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June 02nd 2016 print

Tony Thomas

The Cream of Our Climate Croppers

The Australian Academy of Science has just honoured a fresh draft of boffins, including a pair whose names will be instantly familiar to all who marvel at Big Climate's high-volume alarmism. Professors Neville Nicholls and Ian Allison, step forward and take a bow

dubbedAt Quadrant we respect winners, so hats off to newly-elected Australian Academy of Science Fellows, Professors Neville Nicholls and Ian Allison. Both are climate catastrophists, each seemingly oblivious to the empirical research which has downgraded the CO2 climate-sensitivity guesstimate (i.e. positive feedback number) from the IPCC’s 1.5-4.5 times to barely more than unity.

These real-world observations suggest that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 from pre-industrial levels would generate, all things being equal, a beneficial increase of about 1degC in warming, not the supposed life-frying 4-6deg rise by 2100 on which the whole multi-trillion-dollar climate scare is based.

The IPCC’s fantasy figure for sensitivity to CO2 is one of the reasons why 111 of its 114 climate model runs  over-estimated the negligible warming in the 15 years to 2013. However, the main reason why the climate models are duds is that the very notion of complex and chaotic climate forces being controlled by a simple CO2-emissions dial is laughable.[1]

As for the new Academy Fellows[2], I’m not even sure I’d accept a   Fellowship, if beseeched. Who would want to be a co-Fellow with Tim “Desal Plant” Flannery FAA, for example,[3] or the ABC’s Robyn Williams FAA, the latter supporting the writing of horror fiction about global warming killing off families’ beloved kittens and spaniels in 2023?

For Neville Nicholls, a Fellowship is small beer. Monash University had previously awarded him a share in the IPCC’s 2007 Nobel Peace Prize (or even in a Nobel Prize, according to the Monash headline), to which he had responded, that “it was a great honour to be recognised through the extensive scientific reporting and reviewing that gave the work of the United Nation’s body such prestige and integrity.”

Actually it was all a stuff-up as the IPCC bans individual contributors from claiming Nobel Peace  Prize credit, an honor reserved for peace titans like Yasser Arafat, Barack Obama and (doubly weirdly) the European Commission.

Nicholls and Allison were among signatories on a  denier-bashing series of articles on the taxpayer-funded web-site The Conversation in 2011.[4]    

Here’s some the spittle-flecked essay to which Nicholls and Allison announced their   endorsement:

The “open letter” Nicholls and Allison signed includes:

Understandable economic insecurity and fear of radical change have been exploited by ideologues and vested interests to whip up ill-informed, populist rage, and climate scientists [poor little billion-dollar financed things, TT] have become the punching bag of shock jocks and tabloid scribes.

Aided by a pervasive media culture that often considers peer-reviewed scientific evidence to be in need of “balance” by internet bloggers, this has enabled so-called “skeptics” to find a captive audience while largely escaping scrutiny…[i.e. let’s ban them from the media, and see the climategate mails I cite below - TT].

We will show that “skeptics” often show little regard for truth and the critical procedures of the ethical conduct of science on which real skepticism is based.

The individuals who deny the balance of scientific evidence on climate change will impose a heavy future burden on Australians if their unsupported opinions are given undue credence.”

In fact, more than 130 peer-reviewed papers hostile to the IPCC  dogma have been published this year alone, and 280 last year. I don’t notice botanists and  conductive-polymer experts claiming that their science critics are lying rogues who should be censored out of the media.

Top signatory to the “Open Letter” was Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, a psychologist, whose co-paper “Recursive Fury” had to be pulled from the journal Frontiers because of ethical/legal problems about his research.[5] Another signatory, from Melbourne University, had to pull his much-media-touted co-paper out of its journal because skeptic bloggers immediately spotted that it was a statistical mess.

Also a signatory was Prof Chris Turney who later led the hilarious “Ship of Fools” expedition to the Antarctic to document the loss of sea ice, only to be expensively (at least $2.5m) trapped by sea ice.

The Climategate Emails

neville nichollsJust for interest, I entered Nicholls’ name into the data base of thousands of Climategate emails leaked from the East Anglia climate research server.  Strange items of correspondence turned up. I emphasise that they don’t incriminate Nicholls (left), but they do show that dodgy scientists overseas liked to improperly bandy his name about and keep him informed of their nefarious plots, as shown below. If I were Nicholls, I’d sue them.

The Academy submitted questions from Quadrant Online to Nicholls about these emails but he has not responded within our proposed 48 hours.

November 22, 1996: email 0848679780

Background: Geoff Jenkins was head of climate change prediction at the UK Met Office’s Hadley Centre. He writes to his colourful science pal Phil Jones at East Anglia  University (then one of the biggest names in climate science) about literally “inventing” the forthcoming December 1996 global temperature data and then feeding the phony year 1996 data out via Nicholls and others. Jenkins wrote (emphasis added):

“Remember all the fun we had last year over 1995 global temperatures, with the early release of information [via Australia], “inventing” the December monthly value, letters to Nature, etc., etc.  I think we should have a cunning plan about what to do this year, simply to avoid a lot of wasted time... We feed this selectively to Nick Nuttall [of the United Nations Environment Program] (who has had this in the past and seems now to expect special treatment) so that he can write an article for the silly season. We could also give this to Neville Nicholls [climate scientist at Melbourne’s Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre]? I know it sound a bit cloak-and-dagger but it’s just meant to save time in the long run”.

Our unanswered questions to Dr Nicholls:

  1. Did Jenkins or anyone else provide you with 1996 temperature results (including the “invented” December data) and ask you to disseminate them to the media?
  2. If so, did you do so?
  3. Do you have any comments about that email you would like Quadrant to publish?

