Warning to newcomers to climate science
I owe readers a warning. I don't normally highlight people who comment here because I like to encourage discussion. However there are a number of somewhat complex issues that have been touched on in the comments below that could confuse someone who isn't familiar with science in general (and geology and climate science in particular). In the comments below there is a lot of nonsense being posted by Greig, who rejects the greenhouse effect among other things. He claims to understand science but he doesn't know the first thing about geology or climate. His comments are unadulterated pseudo-science at best. Just as Maurice Newman did a self-portrait of himself as a science denier, Greig has done the same.
Sou Friday 17 January, 2014 9:00 pm AEDST
Australia's Maurice Newman comes across as a first order climate disinformer. He's a plain vanilla climate science denier of the WUWT kind. An embarrassment to the nation. A shameful product of the right wing establishment.
Maurice Newman has held high profile positions in Australia. Until recently he chaired the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Tony Abbott has just elevated him to chair the Prime Minister's Business Advisory Council. You'd think that our PM could find a less nutty person to lead that group. (I hope that Tony Abbott gets turfed soon - and you never know. A week is a long time in politics. As each week passes our political leaders do worse and worse.)
Today the Climate Council announced a report that shows how heat waves are getting longer, lasting longer and getting hotter. As an almost complete contrast, yesterday, Maurice Newman followed up his previous climate science denial with more - and just as silly. In effect it's his own self-portrait of himself as an utter nutter science denier. Here are some excerpts from yesterday's Australian.
GIVEN the low-grade attacks on me following my piece "Crowds go cold on climate cost" (The Australian, Dec 31) readers of Fairfax publications and The Guardian may be shocked to hear I believe in climate change. I also accept carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. The trouble is, I cannot reconcile the claims of dangerous human CO2 emissions with the observed record.
Maurice is probably referring to articles like these ones by Graham Readfearn in the Guardian and by climate scientist David Karoly in the Sydney Morning Herald. Maurice is saying he's a lukewarmer denier and "accepts" that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. He's one of the "it's not bad" science deniers. He doesn't accept science but he doesn't want to be seen as an utter nutter. However read on - he is just another nutter and this little protest doesn't change that fact.
Maurice "I'm not a climate scientist" Newman says he knows better than climate scientists
Then he makes excuses saying he's not a climate scientist - as if that wasn't bloody obvious!
I admit it. I am not a climate scientist.Well, these climate scientists are climate scientists, Maurice. You should listen to them.
Maurice "not a climate scientist" continues:
That said, I have closely followed this debate for more than two decades, having been seasoned originally by the global cooling certainty of the 1970s.
What debate, Maurice? There is no debate about the fundamentals of climate science and greenhouse warming. You are just making that up
Maurice - your ideology is showing
Oh, so he's not a climate science but he says the IPCC is "dominated by politics not science". I bet you he hasn't ever read an IPCC report.
The climate consensus of the 70s, like the period since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was established in 1988, was dominated by politics, not science. I was reminded of how deeply political awareness has infected today's academies when I received an apology from a respected climate scientist who corrected his own public cheap shot at me. He said, "I attempt to be politically even-handed ... I try to steer a middle course as a scientist."
Is Maurice Newman an evolution denier too, I wonder?
Despite saying that science is about evidence, Maurice quotes evolution denier Roy Spencer and disregards the other 99.99999% of climate science.
Really? Surely science is not about neutrality? It is about evidence and conclusions which fall where they will. So when an internationally acclaimed climatologist like Roy Spencer from the University of Alabama at Huntsville dispassionately analyses climate models covering 33 years and concludes that both the surface and satellite observations produce linear temperature trends that are below 87 of the 90 models used in the comparison, he does not politically neutralise his findings. They are empirical fact.
Maurice Newman doesn't check facts 1
Maurice Newman wouldn't know empirical fact if he fell over it. Just see what I mean:
They eventually become political because the models he demonstrates to be seriously flawed are the bedrock on which the IPCC's global warming case is built. As Spencer said recently, "The modellers and the IPCC have willingly ignored the evidence of low climate sensitivity for many years ... The discrepancy between models and observations is not a new thing ... just one that is becoming more glaring over time."
Now if Maurice Newman had cared about fact, he would have checked this claim. Let's look at this supposed discrepancy - without error bars:
In recent years up to 2005 the models could scarcely be closer to observations. You wouldn't think so if you accepted Maurice Newman's disinformation. The question is, why does Maurice Newman take the word of a known contrarian who disregards a lot of climate science because of his pseudo-religious beliefs?
Maurice Newman doesn't check facts 2
Wait a minute, Maurice has found another contrarian to quote. Again he discounts virtually the entirety of climate science to quote from someone who's left the field of climate science. Someone who was unable to "prove" his hypothesis about clouds counteracting global warming. (His Iris Hypothesis).
