How Scientific Ideas Become Fashionable (Part 1)

THERE is no doubt that many people are susceptible to the repetition of a single message. No matter how stupid the message, if enough people say it often enough, a large percentage of those who hear it will begin to believe it. That’s the basis of advertising and also propaganda: it’s how you make ideas fashionable, even scientific ideas. But just because an idea is fashionable doesn’t make it right and just because an idea is right, well it doesn’t mean it represents the truth.

Fashion is in fact the lowest form of ideology and I have little regard for fashionable ideas – even fashionable scientific ideas. I also have little regard for what many claim to be good and wholesome ideas. My interest is in the facts, the evidence – the truth particularly as it pertains to the natural world.

There is intrinsic good in having a deep understanding, based on truths, of aspects of the natural world. For example, it is through understanding electricity – what it is and how it can be generated – that it many of our basic physical needs are now met at the flick of a switch: the lights come on, the house warms up, the kettle boils water. But not everyone studies science to discover useful things, for some it is the chase after facts and the thrill that comes with their discovery, for others an interest in an aspect of the puzzle that is the natural world in the hope of finding order in the universe.

But to be successful at science there is a need for a particular type of discipline – a discipline that is not necessary in many other intellectual pursuits. There is a need to be honest to reality and to always test theory against reality. In this respect science is different from the modern arts.

But science has not always been so different from art. For example, Leonardo da Vinci studied anatomy to become a better artist. That was during a period in Europe when the artist’s goal was assumed to be the representation of reality – of nature. But then a time came when European artists renounced representation as their goal. Art now is about emotion, culture and fashion – few modern day artists attempt to depict the world as it really is. This may or may not be a good thing for art but it clearly makes art something very different from science.

Science is meant to be about reality – it is meant to be about discovery and understanding and truth. Science is not meant to be about emotion or culture or even fashion. But how can you tell whether a conversation about a scientific issue is based on truth or fashion?

Until recently Larvatus Prodeo (LP), one of the first and most popular intellectual and political weblogs in Australia, regularly discussed issues concerning climate change. But I was banned from these discussions. I didn’t regularly visit the weblog, but I do subscribe to the daily e-news from On Line Opinion that used to advertise some of the topics discussed at LP. When I noticed something interesting on climate change I would sometimes click across and sometimes try and place a comment in the often very long comment threads. But my comments never appeared. When LP closed down in April 2012, I made comment at another popular weblog, Skepticlawyer, in a thread about the contribution of LP and weblogs more generally to political and intellectual debate, I comment that I was banned from posting at LP.[1]

Interestingly one of the moderators from LP, Anna Winter, quickly posted that my comments: “got banned from LP because they weren’t adding to the conversation we wanted to have.”

Anna Winters has degrees in philosophy and graphic design and has a particular interest in feminism, politics, ethics, pop culture, fashion magazine and chocolate mudcake. Clearly Ms Winters felt comfortable, and indeed entitled, to block a scientist, myself, from contributing to apparently open and public discussion about an issue of science on the basis of what? Emotion?

In the discussion that ensued at Scepticlawyer it became apparent that not only had I been banned from LP, but that any comment that referenced me, or my weblog, in any way, were also automatically filtered out – censored. Yet most Australian intellectuals assumed that LP was a place of robust debate where all were welcome and that discussions on topics such as climate change would not have automatically excluded a “noted Australian climate change sceptic” – to quote from an article in popular press.[2]

I introduce this anecdote because it shows that even in the most democratic of countries, Australia, on the most democratic of mediums, public and popular weblogs, conversations about science may be heavily moderated such that fashion is favoured over facts – or at least harmony over Socratic discussion.

So how can the average person find out the truth about issues of science, or at least both sides of issues of science that are in dispute?

If you ask most people, even scientists, how they might know something about the natural world, for example what causes coral bleaching at the Great Barrier Reef or ocean acidification, they will tend to reply with a piece of information, often a fact, that they will claim to have on good authority. For example, they may even quote an expert or a journal article, as though this proves that their fact is the truth.

Then there are those people who will tell a story about the topic often based on an anecdotal reflecting their own past experience.

There will only ever be a small percentage that can explain a phenomenon like ocean acidification from first principles and these experts will often speak in jargon that is unintelligible –unintelligible unless a great deal of self discipline is imposed.

So while there may be an intrinsic good in better understanding aspects of the natural world, or at least getting closer to the truth, its not always easy. And that is assuming that there is no reason for an expert, an institution, a government, or even a weblog, to want to obscure or hide the truth.

1. See ‘The debate platforms of the future: twitter and facebook?’, posted on April 10, 2012 at
2. See ‘Counterpoint puts boot into Mediawatch’, Nick Leys, March 10, 2012 at

103 Responses to How Scientific Ideas Become Fashionable (Part 1)

  1. Sean July 15, 2012 at 3:19 am #

    Is this really about an idea that is fashionable or about cliquishness? Being excluded from a blog because “you weren’t adding to the conversation we wanted to have” sounds to me more like elemetary school yard behavior and has little to do with fashionable scientific ideas. (By the way, I’d prefer to use fads vs. fashionable.) The fact that the blog shut down a few months ago probably tells you about sustainability of of a closed group echo chamber. I’ve always maintained that science is patient and good ideas will eventually win out not because they put on alters to be worshiped by the converted but because they are thrown into the world to be handled, tried and tested. When they survive the assault, they may not be the fancy, fashionable tirm in the house that changes periodically, but they make the house’s foundation sturdy.

  2. Larry Fields July 15, 2012 at 4:41 am #

    Speaking of scientific fashion… An acquaintance, Mamikon Mnatsakanian, is a leading astrophysicist and mathematician. He points out that there’s no real evidence that Black Holes actually exist, despite the large amount of scientific literature and pop sci articles on these fictive entities.

    The basic idea is that if we cram a given quantity of matter into a sufficiently small sphere, the escape velocity is greater than the speed of light, and nothing can escape its gravitational clutches. The catch is that we’d probably need warp drive capability, in order to visit a Black Hole candidate, and test the hypothesis.

    Yes, there are many Black Hole candidates. Our very own Milky Way Galaxy has such a candidate near its center. It’s quite massive and quite dense.

    If the Gravitational Constant is truly constant, then our candidate is a Black Hole. Mamikon’s work shows that if the Gravitational Constant can vary in a certain way, then Black Holes do not exist!

    Moreover Black Holes are not consistent with the Big Bang theory. If Big Bang theory is true, then once upon a time, the universe had a small, finite size, and by definition, would have qualified as a Black Hole. And it would continue to be a Black Hole today. And that means we currently live inside a Black Hole!

    If we were to take a survey of astrophysicists’ opinions, we’d find that there is an overwhelming consensus in favor of the Big Bang theory, and a somewhat smaller majority in favor of Black Hole theory. Sorry guys, you can’t have it both ways. If you press a typical astrophysicist on the subject, he’d reluctantly admit that Black Hole theory is a ‘domain solution’, a fallback position for the horribly unfashionable scenario in case the Big Bang theory turned out to be false. And that strikes me as duplicitous.

    Larry’s Zeroth Rule of the Scientific Method:
    When you’re wearing your scientist’s hat, always tell the bloody truth, warts and all.

  3. Neville July 15, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    This recent story about Karoly shows that science today is about personalities and petty jealousies as well as the science. Probably has been for a long time and is just a part of the territory.

    WUWT had a post on this subject a few days ago and discussed Karoly’s nasty backhander delivered recently to Steve McIntyre.
    This seems to be because McIntyre and a blogger forced Karoly and Gergis to admit an error in their paper. It was then cancelled.

    Of course at the time of McIntyre’s and Jean S disclosure of the paper Karoly behaved decently and emailed McIntyre to thank him for his work.
    But he now seems to be holding a grudge even appearing to want to invent a personality trait to McIntyre that doesnt exist.

  4. Neville July 15, 2012 at 9:06 am #

    Here’s Spencer’s take on the terrible June 2012 in the US plus drought (s)? and a good response by blogger Mick Maguire.
    Puts everything in a more proper perspective.

  5. John V K July 15, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    Jen, you were not alone. Anyway an anecdote to match your anecdote and please accept that two instances are not necessarily evidence that they were massaging their message by censorship, but I was one of the first snipped.

    Actually LP was not real old then, prior to your blog if memory serves. Anyway I said something that up set Kim (Paul’s assistant), something about one of the political baddies, I think Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler, Mao can’t really remember and my response disappeared, comparing her piece with justication of their atrocious behaviors. So I emailed Mark Bannisch (the blogger) and asked, sup with this censorship thing blogging is not supposed to be about censorship.

    He responded politely and said no they were not into censorship and that my post was a tad offensive but he would reinstate it. I said no don’t bother, mate, because if you or moderator (assistant blogger) think that was offensive I’m off I will swerve your site.

