No Sydney Audience for Williams: Marohasy Debate

THE planned debate on Monday at the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) in Sydney between John Williams from the Wentworth Group and Jennifer Marohasy from the Australian Environment Foundation on ‘Saving the Murray’ as advertised here has been cancelled due to lack of interest.

We hope it has nothing to do with Totschweigtaktik.

The word means “death by silence” and it’s an effective tactic for killing off ideas or news reports or contrary opinions that don’t fit the prevailing and fashionable mores according to Shelley Gare[1] writing for Quadrant.

Read the article by Gare here:

Update from the CIS:

MANY thanks for your booking to attend our discussion on The Future of the Murray Darling Basin with Dr Jennifer Marohasy and Dr John Williams, scheduled for Monday, 15 November 2010. It is with regret that we advise the need to postpone this event until 2011. We apologise for any disappointment and inconvenience caused, and will refund any monies paid.    You will be contacted when a new date for this event has been established. In the meantime, we thank you for your understanding.

Best regards, Meegan Cornforth l Events Manager, The Centre for Independent Studies

[1] Shelly Gare was educated in Perth then trained as a cadet journalist there. She moved to Sydney and in her early 20s, Gare was appointed editor of Cleo magazine… moved to London to work as Features Editor at The Sunday Times, returning to Australia in 1985, where she was the first woman deputy editor appointed to The Australian newspaper. Gare was responsible for all newspaper features. Gare was also a consultant editor on the start-up of WHO magazine…  Gare was a founding editor of The Australian’s Review of Books, for which she won a Walkley Award. She is now a freelance journalist and regular contributor to a variety of publications.  [From ]

40 Responses to No Sydney Audience for Williams: Marohasy Debate

  1. val majkus November 12, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

    What a shame! It’s about time there was a sensible debate about the Murray/Darling but I wonder if Sydney was the place to hold it; I certainly would have gone had I been any where near Sydney; let’s have one of Jennifer’s excellent articles on what she would have said had the debate proceeded posted on her website and let’s spread that amongst the peoples of the Murray Darling basin

  2. el gordo November 12, 2010 at 3:45 pm #

    The debate between Williams and Marohasy should be held in the bush, closer to the action. Local media (always starved for stories) would cover it in a big way. Fairfax city papers will run it as human interest, noticing the large turnout.

    A rolling debate of some kind, between climate change adversaries, would be the best possible outcome if the debates could be edited and packaged for 30 minutes of TV time.

  3. John Sayers November 12, 2010 at 7:50 pm #

    I agree with el gordo

    The farmers around me are furious. They are so sick of the greenie onslaught that has attacked them over the past years.

    Bring it to the Bush – they all know you Jennifer via The land and support you.

  4. cohenite November 12, 2010 at 9:33 pm #

    Well, I was booked; disappointed it is not going ahead.

  5. el gordo November 13, 2010 at 9:47 am #

    Val’s idea of getting the word out via the net has merit, if brevity and relevance are adopted. The farmers and graziers are in business and want certainty about floods and droughts, which is not difficult to predict over decadal time scales.

    How would the debate change in light of the approaching floods in the MDB?

  6. val majkus November 13, 2010 at 10:10 am #

    This is what Warwick Hughes says about the MDB plan
    MDB water-buy-back scheme redundant after rains
    October 7th, 2010 by Warwick Hughes
    Just now we are seeing a classic example of totally pointless Australian Government meddling – that can not do anybody – or the environment any good.

    The last decade has seen much publicity by the “expensive water lobby” – much talk of “worst drought ever in the history of the planet” etc etc we have all heard the GreenMedia lies and exaggerations. This has driven the incompetent various Australian Govts to lather up in a Green fervour and plan to buy back water from irrigators – to simply pour into the river environments which would help maintain swamps a bit wetter than they otherwise might have been.

    Unfortunately for all these high paid Green planners – SE Australia has had a wet winter and record wet September rainfall which has caused much wetting and even some flooding down our Murray Darling Basin waterways – including opening the Murray mouth to the sea for the first time in a long while.

