The Australian's War on Science 41

Despite her training in law, Janet Albrechtsen was not able to figure out that the Copenhagen treaty wasn't going to impose a COMMUNIST WORLD GOVERNMENT, so you just know that she has no chance in hell of understanding a scientific question. Albrechtsen claims that it is a "fact" that "Sea levels have remained constant for the past 30 years". Study the graph below from the CSIRO to see that measurements from tide gauges and satellites contradict this claim.

i-4cee748b4930226cc78482d1044c7fab-sealevel.png

So how did Albrechtsen get it so completely wrong? Well, her authority, Nils Axel-Morner, completely ignored all direct measurements of sea-level from tide gauges and satellites. Simply really. Details in a previous post.

Graeme Readfearn (who, like Albrechtsen, works for News Limited) observes

wasn't inquisitive enough to find out that Morner is treated like something of a joke among most oceanographers and quaternary scientists.

Albrechtsen tries to invest Morner with some authority because of his association with INQUA, but Readfearn gets a statement from the president of INQUA:

Dr Morner was, quite some time ago, president of one of INQUA's commissions, indeed, the commission on sea-level changes. That commission no longer exists, as such, but is now part of our Commission on Coastal and Marine Processes. Dr Morner's views concerning sea-level change are his own and are not endorsed by the current Executive Committee of INQUA, nor have previous INQUA Executive Committees endorsed Dr Morner's views. On several occasions INQUA has requested of Dr Morner that he not inadvertently represent his views on sea-level change as if they have some connection with INQUA.

More like this

The Australian has a daily column called Cut and Paste which is usually a collection of quotes from recent opinion columns in other papers. But like every other part of the paper, it has been used in their unending war on science. Look at the November 12 edition of "Cut and Paste": ABC Radio's…
Christopher Pearson foolishly relies on Ian Plimer for an article claiming that the link between global warming and sea level rises is "bad science": Plimer notes that "the tidal measuring station at Port Adelaide is sinking, thereby recording a sea level rise". The same is true of many other areas…
I quite like reading the Torygraph. Unlike the Grauniad it doesn't tell me what I want to know. But every now and again it is time for a reality check, and the most recent demonstration of their utter incompetence at reporting GW is Rise of sea levels is 'the greatest lie ever told', which…
One of the most important and threatening risks of climate change is sea-level rise (SLR). The mechanisms are well understood, and the direction of changes in sea-level is highly certain – it is rising and the rate of rise will accelerate. There remain plenty of uncertainties (i.e., a range of…

Yup, bet she also neglects to mention Axel-Morner's belief in water divining too.

By Dappledwater (not verified) on 08 Nov 2009 #permalink

Axel-Mörner had a poster at EGU 2006 and it was a joke. It was on sea level, of course, and one of his plots was tilted relative to the page - I've never seen that. All of his references were to his own work.
The fun part was that I and others were dissing his poster when he walked up... Much amusement followed.

well, facts simply can t stop her.

the "one single ecpert" approach has become a denialist credo. about 99% of the stuff found on denialist websites, is based on a single disagreeing expert.

Wow, sea levels have risen almost 8 cm since I was born back in the early 70s. We are frickin' doomed! Quick, cap and trade!

While the belief in dowsing may be amusing, I suspect his opposition to nuclear power in Sweden may be more efficient to point out to the kind of people who like to refer to Mörner as an authority. He has his own ideas about geology and the possibility of safely storing nuclear waste too...

Yep, that's the one. Thanks, Neil.

Morner is banking on the link between solar minimum and 'the general speeding up of the earth's rotation.' This idea may have legs, but won't get up anytime soon.

I expect CSIRO will write a rebuttal of Albrechtsen's nonsense and submit it, with that graph, to The Australian. To ensure speedy delivery, they will deliver it by flying pig.

H&B's sea-level link;

OK, now it's fixed;

The *Weekend Australian* (which is the home of the really rabid denialists at *The Australian*) article on sea level rise will be the subject of TAWOS 42. As you might guess, it was a whopper of a cherry pick.

By Tim Lambert (not verified) on 08 Nov 2009 #permalink

Looks to me (as a Seppo) that Oz has the same sort of deluded morons that we do. Most disturbing - I thought the 'States were fairly unique (and unfortunate) to have these kinds of knuckle-draggers.

- I thought the 'States were fairly unique (and unfortunate) to have these kinds of knuckle-draggers

Of course the owner of The Australian *is* a US citizen.

I wonder how he feels about his employees working so hard to ensure little Grace and Chloe will grow up in a world beset by an environmental catastrophe, and all the misery and violence that entails.

Just like some of the denail crowd like to graph the current amount of warming against the Kelvin temperature scale, I'm surprised that they haven't graphed the increase against the average depth of the ocean.

When I read some articles about sea levels, picked up from some geological journals, PNAS and the like, they don't reflect Nix-Axel Morner's conclusions at all.

When it comes to what is happening for a particular location, the Maldives for example - which Morner holds up as poor countries blackmailing richer countries - whatever happens there in the short-term is unlikely to have any noticeable impact upon the Global Mean Sea Level index.

By Donald Oats (not verified) on 08 Nov 2009 #permalink

#8:

You can see Morner's tilted graph in his evidence to the UK House of Lords

My. That's, uh, not subtle, is it?
The caption to that graph claims that it is "tilted back to original level," and in the paragraph preceding he says

When we three years later have the same record extended into year 2003 on the Webb, a tilt has been introduced. This tilt does not originate from the satellite altimetry readings, however, but represents an inferred factor from tide-gauge interpretations. In order to get back to true satellite data, we have to tilt the whole record back to its original data of Fig 4.

