Monthly Archives: October 2012

Denier comment of the day October 28, 2012

Actually, this comment should go in the running for comment of the year. It comes courtesy of Viv Forbes, regular contributor to the Climate Sceptics Party’s official blog. This one, is so mindnumbingly moronic I have to wonder if Viv has taken up smoking crack. Get ready, brace yourself, wear headgear. The topic? Wind farms.

Wind turbines work by extracting kinetic energy from the wind. To extract significant energy in any particular location, there needs to be an almost impenetrable thicket of these whirling scythes. This has three adverse consequences – it changes the local climate, takes a terrible toll on birds and bats, and the throbbing noise pollutes the local environment.

On the surface this is pretty benign in that its the usual sort of nonsense put forward by these idiots but on reading further it started to shape up as beyond moronic especially the reference to the effects on climate but I’ll get to that in a moment. First, Let’s look at the claim that wind turbines exact a “terrible toll on birds and bats”. The sources provided by Viv are here and here and here. Two of these link to a fringe bird lover society claiming to have international memberships and connections. It also alleges lots of scientific evidence for their claims yet have no peer-reviewed and published evidence to support these claims. A look at the layout of their website and the kind of language they employ, you could be forgiven for thinking you were on a regular denier website. The other links to the American Bird Conservancy. These guys are an awesome conservation group who do a lot of good work raising awareness about the plight of birds in the USA. A quick search of their site revealed this table.

Table from American Bird Conservancy highlighting numbers of bird deaths through collision with various man-made structures.

 

As you can see the very source provided by Viv Forbes shows just how relatively insignificant wind turbines are compared to other man-made structures. What pisses me off the most about deniers like Viv Forbes and the Climate Sceptics Party and their ilk is they feign environmental concern for bats and birds when in fact that are just using bats and birds as political tools to put forward their idiotic position. The fact of the matter is that cars, buildings, power lines, pesticides and feral cats kill far more birds and bats than wind turbines.  This study estimated bird deaths attributable to buildings as high as 975 million birds per year in the USA.  Even barbed wire fences get a mention. Will I see an a post from Viv Forbes denigrating cars or buildings out of concern for flying wildlife? Highly unlikely. Why not just be honest and admit they don’t like wind turbines because it offends their idiotic ideology instead of trying to greenwash their argument? The answer of course is that intellectual honesty is difficult when you don’t have an intellect.

Next, the “throbbing noise” bullshit. Viv makes this claim and provides a link.

Residents as far as 10km from the nearest wind turbine are affected by infra-sound and low frequency noise from the turbine. Unable to live in their homes, and unable to sell them, they become homeless “wind farm refugees”. 

Here is the link. It is essentially a very poorly sourced letter of demand to “relevant authorities” by some mob called the Waubra Foundation. The letter is hilariously OTT and well worth a read if you need cheering up…(and these people call us alarmists). The reference list is….well….I’ll let you decide. The only actual peer-reviewed document in it is criticised because it refers to “symptoms” as “annoyances”. Apparently whichever scientist or clinician  wrote it wasn’t OTT enough for these nutcases. But do wind turbines make people sick? I doubt it. Undoubtedly there are people presenting at doctors with some sort of symptoms they are blaming on wind turbines but one has to wonder how many of these are symptoms of something else like stress and how many are due to the nocebo effect. The thing I always find amazing is that the property owners who have wind turbines on their properties never get sick. Might have something to do with the financial benefits and good feeling knowing you are doing something fantastic for the environment.

Now let’s get to the big one. The claim that wind turbines “change the local climate”. Viv goes on in his post with this…really, brace yourself…

A wall of wind turbines acts like a mini coastal range – slowing the wind and making it rise over the obstacles. Whenever air rises over a range, it cools and tends to drop its moisture as rain. As it goes down the other side it tends to warm up, lowering its relative humidity. This is why the apparently insignificant coastal range from Cooktown to Cooma is naturally covered with thick scrub and the land in the rain shadow behind the coastal range is dry. Wind towers inevitably have a similar effect on climate, creating new rain shadows in the areas robbed of wind.