Spencer is joined by celebrated Massachusetts Institute of Technology climatologist Richard Lindzen, who says: "I think that the latest (AR5) IPCC report has truly sunk to a level of hilarious incoherence. They are proclaiming increased confidence in their models as the discrepancies between their models and observations increase." He is "willing to take bets that global average temperatures in 20 years will in fact be lower than they are now". Any takers?
Any takers on that bet? Well, first of all, Lindzen claims he was misquoted. And it looks as if he is still being misquoted nine years later by Maurice Newman. If Maurice Newman won't bother to check a quote from one of his contrarians, what does that say about his ability to tell the truth when it comes to anything else?
For the record, Lindzen's challenge (that he denies making) was made/not made in 2004. In the nine years since then, every year bar one (2008) has been hotter than 2004. I bet Lindzen is glad that no-one took him up on it in the end - there's still eleven years to go - but just the same....
Maurice Newman falls back on old denier memes
Maurice Newman is full of denier memes. (I wonder what nickname he uses when he comments at WUWT.) Take this next bit for example:
The lengthening pause in global warming is influencing the political climate. The language has changed from the specific "global warming" to the more general "climate change" and now to the astrological "extreme weather events" where "I told you so" can be almost universally applied.Maurice doesn't even know what the letters "IPCC" stand for! And he has the gall to pontificate on climate science.
Maurice Newman Climate Disinformer
Maurice continues with some straight out disinformation by omission, writing.
For example, we are to believe the recent cold spell in the US and the heat wave in Australia are both examples of global warming. Yet 2013 was one of the "least extreme" weather years in US history.
It was the "least extreme" weather in US history? What does Maurice base that on? Not on drought records, that's for sure. Nor on flood records. And why doesn't he mention the fact that 2013 was the hottest year on record for Australia? Or that 2012 was the hottest year on record for continental USA?
Who's to blame for the lack of political will?
And then Maurice Newman has the cheek to write about "political will", saying:
Political will is also flagging. The Copenhagen summit was almost five years ago, yet there is still no global, legally binding international agreement on emission reduction targets. Only talk.If it wasn't for loudmouth deniers like Maurice Newman, Tony Abbott and others, then political will might have done the right thing.
Shoddy Maurice Newman is unravelling
Maurice Newman is a fine one to talk about shoddy. He writes this - note his reference to Donna Laframboise. I mean Donna "in the dustbin" Laframboise for goodness sake!:
What we now see is the unravelling of years of shoddy science and sloppy journalism. If it wasn't for independent Murdoch newspapers around the world, the mainstream media would be almost completely captured by the IPCC establishment. That is certainly true in Australia. For six or seven years we were bullied into accepting that the IPCC's assessment reports were the climate science bible. Its chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, told us the IPCC relied solely on peer-reviewed literature. Then Murdoch papers alerted us to scientific scandals and Donna Laframboise, in her book The Delinquent Teenager, astonished us with her extraordinary revelation that of 18,000 references in the IPCC's AR4 report, one-third were not peer reviewed. Some were Greenpeace press releases, others student papers and working papers from a conference. In some chapters, the majority of references were not peer reviewed. Many lead authors were inexperienced, or linked to advocate groups like WWF and Greenpeace. Why are we not surprised?
Maurice Newman's UN Conspiracy Theory
If you were starting to think Maurice Newman is just another nutter you'd be right. Read this bit, where he talks about the UN and a "cartel". Oh, he mightn't be quite as obvious about it all as Tim Ball (here and here) - but all the ingredients are there, simmering away under Maurice's tin foil hat.
The IPCC was bound to be captured by the green movement. After all, it is a political body. It is not a panel of scientists but a panel of governments driven by the UN. Its sole purpose is to assess the risks of human-induced climate change. It has spawned industries. One is scientists determined to find an anthropogenic cause. Another is climate remediation. And, naturally, an industry to redistribute taxes to sustain it all. With hundreds of billions of dollars at stake, this cartel will deny all contrary evidence. Its very survival depends on it. But the tide is turning and Mother Nature has signalled her intention not to co-operate.
Maurice and his childish attacks
Finally, Maurice does a bit of concern trolling - complaining about "childish personal attacks".
In the meantime, childish personal attacks on those who point out flaws in IPCC reasoning and advice only increase scepticism. They are no substitute for empirical evidence and are well into diminishing returns. The party's over.This is after he's labelled all the world's climate scientists (except for Roy Spencer and Richard Lindzen) as being political not scientific, of doing shoddy science and of bullying. Well, whoopy doo, Maurice. You are the one spreading disinformation. You are the one who is denying climate science and promulgating disinformation. You've got to expect "personal attacks" and people questioning your motives.