November 24, 2012 | Graham

Paedophilia, climate science and the ABC

In today’s Science Show Robyn Williams smears climate change sceptics by comparing scepticism of the IPCC view that the world faces catastrophic climate change because of CO2 emissions with support for paedophilia, use of asbestos to treat asthma, and use of crack cocaine by teenagers.

Don’t believe me? Then listen to the broadcast.

It is hard to believe, just at a moment of heightened sensitivity about offensive speech, and only a week or so after the commonwealth government announces a royal commission into the sexual abuse of children. Even harder to believe is that he specifically links former ABC Chair Maurice Newman into his comments and refers to his ideas on climate change as “drivel”.

But this is what you get when federal ministers like Greg Combet, licence abusive attacks on sceptics by referring to the Leader of the Opposition’s scepticism as “complete bull shit”.

Indeed it is worse than that. The government, via the Australian Research Council is involved in suppressing dissent.

Williams’ comments are part of an interview he conducted with Stephan Lewandowsky, a professor of psychology who has received over $2 million worth of ARC funding to support his  efforts to equate climate change scepticism with mental disorder.

“Punitive psychology” as it is called, was widely used in the Soviet Union to incarcerate dissidents in mental institutions. In modern Australia the walls of the prison are not brick or stone, but walls of censorship, confining the dissident to a limbo where no-one will report what they say for fear of being judged mentally deficient themselves.

Williams wants to put some more bricks in the walls by making climate scepticism as respectable as paedophilia.

Williams is a serial offender on the abuse of his opponents, as you can see from these posts:

Lewandowsky is making a career of it, although on the basis of very shoddy science. His latest effort is a paper where he attempts to equate belief that the moon landing was faked with scepticism of catastrophic climate change using a survey instrument.

I have the survey data and was shocked to find that this conclusion is based on the responses of 10 respondents – it has no significance at all.

Heads must roll over this, including Williams’. But the problem is obviously more widespread and involves the University of Western Australia, where Lewandowsky holds his chair, the ARC, the ABC, and possibly even the government.

Posted by Graham at 5:12 pm | Comments (44) |
Filed under: Environment,Media


  1. Graham, you have summed it up well. You are so right. We must not let this go.

    If they had evidence they wouldn’t need to resort to these desperately cheap smear tactics to “win” the debate.

    The ABC, the Science Show, and the ARC are using taxpayer funds to push their own personal ideology with inept, unresearched, illogical material.

    It’s an anti-science as it gets. You must obey the government-paid-experts-consensus, ignore the independent scientists, ignore the voters. If you question The Word of the Department, we will smear your name and associate you with the lowest of the low.

    Comment by Jo Nova — November 24, 2012 @ 5:39 pm

  2. […] Graham Young writes in Paedophilia, climate science and the ABC […]

    Pingback by Climate Ugliness goes nuclear | Watts Up With That? — November 24, 2012 @ 6:21 pm

  3. Jo is spot on. This is an OUTRAGE.

    Comment by Turtle — November 24, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

  4. The paper that lewandiwsky recieved lots of publicity for.

    Has still NOT been published, ie many many criticidms of it were made

    could someone ask the editor of Psychologicsl Science journal the status of thst paper as its unpublished ‘results’ appear to be, now used to smear people.

    It is nor FOUR months dince the psper was trumpeted to coleagues and the media. But it has NOT been published

    Comment by Barry Woods — November 24, 2012 @ 6:35 pm

  5. The real truth of all this is that you cannot HEAT water from above, you can of course radiate it, the sun does it every day, but HEAT will not pass from the atmosphere into the ocean because of surface tension. The irony is that if you want to put physical HEAT into water you must cover the sutface with a floating object to break down the surface tension, only then will HEAT pass. This means that even if you have an unusually hot day, the “excess” HEAT cannot be stored by the ocean’ The ocean responds only to radiation from the sun and nothing else. AGW does not exist. People who believe in it are fools.

    Comment by robert barclay — November 24, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

  6. Robert,

    “People who believe in it are fools” seems a little inappropriate under the circumstances!

    Comment by John McCabe — November 24, 2012 @ 7:31 pm

  7. John McCabe says:

    “People who believe in it are fools” seems a little inappropriate under the circumstances!

