ABC radio (Australia); “The Science Show” tricks of the trade.

Robyn Williams speaking at 2010 Global Atheist...

Robyn Williams speaking at 2010 Global Atheist Convention Image via Wikipedia

by Bob Fernley-Jones

Regular readers of WUWT will likely recall the interview with Bob Ward of 2/Oct/2010, which resulted in strong ridicule of the ABC, that went viral on websites in Australia and around the world, such as at the UK Guardian and WUWT [1].   I raised a complaint to the ABC, including the listing of seven such websites, but it was rejected for reasons which are arguably based on strange and selective interpretations of their self-regulating Editorial Policies.  (I continue with enquiries, but the wheels grind slowly).  Here is ONE aspect of that rejection, where the “complaints unit” refused to admit that most listeners to the show were arguably misled.  It resulted in insult and innuendo against Professor Bob Carter, whom was a guest writer at WUWT recently.  Now seems a good time for a review of that one aspect.  (Caution; this is in Oz English)

(1)  The closing remark in the broadcast was:

Robyn Williams: “Bob Ward is policy director of the Grantham Institute of the LSE. [London School of economics] We invited Professor Carter to comment on those remarks but he declined. You can however read Ward’s critique and Professor Carter’s recent reply on our Science Show website…”

In fact, Professor Bob Carter declined an offer to a separate telephone interview, after the unheard interview of Ward.  Instead, he strategically Emailed an already published reply based on previous experience with the PR-man-Ward’s assault on an oldish 2008 paper [2].  The following Email extracts refer, the first being from the producer David Fisher on 24/Sep/2010:

“…We’re broadcasting Mr Ward’s interview 2nd October. Ideally we would do a phone interview with you before end of Thursday 30th September and include this in our program of Oct 2.  If you would like to respond, please call me and we’ll make an arrangement.

Here is part of Professor Carter’s reply of 26/Sep:

“…Mr Ward has a long history as a tireless public relations manager for the cause of global warming alarmism, and… …If you wish to quote me regarding Mr Ward’s views of my work, then please use the attached response to the extended essay that he published recently in the EAP Journal.

Meanwhile, on matters that are more strictly scientific [2], I remain happy to discuss issues with Robyn at any time. For instance, perhaps he might like to interview me regarding my recently published book, for which I attach a selection of review comments?” [3]

Thus, Professor Carter’s comments were supplied in writing, well before the requested cut-off date of 30/Sep.  However, they were not used on the show, but were offered to the listeners on the website, which is arguably obtuse and inconvenient for most radio audiences.

(2) Now compare the experience of journalist Andrew Bolt:

Mr Bolt is also sceptical of the hypothesis of catastrophic AGW.  His interview by journalist Robyn Williams followed unheard criticisms from Professor Jeff Severinghaus beforehand, wherein Bolt innocently thought it all to be nothing new, and answered to what he did know.  To elaborate, here in part is what Williams wrote separately in an essay in Cosmos.

Williams: “…I duly brought back [the Jeff Severinghaus] interview to be broadcast on ABC Radio and, silly fellow that I am, thought Bolt might appreciate being given a right of reply…”

Amongst other things, it seems that Williams was deeply hurt when Bolt had the audacity to ask if Williams really thought that sea levels could rise by 100 metres this century.  (which was under discussion, and the answer was yes).  But sorry, I digress, and here is part of what Bolt later wrote in response to “being given a right of reply”, my underlining added:

Bolt: “This seems a bit underhand.       Robyn Williams, host of the ABC’s Science Show, asked me on to answer criticisms he said Professor Jeff Severinghaus had made of my reporting of his study. That was fine. Although Williams didn’t tell me exactly what Severinghaus had said (in an interview immediately preceding mine), I got the chance to put my case – that nothing I’d written contradicted what his study of ice core samples said.  So I appreciate having been given a chance to respond.  But that wasn’t all Severinghaus accused me of…”

The whole article; “Answering Williams’ shameless slur” is interesting reading, including gems like Severinghaus writing to the Brisbane Sunday Mail in error, and it was this paper that failed to respond. (not Bolt’s Herald Sun in Melbourne, where it should have been addressed).

(3) Now to Williams’ concluding allegation; “We invited Professor Carter to comment on those remarks but he declined”:

In my Email of 14 December to the ABC “Complaints Unit” , (AKA ‘Audience and Consumer Affairs’ or A&CA), I wrote in part:

“…For instance, to take one point; it doesn’t really matter what YOUR new interpretation of professor Carter being invited onto the show means. What counts is what the LISTENER hears and comprehends. The INNUENDO to the listener was that Bob Carter was invited and declined, which is hardly fair…”

A&CA ignored that comment, and to elaborate; when I refer to “THEIR new interpretation”, if we go back to their Email of 8/November, they seemed to parallel the very point I was making about audience perception:

…I [Kirstin McLiesh, dept Head] note that Professor Carter was asked on to the show to respond to the criticisms made of his views and others by Bob Ward.  Professor Carter declined, as Robyn Williams noted during the broadcast…

…In my view, the invitation made to Professor Carter to appear on the program, and the publication of his paper and response on the program website, indicate that the program was seeking to present its audience with a diversity of views on this subject…

…(notwithstanding Professor Carter declining the invitation to appear on the [2] October program)…

But then, on 13/Dec, after consideration of the Email exchange I supplied to A&CA as in (1) above, they changed tune and wrote in part, precisely what the radio listeners could not be expected to know:

We regret you have misinterpreted Robyn William’s explanation of the invitation to Professor Carter in the program.  The request to him to take part in a pre-recorded interview is what was meant by “inviting” him onto the program. We feel our use of this term  also may have mislead you but this is a standard way of describing a request for someone to participate in a pre-recorded show on the ABC.

[some extra padding deleted]

In the course of the interview, which also would have been pre-recorded, Robyn Williams would* have verbally put the criticisms Bob Ward made of Professor Carter to him in the form of questions or statements.  This is a fairly standard journalistic practice and should not be considered a sinister or underhand  approach. Furthermore, I [Claire Morgan, for McLiesh] do not believe that there is anything untoward in the manner in which the material provided by Professor Carter was handled by the Science Show team.  It was posted onto the website and it was referred to on air.

*I suggest they should have said ’might’ rather than ‘would’, going by the experience of Andrew Bolt in (1) above!   And, it is relevant to know that something A&CA as an “independent group” admit to is that they seek advice on complaints from the affected department, which is quite likely to include advice framed in self-interest.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] WUWT website, (Watts Up With That), was recently voted “Best Science Website” in the 2011 Bloggies Awards.

[2] See biography and impressive scientific publication record etc: Robert (Bob) M. Carter Please click the buttons at the base of the page! See transcript and audio on Bob Ward interview here Note that the introduction by Williams starts with:  “Bob Ward says those who seek to reinterpret the science of climate change often have minimal publication records…” I wonder if Williams and Ward are aware that Bob Carter is an active scientist and has been an author in some 100 research papers and much more.   (click those buttons on his website!).  However, these scant commentators have the gall to clarion that the learned professor is incompetent!