I'm trying to work out what's going on here. Is he really saying, "Oooh, the line in Fig 4 appears to be going up - that can't be right! Better tilt the graph until it appears flat. There. Now I have proof that the line isn't going up!"

Because, uh... hmm.

And Jimmy Nightingale @21 - don't give them any ideas! Soon they'll be coming around blustering about how that's a perfectly valid thing to do, and why don't we just prove that it isn't.

Flat sea level over 30 years? Do these folks have no shame?

Re #23

Sorry JennieL, it just amazes me that it is exactly the kind of bizarro logic that they seem to enjoy. It makes me wonder what they'll do when the sun starts cranking up into Cycle 24 and we get a decent El Nino again.

Re #25

I'm sure that they have no shame at all. Doesn't Plimer argue that it is all some kind of rebound from the last ice age? I've also heard wierd things like the moon is getting closer to the Earth, meaning that the gravitational pull is increasing and is the cause. Complete and utter bollocks. I'm half tempted to write a bodgey paper on this for comedic value and see if I can get it published (a la the Quadrant hoax recently).

@Donald Oates: what is happening in the Maldives according to Mörner is rather questionable. One year after Mörner published his claims on the Maldives, a paper was published by Philip L. Woodworth questioning its conclusions.
Another fun thing: in the 2004 paper Mörner referred to a "reef woman" as evidence that the sea level had been 60cm higher in the 'recent' past (a few hundred years ago, note that this was one single point on one island he took as evidence as somehow befitting for a long period). In 2007 in another paper, he linked that same woman to a tsunami event...

You can't fool me! That data's been fiddled! Why else would the satellite records from 1870 to 1990 be missing, hmmm?

You warmists just don't get it.

If AGW were true then why would every piece of evidence be so flawed that it could be attacked so readily by the likes of Dr Morner and Dr Oressengo?

Surely if AGW were true there would be some evidence that was beyond attack.

Where there is smoke there is fire, and I find so much smoke about the flawed evidence in AGW that it just can't all be wrong. QED the sceptics must be right.

When you think about it, how could so many blog-critics, columnist and lobbyists be so wrong. Think about it people, they can't all be that stupid!

By Janet Akerman (not verified) on 08 Nov 2009 #permalink

@Janet

Have a care, please - don't you realise that if you say the name Dr Orssengo three times he appears in your thread and Rands you into submission?

Girma! GIRMA! GIIIIIIIRRRRRMAAAAA!

Since reading Janet Albrechtsen's brilliant article demonstrating how to be a fawning sycophant, er sorry, on how to bring Morner's insightful opinions on the reality of water divination to the ignorant masses, I have been happily walking around outside in the 38C day with a funny-shaped stick (looks like a little "y", but that should be close enough, right? I mean, this is science!) looking for water. I knew I'd find some because Morner is a professor who knows how to divine for water and he knows something about how to find sea levels, I reckon - afterall, sea levels are all about water, right?

Since I got back from the local hospital, thirsty and rather sun-burned, it being 38C and a heatwave in spring, I'm inclined to give water divining away and leave to the experts. If I hadn't fainted from heatstroke and been taken away in the ambulance I'm confident that I would have found water nearby. I guess the permanent water restrictions cut my opportunities somewhat. Anyway, I am confident more than ever in just how skillful Prof Morner must be to able to divine water so easily; I mean, I couldn't find any in the 6 hours of trying, so it must need the well-trained expert.

Cheerio, from Murray Bridge SA,

Donald Oats

PS: Go Janet Albrechsten, you are a deadset legend!

By Donald Oats (not verified) on 09 Nov 2009 #permalink

*sigh* it is so embarrassing as an Aussie that one of our "premier" newspapers has filled its pages with such crap (Janet is a major perpetrator of repeat offenses). If anyone wants to get even more aggravated and/or saddened for Australia - check out The Australian's articles on a human rights act for Australia (we don't have one nationally, and actually have very little rights outlined in our constitution).

It doesn't worry my own personal convictions on what I read in The Australian about the evidence of AGW or the importance of declaring the rights of Australians in plain language law but people like my father and father-in-law read this shit and take it as gospel. I quite literally have asked them to consider anything they are about to posit as an argument, if they read it in The Australian I am extremely likely to shoot it down in flames and they will once again feel shown up and immasculated by a younger man.

Loving the tilted graph!

I saw the Denial Depot spoof a while back but it's awesome to see the original.

Sea levels have been rising since the end of the last ice age, what does AGW have to do with it? Based on this University of Colorado site, sea levels haven't risen at all since 2005

http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

By Alan D. McIntire (not verified) on 09 Nov 2009 #permalink

If AGW were true then why would every piece of evidence be so flawed that it could be attacked so readily by the likes of Dr Morner and Dr Oressengo?

those attacks are seriously flawed. Oressengo made the claim, that the earth is losing mass, because animals transform matter into energy...

by endorsing him, you have become part of the crowd that obviously knows absolutely nothing about science or climate. one day, one of the slightly more educated "sceptics" will tell you the truth, and you will be seriously ashamed of what you wrote about him.

i would pay a small fortune, if i could watch the people accompanied his "career" and gave him his PhD, while they read the nonsense that he wrote on Deltoid.

Surely if AGW were true there would be some evidence that was beyond attack.

you don t understand science at all. proof is basically impossible. evidence that is beyond attack is either extremely rare or non-existing.

Where there is smoke there is fire, and I find so much smoke about the flawed evidence in AGW that it just can't all be wrong. QED the sceptics must be right.

i will follow your logic, and apply it to the works that you support. they get trashed, and they get trashed by competent people and they get trashed in scientific papers.

logic is not your strong point either?

