ABC makes lemonade

John Quiggin details how the ABC made lemonade from the lemon that is the Great Global Warming Swindle. You can see the video of Tony Jones’ questioning of Martin Durkin here, or read the transcript here. Durkin was unable to offer any defence of his misrepresentation of the science.

David Jones, Andrew Watkins, Karl Braganza and Michael Coughlan have a paper in the Bulletin of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society on the Swindle:

In summary the documentary is not scientifically sound and presents a flawed and very misleading interpretation of the science. While giving the impression of being based on peer-reviewed science, much of the material presented is either out-of-date, already discredited or of uncertain origin. A number of the graphs and figures used in the documentary are not based on any known or published climate data, while others are presented schematically, and hence may confuse and mislead the viewer.

What’s funny is Bob Carter’s response to the BAMOS paper, published in the anti-science Australian:

Imagine a well-provendered and equipped military fortress in time of war, for that is what the alarmist, pro-IPCC, climate lobby group represents. Suddenly, loping across the landscape outside the fort, and carrying just a single-shot rifle, appears a lone member of the enemy army.

Does the camp commander respond by sending out a platoon, including a psychologist with a megaphone to check what this naive infantryman is up to? Not on your nelly. Instead, the response is remarkable in its ferocity.

Three panzer divisions come tearing out of the fort – manned, as it happens, by many distinguished scientists who have volunteered for their politically correct duty of suppressing alternative views – blazing away with all they’ve got. In a trice, the landscape is turned into a moonscape, pockmarked with craters and littered with debris.

Why does this lone gunman represent such a threat to the warmaholic camp? Does it perhaps relate to the fact that on closer inspection several sections of the fortress wall are sagging, undermined by collapse from below and within? How could a lone gunman have effected that? Is it just possible that there are more powerful forces on earth than military and industrial might, or scientific authority? White ants, perhaps; or even scientific logic?

In any event, our lone infantryman is now wandering around, dazed, dirty, half-blinded, and staggering on the rim of a crater; and not a dirndl skirt in sight.

But he’s still standing. He miraculously still has four limbs, and what he is saying – that human carbon dioxide emissions are not an environmental hazard – still accords with all the facts and makes complete sense.

That, believe it or not, is Carter’s complete argument against the BAMOS paper. He fails to point to anything that is wrong in the paper and doesn’t present even one piece of evidence.

Not to be outdone, Ian Plimer offers a similar critique:

We have the Bulletin of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (BAMOS), which was in such a hurry to publish a critique of The Great Global Warming Swindle that it contains schoolboy howlers and a lack of logic intertwined with politics.

You would think that Plimer would be eager to discredit the BAMOS paper by telling us what those “schoolboy howlers” are, but he doesn’t do this. How odd.

Comments

  1. #1 Alex Higgins
    July 17, 2007

    The denialists never fail to impress with the sheer size and scope of their self-pity.

    No persecution fantasy is too silly to submit under their name as a serious response to science. Since they have no actual arguments that can withstand more than 30 seconds of scrutiny, this is their only remaining talking point.

    How about a competition, Tim? To find the most intense, most unembarassed self-pitying whinge from an AGW denialist…

  2. #2 Eli Rabett
    July 17, 2007

    Kristen Byrnes who has posted this in response to Rabett Run showing that she suffered from acute abscissa disease

    UPDATE: The green line in the graph above is incorrectly drawn over the temperature graph. The temperature graph itself can no longer be trusted anymore because of the problems with the temperature stations (see follies in measuring global warming). Hopefully the problems with the temperature stations will be fixed soon and I’ll see if I can find someone who can draw with a mouse better than me.

    Eli and the mice have gifted Kristen with the "http://rabett.blogspot.com/2007/07/bunny-curve-kristen-byrnes-has-thrown.html"> bunny curve

  3. #3 ben
    July 17, 2007

    Well, Griffin said this: “I have no doubt that a trend of global warming exists. I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with.

    “To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of Earth’s climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn’t change.

    “I guess I would ask which human beings – where and when – are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that’s a rather arrogant position for people to take.”

