Category Archives: Andrew Bolt

Cooling the planet with fake trend lines: deniers making up cooling trends with cherry picked data all the rage

With temperature records tumbling across Australia the (fake) sceptics are doing their very best to convince themselves and the gullible the planet is cooling.

However it is not enough to simply shout at the top of ones lungs the planet is heading for another ice age: one must produce evidence. And what stunning evidence the climate denial crowd have amassed this past month.

As long as it has an X-Y axis and presents the trend they want, the deniers are happily proclaiming victory over climate science and “mainstream scientists”.

That the evidence is nothing more than cherry picked data massaged to produce made-to-order trends is beside the point. What matters is producing graphs that look “sciencey”.

Some call it fun with statistics: I call it lying. But hey, I have an old-fashioned attachment to reality.

Tamino was the first to pick it up in his post Cherry picking is child’s play:

Anybody can do it.

Fake “skeptics” of global warming do it all the time. One of the latest and most extreme — this one is a real doozy — comes from John Coleman. Of course it’s regurgitated by Anthony Watts

Indeed, anyone can do it, and it seems to be all the rage within the denial-o-sphere at present.

Evidence of this latest sceptic trick?

Today Perth sceptic Jo Nova claimed the planet has been cooling for the past eight years:

The cooling for the last eight years is statistically significant in 4 of the 5 major air temperature datasets. One, UAH, shows a small (statistically insignificant) rise since 2005. And here’s the political point: how many of the policy makers, the media, or the public are even aware of the current trend? Approximately no one. I’ll bet even most skeptics didn’t know it.

The ever gullible Andrew Bolt picked up Jo’s claims and promoted it on his blog, yet again proving his blog is Australia’s premier clearing house for the disinformation produced by Australia’s wing-nuts.

Nova produces a series of graphs using data taken from the four major temperature sets from across the globe, including this one utilising HadCRUT4 data:

hadcrut4-2005-2013-global-temp

Never mind that data Nova is using are temperature anomalies relative to a 1961-1990 period: its all about producing the trend she wants. 

How long till the next ice age then? At least the polar bears will be happy.

Of course I looked at that and was curious. 

So, I popped on over to the website of the UK’s Met Office Hadley Centre to download the monthly temperature (HadCRUT4) data to try and reproduce Nova’s graph.

I grabbed the data and ran it through Excel and applied a trend line.

Low and behold similar results:

HadCRUT4_1

But my graph lacked something: a trend line pointing to the 2020!

Sure, my trend lines points down – but not at the same angle as Nova’s. You can’t have a real cooling trend without fiddling with the graph a bit more. So I extended the date range to 2020 to produce a graph identical to Nova’s:

HadCRUT4_2

Ahem – a “eight year cooling trend”.

However I don’t like downward temperature trends. Being a warmanista I always want to see temperature trends going up.

Or at least according to the cartoon version of climate science the fake sceptics promote. In their mind, scientists are stunned by any slight variations in data. If the trend is not perfectly linear they claim a) the science is suspect or b) scientists are at a loss to explain it (or make both claims at the same time).

So if the fake sceptics are manufacturing cooling trends, I might as well take a leaf from their book and randomly cherry pick data to produce warming trends. Cherry picking is easy – and fun!

How fun? Let’s find out!

I choose to start my graph at 2008:

HadCRUT4_3

There you go: back to a warming trend.

Up, down! Weeeeeeee! This is fun!

It’s like geoengineering the planet’s climate: pick a start point and push the trend line up or down. One minute we’re all heading for a Venusian hell world: the next snowball Earth.

Luckily none of this has any real world consequences like misleading the public…  oh wait.

Still, my graph didn’t produce enough of a warming trend for my liking. I need to make it scarier, after all presentation matters.

Thus I turned the trend line into what I affectionately refer to as the “Red Trend Line of Doom”. I also fiddled with the background colour and font:

HadCRUT4_DOOM

See how I made the trend line all fiery, a scorching wave of doom propelling us into a Venusian hell. The black background emphasizes the drama of the “OH MY GOD WE’RE GOING TO DIE” spike in global temperatures.

Scared now people?

You may think I’m not being fair, given that Nova’s claim that the world has been cooling for eight years was ripe for ridicule.

So in the interests of fairness I’ve reproduced a custom version of Nova’s graph. I call it “Ice Age Now” in honor of the global cooling trend she has discovered through the magic of Excel trend lines:

HadCRUT4_Brrrrrrr

Notice how I made elements of the graph blue to signify the cooling trend?  Break out the thermals guys, an ice-age is coming.  