When you think about it, how could so many blog-critics, columnist and lobbyists be so wrong. Think about it people, they can't all be that stupid!

actually they are.

Sea levels have been rising since the end of the last ice age, what does AGW have to do with it?

increasing temperature expands water.

why don t you share your data sources with us? many scientists will live to see your detailed informations about sea levels since the last ice age..

BRING IT ON!

Based on this University of Colorado site, sea levels haven't risen at all since 2005 http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

i eyeball this graph, and i am pretty sure that you are wrong. shall we take a closer lok?

sod's golden rule of trend estimation:

*Unless the latest value in a series is higher than all previous values, the series is falling.*

sod, do you really believe what you're saying? Honestly? You can tell me - I promise I won't tell anyone else. It can be our little secret.

Re #37 and #40.

Fair dinkum, the golden rule in statistics is to never start a trend line from an outlier. It's "it's been cooling since 1998" all over again.

It's the trend that is the important thing (hint - it's the black line on that graph) and if you think that is falling, then you had better buy yourself a white cane and a labrador.

@sod

I believe that Janet was joking.

On a slight deviation:

> Oressengo made the claim, that the earth is losing mass, because animals transform matter into energy...

I held off from saying this at the time (for the same reason that it is pointless to discuss the finer points of the orbital mechanics of the solar system with a geocentrist), but there is an element of truth to this. Not that the planet is losing mass - obviously that's utter garbage and Girma seemed to be under the misapprehension that chemical energy works the same way as fission and fusion - but there is a infinitessimal matter/energy conversion taking place. Remember: a compressed spring weighs more than an uncompressed spring.

sod, sorry that should have been "Alan D. McIntire's golden rule of trend estimation", and a query as to whether Alan actually believes what he says.

Please, please forgive me. My brain stopped working for a moment.

And sorry to waste your time too, Mr Nightingale. No need for a dog or a cane, just better proofreading by me.

Re #43

No worries Gaz. Sorry to lump you in with Mr McIntyre. Perhaps he could do with an extra white cane and labrador (and no offence intended to any blind people out there).

I also apologise for being a bit feisty. The stupid comments from Nick Minchin last night and covered in the media this morning have me fired up. I'm in the throes of writing to both he and Turnbull about it.

sod (38): I think 'Janet' may be indulging in a bit of chain-pulling. Again ;-)

Janet's apparent bi-polarity makes me wonder if she's not a ghost-writer for some trollumnists at The Oz - whether her syndrome is a necessary condition or an inevitable result I really couldn't comment on :-)

By Steve Chamberlain (not verified) on 09 Nov 2009 #permalink

Back on the topic: The Australian ran the Four Corners scoop last night before the show went to air. They banner headlined it.

Search The Age or SMH and there is hardly a murmur. Now that's what I call balance.

#44:
Oh yes, last night's 4 Corners was a doozy.
For those who missed it, the transcript is up here. But for all the nutty goodness you really need to see the show. Hilarious and infuriating in equal measure.

Minchin was a highlight of course, but I think Tony "People Skills" Abbott takes the cake for complaining about the "evangelical fervour of climate change alarmists."

I think those of us in Coalition-held electorates (and even those outside, ha!) should be demanding from our ministers a clear and unequivocal answer to two questions:
(1) Do you accept or reject the hypothesis that there is a trend towards increasing global average temperatures;
(2) If your answer is yes, do you accept or reject the hypothesis that anthropogenic CO2 is a significant cause of this warming trend.

I can't argue with that, JennieL 48. To the point.

By Donald Oats (not verified) on 09 Nov 2009 #permalink

>*logic is not your strong point either?*

sod, I don't need logic to be my strong point when my views are aligned with those of dispropotionate wealth and power.

That is why lobbying has more influence on decision makers in our current political process than science.

If you want to argue with logic, then that leaves me with more time, space, and column inches to recruit tea baggers, and the angry disaffected, clinging to their relgion and guns.

By Janet Akerman (not verified) on 09 Nov 2009 #permalink

I think those of us in Coalition-held electorates (and even those outside, ha!) should be demanding from our ministers a clear and unequivocal answer to two questions... (2) If your answer is yes, do you accept or reject the hypothesis that anthropogenic CO2 is a significant cause of this warming trend.

The Age article pointed out that Minchin says most in the Liberal party are science denialists.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 09 Nov 2009 #permalink

Chris O'Neill @51:
Yes, but I think they should be made to say, individually and on the public record, precisely what part of the scientific consensus they reject.
If, as they keep pretending to think, the Australian public agrees with them, they should be happy to allow their precise views to be publicised.

[Climate change: the Coalitionâs new Hansonism](http://www.crikey.com.au/2009/11/10/the-coalition-need-howards-pragmati…)

>*The best moment in last nightâs 4 Corners was when palaeontologist Bob Carter, giving one of his spiels about why climate science is rubbish to a group of rural Queenslanders, asked his audience who was under fifty. Two or three hands went up.*

>*Turn the sound off, and it could have been footage of a One Nation meeting in the 1990s: old, white, rural people, confused and unhappy.*

By Janet Akerman (not verified) on 09 Nov 2009 #permalink

Notwithstanding Graeme Readfearn's excellent article linked above, saw an nice anti-News Ltd bumper sticker down at my local school: "Is what you said true ... or did you read it in the Courier Mail?"

