Australian Politics 2015-07-09 15:43:00



Four current articles below

Climate scientists: More scared of an inquiry into the science than they are of climate change

What’s more terrifying to a climate scientist than “2 degrees” of warming? Answer: Half a degree of hard questions.

Australian climate scientists don’t complain at all when the UN says it wants to redirect $89 Trillion in a quest to change the climate. But they are suddenly all concerned that the Australian Government might waste 0.0001% investigating the science. A disaster!  Since when were climate scientists concerned about wasting public money? Since never.

A group of thirteen scientists, who’ve personally achieved little in the way of scientific advances, have written to Dennis Jensen and Chris Back offering to brief them on the “latest science”, afraid the skeptics might launch an inquiry into the science.  The ABC calls them “prominent”

Isn’t the scientific evidence the most important thing?

Surveys show half of the Australian public are skeptical — unconvinced by their claims that coal will cause a climate crisis or that solar panels can stop the storms. Right now, if the climate is headed for a disaster, nothing is more important than convincing the public. Instead, the climate scientists keep repeating that the debate is over, “trust us”, and “don’t ask questions”. But the debate never happened, the public don’t trust them, and we have many many questions — and they are not going away.

In a Reuters poll, 57% of people said they don’t think UN Climate Scientists can speak with authority on climate. Some scientists keep repeating that there is a consensus, but that spin isn’t working. More of the same isn’t going to change that. It’s time for a real debate.

If the evidence was overwhelming, 95% certain, the climate scientists would welcome the attention. But it’s a gambit they played ten years ago, and the game is over. Skeptics know the case for a crisis will fall over with the merest honest inspection. The unskeptical scientists know it too — that’s why they are so afraid the Coalition might really call their bluff and demand real answers.

The laws of physics are the same in every field

If there is a climate crisis, real scientists would have no trouble convincing other scientists from other fields, but that’s not what we are seeing. Increasingly scientists from other branches of science are protesting, and in their thousands. They are fed up at the way the scientific method is being abused and milked for press attention.

There is no consensus amongst scientists – only among certified “climate” scientists, paid by government. Almost half  of meteorologists are skeptics (crikey!), survey after survey shows that two-thirds of geoscientists and engineers are skeptics, and most readers of skeptical blogs (who chose to respond to surveys and list their qualifications in  comments) have hard science degrees.

Dan Kahan conducted a survey and found people who knew more about maths and science were more likely to be skeptical. In other words, skeptics were better informed about science. See the  qualifications of 400 skeptics here.

How weak is their scientific position?

Dennis Jensen pointed out 97% of models did not predict “the Pause”. So Professor Hoegh-Guldberg simply denied there is a pause. (Hello? What about those satellites? Ignoring most of the big climate temperature data sets?) Probably the only paper in Professor Hoegh-Guldberg’s arsenal is the recent Karl et al one, which ignored the best ocean gauges and used a wildly uncertain estimate to blend two bad data sets together. What’s the certainty? The data was corrected with a figure where the error was 17 times larger than the correction: 0.12 ± 1.7°C. See, exotic adventures in global climate data to unfind “the Pause”. They must be kidding.

Hoegh-Guldberg says 18 years of a global temperature pause is “short term”:

But Professor Hoegh-Guldberg said that was a short-term perspective.  “When you look at the literature, there’s been no hiatus,” he said.

“There’s random variability around the upward signal of temperature.  “It’s just like the stock market. If you look at that it’s going up and down but it’ll have a trend — that trend is what we’re watching.  “[It's] not whether it’s going up or down over a period of 10 years — it’s a long-term signal.”

18 years. 10 years, what’s the difference? It’s only math. ;- )

And oh, yes, please, Hoegh-Guldberg, let’s look at the long term. How many of the IPCC favourite climate models “predicted” the medieval warm period? How many can model the holocene optimum? None and zero. None of their models understand the climate.

M.P.s who understand science are harder to fool

Senator Chris Back is trained in veterinary science. Dennis Jensen has a PhD in physics. Both are happy to listen to the “experts”, but neither will be convinced by weak claims of “consensus”.

Mr Jensen said he was willing to meet the scientists to hear their views.

“I’m open to being convinced but the data and the evidence that I’ve seen [on climate change] thus far certainly I don’t find compelling,” he said.

He claimed that pointing to a scientific consensus on climate science “indicates your argument is weak”.  “When is the last time you heard the consensus of the world scientists is that the earth is roughly spherical?” he said.