    Quite. One might say they have been fooled, that they have been duped, or that they have quite simply been misled by their Governments funding of an Academia , that has got rather carried away with itself, to the extent that it seems they cannot now afford to make an objective assessment of the evidence.

    Comment by joe V. — November 24, 2012 @ 8:22 pm

  8. Robert says above about not being able to pass heat from the atmosphere to the ocean.

    Such a proposition does seem rather implausible.
    If for instance I fill my bath with cold water, and leave it sitting in a warm room , wont it warm up , eventually ?

    Of course the warmth is contained in the room, but if the warmth is simply the warmth of a comfortable outside temperature, with the window open, then isnt the warmth coming from the atmosphere.

    Now I’d grant you , people have for generations put stubbies under water to keep them cool, and surface tension may be having an effect, in slowing the transfer of heat, but I should say , I thought that was because heat rises.

    In the same way that it might seem obvious to an observer that clouds keep us warmer, by slowing the loss of heat, I could perhaps accept that surface tension slows the transfer of heat downwards.

    However, that it prevents transfer of heat altogether seems as ridiculous an assertion as that of clouds or CO2 causing runaway warming.

    I do wish people wouldnt peddle with such assurance, that which they have heard but have little understanding of.

    Comment by joe V. — November 24, 2012 @ 8:49 pm

  9. Their comments are remarkable for their ignorance. AGW is a belief based on a failed hypothesis. It has failed because anthropogenic forcings have no apparent impact on sea surface temperature and ocean heat content.

    Comment by Bob Tisdale — November 24, 2012 @ 9:01 pm

  10. The sensationalism at the beginning of the broadcast smacks of desperation. Then the so-called scientist from UWA comes out with all his politicised notions of why people are wrongthinking , dropping in all the sciency sounding words, careful to maintain his relaxed coffee talk manner.

    What’s this doing on a science program.
    Is not just trash TV, but trash TV with an agenda ?

    Do the ABC think people are stupid enough to be taken in by it ?
    Or is it just designed to appeal to those educated lefties who are more likely to be taken in by anything, as the referred to research by Dr Walker suggests.

    Comment by Joe V — November 24, 2012 @ 9:27 pm

  11. I have sent the following comment to the ABC;

    I was very disturbed by the tone of your so-called science show on the subject of climate change recently, where you attempted to discredit non-believers in the climate change fraud.
    I thought the interviewer (Williams) was totally disgusting.
    The othe guy (Lewandowski) was even further out in space, pretty well on another planet. He is another one with his snout deep into the public climate change trough.
    This global warming fiction has been scientifically debunked over and over; yet it still pops up on the ABC regularly, and is claimed to be a fact.

    I am a scientist and an engineer, I also am very knowlegable about this subject, so cannot be fooled by all the ficticious claims like the ones made on your show.
    You all at the so-called “Science Show” need to know the following before you go on air next time and make a total fool of yourself again;

    1) The human signal as far as our effect on world temperatures is not known, even approximately. In fact we do not even know if our net effect is that of warming or cooling.
    2) ALL the projections of sea level and temperature rises by those on the alarmist side have so far proven to be totally wrong; I can produce a lot of evidence on this.
    3) The case for dangerous human-caused global warming exists only inside computer models; models which have been proven to have the wrong settings. (see above)
    4) There is no “consensus” of 98% of scientists; that is complete fiction too. I can present lots of polls done on this which prove this idea to be totally incorrect.
    5) Science does not work by consensus anyway; it works by the scientific method,which has never been used by the IPCC’s so-called climate scientists.
    5) The climate sensitivity is low, and has been shown to be low in many empirical studies, all peer-reviewed.
    6) There are over 1,100 scientific peer-reviewed papers which refute the need for any sort of so-called “action” in a futile attempt to alter the planets climate.
    7) The biggest lie of all is that of eustatic sea levels. We are likely to see no more than 10cm of sea level rise by 2100.

    Hope I will see a return to some real science soon on the science show.

    Robert Holmes

    Comment by Robert Holmes — November 24, 2012 @ 10:16 pm

  12. I wrote this on the UK DECC web site:

    ‘My Dear Bernie, as you have a scientific training you should know there can be no CO2-AGW. The ~100 m IR emission/absorption depth of the atmosphere is within 1 K of the Earth’s surface so its thermal IR, near enough black body, switches off IR in those same bands at the surface apart from a few water vapour sidebands.