    So – in a nutshell – let us be thankful that nature has already done what the future water-buy-backs were planned to do.

    Why not put all these expensive water-buy-back plans back in a file marked “NOT NEEDED NOW” – and we can be thankful that for the time being, nature has done the job for us. Let’s get off the backs of the irrigators and let them get on with their job.

    For those who don’t know (and I’m sure they’re not many) Warwick Hughes, is the scientist who wondered where that “+/–” came from in the Jones and Wigley report, so he politely wrote Phil Jones in early 2005, asking for the original data. Jones’s response to a fellow scientist attempting to replicate his work was, “We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?”
    see that story at

  7. Luke November 13, 2010 at 10:34 am #

    Well El Gordo – all depends on how soon and often the next drought sequence is.

    How often our La Ninas swing back to El Ninos. The next one is out there in the Kelvin waves somewhere. Probably has Cohenite’s name on it.

    Hughesy of course loves to paper over the real cracks. And Jones was far to polite to him.

    “From August 2001 to September this year – the period of the millennium drought broken in the eastern states by this year’s flooding rains – more than $4.5 billion was spent on drought assistance. About $2.7bn of the funds were paid as “exceptional circumstance” interest rate subsidies to about 10 per cent of Australian farms at an average payment of $35,000.”

    more at

    Wasn’t any problems eh? those well adapted bushies pissed it in ! What drought.
    So well adapted. No wuckers.

  8. Ian Mott November 13, 2010 at 11:16 am #

    Moving the debate to the bush will certainly boost the numbers but it will only preach to the converted. Have the debate in Martin Place at lunch time and at least a larger number of people will at least stop and listen long enough to understand that there is more than one side of the story. Achieve that objective first and it will be a day well spent.

  9. el gordo November 13, 2010 at 12:59 pm #


    Twenty years drought followed by 20 years of floods, because a cool PDO brings more La Nina. Flood assistance will soon be on the cards and they deserve every dollar they get, when you consider how much your side spends on useless renewables.

  10. Derek Smith November 13, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

    We all know that gov spending isn’t a good indication of what’s actually going on Luke. The kids at my school are still getting drought assistance even though we’ve had 2 bumper years in a row, but we aren’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth.
    BTW, I think it’s cute that you’ve found a new word for your lexicon as in ‘Kelvin’ waves, you’ll no doubt get some more mileage out of it yet even though you haven’t established a causal relationship between them and ENSO’s.

  11. Luke November 13, 2010 at 3:33 pm #

    But why do you need all that money cope with drought – surely you’ve been telling me it was nothing new? A mere ripple … seen it before. No wuckers mate.

    You’ve been telling me there are no climate issues and it’s all tickety boo.

    Now now Derek – do you know how many analyses and government experts and reviews have been over drought issues. I think it’s a VERY GOOD indication as to what is going on. How much industry lobbies like anything on the issue.

    Can’t handle the climate is WHY ! Perhaps that’s what LOWEST ON RECORD over 12 years means eh?

  12. Luke November 13, 2010 at 3:44 pm #

    El Gordo – don’t you just love the last sentence from our good friends Verdon and Franks.

    “However, if anthropogenic
    climate change was to dominate natural variability in the
    future, resulting in a persistent warm period similar to the
    positive phase of the PDO, then it is possible that we may
    see a sustained period of permanently elevated El Nino
    occurrence. ”

    GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 33, L06712, doi:10.1029/2005GL025052, 2006

    Check ya Modoki mate.

  13. el gordo November 13, 2010 at 5:52 pm #

    Modoki is an urban myth, yet its fair to say that a permanent warm PDO would produce the outcome they mentioned.

    We should know soon enough, but the odds are not in your favor as this cool PDO gets into stride.

  14. cohenite November 14, 2010 at 9:04 am #

    luke and his Modoki; ha!

  15. Neville November 14, 2010 at 1:03 pm #

    You’re far too harsh on Luke Cohenite, I reckon that red line shows a trend of at least 0.0001% per century.

