while token articles which don’t seek to undermine climate science occur occasionally and discretely.

      In The Australian, it’s not even false balance, it’s the dissemination of denialist propaganda, plain and simple.

      • john byatt says:

        Hey to be fair the record collapse of the Arctic last year got a few lines in the middle pages.

        the consequent record recovery of the winter ice pack was front page

        they are a joke really but we cannot afford to laugh

      • Nick says:

        Mark’s sense of balance is a little affected by the placement of his head.

      • Mark says:

        The obligation comes about because it is a hot button issue in this nation at this time with livelihoods and tax rates at stake . Not so the age of the earth or evolution and I don’t think you will find scientists who still make the vaccine/autism link (but when that was first published by the Lancet and accepted by peer review I do think they had an obligation to inform their readers).

      • john byatt says:

        The vaccine /autism link and the fluoride/bone disease etc link has been the hottest topic in the sunshine coast newspapers for the past twelve months.

        creationism gets a run about once a month.

      • Just because something is a ‘hot button issue’ or may support a change to taxation doesn’t mean news organisations should lower their standards of quality control on the information they publish. You can’t just say, “Sure, this flies in the face of eveything we know so far about climate change and no major scientific bodies have adopted this stance, but it IS controversial, so we’ll just run with it anyway and let the readers decide’. That’s not science reporting. That’s throwing a bone to your climate change denialist readers. The problems with the Lu paper can easily be tracked down, but The Australian isn’t interested in digging into the detail. They just throw the latest denialist canard out there and say “Hey, it might be completely wrong, but let’s all have a debate! Now THAT’S balance!” Science reporting is dead at The Australian.

      • zoot says:

        Do some research Mark (it’ll help yout English skills as well). List the years when the Oz has turned a profit. Should be easy for a giant intellect like you.

      • zoot says:

        Oops, wrong thread. See below.

    • zoot says:

      As to all the gumph about Murdock (sic)</em) controlling the output from all his outlets – well its too silly for words.

      Of course it is. Sweet old Uncle Rupert has been losing money on the Oz for 40 odd years because he just …

      Well, why Mark?

      • Mark says:

        “Rupert has been losing money on the Oz for 40 odd years ”

        has he?

      • The Australian isn’t about revenue. It’s about influence. It’s about setting the political agenda. Anybody who reads The Australian couldn’t possibly come to any other conclusion than that it has a mission to undermine the current government, scuttle efforts to act on climate change, and generally support a range of reforms straight out of the IPA playbook.

      • zoot says:

        has he?


      • Mark says:

        Evidence zoot?

      • zoot says:

        Do some research Mark (it’ll help yout English skills as well). List the years when the Oz has turned a profit. Should be easy for a giant intellect like you.

      • Mark says:

        So zoot, no actual evidence that the OZ has been loosing money for 40 yrs then. Just as I expected.

        I’ve noticed that you are big on one-liner rhetoric and very short on actual knowledge.

      • zoot says:

        I’ll accept that as an admission you can’t find any evidence of the Oz being profitable.
        Professor Denis Cryle in his 2008 book “Murdoch’s Flagship” writes

        From its inception The Australian struggled for financial viability and ran at a loss for several decades.

        So, tell me Mark, why did Uncle Rupert have a business model which included losing money on the Oz???

        BTW your accolade “very short on actual knowledge” is high praise coming from such a fine practitioner of science by assertion such as yourself. Thank you.

    • Nick says:

      ‘It’s a peer reviewed paper. It’s news’ Rubbish. Thousands of peer-reviewed papers are published every year on all sorts of subjects across the spectrum of science, from which decent reporters can and do generate stories of great interest. But they rarely get published or wide circulation. Why choose one that is already debunked? Simply because it is one that disagrees with hundreds of others,which curiously enough The Australian never saw the need to report on.

      The Australian never writes about the consensus science in a non-controversial ,matter of fact way…it never seeks to inform,or provide an overview to science that most will not seek out, ity only ever cites papers,no matter how mediocre, that disagree with the scientific consensus.

      • Nick says:

        And of course The Australian further promotes the Lu paper by commissioning the notably unqualified M Hendrickx to opine…double-down dumbness in full flight.

        It’s really simply outrageous,[and entirely indicative of News Ltd’s parlous state] that the opinion of a clown who runs an amateur attack site obsessed with ‘correcting’ the ABC,and who never,ever spots News Ltds errors, should be promoted by a paper that wants to be regarded as informative and of quality.