Another email reads far worse ethically, and again, I make no assertion that Nicholls, a scientist of integrity, even knew about this plot, let alone acceded to it in any way. As he self-described last week, “What I love about science is simple and elegant solutions to difficult problems.”

August 5, 2009: email 1249503274 e

As background, here is the Journal of Geophysical Research’s specifications re selection of peer reviewers (emphasis added):

“Please list the names of 5 experts who are knowledgeable in your area and could give an unbiased review of your work. Please do not list colleagues who are close associates, collaborators, or family members.”

Phil Jones[6], in seeking peer reviewers for a “Comment” attacking a 2009 peer-reviewed paper by McLean, de Freitas and Carter, which didn’t conform to the IPCC party line, treats the journal’s safeguards with contempt (emphasis added):

I agree with Kevin [Trenberth]  that Tom Karl has too much to do. Tom Wigley is semi-retired, and, like Mike Wallace, may not be responsive to requests from [the Journal]To get a spread, I’d go with [three in the United States], one Australian, and one in Europe. So [I suggest] Neville Nicholls and David Parker. All of them know the sorts of things to say—about our Comment and the awful original, without any prompting.

This is how the Lavoisier Group parsed that email:

“To be ‘prompting’ the reviewers of their Comment would, in itself, already be a serious violation of professional ethics; but to propose reviewers who already ‘know the sorts of things to say’ is simply corrupt.”

Quadrant Online’s unanswered questions to Dr Nicholls were:

  1. Did Jones contact you about providing a reference for their Comment?
  2. If so, did you provide a reference for Jones?
  3. Do you have any view about that email you would like us to publish?

Again, it is not Nicholls’ fault that a cabal of offshore climate “enforcers” chose to throw his name around. He may have been unaware of what they were plotting. I’m sure he would have been outraged. Reviewers remain anonymous, so it is not discoverable who exactly did review the inconvenient McLean et al paper.

Dr Barrie Pittock, then of  CSIRO, penned an interesting email to Nicholls and others. Pittock was a contributor to four IPCC reports, author of catastrophist climate books, and recipient  of various science prizes.

Pittock’s plan was to use every slur and bullying tactic to silence and punish Chris de Freitas, the then-editor of Climate Research journal, and a scientist of considerable eminence.[7]  That journal had published a paper by   Soon  & Baliunas suggesting the Medieval Warming and the Little Ice Age were global and not local northern hemisphere events, thus undercutting the IPCC efforts to play down those natural (not C02-caused) events.

Pittock emailed on April 17, 2003 (emphasis added):

 … I see several possible courses of action that would be useful.

(a) Prepare a background briefing document for wide private circulation, which refutes the claims and lists competent  authorities who might be consulted for advice on this issue.

(b)  Ensure that such misleading papers do not continue to appear in the offending journals by getting proper scientific standards applied to refereeing and editing. Whether that is done publicly or privately may not matter so much, as long as it happens. It could be through boycotting the journals, but that might leave them even  freer to promulgate misinformation. To my mind that is not as good as getting the offending editors removed and proper processes in place. Pressure or ultimatums to the publishers might work, or  concerted lobbying by other co-editors or leading authors.

(c) A  journalistic expose of the unscientific practices might work and  embarrass the skeptics/industry lobbies (if they are capable of  being embarrassed) e.g., through a reliable lead reporter for Science or Nature. Offending editors could be labelled as “rogue  editors”, in line with current international practice? Or is that  defamatory?

(d) Legal action might be useful for authors who consider themselves libelled, and there could be financial support for such actions (Jim Salinger might have contacts here). However,  we would need to be very careful to be moderate and reasonable in our responses to avoid counter legal actions….

Best regards to all,
Barrie.
Dr. A. Barrie Pittock,
Post-Retirement Fellow,
Climate Impact Group 
 CSIRO Atmospheric Research

A week later came a reply to Pittock from Auckland-baed Jim Salinger, then a principal climate scientist with the NZ weather body NIWA, and a 2007 IPCC lead author on Australasian climate change. After 25 years at NIWA, Salinger was fired by NIWA in 2009, given three hours to clean out his desk, after a series of unauthorized briefings to the press about alleged climate change/weather crises hitting NZ.

Salinger copied in Nicholls, eight CSIRO scientists (those bastions of impeccable scientific objectivity), the IPCC’s then-chair, Rajendra Pachauri, who is currently facing court over massive sexual harassment charges, and  three others:

Salinger: “… I have had thoughts also on a further course of action. The present Vice-Chancellor of the University of Auckland, Professor John Hood (comes from an engineering background) is very concerned that Auckland should be seen as New Zealand’s premier research university, and one with an excellent reputation internationally. He is concerned to the extent that he is monitoring the performance of ALL his senior staff, from Associate Professor upwards, including interviews with them. My suggestion is that a band of you review editors write directly to Professor Hood with your concerns. In it you should point out that you are all globally recognized top climate scientist(s). It is best that such a letter come from outside NZ and is signed by more than one person … Some suggested text below:

We write to you as the editorial board (review editors??) of the leading international journal Climate Research for climate scientists

….We are very concerned at the poor standards and personal biases shown by a member of your staff. …..

When we originally appointed … to the editorial board we were under the impression that they would carry out their duties in an objective manner as is expected of scientists world wide. We were also given to understand that this person has been honoured with science communicator of the year award, several times by your … organisation.