    Which seems pretty fair, at least to consider on the surface. Then he got skewered for it later. Why was that? Is he a heretic?b

  4. #4 guthrie
    July 17, 2007

    Well, I think the climate was optimal about 20 years ago, because I live in Scotland and like snow in winter. Now we hardly get any.
    Or rather, we have sunk trillions into our current infrastructure and farming systems, based upon a climate slightly cooler than we are currently experiencing, with summer and winter temperatures lower than we are now experiencing, and sea levels lower than will be the case in the coming decades.
    This means that changing all this to cope with the warming will cost a shedload of money. Not to mention species extinctions due to the many endangered species being unable to cope with both habitat destruction wrought by humans, and the changing temperatures. Most could probably live through one, or the other, but not both at the same time.

  5. #5 jre
    July 17, 2007

    I just read the transcript. Holy crap!
    I don’t recall when I’ve seen such a one-sided thrashing.
    As Belle Waring remarked of a similar incident, if Tony Jones had bitch-slapped Martin Durkin any harder, there would have been teeth on the studio floor.
    From this day forward, may he be known as Martin “Noflawsnoflawsnoflaws” Durkin.

  6. #6 Munin
    July 17, 2007

    On the off chance that Durkin is still in Australia (and taking questions), can someone please point out to him that his [Arctic temperature graph](http://www.abc.net.au/science/features/globalwarmingswindle/img/graph3.jpg) features a “Post War Economic Boom” that begins before the start of WW2.

  7. #7 z
    July 17, 2007

    “To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of Earth’s climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn’t change.”

    Now that’s what I’d expect from someone who believes neither in evolution, nor in a kind and benevolent Providence.

  8. #8 davidp
    July 17, 2007

    Ben, Griffen’s “To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of Earth’s climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn’t change” constructs a straw man opponent.

    The usual position is that rapid change stresses everyone and all species. There is no assumption that today’s climate is optimum in any absolute sense, but the recent climate is what every living thing on the planet is used to. The rapid change now being produced by the sudden (in historic terms) CO2 concentration change is faster than most historic climate changes.

  9. #9 Bill O'Slatter
    July 17, 2007

    Plimer is a sad case : he has done some good work against Creationists but now fits the pattern of academic denialists .i.e an academic who is past their use by date commenting on an area they have no expertise in on behalf of industry. Quote from the U of Adelaide website :
    Professor Plimer said. “The population explosion in India and China – which collectively numbers more than two billion people, had placed pressure on the world to supply their energy and manufacturing feed-stock needs. What we’re experiencing is not a mining boom or bubble, but a fundamental re-evaluation of commodities against real estate and cash. It means we will have to do a lot more exploration and to do that we need highly skilled people.”

  10. #10 Dano
    July 17, 2007

    “I guess I would ask which human beings – where and when – are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that’s a rather arrogant position for people to take.”

    Of course, there are scores if not hundreds of “climates” on the planet, so the argumentation is specious on its face. Apologies to those readers who see this as something that is as plain as the nose on your face.

    Best,

    D

  11. #11 Boris
    July 17, 2007

    I like how Bob Carter has created his own mythic self–half Galileo, half Rambo. I, for one, await eagerly the one man scientific assault on the IPCC castle with their oubilettes filled with GCMs and their dungeons filled with chained and supressed solar trends. Will the great Gallirambo prevail? Only dementia will tell.

  12. #12 Obdulantist
    July 17, 2007

    “Plimer is a sad case”

    I used to have considerable respect for Plimer for his love of science and willingness to robustly and publicly engage the twits, but now he is rapidly becoming one of them.

  13. #13 Jc
    July 17, 2007

    Interesting you mention Quiggin. Has he corrected himself yet for agreeing with Stern that multi-generational accounting requires a small discount rate?

  14. #14 Mark G
    July 17, 2007

    Adding to ABC very pleasing demolition of the Swindle documentary was a great interview with Carl Wunsch on Lateline afterwards. It’s available for download from the nice ABC folks at http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/lateline/av/podcast/20070712-late-carl_video4.m4v (from http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/vodcast.htm ).

    He made some pretty good points vis-a-vis the general debate and the validity of comparing Durkin’s movie and Gore’s movie.

    Final note: It was a pity the audience during the debate segment was full of fruitcakes.

  15. #15 skeptic
    July 17, 2007

    Agreed Obdulantist. Plimer was one of my lecturer’s way back and I always enjoyed his lectures, his love of knowledge and disdain for woo. His bugbear was creationism and he attacked it with some zeal, so it was at first surprising to me that he has gone down the denialist track, using the same type of specious arguments that the creationists used.