Obviously statistical tricks and fiddling with the presentation of data is a meaningless exercise. As Nova admits:

Cue critics who’ll tell me I’m cherry-picking data…  

Note I’m not suggesting that this shows CO2 doesn’t cause warming, I’m not suggesting this is evidence (yet) that the models are wrong (they’re wrong, but for other reasons), I’m not even saying that the world is definitely cooling. I’m pointing out that if we were entering a cooler phase, this is what it would look like.  

Perhaps the most important thing about these graphs is to juxtapose that claim the world is “still warming” in recent years. If statistical significance is where you hang your hat, the warming trend is not statistically significant, and yet (at the moment anyway) it is statistically significant to say the opposite about the last 8 years in 4 out of 5 datasets. 

But what about the last 4 years of warming – surely that is statistically significant?

How many policy makers or sceptics are aware of the 4 year warming trend?

Some may accuse me of cherry picking, but honestly it’s all in the presentation.

Telling the difference between science and pseudo-science: easier than you think

We could play tricks with statistics all day. Alternatively, we could marvel at the recent work of scientists who reconstructed the temperature for the last 11,500 years:

 

Now that is a trend worth noting.

Philosophers of science often refer to the problem of demarcation, the supposed difficulty in telling the difference between science and pseudo-science:

The demarcation problem in the philosophy of science is about how to distinguish between science and nonscience, and more specifically, between science and pseudoscience. The debate continues after over a century of dialogue among philosophers of science and scientists in various fields, and despite broad agreement on the basics of scientific method. 

Contrast Nova’s eight year statistical tricks with the analysis of 11,500 year of data.

I think the line between science and nonscience is rather clear.

Sea sick Andrew Bolt: now just making stuff up about sea surface temperatures

With the evidence of climate change becoming even more overwhelming, and the majority of public opinion indicating acceptance of its reality (watching one half of Australia burn while the other drowns will have that effect), Andrew Bolt is getting desperate. 

What’s a poor denier boy to do?

Well, you could accept the overwhelming evidence that climate change is real.

Or you can stick your head in bucket and scream “La-la-la-la! Not happening!”

Andrew of course accepts the later course of action.

In his most recent cut-and-paste attack on Tim Flannery, Bolt makes the startling claim that sea surface temperatures have not risen.

How does Andrew prove this startling scientific truth?

Bolt cites his favorite denier of both climate change and evolution – Dr. Roy Spencer – to argue the globe is not warming.

Spencer produces the following graph on his blog:

By golly no warming claims Andrew!

Gosh dang it, I mean even the graphs from the Bureau of Meteorology show no warming!

BOM_SST

SST data from BOM

Well look at that – no warming trend!

Take that warmists!

Huzzah! Global warming is falsified!

Oh wait…

What’s that.

You want some more SST data Andrew?

You want the whole BOM graph?

You want SST data since 1950 huh?

Zing Andrew – a warming trend.

Scientists do science. They go into the real world and, collect data. Form a hypothesis. Test it. Publish their research.

Climate change scep… I mean deniers, fiddle with the X-Y axis of Excel generated graphs.

Andrew: liar, liar, the sea is on fire.

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Even Andrew Bolt has had enough of Monckton: yes Andrew, climate sceptics are cranks

Even for the most hard-core climate sceptics, the penny can sometimes drop. In this case a discus-sized-penny has dropped on the head of conservative News Limited columnist Andrew Bolt (aka “The Bolta”).

Over the years Bolt has championed both Lord Christopher Monckton and his brand of conspiracy infused climate scepticism – indeed he once referred to him as a mathematician, when he is no such thing.

Now even Bolt thinks Monckton has gone to far:

Why on earth was Christopher Monckton endorsing the nationalist Rise Up Australia Party? Great chance for warmists to paint climate sceptics as fringe dwellers.

Why on earth indeed?

Does Andrew really need to ask himself why Monckton is associating himself with a radical, right-wing, homophobic, anti-immigration, anti-Muslim, fundamentalist Christian sect with aspirations to create a Taliban-style theocracy down under? 

Andrew – climate sceptics are fringe dwellers.

The core narrative of the climate sceptic movement is conspiratorial: “climate change is not real, it is a hoax  created by scientists and their NWO puppet masters”. 

Recall Perth sceptics Jo Nova and David Evans who believe in a centuries long conspiracy involving international bankers and climate scientists. According to this dynamic duo, said bankers may – or may not – have been behind the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Yes, you read that correctly: they’ve actually made that argument.