    Please note I have been binned on many occasions on many blogs and I take it on the chin. For me the bestblogs are the ones where debate is rarely censored and the discussion robust and at time cheeky and I love a flame war from time to time, but not for the sake of flame war. for interest, as a student I read Swift and Clemmens, I love Heinlein.

    But the point you make on censorship was not lonely is my point, as a lot of close minded thinkers are now finding there is no future in censorship, whether it is a MSM a PBS or a blog, tyhe audience goes away and rarely if ever comes back. The other thing is they won’t debate debate to facts and have no sense of humor.

    (Oh and it is not a left wing thing in particular, there are right wing things also where it occurs particularly in that faux science economics).

  6. Debbie July 15, 2012 at 10:27 am #

    Interesting post Jen,
    The comments so far have also reminded me of Walter Starck’s take on a lot of this….
    “It’s an academic pissing contest”
    And even Luke said at one stage:
    “It’s because scientists like to argue!!”
    IMHO, I think your point about the necessity to recognise boring, non sensational & unfashionable truths and reality over oft repeated fashionable ideas and scary future possible scenarios (or fads as Sean says) is something that has gone sadly missing in this brave new world.
    There seems to be a lack of perspective and a lack of good old common sense operating.
    The real ‘natural environment’ and its extraordinary ability to change to recover and adapt, despite our best efforts to stop it, is being almost totally ignored.
    We have all been so alarmed and so shackled by that ‘precautionary principle’ that all focus has zeroed in on negative scenarios and all funding is about delineating and reporting and researching the possibility of a myriad of negative ‘MIGHTS’.
    Risk management is now all about ‘imaginary extrapolated risks’ generated by a fascinated obsession with the possibilities of modelling a myriad of scary projections….that can’t factor in honest human ingenuity or the fact that the natural environment has litle or no respect for human invented calendar points…yearly…decadel…centenial…millenium or whatever else.
    The most natural thing for humans to do is to alter and enhance their immediate environment.
    Despite the fashionable ideas at the moment…nature is neither our friend or our enemy….it is something that we have to work with and live with and of course in a responsible manner.
    The big picture is mostly a positive picture….and when we can recognise REAL mistakes and clever new technology….we are more than capable of fixing the mistakes and implementing the technologies….without a HUGE % of the right/left/middle/up/down/totally spinning/economic/modelling/parochial/protectionist/ political BS that is being foisted on us all….supposedly for the noble ‘greater good’.

  7. David Ball July 15, 2012 at 11:04 am #

    We should start looking at the root of the problem, which to me is the education system. It is subject to human frailty. I will cite my experience. I had many teachers who could not stand the idea of a student who was smarter than they, or funnier, or more well read. The old saying “everyone loves success,…. except in others” fits. Sorry teachers out there, it is my experience. A student who is asked for his opinion is a fool to give it. The professor or teacher wants his/her opinion regurgitated back to them. Critical thinking skills are not taught or allowed. Life-skills (balancing a check book, for example) are not generally taught.
    At the university level, the schools are dominated by the left wing socialist world view. Recent events in Spain should tell everyone all they need to know about how that works on a societal level. It has skewed the ivory towers to a political agenda over an honest scientific agenda. Systemic bias has put these once proud institutions on a path of self immolation.

    Right or wrong, not right or left.

  8. David Ball July 15, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    Jennifer M,

    Thought I would visit your site. Have not been here for a while. Please forgive me. Excellent comments throughout as always. Love the part about you not adding to the conversation THEY wanted to have. Typical, and hilarious that she probably has no idea what is wrong with that sentence. If a discussion is controlled, it is not a discussion. All the best, ….. DB

  9. bazza July 15, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    Jen, maybe you need to adapt to the weight of evidence as has Trex. He is at least trying to be relevant within a selfserving frame. Your neural net paper got rejected from JClimate because it failed the relevance test. It is not a bad rule and has nothing to do with free speech. But if you used the relevance test for stuff appearing here, there would not be much left. So go with TRex. EXXON Chief TRex Tillerson is exuding confidence – we adapt!. TRex acknowledges “Increasing CO2 emissions in the atmosphere will have a warming impact,’s an engineering problem and it has an engineering solution. As a species, that’s why we’re all still here,” he said. “We adapt.” Tell the reef to get a wriggle on. (Is he perhaps the same guy – Johnny Tillerson gave us those portentous hits of the 60s “It Keeps Right On A-Hurtin’,” “Earth angel’ etc.. so if Trex can get real and roll over, there is hope aspringing.) TRex is not to be messed with, a Texan who went on to be President of the Boy Scouts of America. He would be prepared. The last few sentences are bordering on the irreverent and irrelevant.

  10. Debbie July 15, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    Relevance test?????
    Now I’m highly fascinated.
    Relevance to….????…. what in particular Bazza?

    Definition of relevance according to oxford dictionary:
    noun: (n)
    Bearing on or having reference to the matter in hand. From Latin ‘relevaire’ ‘raise up’ or ‘relieve’.

    Defintion of relevance according to Macquarie dictionary and thesaurus.
    noun: (n)
    Apt. Topical. Related.
    bearing upon or having connection to the matter in hand.

    In what particular way does the neural net paper fail the JClimate ‘relevance test’ Bazza?
    I’m particularly fascinated because it was indeed published, so it must have passed some type of relevance test?
    Are there different relevance tests????

    Please do elaborate…preferably without the sneering pop culture and literary references if you can possibly manage that….as I suspect they would definitely not pass any scientifically based relevance test.
    Jen does correctly point out that there is a difference between science and art.
    And when you have got that one sorted….
    I’m equally fascinated with how your definition of ‘irreverent’ is in line with your failing relevance test comment.
    Is there a clergy member somewhere who needs to be worshiped?
    I am happy to supply the defintion of irreverence/ent if you need me to Bazza.

  11. cementafriend July 15, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    Jen, agree with others- interesting post.
    Some of those with technical and scientific understanding do not comment in depth on a subject because it is likely to go over the heads of readers particularly if there are complex mathematical formulae. That is why they may reference an article which gives actual measured results to make a point. However, as you say it is easy to misinterpret, exaggerate or cherry-pick results to give the opposite impression of the truth (eg backradiation)
    Maths education (including statistics) is an important subject that has been weakened at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. How some of the published articles in science and particularly climate science get published is astounding but I suppose understandable if it is realised that none of them have a good grounding in maths. I recall a maths lecturer at university saying complex numbers should be taught in early primary schools because young children would accept imaginary numbers and how they can be used to express vectors.
    Larry Fields, interesting comment. There are quite few who question the big bang. It has been measured that so-called black holes emit X-rays (therefore they are not black holes but a solid of high temperature). Also, it has recently been found that the universe is either not expanding or at least expanding at a much slower rate than previously estimated. Further, there is much contention about multiple dimensions which are at least possible mathematically. I think there is a thought that there are 10 dimensions which which six are hidden.

  12. John V K July 15, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

    The censorship thing is being discussed at Blair’s site. But Blair is espousing the company line and if there is one thing noticeable for all the pot calling, chickened out when the government threw a gag order at them and have been running scared and legal ever since, throwing journos under buses over censorship issues.

    Blair never speaks to his readers and I guess he’s allowed that bit of arrogance. He is now demanding punctuation and spell checks and all kinds of silly stuff.

    Him and the moderators even decide what is funny. Sometimes it is funny and I enjoy it but I am over them and their white horse attitudes when they won’t criticise their own fellows in the corporation on the big issues, instead taking potshots at other outlets willy nilly. I prefer Bunyip when it comes to prose and just plain literary guts.

    Anyway LP disappeared, many have disappeared.

    Better bloggers shape their content with feedback, guide a discussion. Answer questions when possible.

    That is what community leadership does. Me I asked a lot of dumb questions but holy horse shit batman, I got a lot of answers. Got to read some people who are legendary.

    That is what the whole internet blogging thing is about, communication in critical thinking. My first blog was and is a source of how to stuff that is relevant to the consumer.

  13. gavin July 15, 2012 at 5:57 pm #

    I liked the first bit Jen, but not the last. Your Leonardo example illustrates the learning curve best as it is at first an art based on one’s most vivid imagination ie structuring the world via a

  14. gavin July 15, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

    oopps; via a 3D picture. Anna Winters probably does the same via “emotion” that is, “feeling” something is right based on her general experience.

    Recall; I often say most of us can grow our brain to do what we want in terms of language and other concepts we can develop for the communication of ideas. In blog terms though, that communication has to be based on at least a little give and take and a certain respect for each other’s position.

    Learning also requires some humbleness in regard to what’s gone before in the structure of another’s position

  15. Neville July 15, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

    Interesting post by Jo Nova blogger Sliggy. Seems that the 1800s in OZ had very extreme weather events, certainly as hot or cold or extreme floods etc as today.