“You get the appeal to consensus when the data and the evidence is weak and it’s an appeal to authority rather than examining the data and the evidence.”

Senator Back said he was happy to meet the scientists.

As “a person with a scientific background”, Senator Back said he was concerned by claims that “the science is in and no-one should challenge it”. He is trained as a veterinarian and does not have expertise in climate science.  In response to their concerns, the best the experts can offer is “trust us”

“Exhaustive” and “experts” are just words, not evidence:

Professor Peter Newman, a signatory to the letter and a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said the panel’s research was an “exhaustive” process.

He said the political debate around climate change action was legitimate but ”frustrating”.

Professor Newman said MPs should “just deal with the politics, that’s their job”, adding “the scientists have done their job”.

Professor Hughes said MPs who cast doubt on the science of global warming were trying to delay political progress on the issue.


New coal-mine approved for Australia

The Abbott government was under fire Thursday after approving a huge Chinese-run coal mine near prime farmland, sparking division in its own ranks with Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce complaining that "the world has gone mad".

Joyce called the decision "ridiculous" after Chinese company Shenhua was granted approval for the $1 billion Watermark mine near Gunnedah in New South Wales state, under 18 conditions the government said were among the strictest in Australia's history.

"I've never supported the Shenhua mine. I think it is ridiculous that you would have a major mine in the midst of Australia's best agricultural land," Joyce said on Facebook about the project, which is in his constituency.

Large-scale mining in rural areas and concerns about valuable agricultural and mineral assets passing into foreign hands is a hot topic in Australia, with the government earlier this year tightening scrutiny on overseas investment in farmland.

The NSW Farmers Association blasted the Shenhua move as the government turning a "food bowl into coal". The area is known for its rich black soil, excellent water resources and ideal climate.

It said the Shenhua Watermark Coal Project, with a mine life of 30 years, would "disturb an area of over 4,000 football fields in size, in the middle of some of Australia's best farming country".

But Environment Minister Greg Hunt, who approved the mine this week, said he had listened to community concerns and put strict conditions on the mine, with Shenhua needing to complete water and biodiversity management plans before any mining starts.

"There will be no impact on the availability of water for agriculture," Hunt said.

Another condition includes the power to stop mining if there were any effects on agricultural water supply. In the event that it did occur, the mine must immediately provide an alternative water supply to farmers.

National broadcaster ABC said a legal challenge had been launched by the NSW Planning Assessment Commission in a last ditch bid to halt the mine, on claims officials failed to properly consider the impact on a local koala population.


Nuclear power and waste storage proposed for South Australia

THINGS are looking grim for the South Australian economy, and everyone is trying to think of ways to kickstart growth. But is building a nuclear waste dump really the best idea?

South Australia has the worst unemployment rate in Australia, which hit 7.6 per cent in May, the highest since 2001. New figures out today showed it grew to 8.2 per cent in June.

University of Adelaide Associate Professor John Spoehr told The Advertiser the state was “on a pathway to double digit unemployment in the absence of major new investment in infrastructure and construction projects”.

In this atmosphere Liberal senator for South Australia Sean Edwards has floated his ambitious new plan for a nuclear power plant and waste storage that promises economic growth and which could potentially see state taxes abolished and free electricity for residents.

In February a poll for The Advertiser revealed 58.3 per cent of its readers were supportive of building a nuclear power plant in the state. Now state Labor Premier Jay Weatherill, who has acknowledged that the state is in transition with some industries in decline, has formed a Royal Commission to look into the idea.

Money does talk, and Senator Edwards believes nuclear could be an “economic game changer”.


A strong cold front is set to deliver heavy snow and wild winds for much of Australia

Where's that global warming?

THE most powerful cold front to cross Australia’s southeast in years will hit this weekend with forecasters warning of freezing conditions.

The weather event will start on Saturday and unusually cold conditions are expected to last until the middle of next week.

Weatherzone says South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales, the ACT, Queensland and the Northern Territory will experience the coldest spell in at least two years, and more than five years in some places.

Snow is forecast to fall in areas of Australia’s south east down to 600 metres, including in some Melbourne suburbs and in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney.

“Snow should fall almost right along the Victorian and NSW ranges, falling as low as 600 metres, most likely in southernmost parts.”

This means great news for Ski resorts who have been struggling to open runs after one of the worst starts to the snow season on record.

Victorian and New South Wales alpine areas are likely to receive at least 50cm of fresh powder.

The nation’s capital can expect an average maximum of about 8C over four days, the coldest since June 2009.