    No IR absorption, no ‘GHG blanket’, no CO2-AGW. This is basic radiation physics. Unfortunately, meteorologists like Trenberth are taught incorrect physics and imagine ‘pyrgeometers’, IR pyrometers, measure a real energy flux, not a temperature signal. So, the models exaggerate warming by ~6.8x.

    Please tell the loonies at DECC there can be no CO2 climate change, the Earth is cooling as the sun’s magnetic field heads below 1500 Gauss and cloud cover increases and we should be planning for ice blocking the Northern ports from ~2020. This has been the biggest scientific and commercial fraud in history and DECC is at the heart of it.’

    On the back of an envelope, but easily proven by MODTRAN, I have shown that the IPCC ‘consensus’ is baseless. There is no positive feedback. The science is Poynting’s Theorem, the first axiom from Maxwell’s Equations. look at thr est of the mistaken physics and it’s clear that Houghton’s mistakes were translated into fraudulent science.

    Comment by AlecM — November 24, 2012 @ 10:19 pm

  13. Lewandosky it is who is sick. No doubt about it – he’s personality disordered, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, methinks. I’ve met his like before, and they truly are dangerous and repulsive.

    Comment by Jeremy Poynton — November 24, 2012 @ 11:18 pm

  14. When “inexpert mouths” come together on the ABC, outcome is indeed “unrelenting debauchery of the facts”.

    No surprise to hear this pre-Xmas special. Both peas in a (post-modern) pod.

    Both also deep in argument-by-false analogy/red herring business.

    Timing not coincidental, weekend before COP-18 and this event:

    AGU Fall Meeting sessions on social media, misinformation and uncertainty
    Posted on STW 16 July 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky & John Cook

    “We have proposed several sessions for the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco on 3-7 December: on uncertainty, misinformation and social media. AGU members are invited to submit abstracts for the sessions – the deadline to submit an abstract is August 8.”

    An Orwellian strategy of “smearing/psychologising-climate-denialism, etc” being rolled out here – and internationally – for high (reputational & ideological) stakes.

    ABC RN’s Anthony Fennel on about similar themes on this week’s “Future Tense”:

    Comment by Alice Thermopolis — November 24, 2012 @ 11:34 pm

  15. Re Attitudes to Climate Science, the first distortion of science is that Williams uses the old “97% of all scientists” claim to abuse climate skepticism, and even equate a body of world class scientists with paedophiles. Anyone with any semblance of talent in investigative journalism would know this figure to be a total crock in origin and content.

    The second distortion is that Williams uses the term ‘Science’ in his radio program. His bias and ‘consensus’ attitudes have departed the realm of real science a long time ago.

    The third distortion of science is to use the bilious Lewandowsky as some sort of expert on climate science. He is not. He is someone who enjoys and derives pleasure from his own company in a private room.

    The fourth distortion is to link skeptical scientists of today with issues like HIV and smoking. Most of us could not care less about those particular issues, important as they may be in society. Our role is to constantly demonstrate the failure of climate models in the face of observable, real science.

    And the World Bank was merely quoting alarmist German scientists who have the same credibility as Al Gore.

    Williams is doing the ABC an extreme disservice in this particular radio program, which long ago failed any test of objectivity and high intellectual achievement. It revealed the total vacuity of the show and its presenter. It was, in short, quite shameful, if not pitiful.

    Comment by Geoff Derrick — November 25, 2012 @ 12:09 am

  16. What happened with politicians in the US, with neither side wanting to get drawn into discusion on Global Warming, reminds me of the Faulty Towers. sketch: Dont mention the Warming.
    When will this whole episode in history become so embarrasing that onlycommitted nutters will dare bring it up ?

    Comment by Joe V — November 25, 2012 @ 1:09 am

  17. What you have in a global warmer is someone who ACTIVELY BELIEVES, that a form of INFRARED LIGHT has been building up in the atmosphere for decades,

    but mankind doesn’t have any way to check and see if that infrared LIGHT fraction has been GROWING.

    who believe infrared heat

    is impossible to check on in the atmosphere
    therefore your life has to be shut down.