[3] It’s a tad off topic, but it is interesting to note, re 2nd  Email in (1), that Professor Carter’s proposal to discuss his acclaimed book was declined, yet recently the “Science Show” did two full 1-hour jobs on Tim Flannery’s and then Naomi Oreskes’ new books, oh, and also a nice chat with David Suzuki, all three of whom have a very different take than the professor.  Of course, this a is typical attitude as seen in other mainstream media and the so-called consensus.

About Bob Fernley-Jones

I’m a retired mechanical engineer, and I guess that because in my science, any bad assumptions can get people killed, I have an abhorrence of many things that are perpetrated by academics in some areas of science. In the case of so-called climate science, the culture and bias in some media is also repugnant to me. I’m hoping that the ABC will improve its self regulating policies and culture to eliminate bias, and this website is under development towards that end. (if necessary).

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73 thoughts on “ABC radio (Australia); “The Science Show” tricks of the trade.

  1. As we have so often seen in the main stream media (UK, USA, OZ, doesn’t matter where), journalistic dishonesty is a well documented Anthropogenic Global Alarming event. Their apologists defend them, as needing ever more alarming headlines to attract viewer/readers to a continually foreshortened news cycle.

    That is pure BS. It has had one very beneficial effect however. It created a market for web blogs that hew to higher ethical standards of information reporting. The result? Web sites constructed and produced by folks like our most excellent host Anthony Watts! Sincerest ‘Thanks’ to you, Anthony and ‘Thank you’ to all who honestly contribute here!

  2. At least we now know the real riff raff in climate science.
    Good to have this information at hand.

  3. ABC has a show called Question and Answer. It is a political show supposedly with independent questions from the audience. That myth has been exploded recently and publicly but no shame from the ABC.
    The host is Tony Jones. He is a firm CAGW believer. he usually stacks the panel with 3 left or similar and 1 conservative.
    He did a Global Warming show. He asked one skeptic, Jennifer Marohasy and 1 conservative who is a warmist and his usual gaggle of left/socialist cause believers and a stacked audience. Marohasy ran circles around them to the point after the show, Jones was in a vile temper demanding to know from his panel members how they could allow Marohasy to get away with it. Marohasy puts it more kindly but other people leaked Jones vile temper. Tim Flummery ( Flannery well known for huge government grants for his otherwise broke, since shutdown, geothermal company) was his main CAGW expert.
    So ,good luck with getting any satisfaction out of the ABC.

    http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2010/10/more-abc-bias-but-anyway/

    http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2010/10/%E2%80%98miracles-media-and-the-murray%E2%80%99-on-abc-tv/

  4. This is not about the ABC but rather one of its pin up boys in Professor Garnaut. Garnaut is the government’s man for arguing the case for an ETS or carbon tax or both.
    Once again, Marohasy devastates Garnaut’s clutch of AGW gobbledy gook. Another warmist and promoter of easily defrauded schemes, bites the dust. The mainstream media ,including the ABC, makes sure this is not heard nor repeated near a Green /ALP government.

    http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2011/03/garnaut%E2%80%99s-second-update-sceptics-are-the-white-swans/#more-7702

  5. Criticise the (Australian)BC by all means, but forget about getting any real response out of them. They are self-regulating, and since they are taxpayer-funded yet ‘independent’, they are answerable to no one. Leftism has penetrated the organisation to such an extent that most there are unaware of the bias. There is no hope of reform; the only hope is to sell it off, and let it serve, and be paid for, by its market.

  6. The ABC is showing some signs of change. One of my father’s friends a founding member of Australian Communist Party says “The ABC is an instrument of the Right”
    and I sense that the ABC has moved considerably with the mood of the country since 2nd October 2010. Just have a look at Q& A site and the headlines.

    http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/

    Delve a little deeper and I detect an increasing cynical approach from Aunty towards the government. If in fact this is so, then the ABC is doing its job.

  7. Hell has more chance of freezing over then has the ABC of becoming unbiased & politically-neutral. Given that only 18% of Australians regularly watch the ABC, it’s more important to berate the “real” TV channels – 7,9,10 – and hold them to account for their AGW bias (since more people regularly watch them). And someone needs to educate Koshy & Mel that AGW is a fraud because they are certainly brainwashing their viewers with their pro-AGW propaganda.

  8. What I love the most (if you read the transcript from the original interview) is that these alarmists have no idea on the following:

    What the actual effect will be to reducing CO2 emissions.
    What the cost will be in terms of economics.
    What the cost will be in terms of human conditions.

    All they know is that CO2 is bad and that reducing it is good unless you use nuclear power or hydro-electric power in which case that is bad. Wind power and solar power are good, as is geothermal power, but nuclear power is bad still as is hydro-electric. They quite litterally went bonkers.

    Shows like this also just show how ignorant the mass media is becoming. It ceased becoming about having smart anchors and all about having good actors up there pretending like they know what they are talking about. This case reminds me of the nuclear scare we have been having the last week. The media has no clue, (nor does the Obama administration in telling people on the west coast to take iodine tablets..but I digress..)

    In the meantime, the best we can do is make sure that we write them twice as often now. I have gotten into the habbit of writing my representatives and I suggest this might be the time to start writing them daily until the carbon is pollution meme is done with.

  9. Several decades ago it was clear to me that I would have to make a choice between science and environmentalism. One can be a scientist with an interest in the environment, but not an environmentalist who practices science – environmentalism and science are not compatible. This also seems to be true for ‘science’ journalists: the Matt Ridleys of the world are few and far between, the Robyn Williams types far too common.

    Since these people are not interested in understanding what may be happening with the climate, only in feeling smug about their true beliefs and suppressing the heretics, I’m not sure why Bob thinks he can obtain satisfaction? The ABC has been a stuffy, unresponsive institution for a very long time and since they got rid of Quantum there hasn’t been much real science reporting at all.