I’d also remind readers to take a look at the recent paper Recursive Fury (Lewandowsky et.al) which further demonstrates how conspiracy ideation permeates the climate sceptic movement.

I’m not sure why Andrew is surprised – the evidence has been overwhelming and in the public domain for years.

All you need to do is look. I’ve been writing about climate sceptics and their conspiratorial world view for three years. The amount of evidence supporting this assertion is overwhelming. 

Where to begin?

Well, in this 2010 video we see Alan Jones and Ian Plimer sharing the stage with Monckton as he explains what the New World Order is, suggesting it goes all the way back to the FreemasonsMonckton states the New World Order “was one of the things the Freemasons used to advocate three or four centuries ago…”

There is this 2012 video in which Monckton explains how Obama’s birth certificate was most likely faked.

Monckton has also been a regular guest on the Alex Jones show:

If further evidence is needed to support to the contention that many climate sceptics have embraced a cluster of conspiracy theories, look no further than Lord Christopher Monckton. 

The prominent climate sceptic – who has been feted by figures such as Gina Rinehart, Andrew Bolt, Alan Jones and Australia’s climate change “sceptics” – now claims the birth certificate on the White House is a forgery (which many of us know, he has been for some time). 

Monckton has been spending time in Hawaii “investigating” Obama’s birth certificate and detailing the results of his investigation in a series of ongoing interviews with Alex Jones, host of InfoWars. 

Jones is known for his support for New World Order conspiracy theories and that the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 attacks… 

Alex Jones is a 9/11 Truther and is one of the most high-profile conspiracy theory peddlers in the United States. Monckton and Jones have been pushing the “Birther narrative” for some time now…

“Why on earth is Monckton associating…”

Does Bolt really have to ask that question?

Now Andrew – if you’d care to stop by the WtD blog I’ll happily share the vast amount of material clearly indicating the link between conspiracy culture and climate scepticism.

Get ready for the lumps if you do: the pennies will fall hard, and fast.

See also Loon Pond for an amusing take.

[Hat tip reader EoR]

Breaking: Australian Press Coucil release on Andrew Bolt misrepresenting science

Below is the full adjudication made by the Australian Press Council based on three separate complaints made against News Limited columnist Andrew Bolt. The complaints related to claims Bolt misrepresented key facts about global warming.

Bolt states will respond to the ruling, but it will not be published until next week. I’ll provide some analysis shortly – but my initial response is the ruling favours the complainants. But it is no “knock out blow”.

Full text below:

The Council has considered several complaints about an article by Andrew Bolt, “Time that climate alarmists fessed up”, in the Herald Sun on 1 February 2012. The same article also appeared in Mr Bolt’s blog on the Herald Sun website under the heading, “Open your eyes. Where’s that warming?”. The article opened by saying “let’s see how the great global warming scare is panning out, shall we? First, the planet hasn’t warmed for a decade – or even 15 years, according to new temperature data from Britain’s Met Office”. A later sentence began: “Sea levels have recently dipped, the oceans have lately cooled, Arctic ice has not retreated since 2007 …”. 

Three people complained separately to the Council that the article contained a number of misrepresentations. A key complaint related to the assertion that the Met Office data showed no warming in the last 15 years. The assertion had been made on 29 January in an article by David Rose in the UK newspaper Mail on Sunday. The Met Office responded on the same day that “for Mr Rose to suggest that the global temperatures available show no warming for the last 15 years is entirely misleading”. The complainants also said that because the changes in sea and ice conditions mentioned by Mr Bolt were relatively short-term and minor they did not refute the longer-term trends in the opposite direction. Therefore, they said, his statements gave a misleading impression.

The newspaper said that although Mr Bolt had drawn on the Rose article he had been unaware of the Met Office response. In any event, it said, that response was not incompatible with his statement that average temperatures were now no higher than 10 or 15 years ago. The newspaper said that data provided by one of the complainants actually supported Mr Bolt’s assertions about recent changes in sea and ice conditions, even if there had previously been trends in the opposite directions. It added that the assertions were clearly expressions of opinion, which Mr Bolt was entitled to express. It said that a letter from one of the complainants criticising the article had been published a few days afterwards, and some criticisms had been published in the blog’s comment section.

The Press Council has concluded that Mr Bolt was clearly entitled to express his own opinion about the Met Office data but in doing so he needed to avoid conveying a misleading interpretation of the Met Office’s own views on its data. In a blog posting two days earlier (29 January) he had quoted Mr Rose’s assertion about the lack of warming and a reader then posted a comment referring him to the Met Office’s description of that assertion. The Met Office description should have been mentioned in Mr Bolt’s print article and blog of 1 February, even if he then rebutted it as unconvincing. It was not sufficient in these circumstances to assert ignorance of the response or to rely on the reader’s previous posting to inform other readers about it. Accordingly, the complaint is upheld on that ground.

