Back in 2014, when Tony Abbott was Prime Minister of Australia, and after a series of damning articles in The Australian newspaper showing the extent to which the Bureau of Meteorology remodel historic temperature series exaggerating warming, there was opportunity for a review.
There was real opportunity for an overhaul of how the Bureau not only change recorded temperatures, but also forecasts the weather.
The plan went to Cabinet, and it was ‘shut down’ by then Environment Minister Greg Hunt. He is on the public record proudly explaining that he ‘killed’ the idea.
Greg Hunt wanted everyone to know that he stepped in and squashed the idea, and Tony Abbott has never ever been asked to explain how and why he let that happen.
Meanwhile, the journalist who wrote the articles that precipitated the calls for a review of the Bureau was sent to South America for a stint, and I lost my adjunct position at Central Queensland University. That was in 2015.
In the eight years since, the Bureau has further exaggerated historic warming trends, while also rolling out a new series of resistance probes in electronic weather stations that can record even warmer for the same weather.
It is not as though this has been without consequence. The Bureau’s hyping has provided justification for far reaching economic interventions, so there is no longer a functioning energy market in Australia. Instead, governments from both sides of politics have provided hundreds of billions of more taxpayer funding, and faster and faster with whatever legislation and regulation is needed, to enforce the transition to renewable energy and the closing down of coalfired power stations.
Meanwhile the Bureau has been working towards faster and faster resistance probes, designed to be ever thinner and thinner, thus even more responsive to fluctuations in air temperature – and political pressures for ever more hot days. Without the inertia of market forces, or a mercury thermometer, which will take a minute or two to adjust to a change in air temperature depending on the wind speed, the probes can record higher daily temperatures for the same weather.
This allows the Bureau to keep calling new record hot days, and claiming they are a consequence of human-caused global warming. For example, the Bureau claimed a record new hottest-ever September on 22nd September 2017 for Mildura, and then extended this to the entire state of Victoria, claiming the hottest back to 1889, because of carbon emissions, without explaining you can get the same effect from more sensitive equipment. Temperatures back in 1889 were measured with mercury thermometers, not resistance probes.
It was the calling of that new record for Mildura that caused me to complain to John Abbot, a scientist and a lawyer, about the need for the parallel data. These are the temperature measurements taken by mercury thermometers at the same time and place as the measurements from the resistance probes, thus potentially providing a check on the excesses of the Bureau.
It took more than three years, and an appearance at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, before John Abbot was able to extract even a small amount of the parallel data from the Bureau for the one location of Brisbane Airport under Freedom of Information legislation.
After I analysed the three years of data provided as over 1,000 scanned reports and showed that the measurements from the probe and the mercury at Brisbane airport are different, with the probe sometimes recording up to 0.7C warmer than the mercury and that this difference is statistically significant, and after Graham Lloyd wrote up the story that was published in The Weekend Australian on Saturday 15th April, I was invited onto Chris Kenny’s program on Sky TV.
It wasn’t the lead story, on Monday 17th April.
Chris Kenny introduced the topic of catastrophic human-caused global warming as ‘a debate’. He then proceeded to introduce me as a biologist in an ‘argument’ with the Bureau of Meteorology over measurements from new instrumentation that overstates current temperatures. Except the bureau won’t argue with me, they are ignoring me – to the extent possible, at least publicly.
Chris Kenny, nevertheless, introduced the topic thus, and only after a long segment in which he lamented that the Princess of Wales Catherine was reportedly denied access to the Queen’s bedside before her death, for concerns it would offend the Duchess of Sussex Meghan.
I thought that was old news. And certainly, of no economic consequence – while our entire economy is restructured at great expense to stop global warming because the measurements show it is getting hotter and hotter. Meanwhile, the two royal commentators that he had on before me, discussing Meghan, where allowed to go on and on, and on, and they were allowed to engage in some ‘debate’, specifically about politics within families and how Meghan has been a disruptive influence.