Instead we have discovered that this person has been using his position to promote ‘fringe’ views of various groups with which they are associated around the world. It perhaps would have been less disturbing if the ‘science’ that was being passed through the system was sound. However, a recent incident has alerted us to the fact that poorly constructed and uncritical work has been allowed to enter the pages of the journal. A recent example has caused outrage amongst leading climate scientists around the world and has resulted in the journal dismissing (??).. from the editorial board.

We bring this to your attention since we consider it brings the name of your university and New Zealand into some disrepute. We leave it to your discretion what use you make of this information.

The journal itself cannot be considered completely blameless in this situation and we clearly need to tighten some of our editorial processes; however, up until now we have relied on the honour and professionalism of our editors. Sadly this incident has damaged our faith in some of our fellow scientists. Regrettably it will reflect on your institution as this person is a relatively senior staff member…

Quadrant Online’s unanswered questions to Dr Nicholls:

  1. Do you recall receiving these emails to which you were copied in?
  2. If so, did you reply, and to what effect?
  3. Can you suggest why you were copied in on such emails?
  4. Do you support the concept of blackballing and persecuting editors of science journals who publish articles with which you disagree?
  5. Do you have any other points about those emails you would like us to publish?

It is not known if the  draft petition by Salinger NIWA was ever sent and if so, who signed it. But the whole affair shows the tawdry nature of the “climate science” upon which the world is now spending trillions of dollars – including Australia’s billions – for CO2 reductions that will make no measurable difference to global temperature, even by 2100 and even if current CO2 cuts are fully implemented.

I make no suggestion that Neville Nicholls was complicit in the actions discussed or proposed in the above emails. Quadrant Online remains very willing to publish responses to our so-far-unanswered questions to Nicholls about the emails). I merely note with interest that he was being kept in the information loop about much of the dubious activity, as were numerous CSIRO scientists. It appears  that none thought to complain to scientific ethics investigators about these tawdry communications.

I was once in an audience hearing Neville Nicholls lamenting that in one high school group of senior students, 600 had enjoyed the climate-horror flick Day After Tomorrow but only five had seen Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth. Strange that a science guru like Nicholls hadn’t noticed Gore’s nine significant errors (such as claiming that Pacific Island populations had been evacuated as climate refugees).[8]  After citizen protests, UK High Court Judge Michael Burton in 2007 agreed that the film violated laws against propaganda in classrooms. The judge  ordered that it be shown to UK school children only after the teachers had warned kids about the nine errors.Our  Academy has not uttered one word of criticism or warning to schools about Gore’s mendacious film.

On a more important local matter, Nicholls launched the  “Adjustocene” at the Bureau of Meteorology 25 years ago, involving new overlays of adjustments to Australia’s raw weather data.[9] He left the Bureau in 2006 but controversy over the homogenization” of data continues. The BoM’s homogenising of the RAAF Amberley base’s temperatures, for example, converted a 1decC-per-century cooling trend to to a 2.5degC-per-century warming trend. As blogger JoNova comments, “This is a station at an airforce base that has no recorded move since 1941, nor had a change in instrumentation.” A similar  conversion at  Darwin switched a raw-data cooling trend of 0.7degC-per-century to a 1.2degC warming – another massive, 2degC-per-century adjustment to the trend. For perspective: total global warming in the past 150 years has been only about 0.8degC.

Nicholls was so confident that the Bureau had nothing to hide [10] that last September, he endorsed skeptic calls for an independent public audit of the data.  Sad to say, Climate Faith Minister Greg Hunt had already scotched Abbott’s audit plans.  Hunt proclaimed,

“My answer was very clear: we have perhaps the best or one of the best meteorological organisations in the world. I have full confidence in their data and the idea was killed at that point [2014].”

When that didn’t satisfy critics, he appointed a panel to examine the adjustments via a friendly annual visit (tea and biscuits provided, one would hope) that strikes sceptics as a tick-the-boxes exercise garnished with TimTams and boffinish bonhomie.

Pardon my digression, but the unsourced rumours and Abbott-loathing in Niki Savva’s book, Road to Ruin, has a genuine scoop (p135). When Abbott won the Opposition leadership from Turnbull in 2009 by one vote, Hunt had voted against him. To get Hunt on-side, Abbott then offered him the climate portfolio, and lawyer Hunt agreed — but only on conditions including “That the science of climate change was never challenged”. If Savva’s report is correct,  it doesn’t matter what scientific evidence emerges to demolish IPCC and warmist claims of impending climate doom, Hunt isn’t, and won’t be, interested.

allison ianThe Academy’s other new Fellow Ian Allison (right), when not signing Open Letters about suppressing the views of evil sceptics, is proving that the deep ocean decided to eat the warming during the 2006-13 halt to warming in the atmosphere.[11] This is one of 60-plus science papers asserting either that there wasn’t any halt, or conjuring up reasons for the halt. The deeper oceans’ temperature has only been measured for a decade by the 3500-buoy Argo program. Each drifting buoy has to take the temperature of 200,000 cubic km of ocean and the explanation of how the heat might have reached the deep ocean is weak. I’d give Allison an elephant stamp only for effort.

For the Academy to appoint two climate catastrophists among 21 new Fellows last week is analogous to the IPCC’s ever-growing confidence in its modeling at the same time the divergence widens between the actual and the modeled global temperatures. As Nicholls put it last week, “I am only the third meteorologist/weather forecaster ever elected to the Academy. It shows recognition of how important meteorology is from operations to research , important because of its impact on peoples lives.”

Nicholls’ colleague Allison is specialist in Antarctic sea ice, which happens now to be at satellite-era record extent, contrary to all the IPCC models.

