Doomed Planet

Angry Clowns of the Climate Circus

Adult climate catastrophists have flipped to censorship, abuse and hysteria to back tomorrow’s climate-truant kids and the latest UN gabfest in New York on Monday. The ‘progressive’ media has dropped its mask of objectivity, with more than 170 global outlets (possibly 250-plus) pledged to print a week of one-sided climate-doom stories ahead of the UN summit.

The fruits are now on display in Australia at the academic’s playground The Conversation, funded by scores of universities and, indirectly, taxpayers. Editor and executive director Misha Ketchell posted on Tuesday a note banning all sceptic views: “Climate change deniers are dangerous – they don’t deserve a place on our site.”

Instead, The Conversation the very same day put up a piece by Tim Flannery calling sceptics child “predators”. This on a website that continues to boast  We believe in the free flow of information.”

Ketchell has the perfect pedigree to be peddling the catastropharian party line. He has been an Age reporter, Crikey editor and for several years was an ABC producer on Media Watch and 7.30, and an editor of The Drum.  His Conversation editorial note says,

Once upon a time, we might have viewed climate sceptics as merely frustrating. We relied on other commenters and authors to rebut sceptics and deniers, which often lead to endless back and forth.

But it’s 2019, and now we know better. Climate change deniers, and those shamelessly peddling pseudoscience and misinformation, are perpetuating ideas that will ultimately destroy the planet. As a publisher, giving them a voice on our site contributes to a stalled public discourse.

That’s why the editorial team in Australia is implementing a zero-tolerance approach to moderating climate change deniers, and sceptics. Not only will we be removing their comments, we’ll be locking their accounts.

We believe conversations are integral to sharing knowledge, but…it is counter productive to present the evidence and then immediately undermine it by giving space to trolls. The hopeless debates between those with evidence and those who fabricate simply stalls action.

We know you want to have constructive positive discussions, so please don’t engage with the climate change deniers. Dob them in and help us create a space where they don’t derail the conversation.

World-respected sceptic educator Joanne Nova, of Perth, comments,  “Every hypocrite, pocket-dictator and cult-ruler uses some version of ‘it’s better for you if I protect you from hearing things I deem unworthy’. Conversation obviously isn’t going to happen at The Conversation.” Inviting anyone disagreeing with her to comment on her site, she asks of Ketchell’s ban: “So who’s a troll then? Roy Spencer? Ph.D. in meteorology, NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal, supported by NASA, NOAA, and DOE [US Dept of Energy]?”

She also cites as sceptics  “Nobel prize winners of physics and men who walked on the moon. Freeman Dyson. Shame none of them are as smart as Ketchell.”

Half the population of Australia, the UK, USA, NZ and Canada are to Ketchell “trolls”, she writes.

A ten-second online search shows 56 per cent of Canadians are skeptics. Likewise,  54 per cent of Australians are skeptics (a CSIRO estimate). The latest YouGov survey shows 63 per cent of the USA, 56 per cent of Australians, and 49 per cent of the Brits don’t think the IPCC is right. If a majority ‘agreed with the consensus’ why is it that most Australians don’t want to pay even a tiny $10 a month for renewables to save the world? On flights, not even two bucks a trip. Nearly half of US adults don’t want to pay $1 a month.  And the British don’t want to pay a cent.

Survey after survey shows that when people rank issues, climate concerns are flat at the bottom of the barrel. Only three per cent of US people think climate is most important issue.[i]

Tim Flannery, freed from rebuttal or mockery by the site’s commenters, published on The Conversation the same day an unhinged rant branding sceptics and major CO2 emitters as not just “idiots” but predators equivalent to child-harmers. The piece was headed,  “The gloves are off: ‘predatory’ climate deniers are a threat to our children.” It’s not quite a bare-knuckle boxing match when no opponent is allowed into the ring.

Flannery is chief councilor of  the Climate Council, which purports to “provide authoritative, expert advice to the Australian public on climate change and solutions based on the most up-to-date science available.” Also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, he writes

How should Australia’s parents deal with those who labour so joyously to create a world in which a large portion of humanity will perish? As I have become ever more furious at the polluters and denialists, I have come to understand they are threatening my children’s well-being as much as anyone who might seek to harm a child.

