Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hailstones in Armenia

ABC have a piece on its Environment page from The Climate News Network (PS  I think that the CNN moniker is taken) titled: Caucasus farmers a picture of climate change. The CNN are convinced that:
  • climate change is one of the most serious threats to human wellbeing
  • it is caused in large part by human activities
  • the decisions we take in the next few years will decide how severe it is
  • it is not too late to act; but…
  • …we need to make very radical changes – fast
Sounds like your typical activist creedo no wonder ABC found the item of interest.

The story ABC re-printed includes this mention of hailstorms:

There are often hailstorms in Armenia and throughout the rugged and mountainous Caucasus region but the ferocity of this one — happening in mid May when crops were just coming to life — was highly unusual.

We turned to the trove newspaper database and conducted a quick search. To our amazement the following article popped up from the SMH of Monday 10 September 1877. It makes for an interesting read, click to enlarge or follow the link to the source:

Monday, June 24, 2013

Media Watch: Groupthink incorporated

Must be doing something right as we gained a brief mention on tonight's episode of Media Watch which dealt in its usual skewed manner with climate change reporting. No criticism of the work being done for "the cause" by our ABC, of course. Our brief claim to fame was in the form of a brief cut away to a recent opinion piece published in The Australian. Media Watch did not get in touch with us directly, that might raise too many uncomfortable questions.

" gave rise to another ABC-bashing piece
in the Australian’s op-ed page...

— The Australian, 5th June, 2013"

The piece in The Australian (see below) pointed out gross deficiencies, hypocrisy and blatant bias in ABC's climate change coverage. Pointing out the gross deficiencies, hypocrisy and blatant bias hardly constitutes "ABC bashing" but when you can't take critical comments I guess the easy option is to resort to sensationalism. We have seen this from Auntie in the past. The article compared treatment of ABC's coverage of two published scientific papers, one was withdrawn from publication due methodological problems identified by a climate sceptic, the other passed peer review. Somehow ABC did not regard reporting on the withdrawn paper as newsworthy. For the paper published the only coverage was of its critics (until we stepped in and the author was allowed a brief riposte to unqualified comments).

Critical reporting on ABC's coverage of climate change has been passed over by Media Watch. As we have seen here it is an area that would bear much fruit if scrutinised properly. Among the issues include: numerous factual errors, numerous stories against alarm go unreported - missing in action, decisions about what gets covered are made by environmental activists, activist organisations have easy access to ABC's editors to promulgate propaganda and ABC refrains from asking alarmists the tough questions it asked rightly of sceptics. (The recent comments by an ex defense chief about the probability of human's being around in 90 years on ABC Breakfast, along with any ABC interview of Tim Flannery cases in point but the links fully elucidate the level of ABC's bias).
Pity Mr Holmes didn't bother to tackle the substance of the article. But for Mr Holmes, and other members of ABC's Alarmist climate change clique, critical thinking on subject isn't required when you have already made your mind up. Any new facts, such as the recent halt in global warming that now enters its 15th year, the gross disparities between climate models and observations, and reporting on papers withdrawn from publication due to methodological problems identified by climate sceptics are mere unwelcome distractions on the path to a carbon (dioxide) free utopia.

If you missed the piece in The Australian it's repeated below, links included, with my original headline.

The path for ABC coverage for climate heretics is paved with broken glass.
Marc Hendrickx
There’s no doubt that ABC has a problem when it comes to fair and balanced reporting on the issue of climate change. Around this time last year the ABC gave two prominent Australian climate researchers almost carte blanche access to its radio, TV and online networks to spruik a paper they had written that claimed recent temperatures in Australia were the warmist in a 1000 years. Researchers David Karoly and Joelle Gergis scored almost blanket coverage on ABC’s AM, Radio National’s Breakfast Program, Radio AustraliaABC TV news, The Science Show. If was even tweeted by ABC Local Radio and was featured on ABC’s online website. None of these articles featured criticism from independent experts.

Gergis and Karoly’s paper was short lived. Online climate sceptics lead by Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit found methodological problems with the work, and the paper was subsequently withdrawn from publication to the embarrassment of the authors. The paper’s withdrawal was covered by News Limited and Fairfax press but was not covered by the ABC. The only mention by ABC was a brief editorial comment posted at the end of online articles. To our knowledge no formal correction was broadcast on ABC radio or TV.
For those who agree with the ABC’s vision of a nightmarish global warming future it seems the path to publicity and fame is paved with honey. However when you publish a paper that doesn’t fit the ABC’s entrenched position on Climate Change a different path awaits.  