These climate quibbles trouble the Academy not at all. President Andrew Holmes indeed achieved Peak Silliness last year while sucking up to an audience of greenies in Hobart. Among his zingers:

  • The Academy was divesting all fossil fuel companies from its investment funds  to help save the planet  – lumping companies like BHP in with its other pariah companies in gambling, tobacco, the sex trade, and napalm production. I estimate the Academy divested about $A5 million worth of fossil-fuel stock (ExxonMobil’s market cap alone happens to be $US375b).  The Academy continues to switch on its fossil-fuel-powered mains electricity, of course.
  • Holmes revived the “sceptic death threat” scare that made the Academy a laughingstock five years ago.[12]
  • He was economical with the facts when boasting that the Academy had done a major study on “climatic change” as early as 1976. As Holmes told his green fans,“That report carefully examined the evidence and foresaw that the changes in climate would create social and economic problems that would require multidisciplinary solutions.”

What Holmes didn’t say – it would have ruined his pitch – was that the panic of 1975-76 was about the perceived threat of another little ice age  that would bring on Australian crop failures and global starvation. PM Gough Whitlam had asked then-Academy President  Geoff Badger to check out how serious the ice threat might be.  The Academy’s answer: A possibility, but not for thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of years, rather than in decades or centuries.

The President’s  virtue-signalling and political theatre at Hobart was bad enough but as nothing compared to the   execrable “science”, aka activist materials, the Academy has been foisting on 9000 teachers and 50,000 high school students. One course (I gather it was recently and mercifully removed), the same material lionised ex-Greens leader Bob Brown and shoved anti-mining propaganda down the throats of 15-year-olds. (“Could we do without it … Would you work for a mining company?[13] Teachers were advised to “Ask students if they have ever taken action or advocated for a cause.   Do they know of anyone who has?”…  Key vocabulary: advocacy, campaign, champion, environmentalist.)[14]

The Academy has never surveyed its members’ views about its leaders’ climate alarm. In contrast, a survey of the American Meteorological Society members published last March found a third rejected the IPCC claim that humans had caused most of the past 60 years’ warming.

Apologies, this has been a long and roundabout essay. It indicates that our highest-profile climate scientists and their Academyare not actually Kevin Rudd’s “humorless scientists in white coats who go around and measure things”. They are deluded taxpayer-funded political players and the key ingredient of their science –- dispassionate inquiry — has gone missing in action. When PM Turnbull said at the leaders’ debate last Sunday, “We absolutely support the science, I have always supported the science”, he should first have taken a look at how climate “science” uniquely operates.

Tony Thomas blogs at No B-S Here, I Hope. His new book of essays, That’s Debatable – 60 Years in Print can be purchased here.

 ______________________________

[1]  “Climate science” accounts for fully 55% of the modeling done in all of science, although climate science (of which climate change is only a part) is only 4% of the US federal research budget, for example.

[2] The election to Fellowships of two climate alarmists involved them getting two-thirds of votes on the slate of candidates, but that is of votes cast in person, not of the total membership. The Academy will not say what proportion of its members attended and voted.

[3] Flannery not only predicted Perth becoming a waterless “ghost metropolis”, and permanent drought in the Eastern States, but speculated that during this century “the planet will have acquired a brain and a nervous system that will make it act as a living animal, as a living organism”

[4]  The Conversation is so anti-conversation that any comment I submit to its discussions, no matter how polite, is deleted by moderators within an hour.

[5] Frontiers said,

As a result of its investigation, which was carried out in respect of academic, ethical and legal factors, Frontiers came to the conclusion that it could not continue to carry the paper, which does not sufficiently protect the rights of the studied subjects. Specifically, the article categorizes the behaviour of identifiable individuals within the context of psychopathological characteristics.

[6] Jones also authored the famous email 1089318616, July 8, 2004,   “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC Report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow—even if we have to redefine what the ‘peer-review literature’ is!”

[7] During his time at The University of Auckland,  de Freitas has served as Deputy Dean of Science, a Head of Science and Technology and four years as Pro Vice Chancellor. He has been Vice President of the Meteorological Society of New Zealand, and Vice President of the International Society of Biometeorology. For 10 years he was an editor of the international journal ‘Climate Research’. He has three times been the recipient of the New Zealand Association of Scientists, Science Communicator Award.

[8] One Kiribati chap in NZ did claim to be a climate refugee, but the NZ court said he wasn’t, and deported him. His previous NZ employee said the man had been fired over physical and sexual assaults. The UN and Oxfam forecast 50 million climate refugees by now, but the Kiribati chap is the only claimant so far.

[9]   Here’s how an East Anglia CRU compiler ‘Harry’ Harris described the BoM data when trying to collate global warming data:

“COBAR AIRPORT AWS (data from an Australian weather station) cannot start in 1962, it didn’t open until 1993! …getting seriously fed up with the state of the Australian data. So many new stations have been introduced, so many false references.. so many changes that aren’t documented…I am very sorry to report that the rest of the databases seem to be in nearly as poor a state as Australia was…Aarrggghhh! There truly is no end in sight.”

 [10] Climategate email from David Jones, BoM, 7/9/2007:

“Fortunately in Australia our sceptics are rather scientifically incompetent. It is also easier for us in that we have a policy of providing any complainer with every single station observation when they question our data (this usually snows them)…”

Such was how the taxpayer funded BoM fulfilled its statutory duty  of transparency  to the public.

 

[11] Allison:

Between 2006 and 2013, ocean waters shallower than 500 metres warmed by 0.005C per year, while between 500 and 2,000 metres the ocean warmed by 0.002C per year.”