Yes ,last nights Four Corners was revelatory. It is O.K. for politicians to not believe in AGW, but it it is irresponsible of them to be unwilling to listen to the science or to justify (rationally) their position. The execrable Barnaby Joyce barked a few lunatic catchphrases.Itis certainly revealing of the way these denialist politicians decide a matter, and that is by judging whether it is commie or not.

By Bill O'Slatter (not verified) on 09 Nov 2009 #permalink

This is not a Hansonian phenomenon, it is too widespread. Word is, they also have cadres in the cities.

El Corpulento.

In other words, just as there is not bottom to Stupid, there are no boundaries to Ignorance.

I suspect though that there will still be diagnostic features common to most denialists, whether urban or otherwise. High on the list would be a lack of aquaintance with scientific understanding, and with scientific process.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 09 Nov 2009 #permalink

Being ignorant and stupid is bad, but being ignorant and arrogant is worse.

Blanket reply to 56, 57, 58 and 59.

Amongst commentators on global warming,
[IQ of speaker + decibels of speech] = universal constant D. I estimate D = 180.

>Being ignorant and stupid is bad, but being ignorant and arrogant is worse.

From the self aware individual who knows that 99% of climate science is wrong in spite of the overwhelming evidence. And who knows we are heading into a dramatic period of dangerous cooling!

By Janet Akerman (not verified) on 09 Nov 2009 #permalink

Re the increasingly bizarre machinations of the (Oz) federal Coalition (Coagulation?)...

1) On this morning's ABC radio current affairs programme AM, Ian McFarlane finally owns up to the fact that CCS is a dead duck (like he and John Winston & co didn't already know that when they shovelled several hundred milllion taxpayer $$$ into the coffers of the power generation and mining lobby on the pretence it was "research funding" before they got their marching orders). Transcript here.

2) From Murdoch's 'flagship' rag, more Postcards from Inconsequentia (a small planet way out on the far right edge of the constellation Credulity):

"But today Liberal MP Bronwyn Bishop joined the attack, backing Senator Minchin's outspoken comments on last night's Four Corners program, suggesting it was he and not Mr Turnbull who was speaking for the party.

"I thought Nick Minchin put the position of the partyroom very well," she told Sky News...."

(Bronwyn Bishop? Bronwyn Bishop?!?)

And, wait for it... this gem:

"The climate change stoush comes amid fresh speculation Joe Hockey is positioning himself for the leadership with a speech on God and religion."

Holy Clathrates, Batman. I don't know whether to laugh, cry or just book the next outbound flight and hand in my passport...

By Steve Chamberlain (not verified) on 09 Nov 2009 #permalink

Alan.

I am curious to test your hypothesis.

At what decibel level do you perceive my speech to be delivered?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 09 Nov 2009 #permalink

Remember NSW Premier Bob Carr was initially given the job of 'caretaker' opposition leader, until they could find someone better. Joe Hockey will be given the caretaker roll when Malcolm bows out.

If there is a DD election and both houses are up for grabs, the Coalition party room will choose a winning ticket. They won't be mucking around, it's do or die.

Over the next few months the 'right' will begin reforming and purge the Fabians on their front bench.

Steve.

McFarlane said as much about CCS last night on Four Corners, although it basically slipped under the radar.

More spectacularly was his comment that there would never be another coal-fired power station built in Australia. NOw that was a big call, coming from a previously dyed-in-the-wool denialist!

Strange times. If only more of the Coalition was as intelligent as McFarlane has demonstrated himself to be.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 10 Nov 2009 #permalink

El gordo @ 59. Yeah I agree, based on last night's 4 Corners, I think the last half of your claim nails Cory Bernardi perfectly.

Gosh, Steve, I missed your comment about Hockey speaking on God and religion...

Et tu, Brutus?

Oh my, I'm incapacitated from laughing...

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 10 Nov 2009 #permalink

sod (38): I think 'Janet' may be indulging in a bit of chain-pulling.

i noticed, by now. looks like i was more than half asleep, when i wrote my reply...

The Nats can surprise - Tim Fisher was a genuinely decent person and in the case of McFarlane, it's hard not to like a man with a voice like a gravel truck. There seem to represent a split in rural life between the Hanson crowd and a more thoughtful group of business people who can see the bigger picture.

Joyce is a clown playing up to the peanut gallery. The telling point was when the National Farmers Federation recognised that climate change was something that had to be dealt with. Who's he representing? Good question.

Chris W.

Yes, there's something more than a little disturbing about the way Cory Bernardi (gack!) thinks...

In fact, the 'extreme sceptics' in general are a weird mob. Consider that, as related by Four Corners, a delegation of Australia's most eminent scientists approached the Coalition in order to educate them about the real science behind AGW - and the most rabid of the Coalition refused to meet with this group.

[Warning, snarky sarcy alert...]

What do these denialists think that they know that experts - qualified, trained, and practising in the field - do not know?! Ah, of course... they know that Carter and Plimer are also 'eminent' climate scientists!

Which reminds me. I [misrepresented Carter](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/11/open_thread_35.php#comment-2059…) previously: what he actually said was "I'm a scientist â I work in the area of climate change". He did not actually say that he was a climate scientist, although I suspect that any but the most pedantic would not see the difference.

Nevertheless, using Carter's weasle words I could probably make the same statement by virtue of the fact that I do some peripheral work on modelling what changes in bioclimatic envelopes will do, in ecophysiological terms, to the animals that I study. So there you are - I "work in the area of climate change", even though, like Carter, I am not formally trained in climate science, I do not apply for grants to directly study climate science, I do not actually do research (directly) into aspects of climate science, and I do not publish peer-reviewed papers on climate science.