    Comment by IAmDigitap — November 25, 2012 @ 1:37 am

  18. In reply to Joe v yes your bath teperature will eventually rise but it will do so because because the bath itself will absorb heat and pass it to the water below the surface not through the surface. If you doubt me and I don’t blame you get hold of a heat gun, the thing you use to strip paint, and apply it to thr surface of water in a basin, you will find that the water does not accept heat through the surface.
    This demonising of co2 goes back to the Thatcher government. Thatcher needed more power stations and she didn’t want coal because of Arthur Scargill so even though coal was cheapest and nuclear was unpopular nuclear was pushed and Mrs Thatcher’s scientific advisors by a shocking coincidence discovered that coal produced co2 and that could be heated and the heat could increase ocean surface temperature causing a chain reaction. So was born AGW. The scientists assumed that everything obeyed the second law of thermodynamics i.e. heat will automatically flow from hot to cold under all circumstances but the forgot surface tension and they didn’t check. I did check and you can’t heat water from above on this planet. There is a further check that you can do. Get two identical basins of water one uncovered and on the second one float a baking dish to breakdown the surface tension.. Apply heat from a heat gun to both basins for 15mins. The uncovered basin will rise 6degsF the covered basin will rise 48degsF. The reason for any rise in basin one is that the heat is fan forced and this simulates heat causing a slight breakdown in surface tension but the second basin is an upside down pot and accepts heat readily. Show this to your kids you owe it to them, they are being taught tripe. In fact right now I would suggest that scientifically the entire western world is TWIT CENTRAL

    Comment by robert barclay — November 25, 2012 @ 1:56 am

  19. “Name-calling in order to suppress debate” is right. It’s a familiar tactic now employed on a different battlefield from where I usually see it: American politics.

    Jonah Goldberg, over at the National Review online has the other side of the name-calling coin: The GOP and Racism, Yet Again

    “…I don’t think the Republican party is racist now (and, historically, the GOP has a lot less to answer for than the Democratic party does). But that hasn’t stopped a lot of people from slandering Republicans as racist for one reason or another. Right now, many in Washington — particularly the leadership of the Congressional Black Caucus — insist that Republican attacks on U.N. ambassador Susan Rice are racist and, yawn, sexist. The basis for this claim is that some Republicans are calling Rice unfit for the soon-to-be-vacated job of secretary of state. More specifically, they’re cross with Rice for what they contend to be her dishonest and incompetent handling of the Benghazi scandal.

    “And, because Rice is a black woman, well, bla, bla, bla. Racism! Sexism!

    “Never mind that Republicans haven’t had a white secretary of state since Lawrence Eagleburger concluded his term two decades ago. Never mind that Republicans appointed the first black secretary of state ever (Colin Powell) and the first black female secretary of state ever (Condoleezza Rice, arguably the star of the GOP convention in August). Also, never mind that Rice’s handling of Benghazi — and several other matters — can quite defensibly be dubbed incompetent.

    “That doesn’t stop Democrats or liberal pundits from crying racism.”

    I doubt that the Republicans know how to fight, especially this type of slander fight. Fortunately for us, at the bottom of the CO2-AGW fight is science, and in science, calling the opposition to your pet theory a poopy-head or something has never been allowed as valid a scientific debate tactic.

    AmbitGambit, Joanne Nova, and WattsUpWithThat are right. We must draw the line in the sand at these low-blow disgusting accusations and equivocations, and (in the press) beat whomever crosses that line again into a (figurative) bloody pulp.

    Comment by Newt Love — November 25, 2012 @ 5:37 am

  20. Comment by joe V. — November 24, 2012:
    Robert says above about not being able to pass heat from the atmosphere to the ocean.
    Such a proposition does seem rather implausible.
    If for instance I fill my bath with cold water, and leave it sitting in a warm room , wont it warm up , eventually ?
    I do wish people wouldnt peddle with such assurance, that which they have heard but have little understanding of.
    There is some truth in what Robert says. Let me explain why the comparison with your bath is not 100% accurate.
    The oceans have a cool skin. This is a known feature of how the oceans behave, due to evaporation – so the upper cm of the ocean are colder then the below.

    This cool skin at the surface means no heat transfer through convection through this area from up to down.

    What about radiation?
    The infrared radiation from the atmosphere does not penetrate more then 5-6-7 microns into the oceans, as water is opaque to infrared radiation.
    So no heat transfer to the ocean – only heat exchange with the very surface of the ocean. But the net heat transfer through radiation is from ocean to atmosphere and not vice versa.