  10. MarcH March 16, 2011 at 1:38 pm
    I’ve considered going to ACMA as you suggest but here is an extract from my Email of 31/Jan to the ABC’s Director of Editorial Policies explaining why no. (the wheels grind slowly, and he passed it to the “Complaints Unit” about two weeks ago after what seemed some encouraging exchanges)

    “…and have reached a decision not to proceed with any of the three appeal alternatives. My main reasons are as follows, with elaborations in the footnotes:
    1) The ACMA approach has long seemed to be the most sensible to me*, but it appears that they can only rule on interpretations of the Code of Practice. Oddly, A&CA quoted Editorial Policies in their rulings, whereas, using your own expression, the Code of Practice is “distilled” from the far more detailed Editorial Policies. Thus, ACMA are arguably likely to uphold any allowable A&CA interpretation of what I have already described as inadequate in definitions.
    2) The statistics within The Report suggest that there is almost zero chance of any appeal being upheld, via any of the alternatives, and thus it is probably a waste of resources and time, to even try.****
    3) Regardless of the result of any appeal, it does not alter the fact that the existing wording in Editorial Policies enables lack of impartiality. (as distinct from the UK Ofcom Broadcasting Code, which is very clear in the that area). This not only includes bias, and exaggeration,** but bad journalism in the form of non-investigative reporting etc.***

    FOOTNOTES:
    * It makes sense to me, to rid the system of those two internal methods.
    ** The unchallenged bias and exaggeration in The Science Show is sometimes gross, but the problem has global implications. It has led to ridicule of the ABC to a wide audience in the blogosphere.
    *** Re Chairman’s address of 10/March/2010
    **** The inference that 67% of appeals to ICRP were successful is statistical nonsense when based on a sample of 3. A random swing of only 1 unit in decisions would give 33% [or] 100%! (whereas ACMA fairly reliably infers; ~0%, and CRE a goodly quality; ~3%)”

  11. Meanwhile, on matters that are more strictly scientific [2], I remain happy to discuss issues with Robyn at any time. For instance, perhaps he might like to interview me regarding my recently published book, for which I attach a selection of review comments?
    This reply by Prof. Carter would have made R. Williams very uncomfortable, potentially steering him away from his agenda, it would have been better to accept the invitation without qualification.
    Latest audience share of Radio National ( “Science Show” broadcaster) is 2.3% down from 2.7%. All preaching here is to the converted.

  12. I wish I were more up on the events down in Australia, but I’m not. I would point out, though, that even for a distant observer such as I, to expect even a remotely fair shake from the complicit media is a bit naive. But perhaps, neither Prof. Carter nor Mr. Jones really believed they would get one and they are simply pointing out the inequitable treatment skeptics get. Good on them! It needs to be! Over and over again. Be of good heart. The tide is turning. I believe it now comes down to perseverance. Stay on them guys!

  13. Here in Canada, the horrendously Liberal CBC has a radio science show with the same problem, actually even worse. They don’t even pretend to acknowledge the existance of skeptics; it’s the gospel power hour of global warming.

  14. Braddles @ March 16, 2011 at 1:39 pm
    I think that there is still some hope for the ABC, if the address to staff last year by the Chairman of the Board is anything to go by, for instance in this extract:

    Climate change is a further example of group-think where contrary views have not been tolerated, and where those who express them have been labelled and mocked. In his ABC Online blog last October Chris Uhlmann wrote a piece called In praise of the sceptics. ‘“Climate science we are endlessly told is “settled”’ he wrote. “But to make the, perfectly reasonable, point that science is never settled risks being branded a “sceptic” or worse a “denier”…one of those words, like “racist”, which is deliberately designed to gag debate…You can be branded a denier if you accept the problem and question the solutions.”

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/maurice-newman-speech/story-e6frg996-1225839427099

    If you would like a little smile, here is an extract from ABC Editotial Policies:

    3.5.6 The ABC is accountable to Parliament and to the Australian people. The ABC recognises that its independence carries with it a high degree of responsibility.
    In addition to maintaining the independence and integrity of the Corporation
    it is the duty of the ABC Board to:
    (a) ensure that the functions of the ABC are performed efficiently and with
    maximum benefit to the people of Australia
    (b) ensure that the gathering and presentation of news and information
    is accurate and impartial according to the recognised standards of
    objective journalism
    ETC…
    3.5.7 In addition the Corporation does the following:
    (e) responds to queries from the public.

    http://www.abc.net.au/corp/pubs/documents/EdPols07_updateFeb09_FIN%20tools.pdf

  15. Australian Broadcasting Corporation doesn’t do journalism anyway. They have their favourite causes, and when they’re not pushing them, they’re ridiculing dissenters. Resistance is futile. Last night on the TV, the ABC Evening News ran the following two top stories: a) the death toll in Japan is likely to exceed 10,000, and b) two journalists wandering around Sendai got ‘low-level radiation’ on their shoes. The juxtaposition does a lot to clarify their their priorities.

  16. In a Australia to listen to the ABC you have to agree to the green agenda or be brain dead or both. please all australians must go to the carbon tax revolt at canberra on the 13rd march at 12 pm

  17. Bob, I think you nailed it here….3.5.6 The ABC is accountable to Parliament and to the Australian people.
    My advice is to go to your local Federal Member, in person, explain the problem and follow up the visit with a letter. Avoid dealing with public servants lower down the food chain, their job seems to be to avoid conflict and retire early.

  18. it’s true the commercial channels 7, 9, 10 and cable tv, sky news, are at least as gung-ho on pushing CAGW as is ABC, but the difference is the taxpayer (including two thirds of australians who are sceptical of CAGW) funds the ABC.

  19. Slightly off topic – but on the issue of the Aussie debate on climate science, here is our illustrious PM (Julia Gillard) carrying on about the state of the debate:

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/gillard-says-a-carbon-price-must-be-set-this-year-or-it-will-never-happen-20110316-1bxea.html

    In the last line of the article you’ll notice she is of the opinion that every skeptical scientist is disreputable.

    Shame on all of you :p (yes that is a sarc)

  20. Hi Tango – you wrote in part: “In a Australia to listen to the ABC you have to agree to the green agenda or be brain dead or both.”
    Now I still listen to the ABC and I’m neither green nor yet brain dead, although I will soon be the latter, as I’m very, very old, or so I’m told.

    I may be old but in my heart, I’m still an ABC Argonaut.
    I love the ABC!
    It’s just the presenters, the producers and the programs that I dislike.

    It’s not the Greens’ ABC.
    It’s not the Governemt’s ABC!
    It is the National Broadcaster!
    It belongs to all of Ausies.
    We wll prevail (eventually).

  21. I stopped noting the ABC, except for classical music and Miss Marple, some time ago. Abolition is the only answer. Privatisation is a thought but probably aimless. The Corporation is clearly answerable to neither parliament or people. It is utterly devoid of integrity. Knowing that brings no pleasure to one who, until recently, had listened avidly since childhood in the early 1960s. The loss is great but lost it is.

  22. Bob Fernley-Jones – you have quoted the chairman of the ABC.
    I once knew him personally – he obviously does not believe in fairies.
    I have written to him, as I’m sure many others have done.

    We should keep it up.
    There is a feint change occurring in some parts of the ABC.
    Particularly the new 7.30 line up (was 7.30 Report) .
    All we need is impartiality.

    What is happening in the field of climate at present is the most exciting story since the fall of the Berlin wall.
    Science – economics – politics – power supply stability – potential loss of billions of superannuation money poured into failed green funds – you name it – all rolled up into one.

    One day some smart reported and some producer or editor WILL pick it up and run with it.
    May that be soon.

  23. Bob Fernley-Jones
    THe structure of the ABC is very strange.
    There is a proper seperation of board and management, so that the board may not interfere with operational matters.
    Then there is the old newspaper ethos, where the managing director does not interfere with editors / producers.
    The idea was to ensure that the working reporters are free to fearlessly tell the truth and not be knobled by the political or financial interests of the owners.