Of course, Carter might claim that his McLean, de Freitas,& Carter 2009 paper constitutes 'climate science', but as has been [discussed previously](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/07/ahh_mclean_youve_done_it_again…), most reasonable scientists would very much beg to differ. The only other mildly serious candidates for climate research in his [publication list](http://members.iinet.net.au/~glrmc/new_page_4.htm) are the two papers with he co-authored with Gammon, and if I am not missing my guess I would say that the glacial work is likely Gammon's PhD project, with Carter as supervisor only.

Nah, no matter how you take the wrench to it, Carter looks like a stratigrapher and publishes like a stratigrapher.

Boy, I'm glad that I didn't step in it...

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 10 Nov 2009 #permalink

Oh wow.

Hey, this suggests a challenge for BlogScience -- for someone really good at Javascript, if it's doable.

Lay down a line on a standard grid.

Create a tool that will adjust the graph paper to make the line look the way you want it to.

I'd guess that for example the 'hockey stick' kind of line would look straight, from certain points of view, if plotted on a saddle-shaped graph -- something like this:
http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~scdiroff/lds/AstronomyAstrophysics/SaddleSh…

Just watched 4 Corners.

The conservative side of Oz politics has some serious nutters to deal with. Minchin, McGauran, Joyce (what an utter fool he is, who is likely to be responsible for destroying what remains of the National Party). Etc.

Credit to McFarlane for some considered and honest comments, and showing that not everybody in the Coalition is creepy moron.

If there is a DD election and both houses are up for grabs, the Coalition party room will choose a winning ticket. They won't be mucking around, it's do or die.
Over the next few months the 'right' will begin reforming and purge the Fabians on their front bench.

The Coalition currently do not have a chance at the next election, DD or otherwise, especially if they purge the "Fabians" and install the hard right as the dominant force within the party room. Guess it's die then. Fine by me. They need a long period in the wilderness to bring them to their senses.

Oh, the hilarity! Janet is in The Oz today accusing John Pilger of "fearmongering", pretty ironic considering her hysterical 'one world government' conspiracy rant last week.

By bit_pattern (not verified) on 10 Nov 2009 #permalink

And Tobias Ziegler at Crikey makes an interesting point regarding claims about government funded climate grants, the deniers love to point to people like Karoly as being biased because he has received government grants but beglect to mention their denier experts, like Bob Carter, have also recived government grants

http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/2009/11/10/we-need-a-climate-of-c…

By bit_pattern (not verified) on 10 Nov 2009 #permalink

WotWot

It may happen, as you predict, but there is a danger in being over confident. The Coalition will throw down the gauntlet, accusing the other side of being collectively deluded over global warming. If this is carried to its limit, it will have widespread ramifications.

People everywhere will be arguing. Make no bones about it, this fight will split families.

el gordo:

this fight will split families.

There's always been a fraction of families with disfunctional members. Nothing new there.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 10 Nov 2009 #permalink

It's a big issue, like conscription. There was also the arguments over 'free trade' and 'protection' in the 1890's, which saw the birth of the Labor Party. This is one of those elections which could fundamentally change the political landscape.

Wait a moment. Perhaps Australian politics are that different. But did one of the residents inactivists just claim:

a) that the two center-right opposition parties will force a election

b) of both chambers

c) on the issue of global warming, taking a hardline denialist approach?

Sounds a bit inprobable.

IM #80,

In Australia's bicameral parliment if the lower house passes a bill and the upper house defeats the bill, the lower house can then pass the bill again three months later and pass it on to the upper house once more. If the upper house refuses to pass it a second time, the government can request a 'double dissolution' election in which all seats of both lower and upper houses are up for grabs. (Normally only half the upper house seats go to election each term.)

Currently the government has a majority in the lower house, but not in the upper house. They may choose to force a double dissolution because given the current mood of the electorate, they have a good chance of improving their numbers in both houses.

Anyhow, having the Labour government increase their numbers won't help us much since their emissions trading scheme is piss weak, will give billions away to the big polluters, and their proposed subsides to them is about triple the assistance to renewables.

The only chance we have of getting a better deal is if the Greens manage to gain the balance of power.

By Craig Allen (not verified) on 11 Nov 2009 #permalink

A bunch of us have been out door-knocking in the electorate of Melbourne with a petition and survey on renewable energy for Getup. (The electorate of Melbourne is held by Lindsay Tanner for Labour - he is the Minister for Finance and Deregulation). We've got over 1600 signatures so far. Most people willingly sign, and we have found that 85% of those who signed and identify as labour voters say that renewable energy and climate change will influence the way they vote at the next election. People are really concerned and are deeply disappointed at how useless Labour has turned out to be on this. We are presenting the petition at the MP's office this Friday at 5:30 at 280 King St Melbourne - come along - bring a sign with 85% written on it. Lindsay is vulnerable to the Greens, lets make him sweat.

By Craig Allen (not verified) on 11 Nov 2009 #permalink

Craig Allen:

Anyhow, having the Labour government increase their numbers won't help us much since their emissions trading scheme is piss weak, will give billions away to the big polluters, and their proposed subsides to them is about triple the assistance to renewables.

I like the way one power company wants $8 billion of "compensation" for its coal-burning generators so it can build a $2 billion gas-fired power station. Absolutely shameless.

The only chance we have of getting a better deal is if the Greens manage to gain the balance of power.

Which is what it should have been all along and I guess is what will probably happen after the next Senate election nomatter what form that election is. Dealing with the conservative parties on emissions control is just a joke. Most of them are climate science denialists anyway.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 11 Nov 2009 #permalink

I streamed the Four Corners program last night my time (UK) and it made depressing viewing, but not because of the usual suspects in the liberals and nats lining up.