The Council has concluded that the statements by Mr Bolt quoted above in relation to sea and ice conditions were likely to be interpreted by many readers as indicating that the longer-term trends had ceased or were reversing. It agrees with the newspaper that Mr Bolt’s assertions about recent changes in sea and ice conditions were statistically compatible with the key data sources put forward by the complainants. But it agrees with the complainants that those data were also statistically compatible with continuance of the longer-term trends in the opposite directions from the shorter-term changes to which he referred. Pauses and even reverses in direction do not necessarily signify the end of a long-term trend and have occurred in earlier stages of the trends in question here.

Given the great public importance of these issues, Mr Bolt should have acknowledged explicitly that all of the three changes in question were comparatively short-term and were statistically compatible with continuance of the long-term trends in the opposite direction. On the other hand, the article referred to the possibility that global warming has merely “paused” and it emphasised the need to “keep an open mind” on these issues. Accordingly, despite concerns about the manner in which the available evidence is presented, the Council’s decision is not to uphold these aspects of the complaint. 

The Council emphasises that this adjudication neither endorses nor rejects any particular theories or predictions about global warming and related issues. It observes that on issues of such major importance the community is best served by frank disclosure and discussion rather than, for example, failure to acknowledge significant shorter- or longer-term trends in relevant data.

Supplementary note (not required to be published):

The separate complaints on this article were received from Gary Ellett, Tony Mahoney and Bob Thomas. 

Relevant Council Standards (not required to be published):

This adjudication applies part of General Principle 6: “Publications are free to advocate their own views and publish the bylined opinions of others, as long as readers can recognise what is fact and what is opinion. Relevant facts should not be misrepresented or suppressed.”

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The choices of Andrew Bolt: “Worry about the climate? I’d rather have an orgy!”

Recall the Republican convention just prior to Hurricane Sandy when Mitt Romney, accepting the nomination of his party to run for President, had a good giggle over climate change:

That ill-advised jab at both Obama and climate change will forever haunt Romney and the GOP. After Hurricane Sandy and those oh-so-funny rising seas actually flooded New York, Romney’s joke and the braying laughter of the pampered, affluent and oh-so-homogenous audience seemed both awkward and bizarrely inappropriate.

And as far as punch lines go the American electorate delivered that to Romney. Who’s laughing now Mitt?

However it would appear this lack of self-awareness and bizarre form of inappropriate humour is more common than one would hope – especially amongst the climate sceptic crowd. For another example of this one need not look any further than today’s Herald Sun to see Andrew Bolt’s very own Mitt Romney Moment.

In fact resident denier Bolt reveals far more about his darkest yearnings than his climate scepticism in the article Warmists should be going out with a bang. Like Romeny, Bolt reveals far more about himself than the targets of derison.

Bolt asks if warmists truly believed the world was ending, then surely that rather go out with a bang? Damn the planet, it’s time to party like there is no tomorrow!

IF the world really were fast heating into a fireball, there are several things you sure wouldn’t catch me doing.

I wouldn’t be eking out my last days planting vegetables, moving into a shoe box or recycling my clothes.

Nor would I be reporting each grim day to the Sydney Morning Herald to tell readers to waste their final years in similar misery.

Not when that paper is now handing out redundancy cheques I could blow on one last farewell-to-the-planet orgy in the biggest suite I could find.

Room service? Two more bottles of Grange. And fast, before the boiling seas reach the penthouse…

Let’s just pause here shall we and marvel at Bolt’s unintentional Freudian slip in hinting at his darker longings – bottles of expensive wine, orgies in hotel suites and penthouses.    

All so very 50-Shades-Shades-of-Grey Andrew. And yes, like most of you I threw up a little in my mouth envisioning such scenes of Grange-fuelled Bolt debauchery.  

Bolt pokes fun (in clumsy fashion) at Sydney Morning journalist Ben Cubby and others for being concerned about climate change.

Somehow Andrew thinks their attempts to rise to the challenge climate change presents – and not hide from reality in a haze of alcohol – are signs of hypocrisy or “lack of faith” in a warming world.

Here’s the thing Andrew…

There are some people – yes this will sound strange to you – who in the face of challenging issues choose to act ethically. They may even have the gall to think they can work towards the prevention of tragedy or the suffering of others.