I wonder how these amazingly precise temperatures were generated by instruments with at least 0.1degC margins of error.

Strangely, even the Argo buoy data was downgraded a year ago by the alleged ‘pause-busting’ NOAA paper of Karl et al. Karl preferred to take the temperature of the ocean via the previous system of buckets thrown from ships or via ships’ engine-room intakes. This paper was so ludicrous that even Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann rejected it in a paper in Nature three months ago.  Meanwhile Karl et al are fighting FOI requests demanding disclosure of their suspicious email tete-a-tetes while writing a paper that suited Obama’s agenda .

[12] Holmes hyperventilated:

The costs to individuals can be high. It is therefore critical that as scientists and experts we stand together. The ability of scientists to conduct their work, free of fear or hindrance, is vital to the future wellbeing of our community, and the Academy will continue to advocate for academic freedom….

The original ‘death threat’ scare was a mis-heard conversation about kangaroo culling in Canberra. Holmes has said nothing to defend Bjorn Lomborg from academic boycotts at UWA and Flinders U.

[13] Holmes: “Our work in science education and science policy are small parts of being scientific leaders in the community. We will continue to expand our presence in the community, to be a bulwark of factual scientific advice when we can.”

[14] Another sample: Activity 6.6 Climate change and Politics. “Lesson outcomes: At the end of this activity students will …  appreciate the need to lobby at all levels of government to ignite and lead change – even if it is unpopular with the voters.” Yet “the Academy is fiercely apolitical”, President Holmes claims.

Comments [26]

  1. Charles says:

    These people should not be called scientists, as what they do bears no relationship to true scientific discovery. They are nothing more than rent-seeking activists.

  2. Ian MacDougall says:

    Anyone can be called a ‘rent-seeking activist”. That can be worked up into a real chop-suey. It could even have been said if the father of modern experimental science, Galileo Galilei, who was forced by the Holy Catholic Inquisition on pain of severe consequences to recant the heliocentric theory of Copernicus in favour of the the prevailing Church-sponsored geocentric dogma. Galileo affirmed the Earth was perfectly still in space, but with everything else – sun, moon, planets and stars – revolving around it. Then he added sotto voce “but it moves!”
    The British chemist-turned-PM appealed for the “Earth to be given the benefit of any doubt” – if I remember her words correctly. Was she likewise a “rent-seeking activist”?

  3. I have posted my thoughts on the AGW scam in Quadrant previously:- If BS gets to be PM, with or without GREEN help, and starts to ‘save the world’ by taxing energy/wealth creation, then I am prepared to volunteer to give up my self funded retirement in order to seek employment in his new ‘world saving’ government. It would be for a role that is at least as important as that of being a ‘climate commissioner’. Climate Commissioners are/were only tasked with stopping the world from ‘frying’ in the future. As that task might take two centuries or more to know if he/she/they have been successful, all the Climate Commissioners have been, and in the future must be, very well rewarded. It should be at least at the level that Tim Flannery was once remunerated, [i.e. $180,000+ p.a. in 2007 dollars for 'working' 3 days a week]. For a far more modest fee, say $2,000 per week [in 2016 dollars] and for working 7 days a week, I would offer my services as ‘Commissioner for Sunshine’. In this role my success wouldn’t take centuries to know if I have succeeded or failed, because if I failed just once, i.e. the sun failed to rise, then I would be prepared to NOT accept my modest wage.

  4. Alice Thermopolis says:

    REMEMBER TO REMEMBER

    “The British chemist-turned-PM appealed for the “Earth to be given the benefit of any doubt” – if I remember her words correctly. Was she likewise a “rent-seeking activist”?”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/7823477/Was-Margaret-Thatcher-the-first-climate-sceptic.html

    “In 2003, towards the end of her last book, Statecraft, in a passage headed “Hot Air and Global Warming”, she issued what amounts to an almost complete recantation of her earlier views.

    She voiced precisely the fundamental doubts about the warming scare that have since become familiar to us. Pouring scorn on the “doomsters”, she questioned the main scientific assumptions used to drive the scare, from the conviction that the chief force shaping world climate is CO2, rather than natural factors such as solar activity, to exaggerated claims about rising sea levels. She mocked Al Gore and the futility of “costly and economically damaging” schemes to reduce CO2 emissions. She cited the 2.5C rise in temperatures during the Medieval Warm Period as having had almost entirely beneficial effects. She pointed out that the dangers of a world getting colder are far worse than those of a CO2-enriched world growing warmer. She recognised how distortions of the science had been used to mask an anti-capitalist, Left-wing political agenda which posed a serious threat to the progress and prosperity of mankind.

    In other words, long before it became fashionable, Lady Thatcher was converted to the view of those who, on both scientific and political grounds, are profoundly sceptical of the climate change ideology. Alas, what she set in train earlier continues to exercise its baleful influence to this day. But the fact that she became one of the first and most prominent of “climate sceptics” has been almost entirely buried from view.”

    • Ian MacDougall says:

      Alice:

      In other words, long before it became fashionable, Lady Thatcher was converted to the view of those who, on both scientific and political grounds, are profoundly sceptical of the climate change ideology.

      The future of the world thankfully does not depend on dear Margaret’s political needs or imperatives. But it is interesting that for her, politics trumped science; apparently driving her perception of it. As for “exaggerated claims about rising sea levels”, the dispute of the ‘sceptic’ is with the satellite altimetry, which has half-millimetre accuracy, and at the CSIRO’s published rate of 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr, by the end of the century, ie in 84 years time, at the most the ocean will only have risen 3.7 x 84 = 311 mm ~ 0.31 metres.
      The Venetians might get excited about that, but why should anyone else? Particularly those like me who have their real estate investments well above the ocean?
      Mind you, trying to correct the course of the climate has commonly been likened to steering a supertanker fully under way. It’s not exactly like steering a Mini Minor.