He suggests a purported 4degC global warming by 2100 could kill many billions of people, leaving a mere 1 billion survivors

Mass deaths are predicted to result from, among other causes, disease outbreaks, air pollution, malnutrition and starvation, heatwaves, and suicide.

My children, and those of many prominent polluters and climate denialists, will probably live to be part of that grim winnowing – a world that the Alan Joneses and Andrew Bolts of the world have laboured so hard to create.

The absurdity of this line of extremism was pointed out a fortnight ago by secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organisation Petteri Taalas. The WMO combined with the UN to set up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1988. Taalas said agitators whom he called “doomsters” have been behaving like “religious extremists”, demanding unrealistic emission cuts and sacrifices and making threats against the real climate scientists. “It’s not going to be the end of the world,” he told a Finnish financial journal. “The atmosphere created by media has been provoking anxiety.”

Flannery in his piece writes of his disgust at the results of May’s “climate election”, which he asserts “shattered meaningful democracy” and compounded his “colossal failure” from 20 years of activism to get CO2 emissions down. He suggests that his supporters need to abandon discussion and debate and rise up in Extinction Rebellion-type “actions”, noting that “words have not cut through” and asking if “rebellion is the only option?”

ABC Science,  in its email to subscribers of September 18, gave Flannery an endorsement for his “hard-hitting” message, saying:

Are ‘predatory’ climate deniers a threat to our kids? The answer is ‘yes’, according to Tim Flannery in this hard-hitting opinion piece that also reflects on what our future might look like. We know the science, and the predictions.  So  – as thousands of people prepare to strike for the climate this Friday – what will it take to see changes made?

Flannery’s article notes that he is also a professorial fellow at Melbourne University’s Sustainable Society Institute.[ii] Melbourne University among others both funds The Conversation and paradoxically is putting out pro forma statements endorsing the need for campus free speech, as urged by former High Court chief justice Robert French.[iii]

Flannery writes,

Young people themselves are now mobilising against the danger. Increasingly they’re giving up on words, and resorting to actions. Extinction Rebellion is the Anthropocene’s answer to the UK working class Chartists, the US Declaration of Independence, and the defenders of the Eureka Stockade.

Its declaration states:

“This is our darkest hour. Humanity finds itself embroiled in an event unprecedented in its history, one which, unless immediately addressed, will catapult us further into the destruction of all we hold dear […] The wilful complicity displayed by our government has shattered meaningful democracy and cast aside the common interest in favour of short-term gain and private profit […] We hereby declare the bonds of the social contract to be null and void.”

Not yet a year old, Extinction Rebellion has had an enormous impact. In April it shut down six critical locations in London, overwhelmed the police and justice system with 1,000 arrests, and forced the British government to become the first nation ever to declare a climate emergency.

He tells school heads to permit kids to play the wag, “in an effort to save themselves [kids] from the climate predators in our midst, or force them to stay and study for a future that will not, on current trends, eventuate. I will be marching with the strikers in Melbourne, and I believe teachers should join their pupils on that day.”

Petteri Taalas of the World Meteorological Organisation copped such a thrashing for calling out extremist nonsense on climate that he had to put out another statement a week later pointing out that he was a true believer in IPCC predictions. But he did not resile from any of his previous comments, merely blustering that they had been “selectively interpreted”. He said, “We must not be driven to despair, given that reasonable, consensus-based solutions are available.”

Here’s from the original Taalas interview:

While climate scepticism has become less of an issue, now we are being challenged from the other side. They are doomsters and extremists; they make threats. Much more radical action is demanded by Extinction Rebellion movement. They demand zero emissions by 2025 and ‘honest’ climate information from governments…

The IPCC reports have been read in a similar way to the Bible: you try to find certain pieces or sections from which you try to justify your extreme views. This resembles religious extremism. We should consider critically, and with reservations, the thoughts of experts…

The latest idea is that children are a negative thing. I am worried for young mothers, who are already under much pressure. This will only add to their burden.