Yes, all so depressingly boring.  

But between those two choices – living out an soft-porn fantasy or taking on tough, nay boring, real world challenges – I chose the latter.

The Bolt report named one of the worst shows of 2012: and we’re surprised?

The Sydney Morning Herald listing some of the worst shows of 2012, and to the surprise no one, The Bolt Report is one of them. Poor Channel 10 – they really should have known better. How could a show built around Bolt be anything but a dull and plodding.

But like a zombie, the Bolt Report refuses to die:

VIEWING figures for The Bolt Report were slightly up in 2012, which suggests either that the partisan commentator is making converts or that those who love to loathe him simply can’t resist screaming at their television sets every Sunday morning. Either way, it was hard to fault his perseverance as the newspaper columnist proved himself the scourge of dead horses everywhere, returning to favoured topics week after week. But Bolt hasn’t managed to find a decent sparring partner, and a fair degree of his initial ”I’ve got my own TV show! Me!” enthusiasm has dissipated. The show has become a forced march.

Climate sceptic Bolt will no doubt convince himself the lack of viewers is a conspiracy among left-wing scientists somehow manipulating the numbers.

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Of sea ice & Andrew Bolt: freedom of speech under attack?

Pity Andrew Bolt who seems to be under some form of “investigation’ by the dark forces of censorship.

In a November 20 blog post titled Record ice around Antarctica Blot hints that he – and indeed the very notion of freedom of speech – is under attack:  

I am in a dispute with a free-speech regulator which fancies putting out a statement declaring this freezing essentially patchy, small and recent and proposes to find fault in me not quoting warmists who make irrelevant arguments…

All very sinister by the sounds of it. One wonders if Andrew was dragged out of the Herald Sun’s South Bank tower in the middle of the night, and like Galileo shown the instruments of torture. What has our fearless commentator now said that has sent the forces of darkness against him?

Bolt has been pushing the old denier canard that the growth of sea ice in Antarctica somehow disproves climate change. Bolt references an article from that august scientific publication from the UK The Daily Mail. Titled Now there’s more ice at South Pole than ever (So much for global warming thawing Antarctica!):

Ice around the South Pole has expanded to cover a record area, scientists revealed yesterday – a month after saying that the North Pole had lost an unprecedented amount of its ice.

Researchers say – rather confusingly – that both occurrences are down to the ‘complex and surprising’ effects of global warming.

The record Antarctic sea ice cover was revealed in satellite images from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado….

At the end of the southern winter in September, ice covered 7.51million square miles of sea – more than at any time since records began in 1979. For the last 30 years the amount of Antarctic sea ice has been increasing by 1 per cent each decade.

One assumes a complaint was made to Australian Press Council (APC) about of one of Andrew’s many lies misrepresentations concerning climate change.

And no, it wasn’t me – but I’ve often thought about it. Still I have little doubt what conclusions such an investigation would find: Andrew got his facts wrong. Again.

But let’s be clear about one thing: freedom of speech is not under attack.

Andrew Bolt is a privileged member of the media elite; he commands a large audience, gets paid handsomely and seeks to influence the political debate within Australia. Bolt is not an outlier – despite posing as a gadfly or intellectual rebel. He is simply one of the more prominent members of News Limited’s stable of conservative journalists.

Unlike Mr Bolt, most ordinary individuals lack the backing of a global media giant that generates billions in revenue and armies of lawyers to represent you in court when you get basic facts wrong.

Regulators such as the APC and ACMA help provide a level playing field. Checks and balances are essential to limit abuses of power. The APC and ACMA are merely part of a system of checks and balances.

Let’s be honest these aren’t vast, monolithic agents of totalitarian repression. They’re rather toothless really: they’re primary role is help foster standards.

Standards such as getting the facts right.

What Andrew Bolt and many of the other hyper-sensitive climate change sceptics frequently overlook is that criticism and having you claims critically examined by a neutral third-party is not censorship.

It rather simple really: when you fail to play by the rules of evidence, you’re going to get caught out.

And if you’re wrong – as Andrew is so very often on climate change – then it is only reasonable to expect repercussions. If you’re wrong, you are going to be called on it. Indeed, this debate and validation of claims are an essential part this whole “freedom of speech” thing Andrew wishes to make himself the poster boy for.

Freedom of speech is not just shouting at the world your own point of view, which is what Andrew seems to believe. There is the freedom for others to answer back and challenge claims.

Andrew Bolt is free to lie, misrepresent and distort the facts about climate change.

But no amount of chest-pounding and hyperbole is going to change the fact that he is consistently wrong about the science of climate change.