  16. Neville July 15, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

    Good post by Pat Michaels at WUWT covering historical record temps for the USA.
    Seems that todays heatwaves are not that extraordinary at all.

  17. Johnathan Wilkes July 15, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

    So much for the “science” if the scientists/politicians made up their mind.
    Just watching channel 72, “seven wonders of the industrial world”.

    It’s about the cholera outbreak in London and sanitation issues, despite irrefutable evidence of cholera being a water born disease, the doctor is ignored because the “science” does not approve!

  18. bazza July 15, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

    Nev mate, you may well think yokel, but act global. “1934 is the hottest year on record in the USA which only comprises 2% of the globe. According to NASA temperature records, the hottest year on record globally is 2005”.

  19. Luke July 15, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    Neville quotes Michaels as source from disinformation central. Fox reporting on the hen house from wolf’s lair ! hahahahahahaha

    Watch’em squirm Bazza as the records stumble. Time for some good ol’ denialism. Be prepared as the next position will morph to “well even if it is – it doesn’t matter”.

  20. Johnathan Wilkes July 15, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

    Until you can give us reliable, provable temp. records (without “adjustment”) for the last 50k years at the least, your crowing about CC call it whatever, you got nothing. You really do not have anything!

  21. Johnathan Wilkes July 15, 2012 at 9:48 pm #

    Apropos Luke, I read your links but I also read others as well, so please … ?

  22. Neville July 15, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

    Bazza the US temp record is supposed to be world’s best and that 2005 nonsense is after adjustments by Hansen etc.

    Luke you drongo if you believe that CAGW is a fact then forget about “tackling climate change” or “taking action on climate change” because the yanks are heading to 1990 levels while China is adding another billion tonnes more of co2 emissions every year.

    What is it you don’t understand about this simple fact? The OECD is flatlining and the non OECD emissions are soaring.
    So what can you do about it you pathetic denier. The maths couldn’t be any easier to understand, so what’s your problem?

  23. Robert July 15, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

    Needless to say, “records” for heat, cold, dry, wet, low pressure etc will “stumble” over time. Observant and/or scholarly minds will learn a little more (if allowed).

    At present nobody knows what future climate will be. Not even close. Also, nobody cares about real CO2 emissions in real time. Nobody. Everybody is a skeptic.

    This is about fashion, emotion and conformity. It’s about the private frustrations and that fierce but unjustified snobbery that shapes the authoritarian personality.

  24. Neville July 15, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

    Robert most importantly the Gillard govt couldn’t care less about co2 emissions either.
    That’s as long as the emissions are created overseas and not here in OZ.

    It really is the greatest con trick of the last hundred years and yet we’re supposed to suck it up and just blindly accept the lies and deceit.

  25. Luke July 16, 2012 at 12:27 am #

    Ah Bazza – look at em’ froth. Remember all those independent reconstructions that have replicated the same results.

    I see Tamino back to climate trends too

    The poor lads are blowing a cognitively dissonant fuse as the magnitude and improbability of the heat wave sets in. It’s fascinating for the denialti – even when it’s happening it’s not happening. We need to be round for them to pick up the pieces.

    Striking video don’t you think. haunting sound track

    Sorry about the press clipping service Baz, but as you know the lads only get disinformation sources so occasionally one needs to update them on reality.

  26. James Mayeau July 16, 2012 at 3:11 am #

    See if you can follow.

    Hyperion (moon) of Saturn; an airless rock, in 3:4 orbital resonance with Titan (putting it out of range of Enceladus’ ice fountains), albedo somewhat variable between 0.2 – 0.3, absolutely no greenhouse effect, surface temperature 93 K (−180 C).

    Titan (moon), thick atmosphere (1.45 times Earth), 5% methane, the most potent greenhouse gas of them all, steady albedo of 2.2, supposedly persistent greenhouse effect comparable to Venus, surface temperature 94 K (−179 C) .

    Where’s the global warming?

  27. Tony Price July 16, 2012 at 6:11 am #

    I rarely relate anecdotes; what is interesting or thought-provoking to me may be of no interest whatsoever to anyone else. However, here’s a personal experience which may be worth repeating. Back in 2003, i was developing an interest in the “global warming” stuff, and began looking for evidence. I wasn’t aware of any great proponent/sceptic battle at all, the predicted outcome(s) (there were too many for my liking) sounded a little too catastrophic to me, and I figured that the personal “carbon footprint” stuff was a little too pat. I realised that most of the recommended choices and actions couldn’t have much actual effect, and might even be counter-productive.

    To cut a short story long, I soon found myself in an interconnected web of blogs and websites of what I would now call the alarmist faction. I was looking for physics, maths and chemistry, and couldn’t find any. Lots of posts which seemed to revel in doomsday predictions, lots of comments, all agreeing, applauding, back-slapping, but no damned data! I eventually found a website of an important-sounding body called the IPCC, with a large structured report online called the Third Assessment Report, or AR3.. Something to get my mental teeth into at last! However, I soon smelled a rat. The Summary for Policymakers didn’t seem to chime with the science content in some statements and conclusions, and the data on glaciers (which I knew a little about) seemed a little sparse to say the least. I wasn’t too sure about this CO2 thing either. How could a gas with 0.03% concentration have such a large effect on surface temperature?

    To cut a long story even longer, I returned to a few blogs to re-read what was being claimed, and discovered that many things were being claimed as “settled science” when AR3 had many caveats and cautions in its chapter conclusions. Now armed with a few facts and figures, I ventured into commenting, pulling a commenter up on his statement that there was 3% CO2 in the atmosphere. His response was to call me an idiot, amongst other Lukey terms, and he suggested I read the IPCC report. As I had read it (or at least most of the science sections), I responded that table x.yy showed the correct figure, and got the response “How can a gas with 0.03% concentration have the effect that CO2 has? It’s 3%”, and was told I must be a “sceptic”, or perhaps worse, a “denier”. I posted a rebuttal which was soon deleted, and I found I couldn’t repost it; I was banned. Thus was born a “Sceptic” (capital S) though I’ve always been a sceptic (small s) because my science teachers taught me that a “prove it” approach was essential in science.

    I don’t remember which great scientist said “If you can’t explain your theory to the man on the Clapham omnibus, then you don’t understand it yourself”. I think a good sceptical approach to scientific papers is to put oneself in the position of that man, and to expect a simple, easy-to-understand jargon-free description of the processes and mechanisms, and a simple but comprehensive summary of evidence and conclusions.

    Writing for the “man on the Clapham omnibus” concentrates the mind wonderfully; it makes one think carefully and deeply in order to summarise simply, and that process can sometimes have unexpected results. Unfortunately it sometimes means that the revealed flaws in your argument devalue that argument to the point that it’s worthless. I’ve abandoned a dozen or more blog posts with that realisation, and I’m proud to admit it.

  28. Tony Price July 16, 2012 at 6:14 am #

    Luke said: “Sorry about the press clipping service Baz, but as you know the lads only get disinformation sources so occasionally one needs to update them on reality.”

    ‘s funny, I was just thinking that same of the two of you.

  29. Neville July 16, 2012 at 8:41 am #

    Luke you seem to have zero logic and reason so I don’t know why we bother. Here are those simple numbers again that you don’t seem to understand. OECD and non OECD 1990 to 2010.,CG5,&syid=1990&eyid=2010&unit=MMTCD

    Now if you need help just tell us why you can’t understand the SIMPLE FACTS of co2 emissions over the last 21 years?

    BTW latest numbers for 2011 much higher again for non OECD and the planet and USA still heading south back to 1990 levels. All that new technology and easy gas extraction.

  30. John Sayers July 16, 2012 at 9:12 am #

    Luke – it’s not about reading papers etc – if someone had been telling you for the past 5 years that sky was about to turn green and it still hasn’t happened you’d naturally become skeptical of anything else they suggested wouldn’t you.

  31. Luke July 16, 2012 at 9:51 am #

    Neville – who cares what bogus inventories are reporting. We know what’s happening at Mauna Loa. So your point is?

    Kookers tries the old weather variability shell game for a Gish Gallop.

    Well John – obviously science progresses without papers and leaving your backyard. That’s smart.

  32. John Sayers July 16, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    No Luke – science progresses with papers – but when the rhetoric doesn’t match the papers then something is wrong!!

  33. clipe July 16, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Hunting with fire appears to benefit Australia’s small-mammal populations, say Stanford researchers

    Off topic I know. But I’m quite sure this is the first place I learned of the benefits of man made fire.

  34. Jennifer Marohasy July 16, 2012 at 11:17 am #

    If you are posting comment please try for something that will enlighten, rather than simply make Mr Koala cringe. Mr Koala cares little for personal attacks and is much more interested in facts and even some ideas.

    And I’m just about to delete some comments that are particularly puerile, including comments on puerile comments.

  35. Luke July 16, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    Would that include calling senior reef scientists “Serial offenders”?