  16. Pikey November 14, 2010 at 1:32 pm #

    Hi All,
    Most people in the bush do know the truth of the MDB.
    It is in the cities that we have to get some truth to counter several years of totally false and misleading hype in relation to this issue.
    There will be an article of mine about this issue at, tomorrow.
    For those who may be interested.
    Anyone who is seriously interested in what I believe is one of the most important policy issues in decades for the future of this country I am happy to share some information if you contact me on:
    I would add some information here but do not know how to cut and paste to this site.

  17. el gordo November 14, 2010 at 1:41 pm #

    ‘If there are different types of people who get totsched, there seems to be just one type of totscher: someone who has already made up their mind and whose critical faculties are affected by that long before they see any work, story, opinion or analysis.’ Shelley Gare

    That would be our resident troll.

  18. Luke November 14, 2010 at 7:55 pm #

    Jeez Coho – thanks for that tinydic – looks like a trend to moi !

    But anyway here’s something for everyone looking at ENSO

    Hit me !

    And for El Gordo – far from an urban myth matey !

    Now watch my latest video

  19. cohenite November 14, 2010 at 8:27 pm #

    luke, the Timmerman ENSO and Taschetto Modoki power points have no evidence that there are AGW changes in the ENSO/Modoki patterns; slide 15 of the Timmerman show is particularly interesting; it shows pronounced variability of ENSO events and intensity over the last 10000 years not just in the last 100; and the general increase in ENSO number and intensity is declining in the last century by comparison with the preceding 10000 years although that decline is itself not exceptional within the larger trend period. In short there is nothing in the modern ENSO or Modoki history which has an AGW flag. The whole weakening Walker, strengthening ENSO/Modoki drama is simply not happening:

  20. Luke November 14, 2010 at 10:47 pm #

    Cohenite – you have no analysis of Modoki mode at all.

  21. cohenite November 15, 2010 at 7:46 am #

    BobTisdale’s analysis of Modoki is definitive:

    You want things to be what you want them to be luke; they aren’t.

  22. Luke November 15, 2010 at 9:20 am #

    For heavens sake – look at Bob’s Figure 3 !!!

    (Definitive !!! LMAO – pigs bum – get published)

    Start to realise you guys are not climate scientists.

    Record warming in the South Pacific and western Antarctica
    associated with the strong central‐Pacific El Niño in 2009–10

    Tong Lee,1 William R. Hobbs,1 Joshua K. Willis,1 Daria Halkides,1 Ichiro Fukumori,1
    Edward M. Armstrong,1 Akiko K. Hayashi,1 W. Timothy Liu,1 William Patzert,1
    and Ou Wang1
    Received 27 July 2010; revised 19 August 2010; accepted 27 August 2010; published 14 October 2010.

    [1] Satellite data for the past three decades reveal a recordhigh
    sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly within a large
    mid‐latitude region of the south‐central Pacific (SCP) during
    the mature phase of the 2009–10 El Niño, with a peak
    magnitude that is 5 times the standard deviation of local
    SST anomaly and is warmer than the concurrent tropical‐
    Pacific SST anomaly. The SCP oceanic warming was confined
    to the upper 50 meters and is associated with an
    extreme and persistent anticyclone. Wind changes associated
    with the anticyclone caused the oceanic warming with
    surface heat flux and ocean processes playing equally
    important roles. The anticyclone diverted circumpolar westerlies
    and warm air towards Antarctica. Austral‐summer
    SST in the Bellingshausen Sea also reached a three‐decade
    high. The extreme atmospheric and oceanic anomalies in the
    South Pacific may have been fueled by the 2009–10 El Niño
    because of its record‐high SST anomaly in the centralequatorial
    Pacific. Citation: Lee, T., W. R. Hobbs, J. K. Willis,
    D. Halkides, I. Fukumori, E. M. Armstrong, A. K. Hayashi,W. T. Liu,
    W. Patzert, and O. Wang (2010), Record warming in the South
    Pacific and western Antarctica associated with the strong central‐
    Pacific El Niño in 2009–10, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L19704,

  23. gavin November 15, 2010 at 9:27 am #

    Since this is the thread for non events I will add a few more.