Seriously? Wind turbines act like the Great Dividing Range and facilitate orographic rainfall? Let’s pretend for a moment that this utter garbage is accurate, is Viv suggesting that wind farms would have a worse impact than the already obvious changes in weather patterns brought about by human-induced climate change? Actually I won’t even give this nonsense credence and here’s why. The source provided by Viv to back up this ludicrous claim is here. It’s an article in New Scientist magazine referring to an unpublished manuscript by Axel Kleidon of the Max Planck Institute.  It’s essentially an exercise in mathematics pertaining to thermodynamics. Whether he is right or wrong is actually irrelevant because the bit that Viv Forbes is relying on is summed up in this one sentence from the New Scientist article.

Build enough wind farms to replace fossil fuels, he says, and we could seriously deplete the energy available in the atmosphere, with consequences as dire as severe climate change.

The issue here is no-one in the world is suggesting we replace all our fossil fuels purely with wind power. The switch to renewables will involve a mix of many different systems as well as increased efficiencies. The unpublished Kleidon manuscript is purely theoretical and does not take into account future efficiency improvements. Also many of his assumptions about land use changes are untested and purely hypothetical. What Viv Forbes would have you believe is that current wind installations are affecting climate. This is of course completely unsubstantiated drivel. Of course the fact of the matter is, doing nothing, as Viv Forbes and the equally idiotic deniers Viv associates with would have us do, will result in far worse consequences than doing something.

I guess what I really have trouble understanding about Viv Forbes is how he classifies himself? Read these paragraphs. Emphasis is mine.

Today’s heroes, however, are those in the anti-industry — those who make well-paid careers out of stopping things. They are anti-business, anti-mining, anti-farming, anti-development, anti-trade, anti-change and anti-foreigners. Their neurotic pre-occupation with the ways and things of the past is destroying prosperity and jobs and creating a generation of of children afraid of change, fearful of risk and suspicious of the productive process which supports them….

The worst aspect of the anti-industry is that its negative influence is heavily focussed on new businesses. Those who oppose change are naturally moved to oppose everything new — new mines, new buildings, new work methods, new industries. Their motivation is usually just grubby fear of competition. Sometimes it is genuine fear of the unknown or opposition to change.Viv Forbes. 1995

Could these paragraphs describe himself?  “Their motivation is usually just grubby fear of competition.” Well, given Viv Forbes’ background, his stance against the new industries and technologies of renewable energies could certainly be fear of competition.

*sigh* I could go on and on bringing up dozens of examples of Viv Forbes demonstrating the very practices he claims to oppose but it’s getting late and you get the idea. My forehead also hurts. Anyone who takes this clown seriously needs their head read. His post at the official blog of the Climate Sceptics Party is inaccurate, poorly sourced, ideologically driven claptrap fit for consumption by morons. If you actually believe his bullshit, and your idiocy works to prevent action on climate change, your grandchildren and great-grandchildren will get what you deserve.

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The loony right = misogyny?

I was looking in the usual places for a DCOD and stumbled onto one at Jo Nova’s from Anthony ‘climatologist not’ Cox. Going by his tag of “cohenite” he had this to say about Julia Gillard.

“…Lewinsky the issues are close to ONE of the controversies surrounding Gillard; which is, how can a women assert misogyny when her personal life is littered with affairs with married men, which by any standards, are a betrayal of the wife.”

Wow! “…littered with affairs…”? Really? There was some issue surrounding Craig Emerson as I recall but as far as I can make out, that isn’t plural and doesn’t resemble a past “littered with affairs”. For me though, I couldn’t really care less for politicians’ personal lives. But what is it with Anthony and his exaggerations? He is clearly exaggerating here and he has a history of exaggerating his own qualifications. Is it pathological? What other stories does he embellish? All of them?

Anyway, the topic of this post is misogyny. I find it interesting that Anthony chose the topic of Gillard’s attack on Abbott to make his point. There are plenty of other topics he could have used. Before I go on though, I have to wonder if it is actually possible for a woman to be a misogynist? Isn’t that a bit like calling a gay man a homophobe? Anyway, Anthony chose to highlight misogyny and I have to wonder if perhaps in doing so, if he is defending misogyny? This is of course idle speculation but let’s take a look at the political party he belongs to, the Climate Sceptics Party. Here is “The Team“.