  36. bazza July 16, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    How about that – censored for irrelevance – know how you feel Jen.

  37. sp July 16, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    I believe the behaviour of “senior reef scientists” tobe reprehensible.

    They are not enagaging in science, they are engaging in politics and fund raising.

    Their statements (following the conference) were science free – nothing more than alarmists statements with supporting evidence.

    Almost as worse is the behaviour of SBS (news) which simply parroted the alarmist words and supplemented them with vision of “environmental disaster”. No investigative journalism there – just a lazy reporter and news reader.

    The so called “senior reef scientists” area behaving like serial offenders – scaring people to gain aditional funding is a nasty way to do “science”.

    These so called scientists have dug hemselves a deep hole – in the past they have been harsh on anybody who dares challenge their utterances, they have used imoderate language, they behave unprofressionally – they ar in too deep and must now play out this farce to the bitter end, despite knowing the game is lost and the broader community are onto the scam.

    They are serial offenders and deserve to labled and treated as such.

    Luke – ocean acidification is the last refuge of the scoundrel.

    As Jen points out – coral does very well in waters farther to the north than the GBR – the extra temp does not impact them, so why bleat on about the “threat” to the GBR. You souind worse than Penny Wong and Tanya Plibersek – “we’re losing the reef as we speaK, blah, blah”.

    Oops – sorry I forgot – its all worse than we thought. Yeh – righth!

  38. Neville July 16, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    Luke I’ve proved my case, facts and the truth are your big problem. Since when has the EIA reports been considered bogus? Every country contributes info to the EIA every year.

    So the non OECD emissions are soaring and Mauna Loa readings are now about 390ppmv and your point is?
    This is exactly my point and why I’ve used the most up to date official co2 emissions per country.
    You obviously accept Mauna Loa readings but not the source of those co2 emissions. I accept both sets of numbers and so do countries all around the world.

  39. Robert July 16, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    Part of the process of abolishing history is promoting the belief that “scientists” are a free thinking elite above politics, theology, mass emotion, conformity and fashion. In fact, the scholarly community has never been an elite of impartial enquirers protecting the rest of us from hooey and obscurantism. Not risk-takers or go-getters by nature, they are more often the paid supporters and official priesthood of prevailing dogma. The belief that something like “reef science” cannot be held in political thrall is a fond belief, at best. There is no question that information of value is being gathered, but that can happen in the worst of intellectual climates. Alchemy gave us much chemistry, Lysenko and his buddies found out things that one would not discard.

    What is striking is how valuable science and scholarship become when natural curiosity, freedom and impartiality are allowed to prevail. What power lies in that rare combination!

    Though only a casual blogger, I blush to use words like “record” and “unprecedented” because I instinctively know that such expressions, even when qualified, are prime tools of distortion and manipulation. When someone posturing as a scientist uses these expressions loosely and without any qualification, I have to dismiss them as distorters and manipulators. When they do it continually, I have to suspect something worse. Even the average layman of average intelligence talking about cricket would not and should not be excused.

    The enquirer looks for contradictions. The dogmatist hates them. The recent heatwave in North America, well and truly precedented in multiple ways, quickly became a flagship for the most slob-minded of alarmist “scientists”, though fortunately not all (hence my inverted commas). I can honestly say that any coldwaves recently occurring (there have been several) would impress me not at all, and I would certainly discount the opinions of any Ice Age boosters who drew flip conclusions from these events, especially if they used words like “record” and “unprecedented” without qualification.

    We are presently operating under the conceited belief that the Enlightenment will continue unabated. It won’t. We have to deserve it. Look at the stupendous absurdities and paradoxes of Australia’s present energy policies, the products of “greened” science and economics.

    Modern environmentalism did not begin with Rachel Carson, though that would be bad enough. It really did become institutional first in National Socialist Germany, with Martin Heidegger as its most respectable philosophical urger. Germany was where hostility to free markets, mass consumption and class mobility had long been stiffest, but it was National Socialism which successfully wedded the Bismarckian benevolent state to Wagnerian nature cult.

    In short, the real emergency facing humanity is intellectual, not physical. To serve dogma, our Green Betters would happily see Australia as one gigantic mine with wind turbines whizzing on any spare ground. Do I exaggerate? Look at the great “saving” philosophies and movements of the last century before answering.

  40. Neville July 16, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

    Steve McIntyre comments on Karoly’s allegation that he was threatened with legal action.
    What a decent man McIntyre is and what an embarrassment to Australia Karoly has proven to be.

  41. Neville July 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    Can we trust our Aussie BOM temp record?

    Don’t forget that we’re currently wasting billion$ every year trying to reduce co2 emissions that our Gillard govt couldn’t care less about and this is partly based on the BOM temp record.

  42. John Sayers July 16, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    Unbelievable isn’t it Neville – I’ve been following the BoM Acorn investigation from day 1 and have been on the correspondence list of emails of the independent participants.

  43. Johnathan Wilkes July 16, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    Having read a lot of research papers from both side now, (yes Luke we DO read from both sides, for and against) the most contentious issue to me always was the fact of tempering (adjusting) data. It just should not be done! Period.
    There is no valid reason for it. Oh you can invent thousands of reasons but that don’t make it right.

    I write software for a living and many involve horse racing, if my data source would be adjusted as the temp records are, all my work would be useless.
    But my past data is as accurate as can be and the outcome can be relied upon. (and it woiks!)

  44. el gordo July 16, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

    Going back to Jen’s post…

    ‘So how can the average person find out the truth about issues of science, or at least both sides of issues of science that are in dispute?’

    Good question, but no easy answer.

    Over at Deltoid the conversation has become robust and they didn’t snip me. Tim Lambert may have come to his senses at last.

    On other blogs, mainly of a political hue without knowledge of science, its a lot harder to explain.

  45. Tony Price July 16, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    Jen said: “So while there may be an intrinsic good in better understanding aspects of the natural world, or at least getting closer to the truth, its not always easy. And that is assuming that there is no reason for an expert, an institution, a government, or even a weblog, to want to obscure or hide the truth.”

    … or to extensively “cherry-pick” so-called “evidence”.

    “I’m not a cherry-picker, I’m a cherry-picker’s mate, and I’m only picking cherries ‘cos the apocalypse is late”.

  46. bazza July 16, 2012 at 5:53 pm #

    Forget fiddling with BOM data and thinking yokel – go global. Extreme heat anomalies covered less than 0.2% of the globe over the period from 1951-80. But 2006 to 2011 extremes covered from 4-13%. Temperatures are not just warmer, they are more variable. ( As in New Scientist 7 July 2012 and from Hansen). A lazy jet stream from rapid warming of the Arctic seems to be a prime suspect for some recent weird weather. So I am with Jen, as she said “ My interest is in the facts, the evidence – the truth particularly as it pertains to the natural world.” Now no puerile comments or they will get deleted as Jen has warned.

  47. Tom Harris July 16, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

    If you take a look at , you can see that we at the International Climate Science Coalition are collecting comments and ratings on the public remarks of PM Gillard about climate change as posted on the Herald Sun Website after her blogging session there 10 days ago. We will be sending the best comments to her office, the opposition and the media, as well as posting a summary of the most useful and interesting comments we get on our Website.

    Problem is, we are getting too few comments to make this project a success. We are only up to 40 now on question #1, for example (about 35 from Australia) and about 80 votes. That leaves only 22,672,236 Australian left to comment as, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics:

    “On 16 July 2012 at 05:45:48 PM (Canberra time), the resident population of Australia is projected to be: 22,672,273.”

    Any ideas how to get significantly more than 1 millionth of your countrymen and women to comment and/or vote?


    Tom Harris
    Executive Director
    International Climate Science Coalition
    Ottawa, Canada

  48. Robert July 16, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

    Hansen Hockeysticks! Quality bending of data in the Mann tradition. Antique 1998 Briffa-wood stick still available under the counter.

    We sell exclusively to conceited pseudo-sophisticates – no yokels!

  49. cohenite July 16, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

    Puerile is as puerile does.

    Sorry about the censorship imposed on you Jennifer.

    Word for the day: agnotology; think luke and bazza.

    Science must be honest; in fact more than honest, it must invite contradiction, as Feynman said

    “CARGO CULT SCIENCE by Richard Feynman

    It is interesting, therefore, to bring it out now and speak of it explicitly. It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty–a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid–not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked–to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.

    Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can–if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong–to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem. When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition.

    In summary, the idea is to try to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another.”

    Now what section of AGW does that?

  50. James Mayeau July 16, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

    I apologize for being erratic with my decimals and such. It should read Titan’s albedo as 0.22, because the scale is between 0 and 1, zero being black as a well bottom, one being bright as a perfect mirror.

  51. Luke July 16, 2012 at 11:19 pm #

    I just sprayed coffee (organic sourced too) over my solar power monitor.