The Australian recently reported on a new peer reviewed paper (CFCs 'are the real culprit in global warming', 3/6) that goes against the current consensus that global warming is caused mainly by CO2 emissions. The paper published in the International Journal of Modern Physics B by Canadian Physics Professor Qing-Bin Lu suggests interactions between CFCs and cosmic rays are the source of the polar ozone hole and global warming.  This appears a significant result worthy of media attention. Oddly ABC’s coverage of the paper by reporter Martin Cuddihy featured not the author of the paper, but IPCC author Dr David Karoly. In their article ABC seems to have thrown out section 4 of its Editorial Policies that deals with impartiality and diversity of perspectives. The ABC:
  • did not interview the author of the paper or provide an opportunity for him to reply to criticism levelled against his work.
  •  downplayed the credentials of Professor Lu and failed to include an interesting Australian link. It seems Professor Lu gained his PhD at the University of Newcastle
  • Over emphasised the qualifications of critic Dr David Karoly, whose base degree is in mathematics, not climate science.
  •  made fun of the paper by claiming "The paper has a rather wordy title". The paper is titled COSMIC-RAY-DRIVEN REACTION AND GREENHOUSE EFFECT OF HALOGENATED MOLECULES: CULPRITS FOR ATMOSPHERIC OZONE DEPLETION AND GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE.  19 words. Recent papers by ABC's critic, Dr David Karoly include this one: On the long-term context of the 1997-2009 'Big Dry' in South-Eastern Australia: insights from a 206-year multi-proxy rainfall reconstruction. 24 words! It is surely no surprise that some science articles have long titles but it seems ABC’s critic Dr Karoly wins the wordiness contest. How this relevant to the topic is beyond me.
  •  did not question claims made by Dr Karoly that unfairly misrepresented of the content of an international science journal. Karoly states:  “It has been published in a journal which appears to not normally publish articles on climate change science”. A search of "climate change" in "International Journal of Modern Physics B" provides 8 25 results, "global warming" provides 7 27 results. Contrary to Dr Karoly’s claims it seems articles on climate change are quite normal in this journal.

ABC based its report on one heavily biased opinion. It didn’t even bother to speak with the author! Throw section 4 out the window.

It’s been more than 3 years since former ABC Chairmen Maurice Newman pointed out ABC had a groupthink problem with its climate change coverage. It seems that ABC Managing Director has done absolutely nothing in those three years to address it. Sadly, based on Mr Scott’s recent performance in senate estimates defending the appointment of the partisan Russell Skelton as the ABC’s new fact checker I don’t have any hope his limp wristed management style will result in any change in ABC’s biased coverage. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

ABC in the news round up 5

In this week's edition, more churnalism from activist reporters, copper scare continues, ABC your local movie reviewer, and more.....

Part 1. The uncritical reporter. ABC's Environmental reporter Sarah Clarke, already the recipient of one GULLBUL, pushes hard for second gong with her uncritical report about the Klimate Kommissar's latest piece of Lysenkoist propaganda. Might as well publish the press release. Not one critical question posed, but then that's Sarah's standard approach. In ABC's report the Kommissar's enlist the help of a former defence chief to add authority(???). Perhaps next time ABC should think to ask a climate expert, hmmm, Richard Lindzen comes to mind.
ABC so blind to the alarm they let Retired admiral Chris Barrie 's crazy comments go unquestioned: 
There’s a one in two chance that by 2100 there’ll be no human beings left on this planet. The planet will exist, but it’s just that my granddaughter won’t be part of it. And I think that’s a pretty alarming statistic, probability, one in two chance if we don’t correct out behaviours. 
Andrew Bolt digs further.

ABC broadcast this howler from via ABC RURAL.
Professor Lesley Hughes, a climate commissioner, says it's not the job of the commission to reconcile science with policy and politics.
"What the report is, it's about science. We're putting out the scientific facts as we best understand them at the moment and those are the facts that we would hope that governments, policy makers and investors use in making their decisions.

The Klimate Kommission is pure politics - no science there, just flaky beliefs, inflated egos and experts in Penis Gourds.

Here's what Dr Prof. Hughes stated in ABC's earlier report:
"In order to achieve that goal of stabilising the climate at 2 degrees or less, we simply have to leave about 80 per cent of the world's fossil fuel reserves in the ground. We cannot afford to burn them and still have a stable and safe climate," she said.

Seems like someone is pushing hard on policy there. In regard to "safe climate", what a ridiculous statement, there is no such thing. Perhaps Prof. Hughes would prefer the safe climate faced by our early settlers when all that coal was still in the ground?

The Klimate Kommissars put a lot of faith in climate models. Here's a quick reminder of how those models are tracking...
Climate models versus observations, the disparity truly a Feynman moment. But don't expect the Klimate Kommissars or the ABC to mention it.

Part 2. Your taxes at work. ABC seems to have an over supply of movie reviewers. Your taxes recently paid for at least 10 reviews of the Great Gatsby  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7(music), 8, 9,10 (1974 version), at least 4 reviews of The Hobbit 1, 2, 3, 4, at least 9 reviews of Skyfall 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and at least 8 reviews of Star Trek Into Darkness 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.  (ed. the later easily the best of that bunch, but hey I'm a fan from the Will Shatner days). 
Suggest that some rationalisation take place before someone elects to use the Greek Option. 

Part 3 Environmental beat ups of the week. Well last week. We fact check The Climate Institute's "fragile world" photos because ABC's fact checker didn't bother. Not surprisingly the propaganda outweighs the science.

Former High court judge Michael Kirby calls for a return to meat being a luxury item. On his pension he'll be one of the few remaining able to suck the fat off a sweet pork chop. Spam for the rest of us.