    This has become quite distorted at the ABC.
    Staff are free to pursue their political views, quite free from Board or top management oversight.
    Eventually this will have to change.

    I suspect that by nailing their flag to the AGW masthead, the proponents are creating the situation, when the stables will be at last cleaned out.

  24. You only had to observe how the ABC treated the visit of Lord Christopher Monckton to Australia in Feb 2010 to determine their deeply ingrained culture regarding AGW.

    Despite the fact that Monckton is a world recognised spokesman against global warming alarmism. he did not once appear on the popular ABC 7.30 Report following National News. To cover his visit, they instead had a segment with carefully short edited Monckton clips with no less than 3 champions of AGW to comment on them. The process was obviously designed to ridicule Monckton.

    At no time was Monckton allowed to answer these comments live which I am sure he would have been delighted to do. As opposed to this the ABC has had countless in depth interviews on both the 7.30 Report and Lateline spinning the party line.

    At the time when polls showed that more half of the population had doubts about the extent of human activity on global warming, this is nothing short of scandalous for a publically funded media organisation.

    What the ABC is frightened of I am not sure but they continue to orchestrate and manipulate public opinion by stifling debate with any-one that questions AGW. Monckton’s visit was successful but he had to do it at grass roots level in town hall gatherings without any national media coverage.

    With a carbon tax well and truly on the table now, sceptics will need all their forces co-ordinated and show great will and determination, because the fight is going to be biased, ugly and dirty. And led by the ABC.

  25. Jack @ March 16, 2011 at 12:31 pm
    I can rarely bring myself to watch QandA on ABC TV (Question and Answer), unless the panel make-up might indicate an interesting debate, even with Tony Jones in the chair. One such that I remember well, involved Andrew Bolt whom is sceptical of catastrophic AGW. He was introduced to the audience as “controversial newspaper columnist Andrew Bolt”, and was sat next to Greg Hunt, (shadow minister for climate change, environment and water). Hmmm, could be interesting I thought, but no, not as I thought, because Tony Jones did not field climate change. (?! Odd!). Nevertheless, I sat it through, and I thought it hilarious at one point when the debate turned to Afghanistan, and Andrew Bolt made the other “experts” on the panel look like rather hollow “armchair experts” when he said something along the lines that he had formed his views after having visited Afghanistan several times.
    For video or transcripts and more, including all past programmes go here:

    http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/txt/s2521164.htm

    A more recent one that was rather interesting was when Tim Flannery (Hyper-Greenie mammalian fossil expert and Australian of the year 2007) appeared together with Barnaby Joyce. (leader of the Nationals in the Senate, Shadow Minister for water and stuff). Barnaby’s attitude towards Flannery and Jones was of palpable dislike, although he wasn‘t given much opportunity. See video etc here:

    http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/txt/s3138582.htm

    Incidentally, you may find this recent so-called “Science Show” interview of Tim Flannery (chair of the governments enquiry on climate change) interesting, but as a caution, have your vomit bag ready. Sheez, he is said to be salaried $180,000 for his part-time job as chair!

    http://www.abc.net.au/rn/scienceshow/stories/2011/3101365.htm

    I see that commenter Treeman feels that the ABC is showing some signs of change, quoting the most recent programme solely with our great leader Julia Gillard, and I’ll continue this Tony Jones thing by way of response to him shortly.

  26. Jack @ March 16, 2011 at 12:31 pm
    Further to my earlier comment, I forgot to mention that although Dr Jennifer Marohasy’s Oz-website which you cited has relatively low traffic compared with WUWT, it is, nevertheless, in my opinion of extremely high quality. I strongly recommend that all visitors at WUWT, also visit her HOME page here:

    http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/

    After my article here “has dropped off the bottom of the page“ at WUWT, (which typically happens quite rapidly), I hope that Jennifer may mirror it, and keep it warm in Oz, and I’m about to Email her to that effect since it is a rather Oz-centric topic.

    A concern I have with the web is that issues tend to spread rapidly around, and then they all die within a short period. Thus, I reckon that mirror posts might better be separated in time, to keep them alive for longer.

  27. An important point.
    It is the conversation reported above between Robin Williams and Andrew Bolt over sea level rises in this century, said by Williams at possibly 100 metres. Robin Williams answered “YES” to confirm his point to Andrew .

    How can the ABC justify engaging Robin Williams as a presenter of science .?
    It is possible that the sea may rise up to 0.5 metres this century, but it’s not likely. I am a person who has lived close by the sea for over 70 years in Australia.
    He appears to have no idea of the actual situation.

    We are all aware that mankinds presence on earth is making it very difficult for the ecology, because of our 300% increase in the world population over the past 80 years.
    Barack Obama wants more nuclear power generation in the USA.
    That is ,it seems, until Japans incident over the last week .

  28. I can’t believe it, we’ve had nine weeks of “The Science Show” without good ole faith based AGW. Is Robyn asleep at the wheel? a sceptical conversion? or perhaps he has been told by senior management to rein in the rhetoric.

  29. everything I have read here about ABC could just as easily be applied to the other state controlled mother company the BBC.

  30. The BBC broadcasts via Five Live radio a show hosted by Rhod Sharp and every Wednesday morning at around 03:00 a section that uses an Oz ‘legend’ one Dr Karl Sven Woytek Sas Konkovitch Matthew Kruszelnicki [Dr Karl]who answers science based questions from emailers/twitters etc.
    Oz based he is convinced that humans are causing AGW. Sadly the BBC never allow a balanced show and anyone that questions the Warmist view is never able to put a question. I have tried via various channels but failed dismally.
    All hail the impartiality of the BBC!

  31. I have noticed in the last few weeks that programmes on the BBC such as ‘Countryfile’ appear to have new scriptwriters as the once-obligatory pro AGW statements that were uttered wherever appropriate by the show’s presenters have ceased. It makes an excellent programme better!

  32. I would like to think that Robyn Williams might, just might eventually move to an even handed examination of the of the case for and the case against Anthropogenic Global Warming, but Tony Jones will go down kicking and screaming if he ever gets “tested” on the extent of his bias. I watched him twist words of a scientist who was adopting a reasonable neutral opinion as to the cyclic nature and natural cause of the Queensland floods, you could see that this was irritating Jones, who waited for an oportunity to suggest to the scientist that Global warming, might also be a factor, it was clever use of the words, and the scientist hesitated but could not emphatically discount the question in the way it was worded, so he answered in the way Jones wanted, the interview was then cut and Jones filled in the rest attributing that as an extreme event and went on to link the flooding to way out predictions that such events were expected to become more frequent and extreme as a result.