    Coher’s three large paras above – hahahahaha – does any sceptic do that ! Did he actually write that?

    Tom Harris
    Executive Director
    International Climate Science Coalition

    Wow Sceptic Royalty – I’m impressed. Lads – we’ve arrived ! Of course full marks to Neville for clipping so many articles to achieve this status.

  52. Luke July 16, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

    Incidentally Neville – some knowledgeable person – a Mister Adam Smith esq – just totally shot up Nova’s latest anti-ACORN thread. An object lesson in logic. It’s a classic illustration of why Coher’s exhortations above are disingenuous (with no disrespect to Cohers of course – I’m sure he meant what he said from his POV and world view)..

  53. John Sayers July 17, 2012 at 12:14 am #

    You’ve missed the whole point Luke, as did Smith esq – I’ll leave it to Cohenite to explain it to you.

  54. James Mayeau July 17, 2012 at 7:56 am #

    I’d be more than happy to provide all of the information, adverse as well as supporting.

    In order to sidestep the fact that Titan has assumed ambient temperature in spite of it’s thick methane blanket, the warmists invoke a one of a kind property of their global warming theory which operates nowhere else in the solar system.
    They call it the anti-greenhouse effect.
    Here is the relevant passage.

    Although a large greenhouse effect does keep Titan at a much higher temperature than the thermal equilibrium,[1] Titan also exhibits an “anti-greenhouse” effect, which partially compensates for the greenhouse warming, and keeps the surface approximately 9°C (16°F) cooler than would otherwise be expected from the greenhouse effect alone.[2] According to McKay et al., “the anti-greenhouse effect on Titan reduces the surface temperature by 9 K whereas the greenhouse effect increases it by 21 K. The net effect is that the surface temperature (94 K) is 12 K warmer than the effective temperature 82 K. [i.e., the equilibrium that would be reached in the absence of any atmosphere]”[1]

    Sounds sort of plausable, except for the hypothetical bit about Titan’s temperature sans atmosphere being 82 K. The Huygens Probe measured a ground temperature of 93.7 K (Fulchignoni et al., 2005). Damned close to the surface temperature of Hyperion, which unlike their computer generated hypothetical, is an actual example of a moon without an atmosphere, with the same albedo, at the distance of Titan.

    Their ad hoc, post discovery invention of a singular anti-greenhouse effect, found nowhere else in the solar system doesn’t hold water.

  55. Luke July 17, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    Don’t think so John – you lot were took down !

  56. Neville July 17, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    Well Luke I’ll still rely on the satellite temp record and I don’t trust the other temp records much. Certainly hansen’s GISS is a nonsense.

    Just back to co2 emissions and the EIA projections to 2035.

    Here’s a graph showing co2 emissions to 2035 from OECD 6% increase and non OECD 73% increase.
    Just shows how loopy and mad our Gillard govt is introducing this co2 tax.
    OECD will nearly flatline for decades while the non OECD emissions soar.
    Australia now produces about 1% (2011) of emissions and Gillard wants to reduce that by 5% by 2020, but mostly by purchasing carbon credits.

    Meanwhile we will export increasing tonnages of iron ore, coal, gas etc to any lucky country that wants it. But we have to purchase credits to use the same in OZ.
    If this isn’t barking madness then what is?

  57. Luke July 17, 2012 at 10:16 am #

    Of course you’ll rely on the satellite system with its calibration errors and confounded layers and limited duration and measuring different attributes to surface temp. Mind you which mimics the variability of the ground obs quite well. You love to have yourself on Neville.

    Neville why spend any more energy on the carbon tax. Abbot will be repealing it soon so why bother? Have a Bex and a lie down and it will all be over soon.

  58. Larry Fields July 17, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    Cohenite July 16th, 2012 at 7:41 pm gave an inspiring Feynman quote from his famous Cargo Cult speech at Caltech in 1974. It’s a refreshing counterpoint to the dominant PR paradigm of Warmist ‘scientists’. Here’s a quote from their late patron saint, Stephen Schneider. It was published in Science magazine in 1989. Although most of the old hands here will recognize it, it may be an eye-opener for lukewarm newbies.

    “On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.”

    Philosopher Larry’s rhetorical question of the day:
    Who’s the real scientist – Feynman or Schneider?

  59. Debbie July 17, 2012 at 10:58 am #

    Well said Cohenite,
    Puerile is as puerile does.
    Despite the fact that Jen was quite clear why she deleted posts here:
    Mr Koala cares little for personal attacks and is much more interested in facts and even some ideas…….delete some comments that are particularly puerile …..
    And despite the fact that the original piece was clearly pointing out among other things…..
    ‘Science is meant to be about reality – it is meant to be about discovery and understanding and truth. Science is not meant to be about emotion or culture or even fashion. But how can you tell whether a conversation about a scientific issue is based on truth or fashion?’
    We have Bazza saying this:
    How about that – censored for irrelevance – know how you feel Jen.
    and even this:
    Nev mate, you may well think yokel, but act global.
    The defintion for irrelevance has already been supplied.
    Here is puerile:
    Foolish, Unimportant, Childish.
    Act or pertaining to a child.
    Trivial, childish, immature.
    Origin: French: pueril or Latin puerilis…(litle boy).
    So Bazza,
    Considering the tone of your deleted comment/s.
    You were not deleted for irrelevence.
    But Cohenite?
    That’s a new one. Do you have the defintion?

  60. bazza July 17, 2012 at 11:05 am #

    Philosopher Larry’s rhetorical question of the day:”Who’s the real scientist – Feynman or Schneider?” If you can philosophise about science like Jen and Cohenite, does that help make you a real one? Is that enough. You gotta laugh, Cohenite quoting Feynman – Cohenite’s writings like many of the acolytes that grace this blog, reminded me of Machiavelli “His writings are maddeningly and notoriously unsystematic, inconsistent and sometimes self-contradictory. He tends to appeal to experience and example in the place of rigorous logical analysis.” If Cohenite wants to swap his wig for a labcoat, look like he understands science and is on the side of the angels, I would also want to see him cuddling a koala – maybe borrow Jen’s toy one as a start. You can be sure Feynman never knew the answer before he researched- if your position is based on belief, why do research.?

  61. Neville July 17, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

    Luke at least I can see through this con and fraud, unlike some others on this blog and the Labor and Greens parties.

    If I believed our co2 tax “was tackling CC or taking action on CC” I would certainly be having myself on.
    But I’ll leave that to yourself and some others to play more silly buggers.

    I’m afraid that bex and a lie down doesn’t help much, because I can’t believe some of my fellow Aussies could fall for this super transperant and most easily understood con trick.

  62. Larry Fields July 17, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    Comment from: bazza July 17th, 2012 at 11:05 am
    “Philosopher Larry’s rhetorical question of the day:”Who’s the real scientist – Feynman or Schneider?” If you can philosophise about science like Jen and Cohenite, does that help make you a real one?”

    I think that one of us has had a humorectomy, and it ain’t me. But that’s par for the course. The philosopher part of “Philosopher Larry” was mostly sarcasm.

    Actually, I’m a scientist. My academic background is in analytical chemistry, and I have an M.S. from Oregon State University. I also have a publication in the top journal in my field.

    Bazza, I noticed that you chose not to respond to the infamous Schneider quote. Do you think that the ends justify the means–even in science–as Ayatollah Schneider suggests? Is it OK for a scientist to dissimulate in order to advance a political agenda? Cat got our tongue, has it?

  63. Debbie July 17, 2012 at 2:54 pm #


    -Neville why spend any more energy on the carbon tax. Abbot will be repealing it soon so why bother? Have a Bex and a lie down and it will all be over soon.-