    Lets start with our Pee Wee cohenite then Peter Laux – Denis Rancort, TCS , SPPI and other connections that involve a global outpouring of funny money (sponsorship Heartland style) and demolish the lot by saying they haven’t got a decent handle between them on the science of the day.

    Spangles, Nev, el n co, I went over the Gerlich v Smith arguments again last night via SourceWatch and concluded like Luke they can’t do either the physics or the math. After; how many years?

    Also If Hughes, Bolt, Nova etc could do and write real climate science they too would be on that other gravy train, the public purse! Imo something else is building their super . Btw Nev; that $ 10,000 challenge was pathetic. I wonder why good Aussie folk get involved. See “Merchants of Doubt”

    Yesterday was the sixth Suday in a row our market was impacted by wet weather so everybody was talking about how good it was. With stone fruit growers from Young and Araluen returning with produce It’s so easy to compare seasons. Then there is the Shoalhaven and Lake George! We are still recovering from a twenty year drought.

    At the same time I can lecture an economic student from China on a broad range of subjects like cookware design for nutrition. vintage Australia tool steel and the virtues of government support for international MOUs on manufacturing standards that include lifestyle and environment impacts. I hope she and family will return for another session on chemicals, fabrics and other processes that involve general consumer expectations in line with our long term trade in the Asia Pacific region.

    Believe it or not; the Tea Party aren’t that important either.

  24. Luke November 15, 2010 at 9:28 am #

    And so now we have a trending index supported by Cohenite in support of this position.

    Nature 461, 511-514 (24 September 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature08316; Received 29 December 2008; Accepted 21 July 2009

    There is an Erratum (3 December 2009) associated with this document.

    El Niño in a changing climate

    Sang-Wook Yeh1, Jong-Seong Kug1, Boris Dewitte2, Min-Ho Kwon3, Ben P. Kirtman4 & Fei-Fei Jin3

    Climate Change and Coastal Disaster Research Department, Korea Ocean Research and Development Institute, 426-744, Ansan, Korea
    Laboratoire d’Etude en Geophysique et Oceanographie Spatiale, 14 avenue Edouard Belin, 31400, Toulouse, France
    Department of Meteorology, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii, 1680 East-West Road, Honolulu, 96822, Hawaii, USA
    University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, Florida, 33149, USA
    Correspondence to: Sang-Wook Yeh1 Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to S.-W.Y. (Email:

    Top of page
    El Niño events, characterized by anomalous warming in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, have global climatic teleconnections and are the most dominant feature of cyclic climate variability on subdecadal timescales. Understanding changes in the frequency or characteristics of El Niño events in a changing climate is therefore of broad scientific and socioeconomic interest. Recent studies1, 2, 3, 4, 5 show that the canonical El Niño has become less frequent and that a different kind of El Niño has become more common during the late twentieth century, in which warm sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the central Pacific are flanked on the east and west by cooler SSTs. This type of El Niño, termed the central Pacific El Niño (CP-El Niño; also termed the dateline El Niño2, El Niño Modoki3 or warm pool El Niño5), differs from the canonical eastern Pacific El Niño (EP-El Niño) in both the location of maximum SST anomalies and tropical–midlatitude teleconnections. Here we show changes in the ratio of CP-El Niño to EP-El Niño under projected global warming scenarios from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 3 multi-model data set6. Using calculations based on historical El Niño indices, we find that projections of anthropogenic climate change are associated with an increased frequency of the CP-El Niño compared to the EP-El Niño. When restricted to the six climate models with the best representation of the twentieth-century ratio of CP-El Niño to EP-El Niño, the occurrence ratio of CP-El Niño/EP-El Niño is projected to increase as much as five times under global warming. The change is related to a flattening of the thermocline in the equatorial Pacific.