I was more disturbed by the program showing how active someone like Bob Carter is with travelling around Australia addressing community and grass root groups to say that denialism is true. What is the extent of this because if he and likeminded others keep this up I think it could seriously hamper community level acceptance of changes? Are other people still going out and doing this within Australian communities but from the perspective of explaining the results of climate science in lay man terms?

George Monbiot was lamenting in the Guardian recently that the noise from climate deniers is reaching ever further into the community at large. I don't think having the ear of government means that its just a matter of time and everything will change. I think able speakers still need to go out into the community to counteract Carter et al otherwise their fanaticism could make serious and dangerous inroads (I use the word 'fanaticism' deliberately) and delay, derail things even more.

Craig Allen, I noticed elsewhere that Tanner is regarded by the sceptics and deniers as the most likely person to replace Rudd when he falls on his sword.

After Kevin's outburst at the Lowry institute, Tanner seems reasonable and moderate.

Lindsay Tanner, is forced to be 'green' for [his electorate](http://www.abc.net.au/elections/federal/2007/guide/melb.htm). Tanner faces Adam Bandt perhaps the the toughest workhorse lower house green candidate in Australia who appears to be in it for the long haul. From what I can gleen for the AEC Adam Bandt is running for at least the third straight election in the seat of Melbourne and has built a strong local profile.

Thank God for people like Adam! Tanner will be held to account, so he has got to be as green as any in in party.

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 11 Nov 2009 #permalink

Janet, the capacity to know 99% of something is wrong in the face of overwhelming evidence is evidence of something; Hubris perhaps. The inability to change your mind in the face of overwhelming evidence sounds like evidence of poor judgement not superior insight. Interpreting graphs like the one above as 30 years of no sea level rise - or failing to access such graphs and choosing ones of dubious origins because they show no sea level rise in their place - sounds like outright dishonesty. Politics may be a dirty game but from someone who is obviously intelligent and whose opinions are widely read and who actively seeks to influence public opinion on an issue of great importance it's deeply disappointing.

By Ken Fabos (not verified) on 11 Nov 2009 #permalink

MB: Tanner looks like he can hold the seat without Green preferences, but a career politician would be mad to ignore them.

el gordo,

Green Preferences arn't in play when Greens run second (eg Mayo, and now watch Higgens). Melbourne used to be safe ALP until the Greens started beating the Liberal candiates. Tanner needs to stem the flow of Labor (and Liberal) voters to the Greens to keep his seat.

That's the risk when a centre-left party turns centre-right.

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 11 Nov 2009 #permalink

People everywhere will be arguing. Make no bones about it, this fight will split families.

Happens every election. The sun still rises the next day.

Hey porker:

After Kevin's outburst at the Lowry institute, Tanner seems reasonable and moderate.

So what was it that Rudd said that struck you as unreasonable or immoderate? Just wondering.

By the way, it's Lowy, not Lowry.

If you haven't read or heard the speech, a distinct possibility I'd say, you can find it [here](http://www.lowyinstitute.org/) so you can cut and paste the immoderate and unreasonable bits here so we can see just how immoderate and unreasonable Rudd is.

Readers may be aware that [Cory Bernardi and Nick Minchin](http://www.abc.net.au/news/video/2009/02/20/2496744.htm) the Liberal parties two most prominent denialistsin in the recent [4 Corners](http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2009/s2735044.htm) are both Senators for the same state (South Australia).

The state with a new moderate independent political force that is [Nick Xenophon]( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Xenophon). Those outside of South Australia may not be aware that in 2006 Xenophon received nearly the same upper house votes (20%) as that of the entire Liberal Party. (That election also saw the first Green elected to South Australian Parliament).

In the 2007 federal election Xenophon was elected to the Australian Senate (at the same election the first Green Senator representing South Australia was elected to the Australian Senate, giving the Greens five Senators and Major party status for the first time).

As coincidence would have it the state of South Australia (home of Senators, Bernardi, Minchin, Xenophon) has been having some interesting weather.

Iâll split this post to avoid moderationâ¦

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 11 Nov 2009 #permalink

In 2008 Adelaide (Capital of South Australia and Home of Ian Plimer, Senators, Bernardi, Minchin, and Rupert Murdochâs News Corp Empire) broke a record for [longest heatwave on record.](http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/03/18/2192987.htm) The previous record was beaten with eight days above 35 degrees C. The new record ended with 15 consecutive days above 35 degrees. A one is 3000 year event if the climate was stable.

In 2009, when Victoria was burnt with mega-fires and record temperatures, Adelaide had another [little heatwave]( http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/02/03/is-there-a-link-between-adelaides…), with 6 consecutive days above 40 degrees (104 deg F) and 13 consecutive days above 35 degrees (a 1:1000 event if climate is not trending).
So what is the chance of having a 1:3,000 year event and 1:1,000 year event in two consecutive years?

Split number twoâ¦

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 11 Nov 2009 #permalink

Well now Adelaide is having heatwaves [before we even reach summer]( http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,26336360-1702,00.html).

Combine this interesting weather the fact that South Australia is the driest state in this dry continent; with our dependence of dwindling water inflows from eastern states; with water restriction; and the collapse of ecosystems of Coorong and lower lakes. Then we should ask, how conservative are the so called conservatives?

I think Bernardi and Minchin are taking quite a punt. Though, as power brokers they can hide from public dissent by putting themselves as number 1 and 2 on the senate ticket and be returned with as little as 14% of the vote (in a double dissolution election), they could decimate their state base.