    I am sincerely hoping you are just being sarcastic and facetious (and possibly agnotological??? Cohenite????)…but just in case.
    Firstly…on what evidence would anyone want to put their blind faith in any one politician regardless of which SIDE we may be told they stand on?
    Politicians can only be judged on the policies and legislation that they IMPLEMENT when they are in government.
    SURELY, at the very least, you understand that the C02 tax is THE IMPLEMENTED RESULT?
    Because the science is SETTLED the C02 tax is apparently THE SOLUTION and the only course of ACTION?
    If we’re going to actually discuss REALITY…which Jennifer points out can be quite difficult in this politically and emotionally charged debate (that seems to have less and less to do with REAL science and much more to do with stats and SIDES)….the REALITY is that we have a CARBON TAX that is ALREADY POLICY AND ALREADY IMPLEMENTED & politically based on unrealistic and unsubstantiated extrapolations and assumptions.
    Isolated in the southern hemisphere with a miniscule TOTAL % of global human C02 emission (as opposed to what must be a meaningless per capita figure as according to Bazza we NEED to talk GLOBAL not YOKEL please remember) Australia has ALREADY IMPLEMENTED POLICY that sees us walking into the same trap that several northern hemisphere countries have already discovered is a TRAP.
    There is no shortage of credible data.
    But that’s politics and economics ….even though we’re constantly told it’s science….or maybe….. ‘trusting’ science?
    Most people who are questioning (and whom you label as conspiracy sceptics who wear tweed coats and attend secret tea parties) are RESULTS ORIENTATED people and many of them are indeed scientists….others have training in statistics and yet others have training in education, politics, law, marketting, economics, HR, PR, engineering, health, public service, religion, philosophy small business, etc etc etc.
    Despite your best efforts to pretend otherwise….they are essentially APOLITICAL and entirely capable of independent thought and therefore unlikely to be a part of some organised/ unionised/political/centralised (conspiring sceptic) advocacy organisation.
    They look at CAUSE and EFFECT and examine REAL DATA to determine the RESULT of any actions, human or otherwise.
    What has been the RESULT of ,or, THE RETURN from the mind boggling amount of time and money that has been spent on the AGW issue?
    Of course there are some positive results….one of them being an impressive collection of useful historical data….another being a better informed awareness of the need to be environmentally responsible. (NOTE !!I said RESPONSIBLE not alarminist)
    I think another positive result (although a balancing reactive result) is that more and more well qualified people like Jen are prepared to speak up and graciously ignore the puerile, snobbish, sneering ‘shoot the messenger’ tactics and instead encourage debate about the actual ‘message’.
    The main objection from people who are asking questions is NOT about the pure sciences like physics, chemistry, biology and geology (and all extra sub catagories)
    The main questions revolve around the INTERPRETATION and EXTRAPOLATION of the scientific data and then the POLITICAL IMPLEMENTATION of the GOVT POLICIES that have ALREADY been generated from those questionable assumptions.

  64. el gordo July 17, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

    ‘Neville why spend any more energy on the carbon tax. Abbot will be repealing it soon so why bother? Have a Bex and a lie down and it will all be over soon.’

    Do I see a white flag?

    Will you admit that maybe the AGW theory is wrong?

  65. el gordo July 17, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

    Comrade Luke the Modern Climate Optimum has passed its ‘used by’ date.

  66. Neville July 17, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

    Debbie I only want an answer to “the Bolt question” as Gillard calls it. If we reduce emissions of co2 by 5% (of 1%) by 2020, what difference will it make to the temp?

    Gillard won’t answer, in fact just about everyone runs away every time it is asked. Simple kindy maths tells us it won’t make a jot of difference to the temp or climate or droughts, or floods or bushfires or enso or SLR etc etc.
    If we save Gillard’s 160 million tonnes of co2 by 2020, ( mostly co2 credits) and China, India, Brazil etc emit another 8 billion tonnes more by 2020 then the answer is a pitiful joke.

    The answer is zilch, nothing, zero, zip difference, in fact much more co2 will be emitted in 8 years time. So why do it?

  67. Luke July 17, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    Well Neville to be honest there’s some testable answers:

    (1) muddled unclear thinking as to the effect of our actions i.e. they believe it will make a difference
    (2) a feeling of moral need to act
    (3) breaking through the Prisoner’s Dilemma –'s_dilemma that cooperation and action needs to start but in the distrust and Mexican standoff of international politics nothing happens
    (4) betting that emissions trading will develop globally and get us ahead of the game
    (5) that a tax on emissions will increase energy efficiency
    (6) hating sceptics, Tea Partiests, Tories and their antics so much that you’ll cop a carbon tax just to annoy them

  68. Neville July 17, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

    Luke thanks for your honesty, I probably agree with a lot that you’ve just written.

    1. But aren’t these pollies and scientists supposed to be very bright? Anyone who does the sums knows that it can’t possibly make a jot of difference.
    We don’t need the back of an envelope even, we can understand this in our heads in 5 minutes.

    2. This is Gore’s and Rudd,s and Labor’s “greatest moral challenge of our generation”fable.
    Gore owns several sprawling properties and a big very dirty private jet.
    Kevvy and Therese are very wealthy and own a number of properties and pursue a frequent flyer lifestyle.

    3.But what will China, India etc do for the billion plus people that have to be dragged out of extreme poverty?
    Do we really think that they will cease using coal, oil, gas etc into the future?

    4.But what about the long drag of the GFC. Will any of these countries be able to finance any co2 tax or ETS scheme anytime soon? And is there any advantage because we’re one of the first? It hasn’t helped Europe so far.

    5. How does it help with energy efficiency when we are buying carbon credits? And perhaps from corrupted markets.

    6.Let’s hope that they’re not that stupid. But hey I’ll ask again, why are they doing it?

  69. Debbie July 17, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

    Yes I know Neville,
    When we look at the stated GOAL which apparently is to reduce harmfull GLOBAL human C02 emissions…there is definitely (to quote Luke) some muddled unclear thinking.
    Australia is NOT a significant global emitter even if we could reasonably establish that human caused ‘climate change’ is a risk that can be managed in this cockeyed fashion in in the first place.

    Luke…point 4 is not proving to be a good bet. Australia will likely end up being the patsy that holds the credits that never get realised.
    The concept fails marketting 101.
    You need to have an end product that the market would actually want to buy.
    A market is highly unlikely to buy a point 2 or a point 3
    A market will work out how to avoid point 5 as it obstructs ‘efficiency’ and people who work in marketting are actually much better at it and usually smarter than bureaucrats.
    I note at point 6 that you are still persisting with the name tags 🙂
    It is getting rather predictably in ZZZZZZZZZZ.

  70. Luke July 17, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

    Probably keeping minority govt with greens and a combo of 3,4 and 5. And it seemed like a good idea and next minute you’re down the track with high expectations.

    Prisoner’s dilemma a major issue with global problems of course. Who blinks first and will anyone else follow suite.

  71. Another Ian July 17, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

    Odds on this becoming fashionable?

  72. Ian Thomson July 17, 2012 at 8:28 pm #

    O/T a bit,
    I remarked on another thread that the supposed climatically endangered town of White Cliffs has had the windmill power forever. Just passed through a couple of days ago –No windmills — Field of magic mirrors instead .
    Windows were up , so no obvious smell of incentivational rot.
    Will find out though.

  73. Neville July 17, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

    Carbon offsets are sinking in Europe. Makes our co2 tax seem very expensive.

  74. Neville July 17, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

    Jop Nova has a more comprehensive look at those co2 prices. Deary me what a mess Labor has got us into.

  75. Tony Price July 17, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

    Here’s a new and rapidly becoming fashionable idea in science (getting the thread back on topic?):

    The Neue Zürcher Zeitung asks: “Have extreme weather conditions generally increased?”

    … to which meteorologist Mario Slongo replies

    “Yes, the tendency for weather patterns that favor storms has increased, even if this cannot be confirmed statistically. But many other factors impact our weather. For example, the North Atlantic Oscillation, a pressure fluctuation between the Azore’s High and Iceland Low. This pressure difference is continuously changing and will soon bring dry and soon very wet weather.”

    Is this “Post-data science”? “We can’t prove it, but we KNOW it’s so.”. This takes “consensus science” to a new level – Richard Feynman will turn in his grave. At least the idiots poring over 5-metre inundation charts of Sydney have got some predictions (BTW predictions are not data, despite what some infer or even appear to claim) to base their scary nonsense on.

    Those who claim CAGW is a religion are being proved right. We have to believe in the prophets, who have given up examining entrails and short chunks of temperature plots and GCM model output, and have taken to raising their eyes and arms to the heavens to get divine inspiration for their insights. Those like Slongo (what a wonderful name!) aren’t fit to write the stuff on the backs of cereal packets, let alone pronounce on climate drivers.

  76. bazza July 17, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

    Larry Fields at 12:48 pm was demanding my reaction to his abuse of the Schneider quote about ends v means. Now that is puerile. But then again Larry is obviously a guy not to be messed with as he tells it and who asked anyway – “Actually, I’m a scientist. My academic background is in analytical chemistry, and I have an M.S. from Oregon State University. I also have a publication in the top journal in my field.” Well, bully for you Larry boy, even if there was just the one in the 80s – hard to be humble Larry. Schneider was a great scientist and passionate communicator – he was distressed to see that quote taken out of context. He visited Australia a couple of years ago and tragically died later on a flight to London. He was part of the survey of over a thousand climate researchers. The conclusion : 97-98 per cent of those most actively publishing in the field agreed humans are contributing to global warming.

  77. Larry Fields July 18, 2012 at 6:23 am #

    Comment from: bazza July 17th, 2012 at 10:09 pm
    “Larry Fields at 12:48 pm was demanding my reaction to his abuse of the Schneider quote about ends v means.”

    Actually, I wasn’t demanding anything; I was simply asking a question. Forgot to take our meds today, did we?

    Bazza also wrote:
    “Schneider was a great scientist and passionate communicator – he was distressed to see that quote taken out of context.”

