The Australian has been conducting an uncompromising and unrelenting war on science, scientists and the scientific method, but if anyone criticises them for it, they react like scalded cats. So you could predict that they would whine when John Quiggin, in his column in the Australian Financial Review, wrote:
The Australian newspaper has campaigned against science and scientists so consistently that picking a single example would be misleading. Blogger Tim Lambert, who maintains a running series on The Australian’s War on Science is now up to installment 46.
And sure enough their editorial responds by calling Quiggin a “green activist” with a “totalitarian mindset”. But this post is about their war on science, not their name-calling, and it’s clear that the writer of this editorial did as much research into the science as Calvin did on his school report on bats. Look:
Climate change is a new, inexact and contestable science, and the computer modelling on which all of the more alarming claims depend are only ever as good as the data fed in. As well as greenhouse emissions, that data should take account of other determinants of temperature, primarily the sun and the heat of the earth’s core.
Models do take the sun into account and they don’t take the heat from the core into account because it is negligible: just 0.075 Watts per square metre, while incoming solar radiation is 342 Watts per square metre, about 5000 times as much.
Current predictions for sea-level rises range from a few centimetres to catastrophic levels of several metres that would swamp coastal areas. Faced with such variations, it would be negligent not to examine first-hand observations, even when they contradict the results churned out by laboratory computers.
Oh yes, let’s examine the observations from tide gauges and satellites:
But apparently because a computer was used to analyse the data, this doesn’t count as far as The Australian is concerned. No, by “first hand observations”, The Australian means:
For centuries, vital scientific discoveries began with observation. So we make no apologies for reporting that the Great Barrier Reef is defying predictions and showing minimal signs of bleaching or that surfers who have frequented the same beaches for 50 years have found no increases in sea levels, apart from temporary erosion.
As far as I can tell, the author of this editorial hasn’t even studied science at the high school level. By “observations”, scientists refer to systematic recording of objective measurements, for example, sea level observations from a tide gauge. They do not mean vague memories of what a beach was like decades ago.
And The Australian‘s story on the Great Barrier Reef misrepresented the facts.