    The look on his face when he succeeded was so smug, that he had been able to get at least a partial acceptance from a scientist who had made no such claims during any other media interviews, which is most unusual on Australian Television. He reminds me of a Kevin Rudd (deposed prime minister) mini me, full of his own importance. It seems he also has KRudds infamous tantrums as well, when things go against him. I say invite him along not as the interviewer, but as a participant with Williams as the presiding person and two of the leading sceptical scientists, one scientist from the Bureau of meterology and one from the CSIRO, oh and Andrew Bolt to counter Mr smug, Tony Jones. Or if they don’t like Andrew Bolt, Joanne Nova would be suitable – great TV I’d say. Bring it on ABC!

  33. Alexander K says:
    March 17, 2011 at 2:46 am
    I have noticed in the last few weeks that programmes on the BBC such as ‘Countryfile’ appear to have new scriptwriters as the once-obligatory pro AGW statements that were uttered wherever appropriate by the show’s presenters have ceased. It makes an excellent programme better!

    ________________

    Well, it would be even better without the awful muzak and even more awful ‘swooshing thump’ sounds that accompany a change to a new ‘segment’…ghastly.

    I am angry with both the BBC and ABC for the way they are so biased and lefty-liberal (i.e. deeply illiberal), and they either can’t, or won’t, see it. The classical music stations on both are the only ones I can listen to without my BP rising. The News on the BBC, and also, I’m afraid, on ITV and Channel 4 seems always to push the CAGW line.

  34. Bob Fernley-Jones says

    bad assumptions can get people killed

    Yet you fail to take issue with this from Andrew Bolt’s blog:

    In fact, as the University of California’s Professor Jeff Severinghaus and others note, at least three studies of ice cores show the earth first warmed and only then came more carbon dioxide, many hundreds of years later. So does extra carbon dioxide cause a warming world, or vice versa?

    It’s a false dilemma, why can’t it be both? Severinghaus acknowledges as much and it is Bolt’s failure to do so, assuming that only one or the other can be true, that makes this a misrepresentation of the science.

    You failure to address Bolt’s shaky logic suggests that, rather than “bad assumptions”, it is assumptions you disagree with, regardless of merit, that you abhor.

  35. Kevin MacDonald,

    Rising CO2 is a function of rising temperature, not a cause.

    That blows a hole in the CO2=CAGW conjecture. But that conjecture has always been on shaky ground. There is no empirical evidence whatever showing that more CO2 raises global temperatures.

  36. Smokey says:
    March 17, 2011 at 4:57 am

    Kevin MacDonald,

    Rising CO2 is a function of rising temperature, not a cause.

    As ever, you fail to grasp my point. Rising CO² levels are indeed a function of rising temperatures, but it doesn’t follow that it cannot be a cause of them too. To argue otherwise is a non-sequitur and makes no more sense than arguing that because eggs are a product of chickens, chickens cannot be a product of eggs.

  37. Kevin MacDonald says:
    March 17, 2011 at 7:28 am

    All I have ever seen is the assertion that causes unknown start the warming, then CO2 takes over. Why can’t the causes unknown be the cause of further warming?

    DaveE.

  38. Get with the programme, Mr McDonald. The science is settled, human emissions officially cause devastating earthquakes and are already making the planet inhospitable to all life. Yet here you are, merely saying that it’s not impossible that rising CO2 levels could warm the planet.

    Sigh…

    True, it’s not impossible. However, there is a stunning lack of supporting evidence to suggest that it either has done, is doing or ever will do. Stable measured atmospheric opacity to longwave radiation, versus a demonstration of heating a 100% CO2-containing sealed bottle. Surely you can grasp why a few stubbornly independent minds may not yet have accepted every tenet of AGW hook, line and sinker?

  39. Treeman @ March 16, 2011 at 2:10 pm
    I did not watch the Q&A episode with Julia Gillard, our great leader but no panel, but I think you may be right that host Tony Jones is maybe becoming more investigative on political issues. If that is because someone has whispered in his ear, that’s fine, but I don’t think it has worked yet when it comes to climate issues.
    As chair, he not only controls what questions are asked, but then steers the debate by prompting or interrupting the panel members. For instance in the previous programme, he announced the agenda thus:

    Well, tomorrow marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day and we’ll come to that shortly. First to the political issue that generated so much heat over the past week. Our first question comes from…

    http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/txt/s3151089.htm

    The political issue was the proposed “carbon tax”, but the questioner asked if the “tea party” syndrome in the USA might take over in Oz and drive a revolt against it. The debate was carefully steered by Jones to be mostly about the “tea party”, and this was the only question taken on the big issue of “carbon tax” that had generated so much heat in previous days.

    I see that KenB has made some comments about Tony Jones, and in response to him, I’ll continue with that theme shortly.

  40. If you think this created some sort of storm, sorry till I read this I had not even heard of this as an issue, of course using your own website as one of the points of that so called storm is a little much.
    As far as Carter goes, yes the man is well published but much of his work relates to his field Stratigraphy/Geology his own website lists his publications

    http://members.iinet.net.au/~glrmc/new_page_4.htm

    He does even still publish in what are classed as high level science journals (but they are few) and those couple of papers are back to his field and not AGW skeptical, what unfortunately is also obvious to anyone familiar with these sorts of journals is that those listed that could be classed as ‘skeptical’ are not in those sorts of journals but things like Economic Analysis & Policy, World Economics or a conference proceeding from the “Australasian Institute of Mining & Metallurgy” preaching to the converted!

    And of course Environment & Energy well known in the science community, and ignored. As it quickly became known they would publish just about anything as long as it was skeptical of AGW.
    If Carter is being ridiculed, he brings it on himself, he is linked/creator of 4-5 groups he and in NZ that style themselves heavily on similar U.S. groups these don’t offer science, but are aimed squarely at the general public, who have little idea if what they are being told is factual.
    A prime example of that are references to the climate of the planet 500 million years ago, a point used by Carter, Monckton and Plimer, it is not and never has been a valid point, as regardless of the CO2 content, other variables like solar activity, continental position and currents where vastly different and there was also little land based life so the albedo of the land was also very different to today, soil and sand has an albedo of 30-40 while forest/plantlife is around half that effect at 10-20, any geologist should know that and not try to draw such a comparison, as it is deliberately misleading.
    That sort of thing is why both Carter & Plimer have lost credibility in the science community not because of fictional conspiracy theories.

  41. AusieDan @ March 16, 2011 at 7:31 pm and @ March 16, 2011 at 7:39 pm
    Yes and yes!
    Concerning the structure and culture within the ABC, this article “Climate balance urged at ABC”, from The Australian newspaper is of interest. The opening paragraph is:

    THE chairman of the ABC, Maurice Newman, has told about 250 leading journalists, program-makers and managers at the ABC that the media had displayed “group-think” on the issue of climate change in a speech that led to a feisty exchange with senior journalists and forced managing director Mark Scott to try to smooth the waters.