Benny Peiser is director of sceptic-leaning London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation, which picked up and disseminated the Taalas interview. Peiser said, “It’s very disappointing that another official has been forced to back down after making a perfectly reasonable statement. It undermines trust in the whole field.”

 The  New Yorker didn’t cover the Taalas story, understandably, but it did run with novelist Jonathan Franzen asking, What If We Stopped Pretending? The climate apocalypse is coming.  A snippet:

Finally, overwhelming numbers of human beings … have to be permanently terrified by hotter summers and more frequent natural disasters, rather than just getting used to them.

Every day, instead of thinking about breakfast, they have to think about death.

Peiser attributed Taalas’ initial warning to fears about green warriors “hell-bent on undermining the economies and social stability of Europe.” Germany’s largest industry, automobile manufacturing, is a case in point. Volkswagen’s CEO Herbert Diess last week bewailed that greens have pushed the industry and its 830,000 jobs to the “brink of collapse”. The latest campaign is to force Germans into electric cars which, at root, are coal-powered anyway. “That drives the idea of electric mobility ad absurdum!” Diess said.

Panics about warming have a long reach. The BBC once panicked Scots with a report that warming threatens haggis, because sheep lungs – the tasty base – will get more parasites. Warming will give Kansas people painful kidney stones, because they’ll sweat more and pee less. Easter Island statues are to topple as climate seas erode their platforms. Grizzlies and polar bears will start dating and produce “Grolars”, or maybe pizzly bears. (Sign for school truants: Save the Grolar Bears!)

More seriously, there’s the widely believed story that “half the Barrier Reef is dead”. Award-winning climate scientist Dr Joelle Gergis (ANU) says so in her Sunburnt Country book, “Half of the coral of the Great Barrier Reef is now dead. It’s a global-scale ecological catastrophe.” I dropped a line to the GBR Marine Park Authority last month to ask if the “half-dead” story is true. The chief scientist, Dr David Wachenfeld, replied, avoiding the question, that 30 per cent of the shallow water (2-10m) corals were lost in 2016 and in 2017 there were further declines across the northern two-thirds: “Despite the loss of coral and damage to reefs in many parts of the Marine Park, the entire Reef remains a resilient ecosystem, with early signs of recovery processes in many damaged areas … Many areas continue to support beautiful corals and abundant marine life and the Reef remains an extraordinary experience for visitors.” I hope Dr Wachenfeld can get that message across to Gergis and Flannery and their sciency Climate Council.

Taalas is not the only climate dignitary who has challenged the extremists. Dr Andy Pitman, director of the UNSW’s Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes, cautioned at a Sydney climate forum last June, “As far as the climate scientists know there is no link between climate change and drought. That may not be what you read in the newspapers.”  I assume Pitman will henceforth be banned from The Conversation.

In more detail about Monday’s UN summit, Secretary-General António Guterres called the meeting because he says global efforts to tackle climate change are running off-track, according to  Dr Frank Jotzo, Director of ANU’s Centre for Climate and Energy Policy.[iv] The new pledges should be in line with a 45 per cent cut to global greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade, and net-zero emissions by 2050. Australia’s  pledge  is 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. The Paris pledges are supposed to be reviewed and strengthened every five years. China and India, the world’s two largest emitters, have made no commitment to cuts before 2030.

Australia is not expected to propose any significant new actions or goals, Jotzo writes on The Conversation, in a piece illustrated with   a low-lying Tuvalu island and the non-factual caption that it is “threatened by inundation from rising seas”.  Jotzo says, “Prime Minister Scott Morrison – in the US at the time to visit President Donald Trump – will not attend the summit. Foreign Minister Marise Payne will attend, and is likely to have to fend off heavy criticism over Australia’s slow progress on climate action.”

In passing, Jotzo calls for the  “phasing out some old energy-hungry and often uneconomic plants like aluminium smelters.” This would not suit 3650 hard-working Australians at the following smelters: Bell Bay and Boyne Island (Pacific Aluminium), Alcoa’s Portland refinery and the Tomago consortium in NSW. Aluminium and its elements also happen to be a $5b export industry. Jotzo’s insouciance about smelter jobs is just what you’d expect at a climate centre of excellence.