Bill Koutalianos – President

Bill Pounder- Vice President

Anthony Cox – Secretary

Geoffrey Brown – Treasurer and blogger

Paul Bovolos – Newsletter Manager

Stefan Landher – Election blogger

Leon Ashby – Past president and Senate candidate

Chris Dawson – Senate candidate

Beau Woods – Senate candidate

Terry Cardwell – Senate candidate

Gordon Alderson – Election strategist

I guess all the little women have to make scones and pour cups of tea for the meetings so these mostly middle-aged, scientifically illiterate white men can get on with the important business of ….. whatever it is they do.

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Tony Abbott’s pledge

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October 22, 2012 · 1:18 pm

Perhaps you’re not as important as you think???

I was reading the latest posting over at Steve “easily butthurt” McIntyre’s Climate Audit and got the impression I was reading some story from a petulant self-absorbed celebrity. You see, I was reminded of the story about the Hollywood movie star who at the airport was not getting the level of service he expected at the baggage check-in. He asked the staff member very loudly and angrily, “Don’t you know who I am?” The staff member very calmly said into the PA microphone, “Attention travellers, we have a gentleman here who doesn’t know who he is. If anyone can help him remember, could you please come to the baggage check-in.” How does this relate to Steve? You can read for yourself here, but here is the first in a series of similar statements from the post. Emphasis is mine.

In 2005, D’Arrigo et al (then under review at JGR) had been cited by IPCC AR4. At the time, as an IPCC reviewer, I attempted to obtain both very rudimentary information about the sites used and unarchived measurement data from the authors, from the IPCC and from the journal (JGR, which was theoretically subject to AGU policies requiring data archiving.) My efforts were totally rebuffed. I was even threatened with expulsion as an IPCC reviewer for asking for data. I tried again in October 2009 and was once again rebuffed.

As if a journal is going to release data from a paper  under review to a nobody. Especially when that nobody has a history of nitpicking denial with a “paper” in E&E.  Attention passengers, we have a gentleman here who thinks he’s an expert….

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Denier comment of the day, October 15, 2012

Steve “easily butthurt” McIntyre at his denier den, Climate Audit, is the proud recipient of the COD award.  In continuing his display of butthurtedness, he has decided to demonstrate his incredible powers of statistical analysis using nothing but his eyes and his incredible intellect as he offers this comment.

As partial support for the concept of “social priming”, it seems to me that there is a statistically significant increase in the incidence of drivel in writings by activists after being primed with words that relate to “climate skeptics”.

Of course Steve hasn’t done any real test and he’s just being facetious but it does raise a few questions. First, you have to work out how you would classify drivel from non-drivel. For us it is easy. If it is non peer-reviewed garbage being peddled as science e.g. Watts et al 2012, it is drivel. If it is garbage published in E&E, it is drivel etc. For the deniers, it is the opposite of course.

Supposing Steve finds a method for accurately classifying drivel and he does indeed find a “statistically significant increase in the incidence of drivel” he then must try to explain it. I’m pretty sure I have the answer. You see, when I go to Steve’s or Anthony’s or Jo Nova or any of these denier dens and start reading, I inevitably start facepalming. By the end, I tend to have a headache and I actually feel like I have lost IQ… and the rest is history. If anyone thinks this post is drivel, well, I just came from Steve’s.

 

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Denier comment of the day October 10, 2012

A quick one before I go that highlights how deniers are becoming increasingly desperate to avoid what today’s data is showing. This one comes courtesy of Steve McIntyre at Climate Audit. He says,

“In today’s post, I’ll review two of the most relevant contemporary publications by the UC Global Research Information Office – a 1991 article by Bradley and Jack Eddy, an older contemporary, and a 1996 article by Tom Crowley, both using variants of the IPCC 1990 graphic.”