ABC staffers reveal a reckless indifference to development in northern Australia claiming "There's never been much support for a food bowl in northern Australia; perhaps just a fruit platter. " This sort of thinking is typical of ABC's anti-development, anti-industry, anti-progress mindset that would damn billions to poverty. In the meantime some visionary thinking from some real leaders goes unreported:
NATIONAL leadership is about having the courage to lay out a vision for Australia's future, to inspire optimism and hope with big ideas.
Under Tony Abbott's leadership the Coalition has taken the bold step of putting the development of northern Australia high on the agenda, aiming to:
• Develop a food bowl that could double Australia's agricultural output.
• Expand the tourist economy in the north to two million tourists annually.
• Build an energy export industry worth $150 billion and see major increases to resource exports.
• Establish world-class medical centres of excellence.
• Create an education hub with world-class vocational and higher education campuses.
• Expand Australia's export of technical skills related to resources and agriculture.

ABC's reaction....
Part 4: Spot the conservative presenter. No change from last week.
1. Amanda Vanstone on Counterpoint

Part 5: Copper scare. 
Malcolm Turnbull: do you really work for the ABC or is it the NBN Co?
ABCTech: I work for the australian public.
Malcolm Turnbull: ... Your relentless NBN propaganda is an embarrassment to the ABC
Malcolm Turnbull: Well here is a challenge to you – set out ... the facts upon which you rely.
Twitter, 23rd July, 2012

ABC continue to play politics with the NBN with this report that suggests Telstra's copper network is not up the job in providing high speed broadband. (ed funny that's what we're on and we don't have any probs). ABC has already been caught cheer leading for the government on the NBN (see above), but continues to misrepresent the issues with this piece that includes totally misleading figures about NBN costings. After recent asbestos problems were revealed with the NBN runout is there anyone left who believes the government's figures outside the ABC?

It seems the issue reported on is about maintenance. Copper will perform very well if repairs are performed correctly. How will the optic fibre cables of the NBN cope with similar lax maintenance practices? The optical fibre corporation have the following to say about the effect of moisture on optic fibre cables. If Telstra's repair standards were applied to future Optic fibre repairs how would they perform? Perhaps someone can put the question to Sen. Conroy. What would be the comparative repair costs for copper?

The basic mechanical failure mechanism for optical fibers is the slow to rapid growth of any glass imperfections in the fiber caused by the fiber being under stress. This "fatigue" phenomenon can be accelerated with the presence of moisture (H20) molecules at the glass surface of the fiber. The greater the concentration of the water molecules (OH - ions) at the glass surface, and the greater the stress applied to the glass, the more rapidly the surface imperfections will grow. This accelerated fatigue in the presence of OH- ions is similar to "stress corrosion".
Part 6: Sucker of the week. This week awarded to Ian Allen Executive Producer, Content, ABC Innovation who was gullible enough to believe The Climate Institute would provide unbiased information. Congrats Ian you win this week's Gullibull.
Ian's photo from his Claxton Speakers profile page. Green in heart s well as sleeve, but one wonders how much power that CRT monitor is emitting! Perhaps the ABC will provide him a new PC.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Australian Bias Corporation

Quadrant has an article by Sen. Abetz titled The Australian Bias Corporation.
Sen. Abetz raises some important issues. Worth a read. Includes mention of these startling statistics:

A recent university study in the Australian Journalism Review found that, albeit, in a small sample, 41% of ABC journalists said they would vote for the Greens, 32% for Labor and 15 % for the Coalition.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Fragile facts, climate time lie take 2

Update 2/7/2013: ABC provide the following regarding errors and omissions in this propaganda piece:

In summary, five captions have been corrected or modified. Of these: two were editing errors – captions 4# and 8#; one was the addition of extra information to avoid ambiguity – caption 1#; others were the inclusion of qualifications to reflect the uncertainties in predictions and analysis of past events – caption 2#; and finally one was an editing error and a decision to include a different estimate – caption 13#.

Remember Ian Allen stated "Captions were checked are consistent with the weight of scientific evidence." Crap they they were. Expect better next time you spend public money on propaganda Mr Allen..

In round up 3, we raised the issue of ABC science promoting a photo essay by activist organisation, The Climate Institute. We posed the following questions to the ABC:

This photo essay is a promotion for the Climate Institute.
Is the ABC now providing free advertising for the Climate Institute?
Can the ABC clarify its relation with the  climate institute?

and got the following response:
The editor of the portal advises that the photo essay was chosen for it aesthetic qualities and editorial relevance to the site. No money was exchanged and the publication did not constitute advertising. Normal photo credits were published in line with standard procedures among publishers.
The ABC has no special relationship with the Climate Institute. It is treated the same as any other research or policy centre.

We posed a follow up:
Can the editor please outline why he/she felt this was relevant to the Science site? 
Did ABC check the captions for accuracy?

To which Ian Allen Executive Producer, Content, ABC Innovation responded thus:

ABC Corporate Affairs asked me to respond to your enquiry.
The photo gallery was published because it was topical (World Environment day) and because of the quality of the images. Captions were checked are consistent with the weight of scientific evidence.