Tony Thomas’s new book, The West: An insider’s tale – A romping reporter in Perth’s innocent ’60s is available from Boffins Books, Perth, the Royal WA Historical Society (Nedlands) and online here

[i] For links go to her site

[ii] One MSSI staffer with a PhD would like emissions-conscious suburbanites to dispense with cars and return  to horseback.

[iii] University of Melbourne vice-chancellor Duncan Maskell said the institution had started working on its policy before the French review. “Freedom of speech is a fundamental principle of our University – it always has been and always will be,” he said. 

[iv] “This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.”

17 thoughts on “Angry Clowns of the Climate Circus

  • Biggles says:

    Perhaps we could get the Nobel Committee to present an annual ‘Biggest lying Climate Scientist’ award. Michael Mann of Penn State would be excluded, of course, as he already has his Nobel.
    (See at the 13:25 mark.) We have to stop being gulled by these liars and start laughing them out of town.

  • Biggles says:

    My apologies; that should have been the 0:45 mark.

  • ianl says:

    Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, Pakistan, India – all these countries and others use Australian thermal coals because these coals are low in mineral content (commonly called ash) and other non-carbon compounds, have a moisture content both easily designed for and consistent, and are supplied through a very efficient industry at an economic price. These characteristics are so established that almost all of the countries listed have invested here quite heavily.

    Until recent years (5-6 years now), the political stability of Australia was considered a bonus to all of that. Obviously, this aspect is not germane now.

    The reasons for this attack from various global quarters on the Australian coal mining industry are two-fold:

    1) closing it down would be a huge propaganda coup. That it will make no difference to the ever-evolving climate is of no concern to the propagandists; political power is all

    2) All those countries listed would be forced to search for alternate supply. Almost all of the desirable characteristics of supply listed above will be difficult to replace, perhaps forcing these countries into other energy sources to maintain their civilising grids; in this aspect, Australia is simply collateral damage. *That* is the real point to this political power play. ( Taiwan, Japan and South Korea simply do not have the geographical space available for 4th rate sources such as wind farms in any case).

    The end result is widespread economic chaos, deliberately forced. Homo sapiens is essentially insane – and this is what will do the species in.

  • en passant says:

    I will take a bet with anyone that humans (all 57 varieties) will still be populating the perfectly normal, though much cooler planet by 2100.
    What I won’t take a bet on is whether or not it is being run by totalitarian godly orcs or civilised people.

  • Alice Thermopolis says:

    Flannery seems to be in a dark and desperate place, as are the other folk keen to imitate eco-socialist/anarchist group, Extinction Rebellion.

    Hardly surprising for a chap who wants to “increase Nature’s influence” by “re-wilding” the Earth, for “there is something magnificent about the idea of a wild and free planet, one whose function is maintained by that commonwealth of virtue formed from all biodiversity”. A “commonwealth of virtue” arising from biodiversity? Since his infatuation with Lovelock’s Gaia years ago, Flannery has been keener to deify Nature than praise humankind. (Tim Flannery, Here on Earth: An Argument for Hope, Text, 2010)


    Arthur Schopenhauer defined hope as “the confusion of desire for a thing with its probability”. Flannery’s latest rant illustrates another insight of the late German philosopher, one worth remembering: “It is natural to believe true what we desire to be true, and to believe it because we desire it.”

  • Stephen Due says:

    It is important to note – in the context of an alleged ‘assured scientific consensus’ – that the alarmist position is not in fact purely scientific, neither is it ‘assured’. The steps of the alarmist argument are as follows:
    (1) The global climate is warming
    (2) The warming is caused by people
    (3) The warming is undesirable because of its consequences [non-scientific premise]
    (4) The warming can in theory be stopped by people taking action [speculative premise]
    (5) The necessary actions are known [speculative premise]
    (6) No undesirable effects expected as a result of the proposed climate actions [non-scientific premise]
    (7) The cost of the proposed climate actions is acceptable [non-scientific premise]
    Therefore (8) global government action to stop global warming is a moral obligation [non-scientific conclusion]
    Every step from 1 through 7 in this argument is debatable, regardless of whether it is purely a matter of science or is a matter of ethics and value-judgments (thus ‘undesirable’ etc). Failure of the argument at any step renders the climate alarmists’ position rationally untenable.
    In my view the argument fails at every step. But even if it failed at just one step, that is the end of the alarmist political program.
    To me, the alarmist position is, logically speaking, extremely precarious. However I see no awareness among the political proponents of ‘climate action’ that this is so. Neither do I see any awareness of the many excellent arguments against every single one of the steps needed to establish their position.