Yep, he’s going to discredit 20 year old use of the schematic that has been misrepresented as a graph and altered by every prominent denier since it was produced in order to show the MWP was warmer than today. Well done Steve. Nothing like trying to discredit something that has been superceded by more accurate data. Perhaps you’d like to set out and disprove that the Earth is flat. That’s contemporary isn’t it?

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Fieldwork

Well, I’m outta here for the next 4-5 weeks to do some of that science stuff and will only be checking back occasionally when I have internet coverage. Apologies to any new commentators who find themselves stuck in moderation in my absence. Geoffrey Brown, you won’t be stuck in moderation as you have commented here before and despite your ridiculous lies to the contrary, I do not have you blocked. 

Unfortunately, unlike Watts, Nova and McIntyre, I don’t have any brainless sycophants on hand to insult and heavily censor any guests in my absence, so play nice.

In the meantime, I promise I will work hard while I am out in the field, just like I am in the photo below. Jealous? You should be.

Field work – it’s harder than it looks…….no really it is.

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I’m not racist but….

At some point in our lives, we’ve all come across someone who has uttered these words which is promptly followed by something undoubtedly racist. For me, it was a bloke I met in North Queensland who said to me, “Mike, I’m not racist but I really can’t stand Indians.” When I pointed out that what he said was indeed racist, he tried to justify it by suggesting that he was in a majority so that “makes it ok.”  The problem is, he wasn’t really in a majority. He merely socialised with a small group of people who happened to have the same prejudicial views as him. What it interesting about this is that he knows that racism is wrong, hence his need to preface his comments about Indians with, “I’m not racist but…” Well, how about climate denialism? “I’m not a climate denier, but I just don’t accept the evidence.” What about politics? I’m not a right-winger but…” Here is a classic case where this person inadvertently admits that the right is a suspect position by suggesting his political party is “centrist”, however, everything they say and do suggests they are as right-wing as they come. Who am I talking about? The Climate Sceptics Party (CSP) and Geoffrey Brown, their official blogger. In his latest post, he makes the following hilarious statement.

“The NO CARBON TAX Climate Sceptics are not aligned with either the LEFT leaning Green Gillard Government or the RIGHT  leaning Coalition. We are a Centrist party.”

First I’ll deal with the first part. It is very true that the CSP are not “aligned” with Labor, the Greens or the Coalition and I’m pretty sure they’re all happy about that because I’m confident they wouldn’t want anything to do with the CSP.

Second, this notion that the CSP are a “centrist party”. This statement is so ridiculous it beggars belief. It shows either a complete misunderstanding of the electorate, a complete misunderstanding of  what it means to be “centrist” or perhaps, like the bloke in North Queensland, knowledge that what they are is in fact what the majority find abhorrent. I suspect it’s a bit of the first and last. Like any population, the Australian electorate is subject to the rules of statistics and has a normal distribution in terms of the political spectrum.

Schematic of the Australian political spectrum in terms of the voting public’s political views.

This schematic suggests that the majority of voters arrange their political views in a normal distribution. Geoffrey Brown actually acknowledges this with his ridiculous “centrist” statement. Why else would he want to be recognised as such? The vast majority of political parties wish to appear to be centrist and the way they try to appeal to the voting public is with so-called “catch-all” policies. If we were to overlay this normal distribution with where the Labor Party sits in terms of its policies, it would look something like this.

Schematic of where Australian Labor Party policy sits in relation to the electorate’s political views.

 As you can see, Labor is primarily leftist, however, a number of their policies are designed to appeal to the majority of voters and some of the right. An example of a right leaning policy from Labor would be in the treatment of boat people. A chart for the coalition looks like this.

Schematic of where coalition policies sit in relation to the electorate’s political views.

As with the ALP, the coalition sits mostly to one side but overlaps a little to the other side. An example is the recent alignment of the coalition with some unions.

In both cases, with Labor on the left and the Coalition on the right, the tactic of moving towards the centre and over to the other side is designed to catch more votes from the middle where the vast majority of voters are.  Anecdotally, I know many people who complain at election time that both sides of Australian politics are the same. Some, even go as far as collectively calling them the Laborel (Labor + Liberal) party. The success of this tactic is evidenced by the fact that with the exception of a few independents and one Green, the federal parliament has fairly similar numbers of Members from each side. The same applies to the upper house where there is rarely much of a difference between the two major parties but for a substantial number of greens in a couple of States.