    For the atmosphere to warm the ocean it would need to invert the gradient of the cool skin – which is not happening.
    For the atmosphere to slow down the heat lose of the oceans it would need to increase the surface temperature of the oceans. There are good satellite measurement of it, and there has been no warming of it since 17 years – so what Robert says above is true, at least since 17 years.

    Comment by Lars P — November 25, 2012 @ 6:49 am

  21. “Get two identical basins of water one uncovered and on the second one float a baking dish to breakdown the surface tension.. Apply heat from a heat gun to both basins for 15mins. The uncovered basin will rise 6degsF the covered basin will rise 48degsF. The reason for any rise in basin one is that the heat is fan forced and this simulates heat causing a slight breakdown in surface tension but the second basin is an upside down pot and accepts heat readily.”

    Surface tension is completely irrelevant as in this instance will remain unaltered unless you add something that acts as a surfactant to the water. All you have demonstrated here Robert is that conductive heat transfer is far more effective than convective heat transfer. Radiative heat transfer is even less efficient, hence in part the reason why AGW models are hopelessly out of touch with reality.

    If you are really interested in heat transfer theory I suggest you read “Heat Transfer”, J.P. Holman, McGraw Hill Press 1989. This text is one of the most concise books I’ve read on the subject.

    Comment by Rohan — November 25, 2012 @ 8:22 am

  22. I am a communist and have campaigned against asbestos and other occupational health and safety hazards over thiry years in trade union movement. I abhor peadophilia. I do not accept the catastrophist theory of anthropogenic global warming. I understand that this issue is a matter of the science and not politics. I am deeply impressed by left wing scientists such as Freeman Dyson on this issue. I am just outraged by the abusive attack launched on myself and many of my (left-wing) friends. This program is a travesy and a disgrace. Shameful.

    Comment by Connolly — November 25, 2012 @ 8:25 am

  23. Thankyou to Robert, Lars P. and Rohan for coming back on my attempts to rationalise the surface tension idea of resistance to heat tranfer.
    I did wonder about the bath tub itself contributing .  So I guess I need a sunken bath, or an (indoor)  swimming pool. 
       I remain to be convinced however,   but I will keep trying.
       Direct sunlight appears to heat up at least shallow water though, as I recall from swimming in the stuff,   so its effect  must be penetrating further than a few microns, even if only to heat the bottom, which may then heat up the water.
         The lack of sea surface warming for 17 years mentioned  by Lars P., seems only consistent with the reported observation of lack of atmospheric warming at the surface over the same time.   If Lars is from Sweden, I guess he knows his oceans though.
    I once knew a Lars B. P. , a delightful gentleman , who would paint his boat every autumn.   No relation I suppose 🙂

    Comment by Joe V — November 25, 2012 @ 9:28 am

  24. but here… even if it were true. What about waves ? aren’t they breaking the surface tension most of the time ?

    Comment by Joe V — November 25, 2012 @ 9:33 am

  25. Lets face it!

    Its an international problem that the public service is hijacket by scrupeless commies now charading as greens.
    ABC BBC SVT/SR in sweden CCN .. .. the list goes on and on and on. Lewandowski wasnt asked what his political history laid. that qustion would have spoiled the hole set upp off the interwiew. In AU you sare in real deep s### with the coalition and coop netween finkelstien CICERO ALP ABC Univeristies Its looks as you allready neen sc####ed. Only if voices within parliament takes action and confront the corrupted and the hijackers you can succeed its the only place left wherer there is any formal power left who can sort this out and sack all the hijackers!

    Comment by Slabadang — November 25, 2012 @ 10:39 am

  26. If you feel he has engaged in unethical behaviour you can report Lewandowsky to the Psychologists Registration Board.

    In my opinion, he is abusing and trivialising the plight of victims of child abuse during a particularly sensitive period for them simply for the purposes of pushing a personal political agenda.

    Comment by Pete — November 25, 2012 @ 11:05 am

  27. Pete, it wasn’t Lewandowsky who made the paedophilia claim, that was the show’s presenter. Lewandowsky’s behaviour is unethical, but in an academic context. Need to think about avenues there.

    To those above who claim CO2 does not warm the earth, you seem to be confused about the claim. No-one claims that it increases it “heats” the earth, but that it makes the earth hotter than it would otherwise be. It slows the speed with which heat leaves the earth moving the equilibrium position up a littl.