Looking closely at the captions we found a few problems that suggests very little attention was paid to checking the accuracy. We have requested ABC to address these. Looks like another Climate Time Lie...
Errors and misrepresentation in captions to “Fragile World” presented on ABC Science June 2013.

Photo 1.
Caption: Haifoss, Iceland. High tension power cables snake above an apparently pristine environment. Iceland relies on hydroelectricity for clean energy, but declining runoff may affect the future energy supply. (The Climate Institute: Michael Hall)
Errors and omissions:
“Iceland relies on hydroelectricity for clean energy”. Iceland’s main energy source is from geothermal sources: from Wikipedia: “About 81 percent of total primary energy supply in Iceland is derived from domestically produced renewable energy sources. In 2007, geothermal energy provided about 66 percent of primary energy, the share of hydropower was 15 percent, and fossil fuels (mainly oil) 19 percent.” However most of Iceland’s electricity is derived from hydropower: from Wikipedia: Renewable energy provides 100 percent of electricity production, with about 70 percent coming from hydropower and 30 percent from geothermal power”.  To say “Iceland relies on hydroelectricity for clean energy” is an oversimplification of the facts.
“declining runoff may affect the future energy supply”. This would be true if runoff were in fact declining.  One study suggests the follow in terms of long term run off from melt water: “Meltwater runoff is expected to increase initially, but to peak after 40–50 years and then to decline to present-day values 100 years from now.” Icelandic glaciers. Helgi Björnsson and Finnur Pálsson JÖKULL No. 58, 2008, pp365-385.
Another study  indicates “ River runoff is projected to increase by 25% between 1961--1900 and 2071--2100, mainly due to increased melting of glaciers.”
Melt water run off from glaciers provides one source of water to drive hydro plants the other is rainfall. If alarmist climate models are correct then Iceland’s glaciers will eventually disappear. However the models that forecast increased temperatures also forecast increases in rainfall over Iceland. See image below from IPCC AR4. Note Iceland in area where models show a precipitation increase in >66% to >90% of simulations.

One would think that construction of dams to capture this rainfall would be one means of ensuring adequate water to drive hydrothermal power plants more than 100 years in the future.

Conclusion. Potential long term decline in runoff from glaciers is just one factor in Iceland’s hydro energy mix. The caption is overly simplistic and design to elicit an emotional response. This caption is propaganda and ABC’s Science unit should be embarrassed to have run it without clarification.

Photo 2.
Lake Hume, Australia. Crazed mud and skeletal trees create a stark landscape after severe drought. The Millennium drought, which ran from 1995 to 2012, was the worst recorded since settlement. It cost the Federal Government some $4.5 billion in assistance. In southern Australia, rainfall is in decline, while heat waves and drought are becoming more frequent. (Creative Fellow at The Climate Institute: Michael Hall)

Errors and omissions:
“The Millennium drought, which ran from 1995 to 2012”. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural
and Resource Economics and Sciences provide the following table for drought in Australia form a 2012 report titled: “Drought in Australia Context, policy and management”. This does not show a drought extending from 1995 to 2012.

“It cost the Federal Government some $4.5 billion in assistance”. This statement appears to be derived from Wikipedia. The estimate is derived from a newspaper article in The Age published in 2012 which states: “Since 2001 the government has provided $4.5 billion in exceptional circumstances (EC) assistance.” The amount therefore omits assistance provided in the years 1995 to 2001. The cost is obviously more than the stated figure. The document Drought Policy in Australia provides the following chart of exceptional circumstances payments. This suggests a figure of about $725 million paid between 1994-1995 and 2000-2001. The corrected figure should therefore read “about $5.25 billion”

“In southern Australia, rainfall is in decline.” In fact the long term trend is on the increase for southern Australia and for Australia as a whole. From BOM time series graphs.

“while heat waves and drought are becoming more frequent.”
Heat waves: an alternate image of heatwave impacts:
Take a boat trip: holidaymakers relax on Trigg Beach in WA after record temperatures in 2007. Photo: Stewart Allen/Perth Now

Read more:

Drought not becoming more frequent, note higher frequency between 1890s and 1940s in the figure below.

Conclusion: some significant factual errors that require correction.

Anti Atlas, Morocco. Studies show Morocco will be among countries most threatened by climate change, with more frequent droughts and a shorter crop growing season. (Creative Fellow at The Climate Institute: Michael Hall)
“more frequent droughts and a shorter crop growing season” This is based on projections derived from climate models. How are those models tracking?
Based on this how reliable are the forecast changes to climate in Morocco?
Conclusion: The statement “more frequent droughts and a shorter crop growing season”, does not provide a sense of the uncertainty in projections of future climate based on model outputs. The statement in its current form is therefore misleading and require qualification. For example  “Climate models predict more frequent droughts and a shorter crop growing season, however concerns about the validity of climate models suggest significant uncertainty with this prediction.”

