The Australian‘s War on Science 43

After embracing Monckton’s theory that Copenhagen was going to introduce a COMMUNIST WORLD GOVERMENT, Jane Albrechtsen seems to backing away from Monckton’s conspiracy theories:

Unfortunately, while Monckton has mastered the best arts of persuasion, he also succumbs to the worst of them when he engages in his made-for-the-stage histrionics. In Copenhagen, when a group of young activists interrupted a meeting, he berated them as Nazis and Hitler Youth. Elsewhere he has called on people to rise up and fight off a “bureaucratic communistic world government monster”. This extremist language damages his credibility.

But Albrechtsen’s faith in Monckton seems to be unshakeable.


When Monckton talks about the science he is powerful. Watch on YouTube his kerb-side interview of a well-meaning Greenpeace follower on the streets of Copenhagen last month. With detailed data behind him, he asks whether she is aware that there has been no statistically significant change in temperatures for 15 years. No, she is not. Whether she is aware that there has in fact been global cooling in the past nine years? No, she is not. Whether she is aware that there has been virtually no change to the amount of sea ice? No, she does not. Whether, given her lack of knowledge about these facts, she is driven by faith, not facts. Yes, she is driven by faith, she says.

“global cooling in the past nine years” Do you trust Monckton or your lying eyes?

i-2d0aa8eb506bc2b59672458359e0d45c-gisstempfiga.png

“there has been virtually no change to the amount of sea ice”? Do you trust Monckton or your lying eyes?

i-42b4a5c0ca53f4842794558fbe4c2db9-365871main_earth3-20090707.png

“there has been no statistically significant change in temperatures for 15 years” Unusually for a Monckton utterance, this is sort of true, but doesn’t mean what he thinks it does — that there hasn’t been any real warming in 15 years. The warming signal in temperatures is so strong that with just 15 years of data we can distinguish it from the noise. It will always be true that with noisy data you will need a certain amount before you can detect statistically significant effects. It doesn’t mean that such effects are not real. See Tamino for more on this.

Also commenting:

Stephen:

Are there any real journalists left at The Australian?

John Quiggin:

Albrechtsen is no more qualified than Monckton on these points. But she ought to ask herself whether it makes sense to rely on the statistical judgement of a former political advisor (to climate arch-conspirator Margaret Thatcher no less) whose political judgement is so obviously flaky.

Dave Gaukroger:

Was that one world government fear-mongering ‘measured’ Janet?

Comments

  1. #1 Nils Ross
    January 23, 2010

    Albrechtsen is a great case study in how great faith in modern conservative politics and the old right/left political mindset leads to denialism. It’s not acceptable for her to acknowledge the scientific reality of climate change, because doing so would lead her to draw the conclusion that the market needed to properly account for the costs of emissions in order for economic disaster to be averted in the long term. Which would put her in the progressive camp. Janet cannot be in the progressive camp because she believes in modern conservative ideology, ergo, the scientific consensus on climate change must be false.

    Lest the inevitable denialists show up shouting that the above argument cuts both ways and applies ‘vice versa’ to those people advocating that the scientific consensus be heeded, I request that such posts be accompanied to links to peer-review literature that significantly damages this consensus. We’d change our minds if the science was there; we’d love to be able to.

  2. #3 Boris
    January 24, 2010

    The street interview was actually a pretty good illustration of Monckton’s dishonesty. He claims no statistically significant warming for 15 years. However, if he applies the same test to nine years of data, he cannot make the claim that we have been cooling. A clear example of his bias.

  3. #4 silkworm
    January 24, 2010

    I think Janet is sane enough to realize that when Monckton continued abusing the Gore Youth as “Hitler Youth” even after one of them had identified himself as Jewish, Monckton had gone too far. She was probably getting abusive phone calls from the Jewish lobby and she realized the deniers had to back off if the AGW deniers were to avoid looking like holocaust deniers as well.

  4. #5 Donald Oats
    January 24, 2010

    Janet Albrechtsen has been commented on by myself and others at John Quiggin’s website. Most comments are in broad agreement with Tim Lambert’s blog above.

  5. #6 DoD
    January 24, 2010

    Tim:

    Any views on Dr. Pachauri? It would be interesting to compare Mocks with Pachauri.

  6. #7 Bernard J.
    January 24, 2010

    I was faintly amused to see the rambling of Louis Hissink on [John Quiggin’s thread](http://johnquiggin.com/index.php/archives/2010/01/22/an-interesting-reversal/#comment-253924), that [Donald Oats](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/01/the_australians_war_on_science_44.php#comment-2223686) linked to. In the words of Louis:

    Actually AGW is an excellent example of scientific incompetence.

    This, from one who is, himself, an [excellent example of scientific incompetence](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/12/650_international_scientists_e.php)…

    Since Marohasy was unceremoniously turfed from her astroturfing gig, her lieutenants have been wandering aimlessly to and from the smoulding remains of the campfire. When one sees a discussion peopled by intelligent folk and interupted by one of her hapless staggering lackeys, one ponders why the latter could not have been pensioned off with foil helmets and mugs of hot cocoa, at the same time as Jennifer.