      • john byatt says:

        The basic plan is to try to undermine the carbon tax to get Abbott elected

        ie the jury is still out on the science so a carbon tax is premature.

        We can expect this right up to the election, will be interesting what happens after the election and this disinformation campaign is no longer required.

    • Sou says:

      It’s not news. It’s not in a climate science or general science journal, it’s in a modern physics journal. But the paper isn’t about modern physics, it’s just statsturbation. I doubt the journal could get a much lower rating than it already has.

      Did I say it’s not newsworthy? Just another denier crank who can’t complain there is a giant global conspiracy to stop him from publishing his junk.

  11. Enlightening post- at first I thought just another debunk, but the detail: the story behind the throne is the real story. It is an interesting notion that Murdoch is just flexing power- the opinion forming is a side story as what is needed is a decent opposition to prove who is really boss.

    curiously the trolls have shifted towards- it is happening but it won’t be bad -and- it is pointless to change because China this China that- Germany is building coal- save the rainforest!

    Still, Lu is the last straw for a drowning man to clutch

  12. astrostevo says:

    Great post here thanks.

    News Limited, Limited “news”, Limited editors and thoughts and value. Limited Time.

    We have little time left and Murdoch or atleats his media rule too shall pass. Hopefully soon enough

  13. Mark says:

    Can I just mention one radical concept – Freedom of the Press.

    Of course, if that nice Mr Conroy had gotten his way, these outrageous attempts by the OZ to keep their readers informed would have been stopped. Only approved opinion would have been permitted, as occurs in all true democracies.

    • zoot says:

      Freedom of the press does not include the freedom to lie, or the freedom to hack dead children’s phones, or the freedom to corrupt police forces, or the freedom to suppress information which is unflattering to the proprietor. Limited News has done all of these. “That nice Mr Conroy” was merely trying to make the press accountable. The fact that he didn’t is as much testament to the power of a near monopoly media (Murdoch) as it is to the ineptness of the ALP.
      The Oz has no interest at all in keeping its readers informed. It is a propaganda machine much just as Pravda was.

      • Rupert’s American Fox News won the Freedom to Lie under the First Amendment.

      • john byatt says:

        That is worth keeping john

        ” Fox argued from the first, and failed on three separate occasions, in front of three different judges, to have the case tossed out on the grounds there is no hard, fast, and written rule against deliberate distortion of the news.
        The attorneys for Fox, owned by media baron Rupert Murdoch, argued the First Amendment gives broadcasters the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on the public airwaves.
        In its six-page written decision, the Court of Appeals held that the Federal Communications Commission position against news distortion is only a “policy,” not a promulgated law, rule, or regulation. Fox aired a report after the ruling saying it was “totally vindicated” by the verdict.”

      • Mark says:

        Perhaps a little more reading is required, although it probably won’t change minds….

      • BBD says:

        Oh Mark. Defending the journalistic integrity of Fox News…? Just when I thought you couldn’t make an even bigger prat out of yourself.

      • Yup, Mark can find a right wing site to defend the indefensible. Well googled, Mark. Best echo chamber money can make…

      • Mark says:

        Well here’s a thought John. check out some of the data in the report. See if what they say the court says is what the court says. See if what they say the plaintiffs said is what they actually said.

        Or adopt your usual stance that you want the story to be true so any data to the contrary must be false.

      • john byatt says:

        comment on mark’s link

        Jeffrey Sawyer says:
        May 24, 2013 at 9:56 AM
        Ummm if you go to the original source that you do give in your site. You will find that the winning argument for FOX news is: We agree with WTVT that
        the FCC’s policy against the intentional falsification of the news – which the FCC has
        called its “news distortion policy” – does not qualify as the required “law, rule, or
        regulation” under section 448.102.

        So FOX won by arguing it is legal for it to lie about the news.

      • Mark says:

        Yes yes, I know. But the fact that they are associated with people you dislike isn’t actual evidence that what they wrote is wrong. Now I know that’s a radical concept for you to absorb and eliminates most of your counter-arguments, but it is true. If Heartland says the sun rises in the east, that is still true even though the source is your mortal foe. No really, it is.

      • john byatt says:

        They are not people I dislike, they are known misinformers.

        we have already looked at the amount of disinformation on their site regards tobacco, asbestos and climate change.
        anyway you were wrong as the comment at your link reveals

      • Mark says:

        “So FOX won by arguing it is legal for it to lie about the news.”

        The article specifically discussed that issue. Did you read it? Did you understand it.? Guess not.