    Schneider went over to the Dark Side, because he lacked a true scientific temperament. He was ‘distressed’ to have been caught with his pants down.

    It’s entirely predictable that certain Warmies would play the Out Of Context Card, with or without justification, vis-à-vis Schneider’s infamous Science magazine quote. If the quote was taken out of context, please summarize the context. And no, CYA maneuvers after the fact do not count.

    Bazza, your response to my question about the Schneider quote was content-free. Care to add some specifics? Or do you agree with Schneider that it’s OK for scientists–acting in their professional capacities–to make scary, caveat-free, ex cathedra pronouncements, if that advances their questionable political agendas?

    My impression is that some Climate Change ‘scientists’ are growing dorsal fins and long wooden noses, to rival those of American corporate lawyers.

  78. James Mayeau July 18, 2012 at 6:26 am #

    The McKay et al article linked by wikipedia. (Somebody should take a screen shot of this one. I have a feeling it’s expiration date will arrive soon once the warmers see it being used against the “cause”.)

    Titan: Greenhouse and Anti-greenhouse
    Talk by Chris McKay, Part III

    Ninety-nine point nine percent of the energy reaching the surface of Venus is retained by the greenhouse effect. Titan, though, comes in a close second. Ninety percent of the energy at the surface of Titan is held in by the greenhouse effect. On Earth it’s about 60 percent, and on Mars it’s down to 30. On Earth, Venus and Mars, the greenhouse effect is due to CO2 and water. Titan’s greenhouse effect is the only one that’s not from CO2; it’s from nitrogen and methane. And that’s kind of curious.

    On Titan, the gases that are holding in the thermal radiation are nitrogen, methane and hydrogen. You might not think that nitrogen, methane and hydrogen would produce a greenhouse effect because they’re symmetrical molecules. The greenhouse effect, it’s infrared absorption, is due to non-symmetrical molecules. So then why do these gases have a greenhouse effect on Titan? They don’t on Earth. Only the non-symmetrical molecules, like CO2 and H2O have a greenhouse effect, because they have a permanent dipole moment. Well, what happens on Titan the atmosphere is so dense that the molecules collide often, and when they collide, they get induced dipole moments, and they absorb during those collision events. This is kind of technical, but it illustrates how we can see something on another world that we would not see here on Earth. Since Titan’s so cold and its atmosphere is so thick, the effect is 25 times larger on Titan than it is on Earth.

    Well there’s some news. Methane is not a ghg here on Earth.

    Tell you what. According to the Cassini and Huygens experiment methane isn’t a ghg on Titan either.
    Where did the “methane is a powerful greenhouse gas” trope originate? Do you not have chemists who check these things?

  79. James Mayeau July 18, 2012 at 6:36 am #

    AS far as I can tell, Methane as a greenhouse gas started here, in an article from NASA GISS.

    Methane: A Scientific Journey from Obscurity to Climate Super-Stardom
    By Gavin Schmidt, September 2004

    the only supporting document sited by Schmidt:
    Wang, W.-C., Y.L. Yung, A.A. Lacis, T. Mo, and J.E. Hansen 1976. Greenhouse effects due to man-made perturbation of trace gases. Science 194, 685-690. (isn’t this computer model driven science? -I ask because I couldn’t tell through the gobblygook)

    Are we taking Gavin Schmidt’s word for it? How can that still F*&@ happen, on important topic like this?

  80. James Mayeau July 18, 2012 at 6:58 am #

    Yeah, and I found out where they got the 82K as “The net effect is that the surface temperature (94 K) is 12 K warmer than the effective temperature 82 K. [i.e., the equilibrium that would be reached in the absence of any atmosphere]“[1]”

    Radiating temperature for a perfect Black Body at the distance of Saturn is 82 Kelvin.
    So McKay was invoking the black body radiation curve as the normal state of a moon.

  81. James Mayeau July 18, 2012 at 7:25 am #

    Oh I forgot to mention McKay describes the “effect” methane has on Titan as;

    Even more interesting is that Titan is the only world in the solar system that has an anti-greenhouse effect. A greenhouse effect lets light in and stops infrared. But imagine a layer that stopped light from getting in and let infrared out, sort of an anti-blanket. Sort of like Gore-Tex. Gore-Tex lets water out, but not in. An anti-greenhouse effect does the same thing to heat. It lets heat out but doesn’t let it in. And the haze on Titan is an anti-greenhouse layer.

    from Titan: Greenhouse and Anti-greenhouse

    My rebuttal comes from a BBC video on the Huygens probe of all places.
    Destination Titan 6/6 BBC Documentary on Huygens Telescope – Youtube vid.

    Skip ahead to 6:25 and watch to the end. It’s the video of Huygens descent to the surface of Titan. Note at the 7:25 mark as the shadow of the parachute crosses the frame. This was all filmed with the ambient light on Titan. If methane really stopped light from getting in you wouldn’t be seeing that video at all.

  82. bazza July 18, 2012 at 9:16 am #

    Your game is up Larry. Even your Supreme Court has rolled over – no wonder Exxon has too. The Court stated “Relying again upon substantial scientific evidence, EPA determined that anthropogenically induced climate change threatens both public health and public welfare. It found that extreme weather events, changes in air quality, increases in food- and water-borne pathogens, and increases in temperatures are likely to have adverse health effects. Id. at 66,497–98. The record also supports EPA’s conclusion that climate change endangers human welfare by creating risk to food production and agriculture, forestry, energy, infrastructure, ecosystems, and wildlife.”
    You better quit those tea parties Larry and write another paper. Even our Opposition leader in the USA at the moment noted you Americans ( he meant people of the USA) are lacking a bit of confidence these days.

  83. James Mayeau July 18, 2012 at 10:18 am #

    I’ll bet the EPA credited methane as a greenhouse gas in their substantial scientific evidence.

  84. Debbie July 18, 2012 at 10:59 am #

    Point of order Bazza!
    It found that extreme weather events, changes in air quality, increases in food- and water-borne pathogens, and increases in temperatures are likely to have adverse health effects. Id. at 66,497–98. The record also supports EPA’s conclusion that climate change endangers human welfare by creating risk to food production and agriculture, forestry, energy, infrastructure, ecosystems, and wildlife.”
    Does not mean this:
    EPA determined that anthropogenically induced climate change threatens both public health and public welfare.

    Even though you found it appropriate to link them in that fashion.

    By doing that you have implied that the courts have ruled that ALL climate change is : ‘anthropogenically induced’ and that such things as :’increases in food- and water-borne pathogens’ are a direct result of that.

    You have also incorrectly implied that the EPA (and the courts) have supplied a credible or realistic risk management strategy.

    They have done no such thing….you have failed to supply all the added caveats etc that accompanied the EPA reports. They have merely identified a possible or likely % of risk.

    So Larry you may have noticed that comments like:
    ‘Even your Supreme Court has rolled over ‘.
    or :
    You better quit those tea parties Larry and write another paper. Even our Opposition leader in the USA at the moment noted you Americans ( he meant people of the USA) are lacking a bit of confidence these days.
    Have no:
    ‘substantial scientific evidence’ 🙂
    whatsoever .
    Which is pretty much what Jennifer pointed out in this particular post.

  85. bazza July 18, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    Point of your usual chaos Deb. I have provided a quote is all. I linked nothing.

  86. Debbie July 18, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    Linked nothing?
    Does that therefore mean you proved nothing?
    Point of your usual chaos?
    If you want to be taken seriously Bazza….would you care to actually provide the ‘substantial scientific evidence’ that justifies your persistent personal attacks?
    Because you most certainly DID NOT just provide a quote….perhaps you might need to re read your replies to Larry?
    While you’re at it….would you care to actually answer the questions?
    Your behaviour is at present providing an excellent example of Jen’s main points at this post.

  87. Luke July 18, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

    Do my eyes deceive me – Debbie asks for cites?

  88. Larry Fields July 19, 2012 at 5:27 am #

    Comment from: bazza July 18th, 2012 at 9:16 am
    “Your game is up Larry. Even your Supreme Court has rolled over – no wonder Exxon has too.”

    I had asked Bazza if he could support his claim that the infamous Schneider quote of 1989 was taken out of context. His response was to change the subject, and to throw in a dollop of his usual snark. Bazza is very skilled at finding Internet sources–good, bad, or indifferent–that support his POV. Since Bazza could not find any evidence for his “out of context” claim, I’m 97% confident that this evidence does not exist. If we append Schneider’s tacit “Wink, wink, nod, nod” to the the end of the quote, the incontrovertible conclusion is that Schneider was advocating that scientists go over to the Dark Side (political activism) and lie through their teeth, while continuing to wear their scientific mantles. Schneider’s disciples–Briffa, Jones, and Mann, to name a few–have done exactly that.

    Thank you, Bazza. You’ve saved me many hours of donkey-work on tedious Google searches.