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 11 Nov 2009 #permalink

So what is the chance of having a 1:3,000 year event and 1:1,000 year event in two consecutive years?

Well, on the assumption that the climate that these extreme events occur in is stationary (possibly a stretch) and the two events are independent (possibly less of a stretch), then we have

P(A&B) = P(A)P(B)

So, if event A is 1:1000 and event B is 1:3000 we have P(A&B) = 1:3000000

I think ... but if anyone knows better please do chip in.

Thanks P.Lewis,

I'd also be interested if someone knows if there is an appropriate adjustment to account for auto correlation/dependece of consecutive years?

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 11 Nov 2009 #permalink

>Bernardi and Minchin will be advised that this is just weather.

Weather that just by chance happens with freakish probability and just happen to coincide with a global [climate trend](http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/plot/hadcrut3vgl/mean:306/…).

If BerMinchi take that line to the voters then not even Murchod's machine will keep the Greens from gaining seats.

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 11 Nov 2009 #permalink

By June the people would have forgotten the heatwave in November. Popular perceptions are always important, but in a DD election it will be paramount

Personally I like cherry-picking, it's good for morale.

I wish you hadn't linked to Dolt's blog.

Apparently some frothing idiot called JoNova reckons the IPCC is a bunch of "UN bureaucrats" with a "manufactured consensus" and that Exxon funds "sceptics".
The monumental ignorance seeping from what I've just read has made my head hurt.

By Vince Whirlwind (not verified) on 11 Nov 2009 #permalink

Well Rudd can choose a Summer or Winter election depending on which mix of opponents he'd prefer in parliament.

BerMinchi have shown their hand, giving Rudd some choices.

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 11 Nov 2009 #permalink

Mark Byrne @ 93- 96, you should also have mentioned that the record breaking heatwave we enjoyed in 2008 was in Autumn, when we usually expect it to start cooling down a bit ...

Bernadi and Minchin are dills.

BTW, The Greens hope to pick up two more Senate seats in SA next year - Bernardi and Minchin are two people (loosely speaking) - coincidence?

By David Irving (… (not verified) on 11 Nov 2009 #permalink

David,

[Minchin](http://www.abc.net.au/elections/federal/2004/guide/gtv_sa_h_9.htm) and [Bernardi](http://www.abc.net.au/elections/federal/2007/guide/gtv_sa_i.htm) get special billing.

They are virtually not accountable to the South Australia public. They are virtually assured their seats via internal party politics. When they get top billing they will be returned with a party vote as little as 14%.

If they faced public opinion to the extent of lower house candidates, small party Senate candidates or low ticket candidates for the major parties, then they might be a little more pragmatic and behave less like superannuated ideologues.

But if Berminchi bust their party this election, they might struggle getting 14% in 5 or 10 years.

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 11 Nov 2009 #permalink

Antony Green thinks it 'unlikely' that Rudd will have a double D election because it would poorly effect Labor's Senate numbers.

So if he goes to the people early on this issue, then seats might be picked up by the Greens, or a reinvigorated Coalition. The electorate will become fiercely polarized.

Rudd has to face the public vote some time.

He can do it with a DD his terms with the coalition in disarray, or he can wait pass nothing and ask the public to excuse his inaction on climate policy.

ALP's position in the Senate could hardly get wosre. They currently need the support of either the Coaltion or every other party/independent to get legislation through.

Swap Senator Feiliding for a Green and Rudd would have his ETS and Australian's would have an amended and fairer bill passed with less cost tranfered to the public.

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 11 Nov 2009 #permalink

P.Lewis @97:
You may be interested in Barry Brook's analysis of the 2008 and 2009 Adelaide heatwaves here.

If you care to look at the changes in local sea level estimated from sediment cores collected in salt marshes of fringing the Atlantic Ocean during the 19th century and early 20th century (see the following link) there has been increasing sea levels for over 2000 years. What part of this is due to AGW?

http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/sl_hist_few_hundred.html

2,000 years ago sea levels were rising at a rate faster than the last few decades. There is nothing unusual with the sea level rises we are currently observing.

Bad Lank,link. Bad link,Lank. You choose.

Lank lets take the data you refer to .

Where is the MWP here? It shows no significant sealevel response to the MWP. As a skeptic what do you conclude from that, either: (a) that it is just one site on the planet and doesn't represent global sealevel? Or (b) that this data shows that sea levels is rising faster now that anytime since the year 100 AD?

Secondly, what do we know is different now from 2000 years ago. Well for starters we know that the earth is out of radiative balance and will warm another 0.6 degress C to release the excess radiation. I.e. we've got 0.6 degress of stored warming to be expressed.

Next we know we are still adding GHG at a prolific rate and sea level is expected to continue to rise another 500 mm by 2100 there by more than doubling the rise in the last century and the 1st century rise 2000 years ago in Iceland.

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 11 Nov 2009 #permalink

The early part of it is return from the LGM,Lank. Thereafter long-term has been static until the recent rapid rise under anthropic influence. There is nothing unusual about sea-level variation per se, just this time an unusual amount of human infrastructure and agriculture is in the way.

I know that Bernardi and Minchin are unassailable, Mark, I was merely being flippant. However, one can hope. Minchin is a thoroughly unpleasant individual, and Bernardi has an impressive blend of stupidity and arrogance.

By David Irving (… (not verified) on 11 Nov 2009 #permalink

Lank, if you go to this page on the website you link to, you will find this:

The sea level 2,000 years ago can be deduced by (for example) examining fish tanks built by the ancient Romans. Because the tanks had to be at sea level for the sluice gates to function, we can precisely estimate sea level during the period of their use. Comparison of this level with historical records indicates that there has been little net change in sea level from 2000 years ago until the start of the 19th century.