Photo 4.
Hvalnes, Iceland. Global warming is already having a profound effect on glaciers worldwide and threatening to melt permafrost with serious consequences for wildlife and people. Climate change may cause all of Iceland's glaciers to disappear by 2100. (Creative Fellow at The Climate Institute: Michael Hall)
“Climate change may cause all of Iceland's glaciers to disappear by 2100.”

Conclusion: This is a ridiculous exaggeration. “Plausible future climate scenarios, coupled with models of mass balance and ice dynamics, suggest that the main icecaps will lose 25% to 35% of their present volume within half a century, leaving only small glaciers on the highest peaks after 150–200 years.” Icelandic glaciers. Helgi Björnsson and Finnur Pálsson JÖKULL No. 58, 2008, pp365-385.
See also where glaciers are expected to be present more than 200years into the future.

Photo 5.
Newcastle, Australia. The MV Pasha Bulka, a coal carrier that ran aground on Nobbies beach during a storm 2007. While this single event cannot be attributed to climate change, the intensity of tropical cyclones is predicted to increase in the future. (The Climate Institute: Michael Hall)

Conclusion: The 2007 storm was an east coast low and not a tropical cyclone. See the CSIRO publication: “The Pasha Bulker east coast low of 8 June 2007” It is misleading therefore to link the grounding of the Pasha Bulka with Tropical Cyclones. Furthermore the caption is misleading in omitting information about future cyclone activity. BOM for instance provide the following information about current trends:  Trends in tropical cyclone activity in the Australian region (south of the equator; 90–160°E) show that the total number of cyclones appears to have decreased to the mid 1980s, and remained nearly stable since. The number of severe tropical cyclones (minimum central pressure less than 970 hPa) shows no clear trend over the past 40 years. And indicate the following (see 5.9.1) about future trends: Australian region studies indicate a likely increase in the proportion of the tropical cyclones in the more intense categories, but a possible decrease in the total number of cyclones. Again these trends are based on climate model outputs that are currently proving unreliable (see Photo 3).

Photo 6.
Jokulsarlon, Iceland. The 8,100 square kilometre Vatnajokull ice cap, where these ice fragments originated, is the largest ice cap in Europe and is fast retreating as the climate warms. (Creative Fellow at The Climate Institute: Michael Hall)
largest ice cap in Europe” This is misleading. ABC provide an area but the the Jokulsarlon Glacier is the largest by volume. The largest by area in Europe the Austfonna icecap in Norway at 8,105 km2 (8,492 km2 including Vegavonna).
Conclusion: some significant factual errors that require clarification.

Photo 7.
Victoria, Australia. Drought, fierce winds and 47 degree Celsius temperatures led to the 2009 Black Saturday bushfire, which killed over 170 people and millions of animals and plants. The intensity and frequency of bushfire conditions is rising in south-eastern Australia. (Creative Fellow at The Climate Institute: Michael Hall)
“The intensity and frequency of bushfire conditions is rising in south-eastern Australia.”
CSIRO tells a different story: “Since European settlement, the total amount of fire in the landscape has declined. The bush land areas and particularly those around Sydney, New South Wales, have thickened and accumulated more fuel. As a result, the infrequent fires that now occur under extreme weather burn much more intensely and have a significant impact on the built environment.”
Conclusion: Significant over simplification of the science clarification required.

Photo 8.
Tasmania, Australia. Old growth deforestation in the Upper Florentine 70 kilometres from Hobart. Deforestation releases around 1.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the air each year. Curbing deforestation and restoring forests are a key means of avoiding dangerous climate change. (Creative Fellow at The Climate Institute: Michael Hall)
“Deforestation releases around 1.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the air each year.” This statement appears to be a misrepresentation of a wikipedia entry. The Wikipedia entry on deforestation states: “Scientists also state that tropical deforestation releases 1.5 billion tons of carbon each year into the atmosphere.[45] “ Of course 1.5 billion tonnes of C would equate to about 5.5 billion tonnes of CO2. A simple error but one commonly made. Surprising to find ABC Science accepted an these at face value.
Based on a 2009 article in Nature Geoscience it appears the figure of 1.5 billion tonnes of C has been revised down to 1.2bt, which would equate to about 4 billion tonnes of CO2.
Conclusion: factual error requiring correction, clarification required.

Photo 9.
Yangtze River delta, China. The muddied waters attest to the loss of topsoil upriver. Greater China accounts for 30 per cent of the global volume of containerised exports. Emissions from shipping are currently some 1 billion tonnes annually. (Creative Fellow at The Climate Institute: Michael Hall)
 “Emissions from shipping are currently some 1 billion tonnes annually” presumably this refers to CO2. This figure differs from official figures released by the International Maritime Organisation who provide the following information: “According to the Second IMO GHG Study 2009, which is the most comprehensive and authoritative assessment of the level of GHG emitted by ships, international shipping was estimated to have emitted 870 million tonnes, or about 2.7% of the global man-made emissions of CO2 in 2007. Exhaust gases are the primary source of GHG emissions from ships and carbon dioxide is the most important GHG, both in terms of quantity and of global warming potential.”
Conclusion: factual error requiring correction.