However in a rather grandiose fashion, Bolt conflates criticism of his many factual errors with an attack on free speech, liberty and democracy.

He simply can’t admit error; therefore he turns these episodes into little mini-dramas in which he is the victim of a vast conspiracy of leftists, warmists, socialists and nasty environmentalists.

How else can he explain to both himself and the diminishing ranks of climate sceptics these “attacks”?

Surely HE can’t be wrong… surely it’s the fault of those scheming “warmists” making “irrelevant arguments”.

And the sea ice?

Yes it is true the sea ice has been growing 1 per cent each decade. But Bolt and the denial cheer squad exclude some key facts.

Overall, Antarctica is losing ice: sea ice may be increasing due to the complex interplay of winds, a declining Ozone hole and natural variation.

But Bolt and the deniers overlook – deliberately – the fact that land ice is declining.

As this National Geographic article points out, Antarctica is warming but at a slower pace than the Arctic:

Q. While Arctic sea ice is decreasing, the Antarctic is now slightly increasing. Why is there so much variation between Arctic and Antarctic ice?

Well we have a continent on the South Pole. On the North Pole we have nothing but ocean. In the Arctic you see full-fledged warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, plus increased ice transport [out of the region, which removes cold air and water]. So all of these effects contribute to reduce the sea ice cover in the Arctic.

In the Antarctic, you have to think of it as its own climate system. It’s a big continent isolated from the rest of the world. It has ocean all around it. It has wind regimes that blow clockwise around it and isolate it. It acts differently from the Arctic, which is completely connected to the rest of the North Hemisphere.

Q. Considering we regularly hear about the planet’s stressed climate system, is this good news?

Really, it’s consistent with our understanding of a warming world. Some of the regional details are not something we can easily predict. But the general trends of decay of the sea ice cover and decay of the Greenland ice sheets and ice caps is in line with what we expect.

The Antarctic has not been warming up as fast as the models thought. It’s warming up, but slower. So it’s all consistent with a warming planet.

What I suspect happened is this: Bolt, like most deniers, cherry picked some facts about Antarctica’s sea ice growing, alluding that climate change wasn’t real. Bolt has been called on this, and deeply resents the fact he has been made accountable.

The “irrelevant arguments” by warmists Andrew is desperate to dismiss are no doubt facts that challenge his world view.

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Andrew Bolt: “China has zero intention” of setting up carbon tax? Sorry Andrew, they are

How’s that looking Tony?

Quick update, I’m still working on other materials.

One of the more frequent arguments against limiting carbon emissions via emission trading schemes is the perceived damage this will do to national economies.

Now that Australian example has proved this is not the case, the other “go to” argument for deniers has been “China” is not acting.

If the Chinese are happy to emit and not have an ETS, why should we?

Indeed, earlier this year Herald Sun journalist and climate “sceptic” Andrew Bolt made this very point;

Just follow the money. China is buying access to our coal deposits because it plans to use more coal, not less.

Now consider our stupidity. While China plans to use more Australian coal, Labor and its Greens allies want to force us to ultimately use none, by hitting us with a carbon dioxide tax that China has zero intention of imposing itself.

If it all works out to plan, China will use the cheap Australian coal that Australia will forbid itself.

Sorry Andrew.

Looks like the Chinese will have a national scheme up and running in three years.

China’s move to set up a carbon trading scheme undercuts the most common argument against the Australian ETS and similar schemes: that we’re “doing it alone” and it will hurt the economy:

China’s first steps to build what is destined to be the world’s second-biggest emissions market are boosting the prospects for fledgling programs from Australia to California. 

Four cement makers in China, the world’s biggest emitter, bought 1.3 million pollution permits for 60 yuan ($9) a metric ton last month in Guangdong. The province plans the largest of seven pilot programs for a proposed national market within three years. Exchanges will trade permits to emit an estimated 1 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases a year by 2015, close to half the volume in the European Union system. 

By setting its own emission limits and allowing polluters to buy and sell permits, China’s domestic market is set to dwarf its own participation in the UN market, Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasts. 

The country’s commitment may also help break a logjam in global-treaty negotiations and support trade in Australia and the US, where opposition to carbon pricing is unwavering, according to Climate Bridge, which has developed projects in China since 2006. 

“What China is doing with its pilot scheme and ultimately with a national scheme sets a terrific example for the rest of the world,” said Alex Wyatt, the Melbourne-based chief executive officer of Climate Bridge and author of a report released yesterday with the Sydney-based Climate Institute. “Any suggestions by people in the West that China is not acting on climate change aren’t true.”