    Still, with Janet and Jo Nova continuing to vigorously wave the standard for sub-standard thinking, it appears that there remains behind enough J-girls to ensure that the barrages of Stupid come thick and fast.

    All three ladies would, however, benefit from a bit of contemplation of their shared first initial, in the context of the signal and the noise of the global temperature trajectory.

    I myself contemplate it just about every day.

  7. #8 JasonW
    January 24, 2010

    Dammit Bernard, I nearly chocked on my cereals!

    But enough of the “J”-bashing! As a J-bearer myself I am faintly miffed…

  8. #9 warren
    January 24, 2010

    Surely you can give us more than 5 years of data.That does not establish anything.How about say 70 years of reliable data and then we may be able to draw some conclusions.

  9. #10 JasonW
    January 24, 2010

    warren, why don’t you go [look for it for yourself?](http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/index.html)

  10. #11 guthrie
    January 24, 2010

    WArren, the temperature graph is mroe than a century long. What sort of data are you looking for?

    Here’s 30 years on sea ice:
    http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/reportcard/seaice.html

    Here’s more with 30 years of data:
    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    Notice how the trend is downwards. Would you like to admit that we’ve plenmty of evidence for ice melting more than normal, or are you going to claim that it was melting more when it was colder more than 30 years ago?

  11. #12 dhogaza
    January 24, 2010

    Surely you can give us more than 5 years of data.That does not establish anything.How about say 70 years of reliable data and then we may be able to draw some conclusions.

    That’s all that’s available as the satellite used to measure sea ice height is a recent one.

    However, others have pointed you to the longer-term decline in extent. That data goes back about 30 years.

    And there’s submarine sea ice profile data going back about 50 years. Researchers have stitched that with the volume estimates from the five-year old satellite and the decline holds over the entire period.

  12. #13 Dave Andrews
    January 24, 2010

    Guthrie,

    What is this scientific term “normal” that you use? How do you define it, what do you base it against?

    The modern measurements are based on such a short length of time that you can’t be certain they indicate anything at all.

  13. #14 Dave Andrews
    January 24, 2010

    dhogaza,

    One sentence you’re talking about sea ice “height”, next sentence about “extent” and last sentence about “volume”.

    Just what ere you trying to say?

  14. #15 dhogaza
    January 24, 2010

    One sentence you’re talking about sea ice “height”, next sentence about “extent” and last sentence about “volume”.

    Just what ere you trying to say?

    Among other things, ice floats so extent plus a height profile allows one to come up with a reasonable estimate of volume.

    I guess I kinda thought that people might understand that. Sorry to have overestimated you.

  15. #16 dhogaza
    January 24, 2010

    Oh, and also, among other things, ice floats, so the submarine transects on which the underwater depth of ice was profiled back in the 1950s, 60s etc also allow for the creating of volume estimates (one thing Gore managed to do while in the Senate was to get this previously classified data out where scientists could work with it).

    The satellite height data going back five years with extent data leads to volume calculations that show a steep downward trend in the data. The old submarine data had already led to published work showing that volume had declined significantly over that time frame, so the two together point to a declining trend going back at least 50 years.

    This is the arctic ice pack.

  16. #17 Michael
    January 24, 2010

    Dave Andrews:

    The modern measurements are based on such a short length of time that you can’t be certain they indicate anything at all.

    Besides one thing…..IT’S COOLING, IT’S COOLING, BEWARE THE ICE AGE!

  17. #18 guthrie
    January 24, 2010

    Now you’re just trying to snark, Dave. Fortunately dhogaza has answered you already.
    If you want to only be concerne with millenial timescales, please let me know how you intend to be around all that time.

  18. #19 Bernard J.
    January 24, 2010

    Dave Andrews says:

    What is this scientific term “normal” that you use? How do you define it, what do you base it against?

    The modern measurements are based on such a short length of time that you can’t be certain they indicate anything at all.

    and in so doing demonstrates that he is either statistically innumerate, or is deliberately confabulating different phenomena.

    Assuming the latter, I will indicate to Andrews that detecting a trend in the hiccupy beast that is global temperature is a different task than is detecting a trend in Arctic ice melt. Of course, the two are coupled, and this the resaon why Arctic sea ice extent/volume is a good indicator/integrator of changes in global temperature.

    As usual Dave Andrews might disagree with me, and as usual I would invite him to answer several simple questions:

    1. can he explain how he would determine the significance of a time-series trend?
    2. can he explain how he would determine the length of time required to identify a significant change in a time-series data set?
    3. can he explain how he would determine the length of time required to identify the presence of a significant (non-static) trend in global temperature, and also in Arctic sea ice extent?
    4. for bonus points, can he attempt to satisfactorily answer any of the questions
      around which he and his Denialist buddies have sketed for so long?
  19. #20 Bernard J.
    January 24, 2010

    Oh, and before [cohenite asks](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/12/russian_analysis_confirms_20th.php#comment-2158858), “sketing” is what one is forced to do when the multi-year ice disappears and is left with slushy, crumbly, single year ice.

  20. #21 David Irving (no relation)
    January 24, 2010

    Someone in my radio this morning said Monckton was a mathematician. (James Carlton on RN Breakfast, I think.) Surely that can’t be true, given his abuse / misrepresentation of statistics.