  89. James Mayeau July 19, 2012 at 7:24 am #

    Change in the weather on Titan.

    The brightest objects seen in these images are methane clouds in the troposphere, the lowest part of the atmosphere, which are most visible on the left of panel B, the lower half of panel C, and the right of panel D. Surface features appear in shades of gray. These images show changes (outlined area) along the southern boundary of a dune field near the equator named Belet.

    Titan’s equatorial latitudes are mostly arid. However, scientists interpret the changes seen in these images to be evidence of methane rain wetting the surface. Scientists have monitored the brightness of Titan’s surface, including this area, for years and have ruled out other possible causes of the changes. In these images, some of the dark areas grow larger and then recede within weeks. The maximum extent of the changes is shown with a blue outline.

    Years ago, images from the European Space Agency’s Huygens probe and the Cassini radar instrument revealed dry channels near the equator. The new observations suggest the climate here is similar to that in the southwestern United States, where infrequent rain carves washes and riverbeds.

    Titan’s weather has been changing with the seasons, and storms now are more common at low latitudes, such as those observed here. The first image in this montage, panel A on the left, was taken early in the Cassini mission on Oct. 22, 2007, and shows how this region had appeared before the storms. The second image, panel B, was taken on Sept. 27, 2010. The huge arrow-shaped cloud is just out-of-frame to the left in panel B. The arrow-shaped cloud was quickly followed by extensive changes on the surface that can be seen in panel C, an image captured on Oct. 14, 2010. These changes cover an area of 500,000 square kilometers (193,000 square miles), roughly the combined area of Arizona and Utah in the United States.

    The wet terrain can still be seen about a month after the storm in panel D, which was taken on Oct. 29, 2010. But by Jan. 15, 2011, which was the date of panel E, the area mostly appears dry and bright, with a much smaller area still dark, i.e. wet.

    Images in panels A, B, D, and E were taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 938 nanometers. The image in panel C was taken with the Cassini wide-angle camera using the same filter.

    Mostly the methane rains out over Titan’s poles which leaves lakes of liquid methane standing on the surface.

    Deserts at the equator, lakes at the poles, all imaged in near infrared. So much for methane blocking the infrared heat.

    Also you warmers can say goodbye to the myth of backradiation or Downwelling Longwave Radiation DLR from the atmosphere to the warmer Titinian surface, pure fiction.

    Moving back towards the topic of Jen’s post, several of the most noteworthy skeptical advocates still subscribe to this broken mythology. Richard Lindzen, Judith Curry, Roy Spencer, Fred Singer and Lord Monckton, all of them subscribe to the fiction of backradiation.

    I can only assume they heard this garbage so many times that they started believing it.

  90. bazza July 19, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    Gee Deb, you are a hard marker – are you on the payroll?. Re “you have failed to supply all the added caveats etc that accompanied the EPA reports. They have merely identified a possible or likely % of risk” . . As the wise judges of the USA Court of Appeals stated in finding GHG guilty as charged of an endangerment finding “This is how science works. EPA is not required to re-prove the existence of the atom every time it approaches a scientific question”. And as for your convenient take on risk, they said ““Awaiting certainty will often allow for only reactive, not preventive, regulation.”

  91. Debbie July 19, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    Love that shot Bazza, 🙂
    Are you on the payroll?
    What payroll would that be Bazza?
    And seriously….what does that have to do with the actual point of my comment?
    Unlike you apparently, I have no time for tea parties or any other political agenda you would care to name.
    I’m one of those people who run my own business as efficiently and responsibly as I can and I consequently judge any legislative/policy issue on its ability to deliver on its stated goals.
    I am also highly fascintated by your selective quoting here:
    And as for your convenient take on risk, they said ““Awaiting certainty will often allow for only reactive, not preventive, regulation.”
    Would you care to explain what the preventative regulation would actually be?
    What are we demonstrably’preventing’ Bazza?
    Maybe you would also care to explain what ‘a convenient take on risk’ is?
    It’s possible you may not understand, but people like me who run their own business and especially in the field of Agriculture, are highly aware of risk and are not inclined to look for ‘convenience’ or ‘certainty’ when managing it. Risk management actually has to work in practice…..otherwise it is simply a waste of our time and money.
    I can assure you that it is rarely ‘convenient’.
    Can you guess what we have identified as our greatest ongoing and particularly inconvenient risk at the moment?

  92. James Mayeau July 19, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    Yeah, here’s the EPA including methane in among the “dangerous ghg” climate forcings.
    Climate change indicators.

    That’s embarrassing.

    Out of vogue already when they wrote it. Heh.

    The EPA might not want to prove the existence of every atom, but they are quite willing to compare
    Titan to Mars, if they figure an angle to make the comparison jog with their politics.

    Mars being so far away, it makes me wonder why they would look away from friendly neighborhood Hyperion.

  93. Debbie July 19, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

    ‘ Do my eyes deceive me – Debbie asks for cites?’ 🙂
    From your perspective, I can see that was actually funny!
    Well done.

    considering Bazza is always adamant that his broad political statements and personal attacks are scientifically legitimate….I do feel justified in asking for the ‘substantial scientific evidence’ that would give a ‘scientific’ explanation for their validity.
    Especially considering the topic Jen has put up for discussion here.
    Let me remind you as a direct copy/paste:

    and then among others, this particular paragraph:

    ‘Science is meant to be about reality – it is meant to be about discovery and understanding and truth. Science is not meant to be about emotion or culture or even fashion. But how can you tell whether a conversation about a scientific issue is based on truth or fashion?’

    May I humbly suggest an easy way to tell is when people take personal shots and pass ‘ self proclaimed superior judgement’ on the motivation or even the ‘care factor’ of others?

  94. bazza July 19, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    Deb, to paraphrase the King, “if you are looking for truth, you’ve come to the wrong place.” Refusal to engage by the blusterers and filibusters that frequent this place may well be the reason we all end up bottom feeders.

  95. Debbie July 19, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    Sorry Bazza,
    Considering you have managed to include yourself (using the ubiquitous we) as a blusterer and a filibuster that frequents this place….
    I can’t help but ask you….
    What would be truth?
    Where would be the right place?
    And what is your definition of a ‘bottom feeder’?
    And also….
    Feeding on the bottom of what?
    I also duly note that there is STILL no ‘substantial scientific evidence’ for these latest ZOOPERIOR, rhetorical, Bazza style evaluations that have now progressed to mixing up their metaphors.
    I’m sorry if I appear to be treating you unfairly, but seriously, you continually pass judgement on the motivations of others and often claim that no one cares.
    You then juxtapose (ie LINK) these judgemental and totally unsubstantiated comments with claims that your opinions are based on irrefutable science.

  96. bazza July 19, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    A breakthrough – Debbie is a computer generating a limited range of responses but failing the Turing test.

  97. cohenite July 19, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    “a Mister Adam Smith esq – just totally shot up Nova’s latest anti-ACORN thread. An object lesson in logic. It’s a classic illustration of why Coher’s exhortations above are disingenuous (with no disrespect to Cohers of course – I’m sure he meant what he said from his POV and world view)..”

    For a while I thought Dr Smith was you:

    Unfortunately Dr Smith does not even approach your levels luke; but he is insistent and given to profanity, so maybe he is a distant relation.

  98. James Mayeau July 19, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

    Wait a minute. Dr. Smith is dead?

    Well that’s great, that’s just f$@*in’ great, man. Now what the f$@* are we supposed to do? We’re in some real pretty s&%# now man…

    That’s it man, game over man, game over!

  99. James Mayeau July 19, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

    Larry, I named my pet turkey (well one of them) after you. I needed something that would contrast from “Beeper”, which is the name of my other turkey. “Larry and Beeper” fit the bill.

    See, you have to give birds every chance to understand that you’re talking to them.

  100. Larry Fields July 20, 2012 at 8:32 am #

    Comment from: James Mayeau July 19th, 2012 at 8:03 pm
    “Larry, I named my pet turkey (well one of them) after you.”

    I think that the name choice was entirely appropriate. As you know, I love to gobble vast quantities of Chinese food. Bad pun! Bad Larry! *slaps self on wrist*

  101. James Mayeau July 20, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    Mostly for the turkey’s limits of recognition, but now that you mention it I do recall some elbow being employed at that table.

  102. Debbie July 20, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

    The Turing test Bazza?
    Considering I had to google Turing Test to find out what it was…..
    That is now actually funny!
    Well done.

    However….true to form….it had nothing to do with ‘substantial scientific evidence’ nor did it provide an answer to any of the questions you have been asked.
    It was at least a nice new piece of academic trivia to add to my collection.

    And I got a giggle from this one.


  1. Jennifer Marohasy » How the Oceans Get Warm: Robert E. Stevenson - July 19, 2012

    […] 1. How Scientific Ideas Become Fashionable (Part 1) […]

Website by 46digital