Photo 10.
A man works bailing discarded plastic in Hubei Province, Central China. A significant proportion of plastic dumped in landfills ends up in the sea, injuring and killing marine wildlife. (Creative Fellow at The Climate Institute: Michael Hall)
No comments.

Photo 11.
Brahman cattle in the Northern Territory, Australia. Emissions from livestock account for approximately 10 per cent of Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, livestock health is likely to be impacted by rising temperatures and changed weather patterns. (Creative Fellow at The Climate Institute: Michael Hall)
No comments

Photo 12.
The Super Pit in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. Up to 850,000 ounces of gold are taken from this mine each year. The hole is approximately 3.7 kilometres long, 1.5 kilometres wide and 480 metres deep, big enough to bury Uluru. (Creative Fellow at The Climate Institute: Michael Hall)
No comment.

Photo 13.
Latrobe Valley, Australia. Loy Yang Power Station emits 14.4 million tonnes of greenhouse gases each year. (Creative Fellow at The Climate Institute: Michael Hall)
“Loy Yang Power Station emits 14.4 million tonnes of greenhouse gases each year.”
There are two Power stations at Loy Yang A and B. AGL provide the following information about Loy Yang A: The Loy Yang A Power Station has a carbon intensity of around 1.3 tCO2e/MWh. In 2011 Loy Yang A produced 14,925 GWh (=14925000MWh)  of life enhancing electricity. Based on the stated carbon intensity figures this would amount to a potential CO2 output of 19.4 million tonnes. Clearly the figures provided by the Carbon Institute are a little out.
Conclusion: factual error requiring correction.

Photo 14.
Oil wells in California. Last year some $674billion was spent to find and develop new fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas. Much of this must stay in the ground if we are to have a good chance of avoiding global warming of 2 degrees Celsius. (Creative Fellow at The Climate Institute: Michael Hall)
avoiding global warming of 2 degrees Celsius” This appears to be based on faulty climate sensitivity figures. Recent estimates of the climate’s sensitivity to CO2 suggest previous estimates are exaggerated. This buys much more time to alter energy sources in the future. The caption grossly over simplifies  issue.

Photo 15.
Wind turbines in Southern California. In 2011, for the first time, investments in renewable energy sources outstripped those in fossil fuels. Over the long term, investment in clean energy shows strong long-term growth and is projected to reach $630 billion annually by 2030, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. (Creative Fellow at The Climate Institute: Michael Hall)

No comment.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

SMH The Age Asbestos Error

SMH and The Age have an inforgraphic about Asbestos on their website today, not sure if it made the printed version. The relevant bit is reproduced below:

In fact Asbestos was mined in Australia from at least 1880 through to 1983. It seems SMH forgot about the small asbestos mines like the Jones Creek Mine near Gundagai that produced 72t of tremolite asbestos between 1880 and 1921. It also seems to have omitted the largest asbestos mine in Australia, the white asbestos (chrysotile) mine at Barraba in northern NSW. This was the Woodsreef mine that produced 550,000t of asbestos between between 1972 and 1983. Australia's second largest asbestos mine was at Wittenoom in Western Australia which produced 152,466t of blue asbestos between 1937 and 1966.

We realise that ABC rely heavily on the SMH and The Age for information so perhaps our correction will some how reach them before they repeat the error.

For further information on Asbestos occurrences in eastern and South Australia click HERE and HERE.

UPDATE: The following received 20/6/2013  from SMH:

Dear Marc,

Recently you contacted ReaderLink about the graphic, "Still breathing the devil's dust".
At Herald Publications we want to be an accurate and reliable source of information. Unfortunately, errors do occur. Our aim is to reduce the number of errors and publish corrections when appropriate.
The information ReaderLink has in response to your report is as follows:
Thank you for your email and for bringing to our attention the  error in the graphic  with  the asbestos story 'Still breathing the devil's dust' The graphic was created by our colleagues at The Age.
They sourced the information from the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute. They concede they inputted the incorrect end date to the production of asbestos in Australia which they agree was 1983. However, they say the institute's website gives the starting date as 1918 not 1880.  We have removed the graphic from our website.

Ben & Peter

Note. We have emailed ADRI with the corrected start date which is 1880 as indicated above. This is available through the following reference: MacNevin AA (1970) Asbestos. Mineral industry of New South
Wales Report No. 4. Sydney Geological Survey of New South Wales.

from page 41 and 42 of MacNevin. click to enlarge.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Missing views: the Lewandowsky affair

Ben Pile at Spiked Online has an interesting essay about the flawed research behind recent attempts to smear climate sceptics as conspiracy theorists. The author of the flawed research, Stephen Lewandowsky, was recently "grilled" by ABC's Science Guru Robyn Williams. This is how Robyn introduced the story:
"What if I told you that paedophilia is good for children, or that asbestos is an excellent inhalant for those with asthma?" 
How positively Charming! Somehow Robyn missed the mistakes that Ben Pile outlines in detail in his essay, and this is someone ABC thinks is competent to present a Science Show (ed. perhaps those brain cells rusting with age?). The problems with Lewandowsky's research were widely covered on the internet (see Climate Audit) but somehow this important news failed to make the ABC's News Desk.