  21. #22 dhogaza
    January 24, 2010

    Someone in my radio this morning said Monckton was a mathematician. (James Carlton on RN Breakfast, I think.) Surely that can’t be true, given his abuse / misrepresentation of statistics.

    Probably confusing him with McIntyre, who has an undergraduate degree in mathematics (though that wouldn’t qualify him as a “mathematician” amongst normal people, and I speak as someone who also has an undergraduate degree in mathematics).

  22. #23 frankis
    January 24, 2010

    Well David #21 he’s a disgrace to the name, certainly, but he probably earnt the right to call himself “mathematician” on the strength of his Eternity Puzzle alone. It may not be profound mathematics but he backed it with conviction and his own money, I believe, so credit is due.

    That being said it’s just as true that he’s a delusional narcissist with apparently nothing intelligent to contribute to any field of science. Can you be a capable mathematician but worthless to science? By Monckton’s egregious example apparently “Yes”.

  23. #24 Mark Nettle
    January 24, 2010

    I’m suspicious. What is Tim hiding? The title of this post is “The Australian’s War on Science 43“, but the URL is “the _ australians _ war _ on _ science _ 44.php”

    What’s with the discrepancy? This clearly discredits all the supposed evidence for AGW.

  24. #25 Jeremy C
    January 24, 2010

    Planet Janet aside, what I’ve always wanted to know about Monckton is, when he held his lowly position as an adviser on education policy within Number Ten, whether he had any conversations on science with the then prime minister of the UK. The reason I ask this, and I’m sure I’m repeating what lots of people already know, is that Thatcher studied chemistry and carried out research for a while under the nobel prize winner Dorothy Hodgkin before working for a few years as an industrial research chemist.

    D’you ever wonder what such a conversation would’ve been like……

    “Oh wonderful prime minister who freed us from the yoke of british socialism you do know scientists are scammers”.

    “What did you say”!?!

    “Oh prime minister from whom the well of precious freedom springs deep and broad your mind has been warped by the analysis of data with that speech you made about civilisation embarking on a dangerous experiment in the form of climate change”.

    “Are you out of your mind”!?!

    “Oh great lady who has given hope to millions across this mighty globe who labor under the blight of not having read Atlas Shrugged let me correct your thinking and also the thinking of your cabinet plus your colleagues who head up the great dominions so that you can truly interpret this coming blight of evidence about the effect of greehouse gases”.

    “Malcolm, I don’t know who this person is but get him out of here will you”.

    “Yes mam, sorry about this”.

  25. #27 Marco
    January 25, 2010

    @Bernard J.,

    Slight problem with the answer: the URL should have a LOWER number than the title. It did for 12/11, it doesn’t for 43/44…

  26. #28 zoot
    January 25, 2010

    Marco @127: maybe Tim has started two posts which have not been published (for whatever reason).

  27. #29 ligne
    January 25, 2010

    Jeremy C:

    it’s worth reiterating that Thatcher [was deeply concerned about the dangers of climate change](http://iaindale.blogspot.com/2009/02/margaret-thatcher-climate-change.html).

    it’s also interesting to note how iain dale’s take-home message isn’t “actually, even thatcher was worried about climate change, maybe it is a serious problem and not just a communist plot”, it’s “hahahaha, those whiny lefties will now have to admit she did at least one good thing!”. perhaps unsurprisingly, the comments are worse.

  28. #30 JasonW
    January 25, 2010

    #29 Jeremy C: For all her faults, it’s a shame that the right anywhere doesn’t have a figurehead of Thatcher’s scientific stature – with the exception of our German chancellor, Angela Merkel, a trained chemical physicist. And funnily enough, right-wing Chancellor Merkel also has no doubts about the reality of AGW and is head of state of a government pushing for emission limits. 20% less than 1990 levels by 2020 – compare that to the paltry 3% that the US is offering. Don’t get me started on China.

  29. #31 Tim Lambert
    January 25, 2010

    The URL number is higher by one because “The Australian’s War on Science XII [had 3 parts](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/04/the_australians_war_on_science_13.php).

  30. #32 Dave Andrews
    January 25, 2010

    dhogaza,

    Oh, and can you tell me what happened to Arctic ice extent between 1909 and 1959?. We know temperatures cooled quite a lot from the late 19teens to the mid 1940’s.

    Could it be that you would have been shouting about global cooling based on that record ( if you had been able to measure it of course!)

  31. #33 Vince Whirlwind
    January 26, 2010

    Dave, the scientific community *was* concerned in the ’40s and ’50s about the well-documented cooling which was occurring due to the solar-shading effect of industrial particulate emissions.
    That problem was dealt with by reducing particulate emissions.

    It’s such a shame you choose to spend so much time raising questions that do nothing but parade your proud ignorance.

  32. #35 WotWot
    January 31, 2010

    Now the Sydney Morning Herald (well, Paul Sheehan, surprise, surprise) [is hard at it](http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/facts-conveniently-brushed-over-by-the-global-warming-fanatics-20100131-n6fr.html).

Current ye@r *