So, back to Geoffrey’s “centrist” fallacy. In the last federal election in 2010, the CSP ran senate candidates in each state but not in the Northern Territory or the Australian Capital Territory. If they were truly running on a “centrist” platform I would have expected them to receive many more votes than they did. In Queensland, they received only 0.19% of the overall vote and polled worse than other single issue parties like the Shooters and Fishers Party (1.74%) and the Australian Sex Party. The results were similar in New South Wales (0.21%), Victoria ( 0.15%), South Australia (0.46%), Western Australia (0.16%) and Tasmania (0.23%).  For a party claiming to be in the political centre that is a very very poor result. For that result to happen to a “centrist” party, the political landscape in Australia would have to look like this…

Schematic of Geoffrey’s distorted reality in terms of the political spectrum in Australia in relation to his party’s poor showing in the 2010 election.

What is more likely is the following graphic highlighting where his party fits and where the Greens are. The reason for mentioning the Greens will become apparent shortly.

Schematic of the reality in terms of the CSP and Greens and where they fit in the political spectrum of Australia.

So, how do we know the CSP is a right wing party and not in the centre? The answer can be found in the many pages of the official blog for the party. Given that the ALP do have some “centrist” policies amongst their mostly centre left, why hasn’t Geoffrey Brown, the official blogger for the CSP ever written a single post where he agrees with a policy or at least defended  a policy or Labor member? I performed a search on the site for the term “ALP” and not one of the posts that came up had anything favourable to say about the ALP. A similar search for “coalition” turned up plenty of  posts. I didn’t have to go far to find a favourable one. Here’s one. Here’s another praising Nationals, Barnaby Joyce and Ron Boswell. There are plenty. Even the post with Geoffrey’s ridiculous “leftist” comment that this post is about appears to defend  the leader of the coalition, Tony Abbott.

So what about the Greens? Well there is no doubt that the Greens sit on the political left. The venom and spite that comes from Geoffrey about the Greens is evident in every second post on the official blog for the CSP. I am given the impression that the CSP is diametrically opposed to anything the Greens say or do. In a 2010 post by one of the CSP members on behalf of the CSP by Senate hopeful, Terence Cardwell, the greens are referred to as a “poison chalice” and guilty of pushing a “communist agenda”.  From the same post comes this rant.

“Under that very thin cover of green is a very bright red of the communist, lead by the fanatical Bob Brown, who is a liar and one of the worst perpetrators of this world scam and he wants total control. If the extremists called ‘greens’ should bring their policies to fruition it will destroy our economy and our country. To the point it could bring about an extremely violent reaction from the Australian people when they finally realise that the Greens are deliberately trying to tear our country apart. By that time it could be too late. The only consolation would be that every Green would pay severely for their treachery.”

This has some of the hallmarks of a stereotypical right-wing rant. It’s got “reds under the bed”, appeals to nationalistic pride and suggestions of nationalism inspired violence against perceived “treachery”. There are plenty of posts complaining about Green policies. For example here, here, here and here. In fact, nearly every second post is an anti-Green post.

In contrast, the official blog for the CSP does not have a single post criticising any right-wing parties or organisations. In fact, I think this post says it all. Before I pin the screenshot.Let’s just go back to that key statement by Geoffrey Brown, the official blogger for the CSP again.

“The NO CARBON TAX Climate Sceptics are not aligned with either the LEFT leaning Green Gillard Government or the RIGHT  leaning Coalition. We are a Centrist party.”

So Geoffrey, as a centrist party, who are you aligned with? From your post of 29 september 2011….

The allegedly “centrist” CSP aligning with the far right. That would be odd…if the CSP weren’t loony right all the way.