An extract...
A culture of intransigence has developed in the shadow of the compact between politics and science, which can be seen in the Lewandowsky affair in microcosm. Lewandowsky’s work unwittingly demonstrates that what is passed off as peer reviewed and published ‘science’, even in today’s world, is no more scientific than the worst ramblings of the least qualified and nuttiest climate change denier on the internet. It looks like science, certainly, but the product only survives a superficial inspection. The only difference being the institutional muscle that Lewandowsky has access to, but which unhinged climate change deniers do not. The object of the professor’s study is really his own refusal to debate with his lessers.

ABC at the movies, where duplication is part of the service

Some questions...
Seen a movie lately?
Did you see it based on a review?
Was that review one you saw, or heard, or read on the ABC?
A review you paid for out of your taxes?
How many times do you think your taxes should pay for a movie review?

  • Not at all, I'd rather see my hard earned taxes spent on medical research.
  • Not at all if someone wants an opinion about a movie there are plenty of independent reviews available for free on the internet.
  • I'd like Margaret and David to review the movie, they seem to know what they are talking about.
  • I want every Local and National ABC medium to conduct their own review, regardless if this represents gross duplication of government services or not. After all the ABC is about diversity-the more views the better (except on climate change where only one view is required).

So how many movie reviewers part, full time or casual does your ABC employ or engage?

Here's a short list of some recent ABC movie reviewers, some are employees, some are not.
Gabrielle Rumble
Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton
Marc Fennell
Nick Dent
Mathew Bates
CJ Johnson
Briony Kidd
Joel Rheinberger and Andrew Hogan

So with so many reviewing is there a risk of duplication? For instance how many times did ABC provide a review of:
The Great Gatsby: at least 10 times?: 1, 2, 3, 45, 6, 7(music), 8, 9, 10 (1974 version)
The Hobbit: at least 4 times?: 1, 2, 3, 4
Skyfall: at least 9 times?: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Star Trek Into Darkness: at least 8 times?: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 

Final question: Does this represent good use of tax payer resources? 
The Greek Government recently took the knife to the budget of its public broadcaster. Based on the above it seems there is plenty of fat to carve from our own.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Lies of the Climate Commission: Part 17

Another report, another piece out of the old propaganda book.

The basis of this image:
is based on a lie.
The reality immediately above shows our children are already on that bright green pathway because the government's flaky Klimate Kommissars have exaggerated the climate's sensitivity to CO2.
This despicable piece of propaganda unquestionably reported by the government's other propaganda arm: your ABC.
The only thing worse than a liar is a liar that's also a hypocrite!
Tennessee Williams

ABC in the News Round up 4

This week ABC provides adoration to Tm Flannery rather than tough questions, Greece throws its ABC under a bus-why can't we follow suit, there's still no one yet to accompany Amanda, and more...

Part 1: Journalism 101 - Asking the difficult questions.
Australia's expert on Tree-Kangaroos, Possums, and Penis Gourds Tim Flannery (who also doubles as a self proclaimed climate guru) has been telling us for a quite some time that we are all going to dry up and fry. ABC even paid for a woeful TV series featuring Tim and fellow alarmist John Doyle taking their Tinnie down the Murray Darling to promote flights of fancy. This week ABC's World today interviewed Tinnie Tim who said: "We'll see an increase in flooding frequency, we'll see the number of people exposed to flooding go up somewhere between four-fold and 17-fold. So there's just a lot more people are going to be exposed to the dangers of flooding." Of course a few years back Tim was heard to expose a different opinion to Maxine McKew:

TIM FLANNERY: Well, you can't predict the future; that's one of the things that you learn fairly early on, but if I could just say, the general patterns that we're seeing in the global circulation models - and these are very sophisticated computer tools, really, for looking at climate shift - are saying the same sort of thing that we're actually seeing on the ground. So when the models start confirming what you're observing on the ground, then there's some fairly strong basis for believing that we're understanding what's causing these weather shifts and these rainfall declines, and they do seem to be of a permanent nature. I don't think it's just a cycle. I'd love to be wrong, but I think the science is pointing in the other direction.

MAXINE McKEW: So does that mean, really, we're faced with - if that's right - back-to-back droughts and continuing thirsty cities? 

TIM FLANNERY: That's right. That looks to be the case. We'll know probably within two or three years, I suppose, how this is going to play out, particularly for Sydney, because its water supply is limited to that sort of scale, but it is my fear that the new weather regime is going to be a much drier one, and while we may get the odd good rainfall event, they're going to be much less frequent than in the past, and we'll just be in a different climatic regime.

Tim would love to be wrong and based on these very sophisticated computer tools. Well he is!Tim lives up to his trademark line. Let's review...Hurricanes can be tied to climate change

TONY JONES: Now, with America still reeling from these hurricanes, Rita and Katrina, to what extent do you believe these extreme events could be linked to global warming? 

DR TIM FLANNERY: Look, I think that there is a clear link.