Rainfall wise, the heaviest falls will be in eastern Victoria and south-eastern New South Wales where up to 50mm is possible.

“These showers will at times and in some places contain small hail and combining with the bitterly cold and strong winds will add to an already exceptional chill, making the actual temperature feel as much as five degrees colder.”

The situation is being closely monitored and warnings will be issued in each state, as required, as conditions deteriorate.

In the meantime, Perth has recorded its coldest night of the year as the mercury plunged below zero in some suburbs.

The official temperature in the capital dipped to 0.8C while suburbs in the cities south east fell to -1.5C.



Taxpayer-supported Broadcaster against Israel and democracy

Bill Shorten’s parliamentary secretary has joined the chorus of complaint over the ABC’s Q&A, describing it as an “awful program” with a “hardline” agenda.

Melbourne Ports MP Mich­ael Danby has used an opinion piece in today’s Australian Jewish News to question ABC managing director Mark Scott’s supervision of the program as the broadcaster’s editor-in-chief.

“Giving Zaky Mallah a leg-up is not the main problem,” Mr Danby said in a statement yesterday. “The problem is ... TV producers with hardline political agendas, operating in the shadows, distorting the public debate, and shifting it in a direction that only the ‘enlightened vanguard’ like them appreciate.”

Mr Danby hit out at Q&A’s culture. “‘If it bleeds, it leads’ is the old TV news maxim,’’ he said. “The desire for sensa­tionalism is worry enough. But equally worry­ing is the political paradigm in which Q&A’s senior staff operate. Their agenda is anti-Labor leftist, anti-Israel, even sometimes anti-democratic.

“Mr Scott seems oblivious to Q&A’s abiding agenda. Or perhaps he privately agrees with it?”

Mr Danby appeared to endorse security concerns raised by the government over Mallah’s appearance on the show last month. “While we can and should contemptuously laugh at the loon, we also dare not forget that ... (Man Haron) Monis was presumed a harmless attention-seeker too,” he said.

“It’s in this context that the Q&A high command decreed Mallah an acceptable guest. They knew his record.”

In separate comments made to Jewish community website J-Wire, Mr Danby flagged that he would not appear on Q&A: “While it’s their party and they invite who they want to, it’s worth looking at the door-list to see what they would accept.”


The first Australians WERE Aborigines?

This claim is just theory.  The living reality of the pygmy people in North Queensland is ignored

They are the oldest population of humans living outside Africa and now researchers have confirmed that Aborigines really were the first people to inhabit Australia.

For decades anthropologists have debated whether the Australian continent was home to an earlier race of humans based on unusual rock paintings discovered in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

The Bradshaw rock art, as they are known, are advanced paintings depicting figures with unusual body shapes, tassels and hair that are unlike any other rock art found in Australia.

This led some archaeologists to conclude they may have been painted by a group of people who arrived in Indonesia before the ancestors of modern day Aborigines.

The first ancestors of today'€™s non-African peoples probably took a southern route through the Arabian Peninsula as early as 130,000 years ago, the researchers found.

The study is published by Professor Katerina Harvati and her team from the Institute for Archaeological Sciences at the University of Tuebingen and the Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Ferrara, Italy, and the National Museum of Natural History, France.

We've all got roots in Africa (if you go back 60,000 years)
However, Dr Michael Westaway, a biological anthropologist from Griffith University, in Queensland, has said the latest scientific evidence has shown that the Aborigines were the continents original inhabitants.

This means the paintings were in fact created by Aboriginal artists.

He said recent DNA evidence has shown that modern Aboriginal Australians are descended from the first modern humans that walked out of Africa nearly 75,000 years ago.

He claims Aborigines probably arrived in Australia at least 50,000 years ago.

In an interview with ABC Sydney, he said: ‘The DNA evidence is extraordinary. We know that they moved out of Africa over 60,000 years ago.

‘We have this remarkable trail that has been recovered for the genomic sequence of the first Australians.

’Many decades ago there were many hypotheses around but that hasn't really stood against any of the evidence.’

The genetic studies, which were conducted by a team led by evolutionary biologist Eske Willerslev, director of the Centre for Ancient Genetics at the University of Copenhagen, were published in 2011.

They support growing archaeological evidence that the Australian Aborigines are one of the oldest cultures to exist on the planet.

Human remains found around Lake Mungo in New South Wales appear to match those of modern populations but date back some 42,000 years.

Dr Westaway said: ‘The morphology of Mungo Man is very similar to the first Australians of today.

‘We have some of the earliest evidence of first Australians in Arnhem Land 55,000 years ago.’