    Now he’s starting to sound like a broken record.

    Carter’s piece is just bat-shit insane.

  16. #16 cce
    July 18, 2007

    A kind soul has posted the remaining parts of the post show panel. Search for “global warming swindle debate” on youtube. (Parts 0 through 8) Part 0 has nekkid chicks. I recommend all future global warming documentaries and panel discussions include this feature as I am sure it will arouse interest . . .

  17. #17 dhogaza
    July 18, 2007

    Ben sez:

    Which seems pretty fair, at least to consider on the surface.

    That seems to be one of your hallmarks, unfortunately, you only consider things on the surface. It seems typical of the libertarian mindset, unfortunately, at least in my experience in the forest conservation wars in the US’s Pacific Northwest.

    It doesn’t take more than a moment’s thought (or a few minutes research) to learn that no one claims that today’s climate is optimum, which means you’re agreeing with a strawman argument.

    Today’s climate isn’t “optimum”. However, today’s climate is one to which our society and natural ecosystems are highly adapted, and as was pointed out above, both are highly adapted to a rate of change in climate which is much lower than that which we’re triggering due to AGW.

    Optimality doesn’t enter into the analysis.

  18. #18 Dano
    July 18, 2007

    I like dhogaza’s argumentation, especially since I used to use it but dropped it for some reason. Our economies, simply, have no experience with conditions outside of the narrow range that we are moving out of.

    Best,

    D

  19. #19 SG
    July 18, 2007

    Ben’s argument would entail us immediately ceasing to use all carbon dioxide emitting technologies. After all, who are we to say that the current environment is not optimal, and continue changing it with our emissions?

    typical libertarian skeptics, demanding we all go back to living in caves wearing hairshirts, just so we can protect the putative “freedom” of future generations to choose their own optimal environment free of our emissions. Why do they hate America so much?

  20. #20 notallright
    July 18, 2007

    why wasn’t his article titled

    “awwww mum”

  21. #21 Hank Roberts
    July 18, 2007

    I agree with Dano and Dhogaza, and suggest perhaps it’s the west coast view that helps. Few remember what say the US Southeast or Mississippi Basin area was like before it was first logged off.

    I watch our urban raccoons and skunks and crows growing up in the environment they’re born in — to them it’s “natural” to live in such a stripped and fragmented world.

    They are like the contemporary humans who forget that much of the natural world has gone up in smoke — and that it will restore itself if left to do that.

    I both pity and fear those who have no idea what the world makes of itself, given time, and think that what they see in their own lifetime is all that’s real.

  22. #22 Dean Morrison
    July 18, 2007

    In another review on similar lines Bob Carter drew a favourable comparison between Durkin and Einstein.

    Yep that’s right, Einstein.

  23. #23 z
    July 18, 2007

    I’ll say it again; had the Russians announced a plan to enhance the climate by warming it so that Siberia would produce enough grain to feed the world, the same folks who now wonder over whether a random change might not be an improvement would be banging the drum for nuclear war.

  24. #24 Dano
    July 18, 2007

    Hank, it’s all the energy we use to beat back ambient temps & move water around that concern me & what that’s going to do to settlement patterns.

    I did an architecture studio in Montana to build a straw bale building so I could learn more about insulation & solar gain. My current project is bringing that knowledge forward and siting a development using LEED-ND principles, for the reason we speak of here.

    We simply won’t have the energy to do what we’ve been doing. We need clear market signals for folk to understand and act upon. Man-made climate change making chaotic behavior will add noise to those signals, adding a layer of complexity. Anyway, enjoy your comments, sir.

    Best,

    D

  25. #25 Jc
    July 18, 2007

    Comment 22

    Dean

    Do you have a link to that please.

  26. #26 Mark G
    July 19, 2007

    JC: Bob Carter draws parallels between Einstein in the above linked, bizarre monologue in the Australian (http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,22044046-7583,00.html).

    “Oh, and by the way, it turns out that our infantryman’s name wasn’t Einstein. It was Durkin. Martin Durkin, and what a service he has rendered.”

    I find the whole letter quite astonishing. It’s worth noting that it seems quite disrespectful to use Einstein’s name in a infantry war metaphor given his well publicized pacifist views. But that’s probably the least astonishing element of the whole thing.