Of course, if Chris Kenny could have two conservative commentators on the segment before me debating Meghan, he could have at least theoretically found a conservative commentator to debate me on the topic of the resistance probes and the Bureau hyping warming. Not to mention how this provides reason for more government funding for the cartels that make so much money out of renewable energy at taxpayers’ expense.
Except Chris Kenny didn’t, and he won’t have anyone debate me, or the topic. Not the details of the topic of how temperatures are measured, or the history of Conservatives, beginning with Margaret Thatcher, making a hash of it. The Conservative media only ever present this issue as the fault of others, and they elevate the same others to positions of reverence the minute they change sides be it Patrick Moore or Michael Shellenberger.
As Tucker Carson has been explaining since he was removed as the most popular anchor from Fox News, for getting into the detail on an unpopular issues – even showing footage of the QAnon Shaman being escorted peacefully by Capitol police on 6th January
– if you want a job in the mainstream media, you need to self-censor.
And if you want a job in politics and you can’t self-censor yourself, then get someone like Greg Hunt to do it for your entire team, the entire Cabinet – for you and Scotty and also Peter Dutton.
I have observed that over the last decade Conservatives have shown more groupthink than the Greens and Labor combined on this and most other issues, while claiming they would welcome debate. If only the Australian Broadcasting Corporation allowed it. Nevermind that they were the government for most of the last decade.
As Timothy Crouse wrote in his famous analysis of mainstream pack journalism:
“In the world of straight, objective journalism, the more freedom you gave the reporter, the more he censored himself. Freedom scared a reporter out of his mind, because it wasn’t really freedom at all.
Freedom simply meant that nobody had clearly marked all the pitfalls and booby traps, so the reporter became cautious as a blind man on a battlefield. [ends]
And so, Chris Kenny devalued my segment, that potentially provided just the ammunition the Conservatives need to argue against Net Zero, by placing it at the very end of the evening and after amusing gossip concerning the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
I have read former Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex’s, memoire Spare, towards the end he laments the royal family’s relationship with the British media. He goes into some detail about how both Charles and the late Queen have/had PR teams in constant negotiation with the media. He explains how what is reported is less to do with the news, and more about what both sides determine to be convenient and acceptable within their own bizarre rules of this game, for any moment in time. No wonder there has never been any proper ‘debate’ about human-caused global warming in the UK, with the former Prince, now King Charles III, known to have this issue as his pet project that the media will respect given their rules of engagement.
I would be grateful to Chris Kenny for having me last on his program on Monday 17th April after the front page article by Graham Lloyd in The Weekend Australia, except there was no debate, and there is no debate. That is the most destructive and worst of all the lies.
Moreover, most Conservatives consistently repeat the Bureau’s claims of imminent catastrophe. There is Tim Wilson, the former member for Goldstein and a former IPA employee, and a great champion of the official line on all of this. Then there is the former deputy PM Josh Frydenberg. He is right across the issue of the Bureau fudging the historical record and could have at least tried to do something about it when he was the former Minister for the Environment. Why doesn’t Chris Kenny, or one of the other Sky News commentators, get some debate going by having one of these champions of catastrophic warming, and therefore presumably the Bureau’s faux historical temperature reconstructions also on his program for a debate?
Then, of course, there is Greg Hunt. Back in 2014 he apparently ‘killed’ Tony Abbott’s attempt to force an enquiry into the industrial scale remodelling of Australia’s temperature history through the process of homogenisation that underpins the narrative that gives us more and more expensive, while less and less reliable, electricity.
Most Conservatives politicians in Australia already know that there are major problems with the Bureau’s characterisation of our temperature history, and maybe even that the new record hot days that the Bureau are constantly calling are a consequence of custom-designed resistance probes rather than global warming. But they pretend otherwise and look the other way.
No one really wants to have the debate – on either side of Australian politics.
I will continue this story as part of a series I’m calling ‘Jokers, Off-Topic Reviews and Drinking from the Alcohol Thermometer’.
You can read my previous comment here: https://jennifermarohasy.com/2023/05/jokers-and-temperature-as-radio-chatter