      • Peter OBrien says:

        Ian, as per your usual modus operandi, when your original point is debunked (in this case, Margaret Thatcher’s supposed support for CAGW theory) you move the goalposts by claiming that what you originally claimed was an important bulwark to your argument, now no longer matters. And Thatcher’s repudiation of CAGW was based primarily on scientific grounds.
        Then, being a one trick pony, you fall back on sea level rise – a complicated topic which does not, of itself prove that human CO2 emissions are causing catastrophic global warming. Variations in the rate of sea level rise observed over the pitifully small scale of 40 years are just noise in the overall post ice-age trend

        • Peter OBrien says:

          And further to my last, a sceptical response to the CAGW scam on both scientific and political grounds is perfectly reasonable. If the science is questionable but the cost of a response is negligible, then a politician might reasonably decide to err on the side of caution. But if the science is questionable (as it is) and the cost of a response is astronomical (as it is) and the chance of the response being effective is negligible (as it is) then a politician has a positive duty to reject the appeals of rent seekers such as Tim Flannery. Maybe we now have a compelling reason to hope for a Trump presidency.

          • Ian MacDougall says:

            Ah yes, comparative costing: which depends on what with what.
            What is the cost of doing nothing (ie business-as-usual) with the cost of steadily decarbonising the energy sector of the economy, which will have to occur anyway, and within the lifespans of the next couple of generations? Unlike the Sun, the coal will not last for billions of years, and arguably can be put to better use as a feedstock for the road tar and chemical industries rather than fuel.
            And will putting up with increasingly wild weather and repairing the damage from same be worth staying out of the growing renewable technologies?
            Just one example: on our place in NW NSW we had a quote a few years ago for getting the old windmill replaced by an electric bore pump running off mains electricity. It needed 2 poles installed at $20,000 each: ie $40,000 PLUS the cost of the pump. Today a solar pump to do the same job would cost around $2,000, fully installed.

        • Ian MacDougall says:

          Peter: I will explain this as clearly as I can. The laws of physics and chemistry do not depend on the continual approval of Margaret Thatcher. That is not just my opinion. It is solid fact, as solid as Universal Gravitation. And modern climatology rests on those laws.
          What seems to me to be the simplest (vide Occam’s Razor) explanation is that Thatcher was leaned on by Conservative Party heavyweights and persuaded that in the circumstances of the day, the interests of the British coal industry trumped those of dispassionate science. And mea culpa. I should have realised that in turn Thatcher’s interest as a politician would float to the top, and rather quickly.

          • Peter OBrien says:

            Ian, I will explain this as clearly as I can. I did not invoke Margaret Thatcher to support my CAGW scepticism. I did not claim that Thatcher’s CAGW scepticism proves my case. I did not bring Thatcher into this discussion. It was you who invoked Thatcher’s initial acceptance of the theory as support for your position. You seemed to be saying that even a conservative like Thatcher ‘supports the science’ so sucks to you deniers. When it was pointed out that Thatcher, on becoming better informed as the ‘science’ developed, recanted her earlier views, she all of a sudden became a political opportunist and irrelevant to the discussion. You have attributed to me view that I did not express. I agree Thatcher’s views are irrelevant to the science.

            Your use of a strawman argument is typical of CAGW evangelists.

  5. Real Oz says:

    Firstly a big thank you to Tony for a most interesting article.
    I have had an abiding interest in this CAGW hypothesis for many years and can sum the results of my studies thus:-

    If the “Climate Sensitivity” values claimed by the IPCC are too high then all CAGW theory collapses – totally.

    As stated by Tony above ALL EMPIRICALLY determined values of “Climate Sensitivity” are way below those stated by the IPCC.
    So low in fact as to totally revoke the IPCC claims of CAGW.

    I cannot accept that the total complexity of the global climate can be adequately determined by a simple single feedback loop equivalent circuit (in Electrical Engineering terms).

    Note that the chief gurus of CAGW hardly ever talk about Climate Sensitivity it does seem to be a rather “sensitive” topic. Much easier to rant on about Polar Bears Penguins Sea rises etc etc BUT almost never about Climate Sensitivity.

    Separately my understanding of PM Thatcher’s use of CO2 warming was exactly as the Greenies use it today, namely to give the coal industry a bad name as she fought the entrenched economy destroying coal mining unions. In short she was playing politics with her science knowledge and look what she bequeathed to the rest of us.

  6. Ian MacDougall says:

    Peter:

    You seemed to be saying that even a conservative like Thatcher ‘supports the science’ so sucks to you deniers.

    With respect, I suggest you read what I wrote again. What might have “seemed” to you and what I ACTUALLY wrote are different quantities. If that doesn’t work, read it yet again; slowly and aloud. NB: I NEVER relied on Thatcher as an “important bulwark”; just as an illustration.
    The importance of sea-level rise, and why I will keep repeating it as long as all the usual thermometry etc red herrings are around, is because it is the simplest and most direct indicator of what is going on in the world’s atmospheric and oceanic systems with regard to heat content. And is totally unambiguous: sea level rise can only be due to glacial meltwater and/or thermal expansion of the sea water. So the Earth is warming. No doubt possible. Look under whatever cabbages you like, you will not find evidence that trumps it.
    Real Oz is on the money: Thatcher “… was playing politics with her science knowledge and look what she bequeathed to the rest of us”.
    I suggest that the most prudent course is to follow her original suggestion, and “give the planet the benefit of any doubt.”