  27. #27 dhogaza
    July 19, 2007

    did an architecture studio in Montana to build a straw bale building so I could learn more about insulation & solar gain

    Hmmm … straw bale construction, for residences at least, has been mainstreamed here in Portland, Oregon. Building codes and the whole nine yards. Makes it much easier to get financing, etc.

  28. #28 Disinterested Observer
    July 19, 2007

    A bit off topic but at http://www.bepress.com/ev/vol4/iss3/art2/
    Kenneth J. Arrow explains why something must be done to limit global warming even if the Stern Report inadequately discounted future costs.

  29. #29 Dano
    July 19, 2007

    Makes it much easier to get financing, etc.

    Last time was in Anchorage area, many folk were building with SIPs. Buddy in eastern WA is building with ICFs. Here on CO Front Range we have places with solar access ordinances and on one of my bike rides, if the light is right, you can see a half-dozen wind turbines turning. Europe is using solar roof tiles. These things are becoming common, & LEED-ND sites entire neighborhoods to utilize these advances; when pilot called for projects, they had to extend deadline due to so many applications. As half of our power usage is in our homes, these advances being mainstream is important.

    And lots of ordinary folk are doing them, despite a small percentage of denialists p*ssing in the wind.

    Best,

    D

  30. #30 Chris O'Neill
    July 19, 2007

    “On the off chance that Durkin is still in Australia (and taking questions), can someone please point out to him that his Arctic temperature graph features a “Post War Economic Boom” that begins before the start of WW2″,

    not to mention that the graph ends in 2000 which conveniently ignores the substantially higher Arctic temperatures since then (which can be found using NCDC’s plotting tool).

    Hmmm, cutting off the graph before it needs to be. Now where have I seen this done before…..

  31. #31 Chris O'Neill
    July 19, 2007

    Mark G: “Final note: It was a pity the audience during the debate segment was full of fruitcakes.”

    At least I now know something about the Citizens Electoral Council, and a bit more about Larouchism.

  32. #32 Chris O'Neill
    July 19, 2007

    A corollary from Griffin:

    “I have no doubt that a trend of sea level rise exists. I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with.

    “To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of Earth’s sea level today is the optimal sea level, the best sea level that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn’t change.

    “I guess I would ask which human beings – where and when – are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular sea level that we have right here today, right now is the best sea level for all other human beings. I think that’s a rather arrogant position for people to take.”

    Sure.

  33. #33 Dean Morrison
    July 20, 2007

    Sorry JC – the link where Bob Carter compares Durkin to Einstien:

    From the Australian July 10th:

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,22044046-7583,00.html

    … after the construction his analogy of the ‘lone infantryman’ – out to storm the citadels of established science we get this:

    …. It takes one person, not an army, to accomplish that, and the names of those individuals pass down through history: Charles Darwin, Wilhelm Roentgen, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Robin Warren-Barry Marshall and their like, mavericks one and all. God bless them……

    ….Oh, and by the way, it turns out that our infantryman’s name wasn’t Einstein. It was Durkin. Martin Durkin, and what a service he has rendered.”

    Shame Jones didn’t get Carter to expand on the Einstein comparison during the panel interview…

    -{whoops! Mark G has already cited this..}

  34. #34 RobW
    July 20, 2007

    Dang, wish I’d seen this earlier: Enjoy.

  35. #35 RobW
    July 20, 2007
  36. #36 Dean Morrison
    July 20, 2007

    Martin Durkin seems to think his opponents consider him to be ‘mad as a snake’.

    This is not true – he’s mad as a box of frogs – as his latest paranoid delusion the the world’s middle classes have now joined in the conspiracy with the scientists:

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22105154-30417,00.html

    Apparently there is now a ‘middle-class fatwa’ on his head.

    Like I said – mad as a box of frogs.

  37. #37 Stephen Berg
    July 22, 2007

    Typical “skeptic” behaviour. Instead of submitting something to a scientific journal, they submit it to a newspaper which has no reputation for scientific journalism.

    Also, these “skeptics” hardly ever discuss the science. Instead, they bellyache, cry foul, throw ad-homs, and are full of ideological blindness. They’re a bunch of whiners who want to get their own way but know they have no hope in hell of this happening.

  38. #38 Russell Blackford
    July 25, 2007

    As others have said, the tragic thing about all this relates to the once-credible Plimer.

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