    The issue is not whether, but by how much, and then whether that matters.

    Comment by Graham — November 25, 2012 @ 2:03 pm

  28. The commenters here are “over the top” themselves.
    Williams and the ABC can be criticised for unfortunate choice of words, but they can rest secure that they are just speaking the truth, if exaggerated a little. While the CSIRO, the AAAS, the USA APS, the UK Royal Society etc etc all support the need for urgent action on CO2 then Williams and the ABC feel that they have a licence, if not a duty, to speak as they do. If the commenters here have time to do something, they should be getting the CSIRO and the AAAS and other scientific bodies to change their language, after that, have a go at the ABC.

    Comment by Richard Hill — November 25, 2012 @ 3:28 pm

  29. ” Direct sunlight appears to heat up at least shallow water though, as I recall from swimming in the stuff, so its effect must be penetrating further than a few microns, even if only to heat the bottom, which may then heat up the water.”
    The lack of sea surface warming for 17 years mentioned by Lars P., seems only consistent with the reported observation of lack of atmospheric warming at the surface over the same time. If Lars is from Sweden, I guess he knows his oceans though.
    I once knew a Lars B. P. , a delightful gentleman , who would paint his boat every autumn. No relation I suppose :-)”
    Comment by Joe V — November 25, 2012 @ 9:28 am

    Hi Joe, currently living in the center of Europe, far away from the ocean :(, no relation to Lars B.
    Of course, you are right about the sun warming the ocean, direct sunlight goes deep into the ocean 100 m and more, warming it. Sun’s infrared is also higher frequency and goes about a meter in the ocean warming it.
    See also here absorbtion spectra and penetration depth:
    or here:
    Above I was talking only about infrared radiation from the atmosphere.
    Here about the “cool skin” of the oceans:
    “It is well known that temperatures at the sea surface are
    typically a few-tenths degrees Celsius cooler than the temper-
    atures some tens of centimeters below [Saunders, 1967;
    Paulson and Simpson, 1981; Wu, 1985; Fairall et al., 1996;
    Wick et al., 1996; Donlon et al., 2002].”

    Comment by Lars P — November 25, 2012 @ 8:26 pm

  30. No one is denying that climate change is not affected by man.The issue is CO2.

    In the last 300 yrs our magnetic fields that surround our planet have been weakening.These fields repel excess radiation from our Sun.Currently the poles are shifting at 40 km per yr. Our magnetic poles like the Sun do swap and during this flux become very weak.

    This year was a time of increased Sun spot activity which more of the Sun’s energy reached our planet.This would also explain the extreme storm activity in the USA and else where.

    Remember that first it was “Global Warming” then ” Climate Change” then ” Ocean Acidification” now it is ” Extreme weather”.

    Of course the World Bank backed by the private cartels would want a new derivative called the ETS and the CO2 tax to give them even more power over us.

    When our banking system can create from nothing,all the money they need or could ever want and loan it to our Govts as debt,then most scientists are up for sale.

    Comment by Ross — November 25, 2012 @ 9:36 pm

  31. Ross. Solar period 24 has been a period of very LOW sunspot activity (know to result in cooling); Solar period 25 is expected to be even quieter. Extreme storm activity in the USA has happened all throughout history, and worse storms have hit the East Coast than Sandy, whatever the fruitloop warmers might want you to believe.

    Comment by Jeremy Poynton — November 25, 2012 @ 10:04 pm

  32. Richard,

    Fair comment that Williams and the ABC report the current views from the scientific institutions. But if they were doing their job properly they would also be taking some of the sceptic’s claims seriously, instead of treating us as fringe loonies. The ABC does what I consider a reasonable job in keeping the politicains honest, but when it come to scientists they are beyond reproach, much like the church used to be.

    I have followed “The Science Show” over many years and generally find Williams an excellent broadcaster but still his bias is patently obvious in a number of areas, particularly regards to climate change. As a professional scientist I find many of the claims being made by so called scientific institutions astounding, haven’t they heard of uncertainty? As Carl Sagan once said, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and frankly if you look at the numbers without cherry picking, there is very little that is unusual. Even James Lovelock who I greatly admire is now admitting climate science has got much wrong and should be in dialogue with the sceptics. Fat chance of that happening when you have idealogues like Williams in the mainstream media doing his bit to save the world from those redneck deniers.