    And, further down, rather depressingly:

    Sources said the speech drew an immediate rebuke from the ABC’s Media Watch presenter Jonathan Holmes, who rose to his feet and said he was angered by Mr Newman’s remarks.
    Sources said Holmes had told Mr Newman he was wrong to assert that sceptics were silenced on the ABC. Holmes declined to comment when contacted by The Australian.
    ABC science journalist Bernie Hobbs also spoke, supporting Holmes’s view…”

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/climate-balance-urged-at-abc/story-e6frg996-1225839329115

    I recall that Andrew Bolt (prominent sceptical commentator on catastrophic AGW) has also written somewhere words to the effect that he was ambushed by Media Watch staff. One would think that this programme should be impartial.

  42. Dan says:

    “And of course Environment & Energy well known in the science community, and ignored. As it quickly became known they would publish just about anything as long as it was skeptical of AGW.”

    Dan certainly sees thing upside down. The position that is skeptical of the AGW hypothesis is the null hypothesis, against which the alternative AGW hypothesis must be tested. That is the scientific method in action. Observations and experiments always trump pal reviewed papers and computer models.

    There is ample empirical evidence for natural climate variability, but there is no empirical evidence for AGW, which is a conjecture based on computer models and radiative physics. There may be some minuscule warming attributable to AGW. But there is no testable, quantifiable evidence.

    And since the Climategate emails show how corrupted and cowed the climate journals are, other peer review journals must be used; the Mann/Jones-controlled climate journals deliberately scheme to keep AGW skeptics’ papers out, making the climate journals agenda-driven instead of science-driven. There is no doubt about this, it is routinely discussed in the Climategate emails.

    If Dan ever decides to follow the scientific method, he should demand that equal journal pages must be given to scientific skeptics – who certainly have the superior arguments and better facts.

  43. Let’s face it: AGW hysteria is a multi-billion dollar business. It is based on a message of impending climate disaster, which is based on computer model simulations cited by IPCC, the organization responsible for creating and fueling the hysteria.

    The media have been willing pawns. Whether it’s ABC, the BBC or CNN, one of the major weapons used by those who are promoting AGW hysteria is one-sided, biased reporting through the media.

    IPCC ratcheted up the scare through new summary reports predicting warming of several degrees with a resulting major rise in sea levels , severe weather events, droughts, floods, storms, extinction of species, mass immigrations, etc.

    To show concern for “dangerous AW” was “in”. It was the “PC” view to express.

    Nobel Peace Prizes (and an Oscar) were being awarded to the purveyors of the dAGW message.

    Many politicians also took up the cause, in the interest of being able to control national energy economies through new taxation and regulation of carbon.

    Media networks, such as ABC, BBC, etc. willingly jumped on the bandwagon to help sell this message. Besides, disaster stories sell well, as they increase ratings and circulation.

    Climategate, etc. has brought a major change in the public perception of IPCC and climate science in general. No longer are most people willing to simply swallow the dAGW party line.

    While the billions of dollars at stake are slowing the process down, a move away from dAGW is slowly coming to the mainstream media, as well.

    ABC and BBC may just be a bit slower in catching on, but they will eventually change, as well (possibly with a change of some key personnel who “failed to get the word”).

    It’s good that we have individuals out there like Bob Fernley-Jones, who are willing to challenge the one-sided reporting of their national TV channels in order to “keep them honest”.

    Max

  44. Dan

    You wrote (March 17, 2011, 4:30pm):

    And of course Environment & Energy well known in the science community, and ignored. As it quickly became known they would publish just about anything as long as it was skeptical of AGW.

    Science published Mann’s (since comprehensively discredited) hockey stick, simply because it supported the premise of unusual 20th century warming caused by dangerous AGW. Science it is still publishing studies by Mann.

    Other “peer reviewed” scientific journals also overwhelmingly publish reports favorable to the IPCC view, while refusing to publish any, which are critical.

    So regarding these journals one could say that “it quickly became known they would publish just about anything as long as it was skeptical supportive of AGW”.

    This is a form of political censorship applied to climate science.

    So if E&E is now giving dAGW skeptics a chance to publish their papers as well, more power to them. Another voice was obviously needed to counterbalance the one-sided approach of the “peer reviewed scientific press”.

    Max

  45. Dan @ March 17, 2011 at 4:30 pm , you wrote in part:

    [1] If you think this created some sort of storm, sorry till I read this I had not even heard of this as an issue, of course using your own website as one of the points of that so called storm is a little much.
    [2]As far as Carter goes, yes the man is well published but much of his work relates to his field Stratigraphy/Geology his own website lists his publications.

    [1] I use my website for the purpose of drafting stuff so that it is in a suitable html format for transcribing onto other popular sites, and into the actual body of Emails to politicians etc. The original linking here to my site was accidental, and you may notice that that linking has now been removed. (at my request).

    [2] Most scientists, especially the non-academic coalface types, given adequate training and experience in one field are capable of cross disciplinary study by virtue of applying scientific principles. In fact most “climate scientists” do not have degrees whatever in “climate science”.
    A good and topical example of this was Alfred Wegener, died 1930, whom was primarily an astronomer with an interest in meteorology, that proposed the elements of plate tectonics/ continental drift. However this was not accepted mainstream until the 1960’s. Of course, they certainly know about plate tectonics in Japan right now.

    Oh, and if you think that AGW caused that earthquake, is it OK that it is very cold in Japan. (and “no summer” here etc).

  46. “Keith says:
    March 17, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Stable measured atmospheric opacity to longwave radiation, versus a demonstration of heating a 100% CO2-containing sealed bottle. Surely you can grasp why a few stubbornly independent minds may not yet have accepted every tenet of AGW hook, line and sinker?

    Presumbably because these independent minds are not particularly inquisitive, haven’t read the published literature detailing the changes in outgoing longwave radiation, nor that detailing the changes in atmospheric radiative trapping and actually believe that we have stable measured atmospheric opacity.

  47. “David A. Evans. says:

    March 17, 2011 at 1:35 pm
    All I have ever seen is the assertion that causes unknown start the warming, then CO2 takes over. Why can’t the causes unknown be the cause of further warming?

    DaveE.

    A bit of a straw man David, I’m not saying that the initial cause can’t continue to cause warming after once CO² has been released into the atmosphere, it can, but CO² will contribute to any further warming. We know this because we know the physical properties of CO², we know the absorbtion and emission spectra of it and we can measure the effect in the atmosphere (see my links in the post above).

  48. Smokey says:
    March 17, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    The position that is skeptical of the AGW hypothesis is the null hypothesis, against which the alternative AGW hypothesis must be tested. That is the scientific method in action. Observations and experiments always trump pal reviewed papers and computer models.

    There is ample empirical evidence for natural climate variability, but there is no empirical evidence for AGW

    Natural variability has already been falsified. We know that the warming we are seeing is more pronounced at night which rules out solar energy or changes in albedo as the driver, we know that the oceans are warming which rules internal variability such as PDO. Only the greenhouse gas effect can explain the pattern of warming and isotopic analysis tells us that the changes we see in greehous gas concentrations are anthropogenic in source.

  49. Kevin MacDonald says:

    “Natural variability has already been falsified.”