  25. cohenite November 15, 2010 at 10:21 am #

    Figure 3 from Tisdale shows no trend; the Lee et al paper is based on anomalous SST; sure;

    Lee has cherry-picked.

    One question with the Yeh et al study; it doesn’t say whether the increase in the CP El Nino or Modoki is statistically significant; it isn’t because it comes from such a small base; from 1854-2007 the Modoki occurred [according to the paper’s definition] 7 times; before 1990 the ratio [to normal El Nino] was 0.01, after 1990 the ratio was 0.29; that is a 345% increase in a 20 year period; the study does not look at whether there were such deviations from the standard ratio at any other time for any short period since 1854; that needs to be done.

  26. gavin November 15, 2010 at 12:50 pm #

    Meanwhile in “Measuring the meltdown” Liu Shiyin et al has cobbled together quite a story

    Liu Shiyin

  27. Luke November 15, 2010 at 3:02 pm #

    Pigs bum there is no trend in his Figure 3 !

  28. cohenite November 15, 2010 at 5:31 pm #

    Figure 3:

    Can we have a poll on this; the trend is the red line; luke says there is a trend, I don’t [although since about 1970 there has been increased variability]; can we have some thoughts on this; I suppose if you say that a straight line is a trend then luke is right.

  29. Luke November 15, 2010 at 6:42 pm #


    You’ve drawn a straight red line !!!!!!!! Get the data and do a linear regression and also a parabolic regression.

  30. cohenite November 15, 2010 at 7:34 pm #

    The straight line is the line of best fit; which is what a linear regression does; are you off your pills again.

  31. Luke November 15, 2010 at 8:09 pm #

    Where’s the data file?

  32. cohenite November 15, 2010 at 8:39 pm #

    Go to the Tisdale link, and click on “source” which is under figure 3.

  33. John Sayers November 15, 2010 at 9:07 pm #

    Puulleeeeze Luke – don’t you think it’s time to let us know where you come from?? We know cohenite is a lawyer, spangled drongo is an ex farmer etc, you even know who myself is.

    you go on and on like you are an authority on all this yet you are just “Luke” a nobody.

    Don’t you think it’s reasonable to identify yourself?? I do.

  34. Luke November 16, 2010 at 5:18 am #

    Well John – as the blog well knows Luke is a whole cadre of left wing communists paid for by lefty governments to attack Australia’s premier anti-science blog 24 x 7, and to stop the Marohasy juggernaut. At least 6 of them.

    Coho – yes I already peeked – what’s the URL to the actual index.

  35. el gordo November 16, 2010 at 7:16 am #

    Rising sea level is part of the new world order under comrade Luke. Fantasia!

  36. cohenite November 16, 2010 at 9:04 am #

    luke, you usually have a point to most of your chicanery but I don’t get this one; the data is HADISST; the links are plain.

  37. spangled drongo November 16, 2010 at 10:12 am #

    A pos feedback of ACO2e not generally known is that earthworms are growing as big as carpet snakes.

    It’s the early worm that catches the bird now.

    However this will reverse as the birds learn to cope, grow as big as pterodactyls and begin eating people.

    I believe Alfred Hitchcock was onto this some years ago.

  38. Luke November 16, 2010 at 5:32 pm #

    The index isn’t there is it. You have to derive it !

  39. gavin November 16, 2010 at 8:59 pm #

    Luke, Cohenite; for what it’s worth, imo Fig 2 long-term trend at bobtisdale shows us that what ever drives it is getting larger and possibly wilder. I saw it first with my eyes on the curve not the axis but the 1900-2009 curves in the cohenite link is not the same despite the illusion of a die back posed by that red line.

    I f I was still observing from an industrial point of view that fig 2 curve would be worrying enough, so any attempt to drown it by tilting down the current trend is either very naive or pure bastardry

  40. el gordo November 17, 2010 at 8:53 pm #

    ‘Whenever a theory appears to you as the only possible one, take this as a sign that you have neither understood the theory nor the problem which it was intended to solve.’

    Karl Popper

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