    Comment by dlb — November 25, 2012 @ 10:05 pm

  33. Jeremy Poyton,according to NASA 2012 is a solar max cycle.Who is right?

    Comment by Ross — November 25, 2012 @ 11:34 pm

  34. Those who have difficulty understanding how a natural adiabatic lapse rate develops in any atmosphere may wish to refer to this comment which I have just written on Roy Spencer’s blog. It needs to be read in conjunction with several posts I have also written just above on that thread.

    The temperature of the Venus surface could not possibly have been raised about 500 degrees above the planet’s radiating temperature by any greenhouse effect, especially when you consider that the insolation it receives from the Sun is only about 10% of that received by Earth’s surface. It is that hot for no other reason than that a natural adiabatic lapse rate caused the temperature gradient in the thick carbon dioxide Venus atmosphere (94 times the mass of Earth’s atmosphere) when the planet first formed.

    Read this page and the reference in the footnote thereon.

    Comment by Doug Cotton — November 26, 2012 @ 7:58 am

  35. 1. I’d be interested to hear any comment on the book ‘Merchants of Doubt’ by Orestes & Conway, which argues that some of the people arguing against SGW were also arguing against the dangers of tobacco (ie that they are professional lobbyists).

    2. What views on the Catalyst (ABC) program with Bureau of Meteorology data about increases in temperature in Australia?

    3. I am a sceptic – which means I am as sceptical about the arguments of sceptics as I am about the arguments sceptics are challenging. I am particularly sceptical of arguments that attack or label people (warmists, ‘people who believe it are fools’). Do that and you lose me instantly, whatever side you’re arguing on.

    4. And on those basins of water – I live in the hot inland and water in ground tanks, ponds and lakes gets hot in summer (without applying the blow-torch). Would be great if Robert’s theory was so, and we had some cool water in summer!

    Comment by jh — November 26, 2012 @ 9:31 am

  36. jh – Your raising of the recent Catalyst is relevant to scientific integrity. I had been following the BoM monthly weather summaries for Australia for over two years. Consistently they had been reporting “cooler than average”. Then they started to drop this comment and note specific hot spots in remote parts of WA, but still including, buried within many lines of discussion, the acknowledgement that it had been a “cooler than average month”. Suddenly I noticed that the BoM no longer gave a national summary, but a state by state one. This made it much more difficult to assimilate the overall picture and easier for them to emphasis the perceived prevalance of “warmer than average” spots. We can all do that if we only work with microclimate reports. The “my backyard is hotter than your backyard” pub game. In the Catalyst program they effectively rewrote the BoM reports from the past 5 years. Much in that program directly contradicted the monthly reports that I had previously read.

    Comment by Couldabeen — November 26, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

  37. jh

    For Joanne Nova and many others, it is Oreskes who “seeds doubts about skeptics by claiming skeptics ‘seed doubts’ about climate change”; while wasting time “digging through biographies, researching unrelated topics (tobacco) and drawing tenuous conclusions”.

    For Oreskes, doubt and denial allegedly link apparently random events, preventing folk from seeing the truth. Yet when most skeptics raise doubts, they arise from a careful critique of empirical evidence and argument; and not some “nefarious agenda” driven by (political) belief.

    Nova is in good company. Some climate scientists also have a problem with Oreskes. Check out Judith Curry’s critique posted on 23 January 2012 on her Climate Etc blog: “Open-mindedness is the wrong (?) approach?”.

    University of Western Australia, incidentally, has appointed her a 2012 Professor-at-Large at its Institute of Advanced Studies. Her ten hosts, only one a scientist, include psychologists Stephan Lewandowsky and Carmen Lawrence.

    Oreskes – who once worked as a geologist on SA’s Olympic Dam project – wants a Climate Court, an Orwellian institution where activist scientists are the “jury”, not merely a group of expert witnesses trying to prove a case.

    As for her opponents, condemned to silence, they presumably will be exiled to “de-biasing” gulags especially designed by academic schools of psychology for all promulgators of “denials, dodges and pseudo-scientific studies”. Here, they will spend years in programs of cognitive modification, self-criticism and re-education.

    Welcome to the realm of post-modern science.