    In your dreams, maybe. Using your argumentum ad ignorantium, you conclude that the natural changes observed must be un-natural, and since under those constraints you can’t think of any other cause, then human emissions must be the cause. Wrong.

    Dr Roy Spencer, who has undoubtedly forgotten more than you will ever learn about the climate [and who doesn't argue via cut 'n' paste] puts it this way:

    No one has falsified the hypothesis that the observed temperature changes are a consequence of natural variability.

    You claim in your argumentum ad ignorantium that the natural cycles we observe are falsified, while Dr Spencer states that natural variability has never been falsified. As a reasonable person, I’ll take the statement of a true climatologist over your CAGW dreams.

  50. Smokey says:
    March 18, 2011 at 9:44 am

    In your dreams, maybe. Using your argumentum ad ignorantium, you conclude that the natural changes observed must be un-natural, and since under those constraints you can’t think of any other cause, then human emissions must be the cause. Wrong.

    Dr Roy Spencer, who has undoubtedly forgotten more than you will ever learn about the climate [and who doesn't argue via cut 'n' paste] puts it this way:

    No one has falsified the hypothesis that the observed temperature changes are a consequence of natural variability.

    You claim in your argumentum ad ignorantium that the natural cycles we observe are falsified, while Dr Spencer states that natural variability has never been falsified. As a reasonable person, I’ll take the statement of a true climatologist over your CAGW dreams.

    As I have provided proofs, it can’t be described as an argument from ignorance, a phrase that better suits your own point of view:

    Argument from ignorance; Argument from ignorance, also known as argumentum ad ignorantiam or appeal to ignorance, is an informal logical fallacy. It asserts that a proposition is necessarily true because it has not been proven false.

    You’ve then backed this with a second fallacy, argument from authority; I don’t suppose you or Dr Spencer have actually come up with a natural driver that fits the observed warming pattern?

  51. Kevin MacDonald,

    “As I have provided proofs, it can’t be described as an argument from ignorance, a phrase that better suits your own point of view:”

    Your ‘warm nights’ paper, could just as validly be a ‘proof’ of more cloud cover, no?

  52. Kevin MacDonald,

    The climate null hypothesis does not require a causal explanation. It would be nice to understand all the causes of natural variability, but no one has nearly all the explanations [they haven't found the Higgs boson either, leaving gravity without an observed mechanism. But even without a verified explanation, gravity exists].

    What has been debunked is CO2 as a major driver of climate change. It is not. If the climate’s sensitivity to CO2 were as strong as claimed by the UN/IPCC, then global temperatures would closely track rises in CO2. They do not.

    In fact, CO2 rises follow rises in temperature. CO2 is a function of temperature, not a significant cause. More CO2 may cause a minuscule rise in temperature. But at this point it is all conjecture and computer model output. There is no empirical evidence showing a quantitative rise in temperature per rise in unit CO2. Most importantly, there is no evidence of any global harm due to the rise in CO2. None. CO2 is harmless and beneficial. More is better.

    Finally, you have provided no “proofs”, you have provided an opinion. And the climate alarmists’ argumentum ad ignorantium goes like this: “Since I can think of no other explanation for why the planet has been warming over the past century and a half, then it must be due to CO2.” That is a classic example of the argumentum ad ignorantium fallacy.

    The main reason for the warming, of course, is the planet’s emergence from the LIA. But following Michael Mann’s lead, the alarmist crowd refuses to admit there is such a thing as climate change [the long flat handle of Mann's debunked hockey stick, with neither a LIA nor a MWP].

    The planet is currently near the middle of its average temperature during the Holocene. If it exceeds those temperature extremes, the null hypothesis will be falsified. But so far, it is only the alternative CO2=CAGW hypothesis that has been falsified.

  53. KenB @ March 17, 2011 at 2:48 am , you wrote in part:

    “…The look on his [Tony Jones; host of Q&A] face when he succeeded was so smug, that he had been able to get at least a partial acceptance from a scientist who had made no such claims during any other media interviews,…

    Yes, his body language is quite interesting. As I mentioned above to Treeman, he is apparently very selective in what questions he fields on Question & Answer. Occasionally, a pre-selected questioner (called by name and passed the mic boom), expands on what was originally accepted, judging by his declining facial expression. His popular fix is then: I’ll take that as a comment rather than a question, and he moves on to the next question. Some panellists whom have a lowered respect for Jones, have even used the same expression against him recently.

    Yet, ABC policy clearly states that its journalists etc must be impartial

  54. manacker says: “…ABC and BBC may just be a bit slower in catching on, but they will eventually change, as well (possibly with a change of some key personnel who “failed to get the word”)….”

    Unfortunately, BBC’s retirement fund has been heavily invested in Green issues that are dependent upon continuing the AGW myth. They must ride this out to the bitter end or take a mammoth portfolio loss. Don’t expect unbiased climate coverage from the BBC soon, if ever.

  55. Manacker @ March 17, 2011 at 5:48 pm , you wrote in part:

    “Let’s face it: AGW hysteria is a multi-billion dollar business. It is based on a message of impending climate disaster, which is based on computer model simulations cited by IPCC, the organization responsible for creating and fueling the hysteria.
    The media have been willing pawns. Whether it’s ABC, the BBC or CNN, one of the major weapons used by those who are promoting AGW hysteria is one-sided, biased reporting through the media…”

    Max, I guess you still live in Switzerland, and it was interesting to have your views on CNN, BBC, & ABC. How are things in the media in your region? I used to listen to German radio (DW) quite a bit but not for a good while.

  56. Kevin MacDonald,
    You seem to have lost track of the real issue on this thread, concerning misrepresentation of climate science, and exaggeration of potential AGW effects reported in the media.
    In the case of ice-core proxies, the Australian Academy of Science (AAS) have claimed on-air on the ABC, that over past hundreds of thousands of years that CO2 goes up and down in unison with the regional temperature, and that therefore, global average T’s are driven by the CO2.
    Yet, even if they were in unison, it cannot be assumed that CO2 is the driver, because there is arguably an equal possibility that it could be the other way around. However, there is absolutely no doubt that there is a big lag in response of CO2 behind T change, and that therefore, CO2 cannot be the driver, even if it may have an amplification effect. (spread over ~800 years!)
    Ok, that’s the science, but the nasty side of the issue is that Robyn Williams, the host on the so-called “Science Show” was provenly aware of the lag as long ago as 2008. However, despite that it was a pre-recorded show, with plenty of time to make the edits as required by the ABC code requiring impartiality, he did not do so. Very naughty!

    A similar situation exists in the Al Gore Oscar winning documentary movie, (and Nobel prize), where he makes the same misrepresentation. Although he is no scientist, it has been said that James Hansen was his scientific adviser, and for that proclaimed scientist it seems most unlikely that he too was unaware of the lag

    BTW, OT: Your credibility suffers when you make assertions that are clearly unfounded. For instance your: “…Natural variability has already been falsified…”
    Hint: For example; study the Enso oscillation and what happened towards the end of 2010

  57. Bob_FJ

    AGW has taken a secondary spotlight right now here in Switzerland with everyone talking about Japan’s nuclear problem (strangely the thousands of deaths from the earthquake and tsunami are almost less important). The German anti-nukes were demonstrating on the streets the day after the earthquake and tsunami, and the government there greed to shut down the two oldest nuclear plants.

