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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