Well the IPCC says there ain't: from Chapter 4 of IPCC Special Report on Extremes
  • "There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change"
  • "The statement about the absence of trends in impacts attributable to natural or anthropogenic climate change holds for tropical and extratropical storms and tornados"
  • "The absence of an attributable climate change signal in losses also holds for flood losses"
When will a journalist (ed-what they have them?) at the ABC think to look over Flannery's record and ask some tough questions?

Part 2: Spot the conservative presenter. No change from last week.
1. Amanda Vanstone on Counterpoint

Part 3: Environmental beat ups for the week. No beat ups just excessive cheer leading. Seems ABC has got the hots for US environmental activist and alarmist preacher Bill McKibben. Here are just a few of the ABC's articles Bill appeared on or garnered a mention, all at your expense and without critical comment (and some of these people consider themselves journalist, others are activists-yes that's you Fran and Sara):
ABC Environment Blog 3: Preventing a carbon bubble crash
ABC Environment Blog 4!!!: Who is the ugliest in the beauty contest?

That's just recently. A search of Google for "Bill McKibben" at site yields 85,900 results. By comparison a search for a real expert an the ABC, let's say "Richard Lindzen" yields 35,500 items and most of these ain't long winded cheer leading posts. Seems ABC has some catch up to do. Does the word diversity appear in that charter?

Part 4: What to do with your National broadcaster?
Greece leads the way!  Greek government to close ‘wasteful’ state broadcaster to save money, axing 2,500 jobs. We could axe 5000!

Part 5: Missing News: Some good news for corals published in a recent edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences missed by ABC Science. I guess a science journalist would have covered these interesting results. Global warming activists on the other hand...well you know the story.

Part 6: Sucker of the week. See Part 1. For reporting that should make them blush with embarrassment this week's Gullibull goes to The World Todays' ELEANOR HALL and ALISON CALDWELL. Congrats ladies.
Eleanor with friend. 
Apologies - no photo of Alison as all the photos we could find on the net are just too boring.

Friday, June 14, 2013

ABC News fail on timely delivery of facts in menu hype

The Australian reports on the very slow response of the ABC to report on facts emerging in the over-hyped menu "scandal".

The broadcaster repeated the original 'menu' story after it was debunked

In the meantime it's interesting to compare ABC's treatment of jokes about Gillard with jokes made about Tony Abbot's chief of staff PETA Credlin at a union function attended by senior ALP members including Wayne Swan. This Lateline report covers the Credlin abuse as a footnote, but for Gillard its all hands on deck and batten down the hatches, lest any new facts get in the way. 

The bias of ABC is all pervasive and endless.  The Greek solution to public broadcasting looking like a real option. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

ABC in the News Round up 3

This week ABC provide a case study in biased reporting, provide free publicity to activists, provide no one to join Amanda, and more...

Part 1. Case study in biased reporting.
An Op Ed in The Australian compares reporting of stories pro and against the climate consensus with predictable results. The elevator version: if you are pro - "here are the keys to Ultimo". If you are against - "there's the cross we will nail you to and no wishy washy ed policy will spare you, you denier scum bag". Seems the limp wristed management style of MD Mark Scott has done nothing in the last 3 years to balance the bias of his staff. 0/10 Mr Scott.

Part 2: Environmental beat ups for the week
This photo essay and free add and promotion for The Climate Institute (now that would seem to be a problem for the ABC's Editorial Policies-see section 11!) is replete with factual errors and misrepresentations. It's this weeks winner! The photo's by climate change activist Michael Hall.
We have provided some alternate captions to a few of them:
Another lame attempt to link extreme weather to CO2.

Bird coleslaw anyone?

Part 2a. A close second was this report by ABC's Caddie Brain. Caddie left her brain at home when she wrote it. It covered a recent report that based health projections on "CSIRO climate models that indicate that remote parts of Australia could be up to 7 degrees hotter by 2100."
7 degrees! a little alarmist perhaps? And how reliable are those models? Let's see Caddie...Hint note the difference between the models and observations. Now view this Feynman video. "If it disagrees with experiment, it's wrong; that's all there is to it!"

Part 3: Spot the conservative presenter. No change from last week.
1. Amanda Vanstone on Counterpoint

Part 4: Some bananas stay forever. 
Seems B1 and B2 will get the axe a month short of 21 years. In the meantime those other ABC fruits: Clarke and Dawe plod through year 25. What colour tie will Brian wear this week?

Part 5: Your taxes at work. See Part 2a. Your taxes paid for crap models, crap analysis and crap reporting. That's one big load of crap.

Part 6: Missing News:
Some local science goes unreported:
New research suggests seaweed species may adapt to higher temperatures
The ability of Hormosira banksii, commonly known as Neptune’s necklace, to tolerate higher temperatures suggests that this habitat-forming alga has an intrinsic capacity to cope with climate change.

Part 7: Moth balled
ABC's web pages are a hive of broken links and lost information, like the "earth" page which provides Google Earth links to news from July 2011. Now that's innovation for you!

Part 8: Sucker of the week. SARAH CLARKE for not asking a single question of activist Bill McKibben that would suggest she had completed a degree or cadetship in journalism. Well done Sarah you win this weeks GULLIBUL.

That's Sarah on the Left (of course)