    Comment by Alice Thermopolis — November 26, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

  38. After reading your post Graham I read the transcript of the programme. Your account is at odds with the way Williams discussed the issue. He did not compare climate change sceptics to pedophiles but rather he used the examples mentioned as a means of highlighting a major problem with public discourse regarding climate change. Just as we would dismiss the ideas of anyone who sought to justify pedophilia so we should by now have arrived at a situation where no-one would take climate change scepticism seriously. he probably would have been on stringer grounds if he had compared it to smoking – there are still smokers who kid themselves that smoking does no harm but you will not find anyone who takes this view seriously.
    There is a myth that climate change is a recent invention. It is not the 1958 Bell Television Science Programme is the first known attempt to alert the wider public to the risks associated with CO2 emissions. The first person to recognize that elevated levels of CO2 in the atmosphere traps heat was the French Mathematician Baron Fourier (born 1768) the first calculation of a green house effect was done by the Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius in the Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science Series 5, Volume 41, April 1896, pages 237-276.
    One of the realities of scientific research is that when the results of a theory are confirmed by hard evidence, when other independent studies arrive at the same conclusion then scepticism is no longer a rational response.
    In fact I would suggest your post is indicative of this. As a journalist I would have thought you would have had a closer look at what Lewandowsky received his ARC funding for. His research is about scepticism generally. The logic of Williams’s piece is well summarised here
    As a result your piece becomes little more than a hysterical rant that gives comfort to those who wish to shelter under the illusion that climate change can safely be ignored.
    I believe Williams to be right when he refuses to cut any slack to those who seek to encourage politicians to reject climate change. The risks are far too great to play russian roulette with our children’s future.

    Comment by John Tons — November 27, 2012 @ 7:08 pm

  39. All Williams has achieved in linked the alluded to elements, I believe, is to entirely destroy his credibility, as an erudite science commentator.
    A psychopath’s lack of human empathy makes paedophilia possible!
    Whereas, you only need to be extraordinarily stupid; and or, able to simply ignore the rising tide of evidence, to become a climate change sceptic?
    Sceptics, who seem not too different from former flat earth believers, who clung to their peculiar belief system, when all the credible evidence, was screaming otherwise.
    One can’t create a credible position, if all the building blocks of any argument, are based on an entirely false premise.
    The links Williams relies on to build his quite extraordinary hypothesise; if accurately reported, are built on, I believe, just such a premise!
    Alan B. Goulding

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — November 28, 2012 @ 12:04 pm

  40. Hi

    I send you my current effort re this theme. It is of mutual interest


    Comment by Geoff Seidner — November 29, 2012 @ 2:53 pm

  41. Yes Joe, there is a thing called waves and they do break the surface tension, all the time!
    Moreover, trapped radiant heat, can and is transferred by warmer than water, wind, air, convection currents and atmospheric absorption.
    We are after all, talking about oceans, rather than glazed lakes, made into reflecting mirrors, by the early morning lack of air movement.
    Some of our ocean currents, are already 2C warmer, than when we first began taking and recording temperature measurements!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — November 30, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

  42. I’d be very interested to hear comments on this article – based on a report commissioned by the World Bank from a German scientific establishment. Their predictions for the future are catastrophic indeed. Take a look and start to worry:

    Comment by Saki — November 30, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

  43. Most of us would be skeptical of the ability of the World Bank to give good advice on running a country, which is something they’re nominally qualified to give. Why would you take any notice of their advice on climate, which is something they’re definitely not qualified to give?

    Comment by Graham — December 4, 2012 @ 6:14 am

  44. The transcript DID NOT equate climate change sceptics with supporters of paedophilia. Robin Williams was comparing various ways that ideologists justify their behaviour or beliefs by distorting science. one part of the transcript tells a a lot:

    “In Australia in this survey you just mentioned by Iain Walker the number of people who deny that climate change is happening is around 5% or 6% of the population. But those 5%, if you then ask them how many people they think are sharing their opinion, their response is, oh, about 50%. So what we have here is a fringe opinion that is held by a very, very few Australians, but they have convinced themselves that half the population agrees with them. And this phenomenon is called a false consensus effect technically, and that phenomenon is usually indicative of a distortion in the media landscape.”

    They go on to discuss the Murdoch media’s treatment of climate science.

    How can anyone see what is happening in the world with wild weather and not acknowledge what the scientists tell us is happening, and the reasons for it? I don’t get it.

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — December 10, 2012 @ 2:35 pm

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