  • deric davidson says:

    The side story adjacent to this commentary shows assorted clowns, morons and imbeciles asking for forgiveness from plants. Do these IQ challenged individuals (commonly referred to as fools) know that plants live on CO2 and thrive if CO2 levels are higher?! Do they know that warmer climates also encourage plant growth?! The plants (if indeed they were so perceptive) should be thanking us for giving them a better life and a better chance at life!

  • Lawrie Ayres says:

    Every one of these leftists exist on other people’s money. The universities and the ABC bludge on the taxpayer so if we had politicians with backbones they would simply stop the funding. Just think of the savings Josh; a billion from the ABC, tens of billions from the ARC and universities, a billion from the CSIRO and the billions from subsidies to wind and solar. You could pay down debt Josh and still have some left over for drought relief, dams and power stations. The bonus would be the left’s lack of a voice. Oh they would scream no doubt but few would be listening and I seriously doubt that some lefty would start donating to the lost cause.

  • Lawrie Ayres says:

    I am totally opposed to abortions but for some of these fools it would have been handy. Is there an in utero test for idiocy before birth? BTW when they have killed off our economy, our manufacturing and our farmers who will be providing their sustenance? They are parasitic in the extreme yet seem hell bent on destroying their hosts.

  • en passant says:

    I had the pleasure last night of congratulating Dan the Man on his $46K pay rise as we had TWO blackouts totaling 15-minutes. I had just reset everything when it all went back again.
    Welcome to 3rd World Victoria.

  • garryevans41 says:

    The idealism of these young activists has fallen victim to broader climate change movement that is fast morphing into a millenarian cult, a new form of totalitarianism, keen to make the emotion of students its public face. No one outside of the Extinction Rebellion mob, a few other assorted hysterics and teachers encouraging their pupils to skip school to engage in pointless, purposeless, posing is really that concerned. Do you think any of them really think that we only have ten to twelve years left to act? Whatever ‘act’ means.
    More likely, the students believe they are part of a grassroots movement to save the environment. What they are actually endorsing is a form of economic austerity and de-industrialisation under a green cover, that is indistinguishable from old fundamentalist movements that warned mankind that ‘End of Days’ was nigh.
    Their virtue signalling is the latest variation of group think, a substitute for thinking, it is thinking avoidance. When you adopt group opinions you have no need to think for yourself. Marching in the streets, allows avoidance of useful, meaningful activities, that actually make a difference. God forbid we have a real global crisis.

  • Lawrie Ayres says:

    The furious and frantic actions of the climate warriors in the recent past and currently suggests to me that they are realising the tide is turning. Already 50% of Westerners, 56% in Australia, 62% in the US, know that man has little or no influence on the climate change and the proponents worry that another 10% changing their view would cause even the most ignorant governments to start changing their policies just to stay in power. The end in nigh alright, not for the world but for the climate gravy train.

  • wstarck says:

    As an electoral majority emerges from those who depend on government for employment, welfare or income from activities which exist only through government mandate, they are assuming an attitude of moral superiority over the productive sector that is forced to support them. This groundswell of mindless self-righteousness is currently rising to a level of mass hysteria unmatched since the witch hunts of the Middle Ages. However, the latter only focused on a relatively small number of defenseless innocents with little consequence for the wider society. In contrast, the current madness is focusing on the fundamental productive activity vital not just to the prosperity of the entire society but to its very existence. The more it succeeds, the more it is looking like a march of the lemmings.