    • Peter OBrien says:

      Ian, what you wrote was:

      “The British chemist-turned-PM appealed for the “Earth to be given the benefit of any doubt” – if I remember her words correctly. Was she likewise a “rent-seeking activist”?”

      Setting aside the fact that you do not appear to understand the term ‘rent seeking’, I took that to mean that you were invoking Thatcher’s views as support for the theory of CAGW. Why else would you bring her into the discussion?

      As to the second part of your comment, no sceptic disputes that the earth is warming. We just question the extent and the cause. Another strawman argument on your part.

      • Ian MacDougall says:

        Setting aside the fact that you do not appear to understand the term ‘rent seeking’, I took that to mean that you were invoking Thatcher’s views as support for the theory of CAGW. Why else would you bring her into the discussion?

        First, let us deconstruct this problematic term ‘rent-seeking activist’; starting with ‘activist’. An activist is almost inevitably someone who wants change, social or legal, and yet is commonly against environmental change. (A conservative, on the other hand, is for social relations and wealth distribution to remain as they are, but this opposition to change commonly stops at the environment, where development (eg ‘jobs ‘n growth) usually means environmental change, and things not remaining as they are.)
        The classic rent-seeker is of course, a feudal lord or hereditary peer: many of whom are still very much around in one form or another. (‘Drug Lords’ are not called such for nothing.) Such a person typically offers the peasants, suckers or mugs working the fiefdom for him a simple deal: cash or kind in exchange for protection. That is, protection from himself.
        Rent-seekers and other assorted economic passengers are thus always very much to the upper end of any established hierarchy; activists usually not so, though some may seek to be.

        As to the second part of your comment, no sceptic disputes that the earth is warming. We just question the extent and the cause. Another strawman argument on your part.

        Sorry, ‘sceptics’ have quite a history of disputing that the Earth (ie oceans + atmosphere) is warming. Perhaps the most outstanding member of the club, and still at it, is one Christopher Monckton, by no mere coincidence also one of Britain’s hereditary peers. (See http://www.climatedepot.com/2014/08/21/the-hockey-schtick-updated-list-of-29-excuses-for-the-18-year-pause-in-global-warming/ )
        His Lordship maintains that there has been no warming for the last 18 years.

        Updated list of 38 ‘excuses’ for the nearly 18 year temperature ‘pause’ or standstill in global warming…
        ‘If you can’t explain the ‘pause’, you can’t explain the cause’
        ‘Every week there’s a new explanation of the hiatus’
        ETC, ETC, ETC.

        So here we go again. There is no way one can explain the sea-level rise revealed by satellite altimeters:
        GMSL Rates
        CU: 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr
        AVISO: 3.3 ± 0.6 mm/yr
        CSIRO: 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr
        NASA GSFC: 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr
        NOAA: 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr (w/ GIA)
        http://sealevel.colorado.edu/
        This can only be due to thermal expansion of sea water and/or glacial melt. Ergo, the planet is warming, in a long slow thaw with inertia analogous to that of a supertanker at all ahead full on the open sea.
        Do the arithmetic. 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr (CSIRO) ~ 33mm/decade (= 3.3 cm/decade ~ 33 ± 4 cm/century ~ 330 cm/1,000 yrs: ie 3.3 metres/1,000 yrs ~ 33 metres/10,000 yrs.
        If the oceans had been rising at their present rate for the last 10,000 years, most of the coastal buildings of every continent’s classical civilisations would now be under water. They are not. Ergo, that sea level rise as seen around the world is a recent phenomenon. This can only be due to thermal expansion of sea water and/or glacial melt. Ergo again, the planet is warming, in a long slow thaw with inertia analogous to that of a supertanker at all ahead full on the open sea. The worldwide cause? Almost certainly the greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere since the middle of the 18th C by the burning of fossil carbon.
        At Paris recently, the world’s governments reluctantly endorsed the science of this.
        But, as the old saying goes, one can lead a horse to water, but one can’t make him drink. ‘Conservatives’ are committed to business-as-usual at all costs.
        That is, provided all of the cost is passed to others.

  7. Ian MacDougall says:

    As I have been accused by Peter O’Brien of using the term ‘rent-seeking’ without knowing what it means, and of putting up ‘straw man arguments’ (whatever he takes that to mean) I have posted a detailed reply, only to find it as usual in the ‘awaiting moderation’ – read ‘awaiting censorship’ – bin.
    So I will post it here in smaller hunks, so maybe the QO censor won’t notice.
    PART 1

    Setting aside the fact that you do not appear to understand the term ‘rent seeking’, I took that to mean that you were invoking Thatcher’s views as support for the theory of CAGW. Why else would you bring her into the discussion?

    First, let us deconstruct this problematic term ‘rent-seeking activist’; starting with ‘activist’. An activist is almost inevitably someone who wants change, social or legal, and yet is commonly against environmental change. (A conservative, on the other hand, is for social relations and wealth distribution to remain as they are, but this opposition to change commonly stops at the environment, where development (eg ‘jobs ‘n growth) usually means environmental change, and things not remaining as they are.)

    The classic rent-seeker is of course, a feudal lord or hereditary peer: many of whom are still very much around in one form or another. (‘Drug Lords’ are not called such for nothing.) Such a person typically offers the peasants, suckers or mugs working the fiefdom for him a simple deal: cash or kind in exchange for protection. That is, protection from himself.
    Rent-seekers and other assorted economic passengers are thus always very much to the upper end of any established hierarchy; activists usually not so, though some may seek to be.