Geoffrey Brown, if you think you are “centrist” you’re even more stupid than I thought. If you think the majority of Australians are also on your wavelength you’ve completely lost your marbles. My question, why are you ashamed to admit that you are part of the loony right? Could it be because deep down you know how distasteful your ridiculous right-wing party really is?

So to return to the original theme, what Geoffrey is saying here is “I’m not a right-winger, but I denigrate the left, ignore the middle, praise the right, associate with the right and promote the right.”

And I didn’t even get to your blogroll, a veritbale who’s who of right-wing anti-science and conspiracy ideation. Maybe in a future post.

 

 

 

 

 

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Soviets the Arctic and oil

Here’s a news story from Reuters and reported in the West Australian, October 5,2012.

LONDON (Reuters) – Russia is considering allowing Western companies to own oil licences in its Arctic waters, Energy Minister Alexander Novak was quoted as saying in Friday’s Financial Times.

The FT reported, without providing a full direct quote, that Novak said the proposal would allow foreign oil majors not only to operate offshore projects but also to “have access to production” and become “co-owners of the licences”.

Novak was cited as saying the idea was being discussed in the energy ministry, although no final decision had been taken.

Only companies that were environmentally safe, technologically advanced and financially robust would qualify, the FT said.

Earlier this month, state-owned oil giant Gazprom OAO <gazp.mm>delayed the start of production at its Prirazlomnoye field, the first Russian Arctic offshore oil deposit to be developed, due to safety concerns.

The Arctic is seen as a key source of oil in the next decade for Russia, the world’s largest producer.

(Reporting by Stephen Mangan; Editing by Richard Pullin)

I didn’t think contributing to global warming could be considered environmentally safe.

 

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Denier comment of the day,October 4, 2012

Today’s comment comes from a reporter for The Register. His name is Lewis Page. In an unresearched and unsubstantiated rant in his article about sea level rise, he makes this stupid statement.

“It should be borne in mind here that in most places the sea rises and falls every single day on a scale measured in metres, and even more during unusual events (big storms from certain directions when the moon is in certain positions etc). Existing human infrastructure that can cope with these comparatively everyday occurrences will not be much affected by rises on the 30cm scale, and it doesn’t cost a lot to cope with such rises or indeed much bigger ones.”

Yes, Lewis, the tide comes in and the tide goes out and people and communities cope with it. And when big storms come in we generally cope with it. But here’s the thing idiot. Put those storm surges on top of the sea level rise. Do you actually expect that storms are going to stop? Not to mention that with the extra heat in the ocean that will be causing SLR, we can reasonably expect stronger storms and cyclones. Storm surges will be higher again, compounding the effect. What would New Orleans have been like with even more water coming over the levy? What about Cardwell in far north Queensland, Australia when Cyclone Yasi devastated the area?

You then go on to talk about how the USA will be able to build their way out of rising sea levels so it’s all good. Tell that to the people of Bangladesh where annual flooding already displaces millions. Tell that to the people of Tuvalu. The irony here of course is that you claim that curbing greenhouse gas emissions will result in “serious misery and hardship for billions of people”. This is not only completely unfounded but even if it were true, have you asked how many billions of people will suffer when all the other expected outcomes from AGW kick in? I’m talking here about food shortages, ecosystem collapse, altered rainfall regimes, disease range shifts,  water shortages. This last one is especially important. Do you know, Lewis, how many people rely on annual glacier melt for their drinking water? That can be your homework. You might be surprised. Unlike you, I am not going to rely on this…

“It’s more than likely that new construction materials or floating cities or flying cars or some other development will have made sea-level rises largely irrelevant”

I would suggest, Lewis, you spend a little less time watching Jetson’s cartoons and a bit more time actually researching the science into AGW. Idiot.

Lewis is pinning his hopes on flying cars to cope with rising sea level

The people of Bangladesh can’t afford flying cars to fly away from annual flooding that is only going to get worse.

Lewis is going to build the people of Tuvalu a floating city

Lewis blindly overlooks the future implications of AGW. This is how you farm in Texas these days.

How much worse would Cyclone Yasi have been had sea level been just 30cm higher and the coral sea 1 degree warmer? Cardwell and many other towns would have been washed away completely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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