With each passing month arguments against action are looking increasingly silly:

Governments in California and Australia said they are working together to promote global carbon trading. Australia is also in talks with China, according to Mark Dreyfus, the country’s parliamentary secretary for climate change. Dreyfus said he met in New York last month with China’s National Development and Reform Commission Vice Chairman Xie Zhenhua. 

“We have been working closely with China over the last year on a range of policy and technical issues to support the development of credible, robust and effective carbon markets,” Dreyfus said in Sept. 28 statement. 

Disagreement on whether developing nations should be forced to reduce emissions has been the “sticking point” in global climate talks, according to Sjardin at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. While a new climate treaty by 2015 remains an “ambitious goal,” negotiators at this year’s summit in Doha may start on “a more hopeful note” than last year, he said. 

China’s steps to limit emissions are also undermining arguments against cap and trade in the US and Australia, according to Sjardin. 

“China has long been perceived as a laggard on climate action and used as scapegoat by other countries like Australia to delay action,” Connor said. “But this argument is increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to make given China’s recent policies.”

See also Climate Spectator:

China’s emerging schemes can dovetail with other global schemes as a stepping stone towards a global climate change agreement by 2015.

It is important to understand that China’s actions are driven by self interest, not only regarding concern for climate impacts, but for strengthening energy security, developing a low carbon economy with export opportunities and showing international leadership.

This story is mirrored worldwide. Countries have chosen different paths, targeting different industries, depending on their economic makeup and what they perceive as an opportunity for gaining a competitive edge in an increasingly global low carbon economy.

Action at national levels is significant if yet still insufficient to deal with the rising climate challenge.  Tony Windsor also launched The Climate Institute’s new interactive map of global climate action which will be continually updated. Just to prove the point of ongoing changes, Norway yesterday doubled its carbon tax on oil and gas.  

The action in China and globally belies the myth that Australia is acting alone. If we are fair dinkum about doing our fair share, then Australia must ready itself for stronger emissions reductions than the 5 per cent 2020 target that is based on a world of inaction and is not enough to help avoid the risks of the growing climate challenge.

With each passing month, the claims of the deniers look increasingly silly.

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The coming assault on AR5: get ready for the next war on the IPCC in 2013

Via the Sydney Morning Herald:

The Australian government has begun its review of the latest draft of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, pledging ‘‘an open and comprehensive approach’’ as it taps selected input.

The review will draw on comments from experts, state and territory governments, industry groups and research organisation, the government said in a statement. “IPCC Assessment Reports are a vital reference and evidence base for policy considerations on climate change by governments around the world,” Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Greg Combet said.

The review will run to the end of November and involves a ‘‘second-order draft’’ of one of the three working group reports, examining the physical aspects of the climate system and the changes under way.

These include observations of changes in air, land and ocean temperatures, rainfall, glaciers and ice sheets, and sea level, as well as evaluations of climate models and projections of future conditions.

The first working group’s report is due for public release in September 2013. Draft IPCC reports are typically not made public, with the review process intended to test the data and analysis, and identify any errors.

So what can we expect from the sceptic movement?

Time for some predictions!

Coming soon to a climate sceptic blog: conspiracy theories and cherry picked facts*

As we get closer to the release of the next Assessment Report (AR5) we can look forward to renewed attacks on:

  • the integrity of the IPCC
  • those associated with the IPCC
  • the integrity of individual scientists and scientific institutions
  • the idea of a scientific consensus on climate change.

We will no doubt see the deployment of the following tactics:

  • dragging out all the old complaints about AR4
  • sceptics hunting for anomalies and small errors in the report
  • mutterings about global conspiracies and scientists fabricating data
  • counter-conferences and publications that present a “counter-consensus”
  • climate sceptic bloggers working themselves up into frequent episodes of rage.

Since the publication of the last IPCC synthesis report  (AR4) the science has become even more settled. Thus in that context it will be interesting to see how the sceptic movement responds to both the report and media coverage.

Will the media allow the sceptics to frame the debate again?

How much the mainstream media will pander to the sceptics and repeat their accusations remains to be seen.

Increasingly we are seeing their views getting less and less airtime in the mainstream press. 

It now seems parts of the maintream media are a) bored with the messages of the sceptic movement and b) has twigged to the fact the sceptics are in the business of manufacturing faux scandals and outrage.

“Another typo in the IPCC report? Gosh, how clever of you Mr Climate Sceptic (yawn).”

2013 sceptic response: expect the spectrum of outright denial to luke-warmism

So what to expect? 