One simply needs to examine Bernadi/Minchin's CV to see what kind of frat boys they are: Minchin went straight from uni (law)into the Liberal Party apparatus,to the Senate in 1993. Bernadi is some kind of ex-athlete party apparatchik and ditto by 2006.In both cases they've been Liberalised barely out of adolescence. No exposure to the scientific method.

@ Craig Allen.

5.30 tomorrow on King St? Sounds like a plan. See you there!

By bit_pattern (not verified) on 11 Nov 2009 #permalink

Mark Byrne @110:

This chart from Barry's site gets me winching. Record breaking temperatuere anomalies today will be normal by 2040 and will be cool temperature anomalies by 2060.

Yes, it's rather, umm, alarming, isn't it?
I'm an Adelaidean, so I'm currently suffering through the lovely "heatwave." The notion that this is not going to be a freak event (to be suffered through until it's over and then forgotten), but instead is going to be the new normal, is deeply worrying.

Remember the Adelaide heatwave in March last year. It was out of season and went for 15 days over 35 degrees.

Dr Warwick Grace (SARDI Climate Applications Unit) said that particular heatwave was a 'one in 3000 year event'.

So we shouldn't become too alarmed.

el gordo,

You missed [the conversation](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/11/the_australians_war_on_science_…). And you missed the whole point.

We had a 1 in 3,000 year event, the was repeated with hotter temperatures (a 1 in 1000 year event). Now we are breaking old summer time records in Spring.

See the point?

We should be as alarmed as science warns us to be. The warning bells are ringing, don't bury your head.

Perhaps go back and read my posts again?

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 12 Nov 2009 #permalink

El gordo

It would be right not to be alarmed over a single extreme event in an unchanging (non-trending) climate scenario. But, despite what you and those of your outlook on things AGW may say, the problem is that the climate is a-trending upwards (it is!) and this and similar events look as if they are becoming more common. And there is the worry.

I'm becoming glad I didn't follow up on a possibility to emigrate "south" in the early 80s. High summer in Sicily was bad enough. Not too sure I could put up with high summer in spring and summer. Here's looking forward to another gloriously wet August in 2010 in Blighty and a superb Indian summer through September and October.

He can do it with a DD his terms with the coalition in disarray, or he can wait pass nothing and ask the public to excuse his inaction on climate policy.

One drawback for Labor in a double dissolution election is that a DD won't give it much advantage over a half-Senate election because that half-Senate election will replace the Latham-elected half of the Senate which is where Labor will make its big gains while the other half of the Senate (the Rudd 07 half) won't. So there is probably little advantage for Labor in a DD election but a significantly higher risk.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 12 Nov 2009 #permalink

102 Vince,

Joanne's a Denial Depot pinup! Is it possible that she's new to you? If so, go [here](http://joannenova.com.au/)

By TrueSceptic (not verified) on 12 Nov 2009 #permalink

Jeremy C:

I was more disturbed by the program showing how active someone like Bob Carter is with travelling around Australia addressing community and grass root groups to say that denialism is true.

I noticed in his talk shown on 4 corners that he's cherry-picking January 1958 so that he can assert there's been no global warming since 1958 (until August 2008). It's an inescapable fact that someone can get away with intellectual dishonesty if they have a reputation they can exploit. Carter doesn't need to worry about his reputation because he can retire whenever he likes and will before long anyway.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 12 Nov 2009 #permalink

My god! JoNova makes Dolt look fair and resonable. I see she calls herself a "freelance science reporter and writer".
I guess I could start a blog and be a "freelance astronaut", if I wanted.
Hey, I could be a "freelance doctor" and advise people about healing their energy fields with magnets and curing their asthma by bending their necks!

By Vince Whirlwind (not verified) on 12 Nov 2009 #permalink

Jo Nova and Dr David Evans appear to be an item. Had a squiz at their latest offering and thought it had merit, so let's look at those stats again.

I have enough faith in statistics to know there must be conscious life on other planets, so what's the problem with our spaceship's air con?

If I'm reading Evans' CV correctly, he seems to have been working as an unpaid computer programmer for the last many years.

Fairly typical lack of relevance to climate science that you find in most Denialist CVs - Plimer, Carter, etc....

By Vince Whirlwind (not verified) on 15 Nov 2009 #permalink

Chris O'Neill@125

Your reasoning is correct. From Rudd's POV, the half-senate is the more attractive option, as he would pick up more seats. The main relative beneficiaries of the DD would be the Greens.

Rudd would also have the advantage of having his control of the senate last longer into the future with the half-senate. OTOH with a DD the new senators start earlier, but having to listen harder to the Greens probably isn't his preferred option.

By Fran Barlow (not verified) on 15 Nov 2009 #permalink

JennieL @ 119, I expect Goyder's Line will be running along Melbourne St by the end of the century.

By David Irving (… (not verified) on 15 Nov 2009 #permalink

There was a good article on the ABC's Lateline site about the current fruit loopy comments by Minchin and Abbott about the IPCC. It's well worth a read:

http://blogs.abc.net.au/events/2009/11/conspiracies-and-the-ipcc.html

It won't sway anyone who believes in this vast left-wing conspiracy as the ABC is supposedly in on it as well (though I'm trying to work out how this works with Windschuttle and his fellow loonies on the Board and that they screened TGGWS).

Tim, thanks for your website, it's been the highlight of my week, and a refreshing antidote to the babbling incoherence that masquerades as 'journalism'.

Cheers.

By chrispydog (not verified) on 20 Nov 2009 #permalink