    In Switzerland the Socialist Party called for an immediate shutdown of the older Swiss plants, but I do not believe that this is going to happen.

    France is ready and willing to enter long-term supply agreements with both the Germans (and the Swiss if necessary).

    Switzerland has essentially no fossil-fuel based electrical power (it’s all either nuclear or hydroelectric with a tiny smidgen of other “renewables”), so stopping the “coal death trains” hasn’t gotten much traction here.

    Three years ago, the Swiss tourist industry was fretting about the lack of winter snow for the ski resorts as a result of global warming, but there has been plenty of snow the past three winters and that talk has all died down (it appears that global warming is only of interest to the Swiss when it affects our pocketbooks).

    The average Swiss is not very concerned about AGW and the state-run media are not trying to brainwash or frighten the public either, as appears to be the case both in your country and the UK. The “green party” is trying to keep the interest alive, but without much success. It’s basically a “non-issue” here, except for a few isolated circles.

    Max

  58. Kevin MacDonald

    “Natural variability has already been falsified.”

    Huh?

    - Medieval Warm Period
    - Little Ice Age
    - Dalton and Maunder Minima
    - Early 20th century warming period
    - Most recent “lack of warming” since beginning of 2001

    Ouch!

    Max

  59. Vince Causey says:
    March 18, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Your ‘warm nights’ paper, could just as validly be a ‘proof’ of more cloud cover, no?

    Changes in cloud cover patterns is a feedback, it can only happen if the climate is already changing, so you still need a driver.

  60. Bob_FJ says:
    March 18, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Kevin MacDonald,
    You seem to have lost track of the real issue on this thread, concerning misrepresentation of climate science, and exaggeration of potential AGW effects reported in the media.

    Not at all Bob, my initial point was that there are misrepresentations in the conrarian camp, Bolt’s false dilemma stating the CO² must be either a result or cause of warming for example, and you failure to engage with these too implies that it is not bad assumptions you dislike, but assumptions assumptions you dislike for ideological reasons.

    None of the respondents were able to adequately address this point and it was they that took it off topic.

  61. manacker says:
    March 19, 2011 at 1:28 am

    Kevin MacDonald

    “Natural variability has already been falsified.”

    Huh?

    - Medieval Warm Period
    - Little Ice Age
    - Dalton and Maunder Minima
    - Early 20th century warming period
    - Most recent “lack of warming” since beginning of 2001

    Ouch!

    Max

    Straw man, I was talking about the current period, which includes the warming since 2001.

  62. If Kevin MacDonald actually believes that “natural variability has been falsified,” he truly doesn’t know what he is talking about. That statement isn’t just wrong, it’s senseless.

    Natural variability is ongoing; the planet didn’t suddenly switch from natural variability to being controlled by a benign minor trace gas. Natural variabilty is the null hypothesis, which has never been falsified, while the alternative CO2=CAGW hypothesis conjecture has been repeatedly falsified, not least by the planet itself.

    The planet is still emerging from the LIA coincidentally with the rise in harmless CO2. The current insignificant warming has happened much faster, and to an enormously greater extent throughout the Holocene. The current warming is almost entirely natural, and it is indistinguishable from past warming cycles. The UN/IPCC’s preposterous guesstimates of CO2 persistence is one of the legs supporting the IPCC’s wild-eyed scare tactics. But most peer reviewed papers contradict the IPCC’s climate alarmist propaganda.

    One more time: the rise in CO2 is coincidental with the warming from the LIA. It is a coincidence. There is a closer relationship between postal rates and temperature than between CO2 and temperature.

    CO2 is both harmless and beneficial. More is better at current and projected concentrations. Most of the [insignificant] warming from CO2 has already occurred. And of course, the endless pseudo-science predictions of runaway global warming and climate catastrophe have never happened – so now the goal posts have been moved to “climate change” by people who were completely wrong, but can’t bring themselves to admit it. So they mendaciously re-define “runaway global warming” to “climate change,” a truly meaningless term that covers anything and everything. George Orwell would understand.

    Despite all the red faced, spittle-flecked arm waving over catastrophic AGW, it turns out that it was all a scientifically baseless trumped up mirage. At this point, only the credulous true believer sect still believes that CO2 will cause runaway global warming.

  63. Kevin MacDonald

    Back to your original premise:

    So does extra carbon dioxide cause a warming world, or vice versa?

    It’s a false dilemma, why can’t it be both? Severinghaus acknowledges as much and it is Bolt’s failure to do so, assuming that only one or the other can be true, that makes this a misrepresentation of the science.

    Sure, it “can” be both. But the long-term record shows that temperature changed first, followed by CO2.

    There are even several periods during which CO2 was at a higher than normal level and temperature began to fall and others during which CO2 was at a lower than normal level and temperature began to rise.

    The long-term CO2/temperature correlation does not display a robust statistical signature of CO2 causation of warming, as should be the case if this had been the primary mechanism.

    So Bolt’s failure to include this possible but rather unlikely interpretation of the record is excusable and not (as you put it) “a misrepresentation of the science”.

    The “science” just doesn’t validate the “hypothesis”, that’s all. (This does not mean that it invalidates it, either.)

    Max

  64. Kevin MacDonald @ March 19, 2011 at 10:26 am , you wrote in part:

    Bolt’s false dilemma stating the CO² must be either a result or cause of warming for example, and you failure to engage with these too implies that it is not bad assumptions you dislike, but assumptions assumptions you dislike for ideological reasons.
    None of the respondents were able to adequately address this point and it was they that took it off topic.

    It seems that you are referring to one of ten points that Bolt has critiqued in Al Gore’s movie, and in full, I quote it here, but rather than highlighting the last sentence in bold as you did, without saying so, ( @ March 17, 2011 at 4:11 am ), I‘ve done it to the preceding key point:

    3: Gore says ice cores from Antarctica, that go back 650,000 years, show the world got warmer each time there was more carbon dioxide in the air.

    In fact, as the University of California’s Professor Jeff Severinghaus and others note, at least three studies of ice cores show the earth first warmed and only then came more carbon dioxide, many hundreds of years later. So does extra carbon dioxide cause a warming world, or vice versa?

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/column_bulled_by_a_gore/

    Bolt did NOT declare a dilemma stating the CO² must be either a result or cause of warming and you are playing with semantics.

    Finally, please look-up: ‘Rhetorical Question’ in a good dictionary.
    Oh, but just to help you out, here are the opening lines from Wikipedia:
    “A rhetorical question is a figure of speech in the form of a question posed for its persuasive effect without the expectation of a reply.[1] Rhetorical questions encourage the listener to think about what the (often obvious) answer to the question must be…”

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