Parts of the News Corporation will pick up sceptic talking points and quote all the usual climate sceptic suspects on Fox News, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and other parts of Murdoch’s empire.   

More respectable outlets such as the WSJ may change their tone from outright denial to a form of luke-warmism: “Sure the climate is changing, but it will be fine – or we will adapt – so no need to change!”

The Australian will strive for its usual balanced approach (i.e. war on science) of trotting out professors that have gone emeritus and surrender occasional column space to cranks like David Evans and Joanne Nova.

Lets hope those two start talking about the Rothschild’s and the climate scam on the pages of The Oz.

Andrew Bolt will speak approvingly of cranks on both his show The Bolt Report and on his blog.

Fox News will continue to offer fair and balanced commentary by getting the science wrong and promoting outright falsehoods.

Climate sceptic blogs will run amok with the usual dross – getting especially shrill both prior to and after the release of AR5.

I anticipate Anthony Watts will release another special pre-peer reviewed analysis of temperature data in the later half of 2013 to counter the work of the IPCC (lulz).

Reader predictions welcome

So readers, what are your predictions for the sceptic response?

As we get closer to the release of the first draft I’ll start pointing tactics and sceptic responses.

But to be frank, I think we can condidently predict the sceptic response.

 

* In other words, nothing will change.

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Queensland beautiful one day, coal free the next: QLD conservatives against CTAX hike coal mining royalties putting “billions” of projects at risk

From today’s Australian Financial Review: beautiful, just beautiful. :

Coalminers threaten Queensland shutdowns

BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and other miners are reconsidering their plans in Australia’s biggest coal-producing state after the new conservative Queensland government hiked the coal royalty rate to help drive a record $6.3 billion budget deficit back to surplus.

Premier Campbell Newman’s first budget on Tuesday predicted a bullish rebound in global coal prices and a surge in the state’s biggest export as it sought to raise $1.6 billion over four years by increasing the coal royalty from 10 per cent to 12.5 per cent for coal prices above $100 a tonne and to 15 per cent for coal prices above $150a tonne.

But angry mining companies said the move, predicted in The Australian Financial Review, would lead to more job losses, mine closures and project cancellations.

Mining entrepreneur Clive Palmer, who is one of the LNP’s biggest donors, said the royalty decision would cost thousands of jobs and “kill” the state’s economy.

“Increased mining royalties on top of widespread sackings is hardly a recipe for growth in this state,” he said. “It is a recipe for disaster putting us on an uneven footing with the rest of the world.”

Recall the Campbell Newman, the Liberal-National Party Premier investigated the possibility of joining a High Court Challenge (The Australian, May 8 2012) to the Gillard Governments “carbon tax” but then decided it would most likely fail:

A HIGH Court challenge against the carbon tax will fail and Queensland won’t be part of it, Premier Campbell Newman says.

Mr Newman says he’s received legal advice not to join any challenge to the federal government’s tax on big polluters.

“We’re not going to waste taxpayers’ money given it indicates that, sadly, the federal drafters of this have done a good job of making it very bullet-proof,” Mr Newman told 2GB radio.

“I’ve also talked to at least one other state leader about this, and they’ve had similar advice so we’re not going to waste the taxpayers’ money.

“But I wish I could.”

He described the carbon tax as “economic madness”, saying he would have joined the legal action “if it had been 50/50”.

He said the tax would compromise Queensland’s ability to process resources locally.

“That’ll all happen overseas.”

Ahhhhh Queensland, beautiful one day: coal free the next… how’s the economic madness going Campbell?

Now if I may…

Recall, some time ago I said climate sceptics and conservatives were due for a lesson in realpolitk:

The “tax” may be tweaked or rebranded by successive governments, but its here to stay.

The coming disappointments

The denial movement is about to receive some harsh lessons in realpolitk as they grapple with two major disappointments.

The first disappointment: business opposition to the carbon tax will melt away within six months as it did in New Zealand and Europe (see above). They will lose allies and supporters (except for some very loud and eccentric billionaires).

The second disappointment: the tax is here to stay, regardless of who is in power.

Now this is where Australian politics is set to get messy.

As I said: a tax on fossil fuel industires is here to stay.

Inadvertantly, the Queensland LNP is helping the environment.

I wonder what Jo Nova, Alan Jones and the Galileo Movement will make of the Newman’s actions?

Can we expect rallies across the country?

Thundering opinion pieces from Andrew Bolt?

No?

I can hear Tony Abbott in Canberra right now….

“Neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewman!”

I am all kinds of amused

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