      • john byatt says:

        You really are that thick it seems

        Ummm if you go to the original source that you do give in your site. You will find that the winning argument for FOX news is: We agree with WTVT that
        the FCC’s policy against the intentional falsification of the news – which the FCC has
        called its “news distortion policy” – does not qualify as the required “law, rule, or
        regulation” under section 448.102.

        So FOX won by arguing it is legal for it to lie about the news.

    • Nick says:

      Stupid comment,Mark. You could try discussing what actually was in the proposals like an adult.

      • Mark says:

        No the best way to characterise Conroy’s attempt to silence the hate media is to parody it. Just be thankful he is so incompetent that he utterly failed.

      • roymustard says:

        No, why would Mark discuss things like an adult? Much easier to make up boogeymen and warble on about “free speech”, which Mark squeals the Murdoch press is allowed but the ABC is not.

      • zoot says:

        Conroy’s attempt to silence the hate media?????
        Pop a valium Mark, you’re hysterical.

      • Confused. Murdoch is the hate media. Is he silencing himself?

      • Mark says:

        ” Mark squeals the Murdoch press is allowed [freedom of speach] but the ABC is not.” roymustard.

        I’ve said the ABC isn’t allowed freedom of speach? Where? (Expected response…silence).

        “Confused. Murdoch is the hate media. Is he silencing himself?” JHS
        I’m sure you think that makes sense. You’d be wrong.

      • Nick says:

        Did you read the link to Dr Moss Cass’ recollections of his encounters with Rupert and the Aussie media when he was the responsible minister in the Whitlam years,Mark? It makes sobering reading

        Rupert’s first intention is to make sure accountability in the media remains as limited,toothless and untimely as possible. Moss Cass tells you how he does it…using the advantage the media have of starting at the front of the grid: they can publicise a distortion or tendentious opinion,and spread it far and wide…once out there,the horse has very much bolted.

        Any attempt by our elected reps to direct or compel media to follow a more responsible and responsive model is immediately demonised and shamelessly,disingenuously classified as an attack on free speech. Media owners never acknowledge that speech is not free in the simple sense that few have megaphones as big as they do. In the hands of an audacious sociopath like Murdoch,freedom of the press is often abused.

      • Mark says:

        Moss Cass was one of the most incompetent ministers in a government that had many many contenders. Did you read that it wasn’t just News that was opposed to his ham-fisted attempts to get the press to report the ‘correct’ news. Fairfax was also on board and in many ways led the charge. But now that Fairfax is the darling of the left, that can be conveniently forgotten so as to try to hone in on the real enemy.

        Are you aware that the Great Satan actually was an ALP supporter in the early 1970s? So much so that the Libs were complaining about him. It was only when the Whitlam government become so bad that no one with any self-respect could support them, that Murdoch grew to oppose them. But he wasn’t alone with Fairfax also relishing pointing out the myriad errors of that government.

        And surprise surprise, it was then that Cass and the other totalitarians of the left decided that there needed to be some sort of press council to ensure ‘lies’ (ie things distasteful to the government) weren’t published. See a pattern?

  14. roymustard says:

    “We’ve already had 0.8c warming since 1850 so a doubling of CO2 will see a further 0.5c in a couple of hundred years.” – Mark

    • john byatt says:

      Anyone with even a tiny amount of self respect would admit that they were wrong for that absurdity, not old Mark though, just maintain head up backside and tough it out

    • Mark says:

      Look, we’ve been over this so many times. I was simply drawing a picture of the logic conclusions of the Otto paper of a doubling of CO2. If you insist on taking one sentence entirely out of context then chuckle it up but I suspect that you know at heart that you are wrong.

      • john byatt says:

        logic conclusions? confusing TCS and ECS, and still ignoring the Authors statement that we are still on track for 2DegC or more by 2100, that at best it would mean an extra fifteen years, not a few hundred just to get to 1.3C as you keep claiming that the article stated .

        you are here purely for entertainment purposes,

      • BBD says:


        What you said is incontrovertible evidence that you do not understand the difference between TCR and ECS.

        Now you have compounded your crass ignorance with dishonesty.

        You are an ill-informed liar.

      • BBD says:

        You are trying to bury the evidence under an outpouring of further comments, so here is a link for any late-comers.

      • roymustard says:

        Have we? Does it frustrate you to go over something again and again only to have it repeated?

  15. […] paper has been championed by The Australian, other sections of the conservative press and politicians as evidence the scientific paradigm on […]

  16. James says:

    This article was satire right? Where was the Jaws music, and; why didn’t you use lots of caps for God’s sake?

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