  8. Ian MacDougall says:

    PART 2

    As to the second part of your comment, no sceptic disputes that the earth is warming. We just question the extent and the cause. Another strawman argument on your part.

    Sorry, ‘sceptics’ have quite a history of disputing that the Earth (ie oceans + atmosphere) is warming. Perhaps the most outstanding member of the club, and still at it, is one Christopher Monckton, by no mere coincidence also one of Britain’s hereditary peers. (See http://www.climatedepot.com/2014/08/21/the-hockey-schtick-updated-list-of-29-excuses-for-the-18-year-pause-in-global-warming/ )
    His Lordship maintains that there has been no warming for the last 18 years.

    Updated list of 38 ‘excuses’ for the nearly 18 year temperature ‘pause’ or standstill in global warming…
    ‘If you can’t explain the ‘pause’, you can’t explain the cause’
    ‘Every week there’s a new explanation of the hiatus’
    ETC, ETC, ETC.

  9. Ian MacDougall says:

    PART 3
    So here we go again. There is no way one can explain the sea-level rise revealed by satellite altimeters:
    GMSL Rates
    CU: 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr
    AVISO: 3.3 ± 0.6 mm/yr
    CSIRO: 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr
    NASA GSFC: 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr
    NOAA: 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr (w/ GIA)
    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/
    This can only be due to thermal expansion of sea water and/or glacial melt. Ergo, the planet is warming, in a long slow thaw with inertia analogous to that of a supertanker at all ahead full on the open sea.
    Do the arithmetic. 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr (CSIRO) ~ 33mm/decade (= 3.3 cm/decade ~ 33 ± 4 cm/century ~ 330 cm/1,000 yrs: ie 3.3 metres/1,000 yrs ~ 33 metres/10,000 yrs.

    • Alice Thermopolis says:

      OCEAN, BE THOU STILL!

      “From the sacred shore I stand on, I command thee to retreat;
      Venture not, thou stormy rebel, to approach thy master’s seat:
      Ocean, be thou still! I bid thee come not nearer to my feet!”
      But the sullen ocean answered with a louder, deeper roar,
      And the rapid waves drew nearer, falling sounding on the shore;
      Back the dodgy Error Bars and the Bishops, back the king and courtiers bore.
      And he sternly bade them never more to believe what climate modellers say,
      But alone to praise and worship That which earth and seas obey:
      And his golden crown of alarmist rant never wore he from that day.
      King Climate Con is dead and gone: Parasites exist alway.”

  10. Ian MacDougall says:

    PART 4
    If the oceans had been rising at their present rate for the last 10,000 years, most of the coastal buildings of every continent’s classical civilisations would now be under water. They are not. Ergo, that sea level rise as seen around the world is a recent phenomenon. This can only be due to thermal expansion of sea water and/or glacial melt. Ergo again, the planet is warming, in a long slow thaw with inertia analogous to that of a supertanker at all ahead full on the open sea. The worldwide cause? Almost certainly the greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere since the middle of the 18th C by the burning of fossil carbon.
    At Paris recently, the world’s governments reluctantly endorsed the science of this.
    But, as the old saying goes, one can lead a horse to water, but one can’t make him drink. ‘Conservatives’ are committed to business-as-usual at all costs.
    That is, provided all of the cost is passed to others.

  11. Alice Thermopolis says:

    http://joannenova.com.au/2015/05/the-scandal-of-sea-levels-rising-trends-acceleration-largely-created-by-adjustments/

    “We’re analysing the decimal points of the acceleration of a trend that was largely created by adjustments in the first place. Why bother?”

    • Ian MacDougall says:

      Alice:
      On your link, ‘Jo Nova’ says:
      “The ABC would never let a mining analyst give his opinion on sea levels, but when a sea level expert tells us to use windmills to change the climate, and transform our nation energy system, that’s all OK. (Sell the ABC.)”
      Jo’s priority is thus pretty clear: business must proceed as usual. Everything else follows from that: her position on the science in particular. She propagandises as if she had been appointed Chief Cheerleader and Propagandist for the coal industry: which she may be, for all I know. As well as the rest of it: “Sell the ABC” is straight off the IPA’s song sheet.
      Her subtext: nothing must stand in the way of all that fossil carbon built up in the sedimentary deposits over millions of years making its way into the atmosphere in the next couple of hundred. The inevitable Chernobyls and Fukushimas can be dismissed as part of the price of it all.
      But the fossil carbon mob have only a short window in time to get it all burnt, up into the air, and the profits to the bank. The cheapest and most easily extracted fossil carbon is already up there, so as time goes by the cost of renewables will steadily decrease, while fossil carbon’s will do the opposite. Government subsidies and tax concessions can only be maintained for so long, particularly as the cost of ocean acidification has to be defended along with the greenhouse effect from CO2 and all the other GHGs like methane released from coal gas and coal seam gas extraction.
      Time is not on the side of ‘business-as-usual’.

      • Bernard Tola says:

        Just on this article you have been published twelve times, much more than anyone else, and you still want to claim that you are being censored? The problem with “awaiting moderation” was explained to you and me a long time ago. Why would you continue with this fantasy, wanting to make yourself appear as the victim of dark forces of censorship?

    • Alice Thermopolis says:

      One thousand tide gauges [Beenstock et al] recorded a sea level rise of 1mm a year that is not accelerating.

      http://joannenova.com.au/2014/08/global-sea-level-rise-a-bit-more-than-1mm-a-year-for-last-50-years-no-accelleration/

      Satellites showed the same rate until they were adjusted up to 3mm/yr.

      Etc