  • Alistair says:

    The real dupes in this game are the children. They are too naive and superficial to realise that the whole climate scam is simply a case of misdirection aimed at focusing their attention away from the real problem – global debt. Global debt has risen in the past decade or so by at least 280 trillion dollars and yet global GNP is largely flat-lining. This suggests unproductive investment , and little chance of ever repaying that debt – in other words the 280 trillion has been stolen from the future of those children in order to prop up the standard of living of the current crop. Let’s hope the children never find that out until its too late! The climate scam is about convincing the children that we need to keep borrowing trillions more of their money now, trillions more of the debt that they are going to inherit, to keep gravy-trains going for one more election cycle. There’s one born every minute.

  • Alice Thermopolis says:

    Frank Furedi: Eco-alarmists are feeding kids a daily diet of fear and doom.

    It is bad enough that society has become so devoted to scaring children about the future survival of the planet. What is even more corrosive is the medicalisation of children’s concern about the future, the transformation of it into a mental-health problem. The number of children supposedly suffering from a climate-change-related mental-health problem is growing all the time, we’re told. Although reports on eco-anxiety rarely specify the percentage of children suffering from it, we are assured that the number is rising.

    This goes far beyond parents. We live in a world in which scaring children has become a form of ‘raising awareness’ about the alleged impending extinction of humanity. We live in a world in which environmental catastrophists use children to educate their supposedly irresponsible elders. We live in a world in which it is apparently okay for climate activists to hide behind a 16-year-old girl and to use her youthful and innocent image to foist political views on the public. Worst of all, we live in a world in which the language of mental illness is being used to ramp up the politics of fear. And we wonder why children feel scared.

  • rod.stuart says:

    Stephen Due
    “In my view the argument fails at every step. But even if it failed at just one step, that is the end of the alarmist political program.”
    One need go no further than the first step.
    First of all, there is no “global climate” Climate is parameter made up of a multitude of factors, and it is and always was a REGIONAL parameter, whose purpose is to enable the comparison of one region with another.
    Secondly, no one knows whether the Earth is “warming” or not. One thing that can be said with absolute certainty is that it has been cooling ever so gradually and somewhat erratically since the Holcene Optimum. There is no doubt whatsoever that the period from 1920 to 1940 was warmer than the period 1980 through 1998. There is no doubt that the Eocene was as much as 10 degrees warmer than the Holcene. There is no doubt that the data has been massaged, tortured, and deliberately distorted that nobody knows what has happened in the last thirty years or so. One thing that can be said with certainty is that the UHI (urban heat island effect) is so prominent in the data as it is reported is larger (and quite possible twice) the reported “warming” since the end of the LIA (Little Ice Age). There is no doubt that the carefully collected data in the USHCN demonstrates a gradual cooling in the contiguous United States for at least fifty years. There is no doubt the the data from 40 milllion radiosondes over the same period demonstrates slight cooling on the Australian continent.
    The cult fails on this one false concept. There is no such thing as “global warming”. That being the case, the entire argument falls into a heap of childish dogma.

  • McRoss says:

    The work of the astronomer, Hubble, showed that the universe is expanding, a basis for the Big Bang theory, according to which gravity puts a brake on the expansion and might even reverse it. Then along comes the Hubble telescope, which receives images from outside the earth’s atmosphere, and now we find that the universe is actually accelerating faster and faster apart. Cosmologists explain this mystery in terms of Dark Energy, which is a reassuring way of saying “we don’t have a clue what’s going on here.” To this they have added Dark Matter, which is supposed to account for gravitational anomalies, and they have now concluded that most of the universe comprises material we know almost nothing about. Funny isn’t it, how a change in the way we measure things changes our reality. People might be surprised to know that it is easier to predict the future of the universe than it is to predict the future of the Earth’s climate – there is nothing outside the universe that can impact on it, trends are quite uniform and billions of years in the making, whereas our climate is a swirling gas, trends happen relatively quickly and are influenced from outside. Yet climate alarmists are so absolutely certain they have got it right, many of them will happily smash our economy and way of life so as to make a green village out of the debris. For all we know, they could be right, but they could also be wrong. Some reforms are sensible even if they cost us a bit, just as health insurance is sensible, and yet only idiots pay so much in premiums they can’t afford to put food on the table.

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