Andrew Bolt on whether you should trust scientists or political activists

Andrew Bolt writes

Question: why do people who think their government and scientists would always lie about nuclear power also think green groups would always tell the truth? How can you be so cynical about the one and so gullible with the other?

Why do people who think their government and scientists lie about climate change also think brown groups would always tell the truth? How can you be so cynical about the one and so gullible with the other?

Ben Heard has a good summary of the situation in Japan at Brave New Climate.

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Tim, the author is Ben Heard, and the blogger is Barry Brook. You've mashed their names together. *[Oops. Fixed. Thanks. Tim]*

Greg Palast [has a perspective](…) on the nuclear situation in Japan. He is a journalist who says he was a former "lead investigator in several government nuclear plant fraud and racketeering investigations". He reports that the nuclear industry has been caught lying about safety tests and emergency support systems in the past to save money. (He's provided reports of similar behaviour in the past by BP and in regard to the Exxon Valdez disaster, amongst others.)

Just like any other content on the web, I can't vouch for it myself so make your own assessment.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 15 Mar 2011 #permalink

What are "brown groups"? I assume it is meant as an antonym to "green groups", but surely there is a better phrase?

I'm not sure what makes my head spin more: Bolt's incoherent ramblings and self-contradictions, or the interpretation his supporters put on it.

Bolt: "Black is white. Up is down."

Bolt supporter: "Oh come on. Everyone knows he really means black is black and up is up. It's obvious. Read it again."

Um yeah. OK. Whatever.......

Lotharsson - thanks for that, what a great read.

The bit that stands out is the bit about previous experience with diesel backup generators that don't work, and his suggestion that blaming the tidal wave for the generators' failure is just bullshit.

By Vince whirlwind (not verified) on 15 Mar 2011 #permalink

> ...and his suggestion that blaming the tidal wave for the generators' failure is just bullshit.

Yes, that claim struck me when I first heard it as quite incredible. It's quite common knowledge that earthquakes can generate tsunamis, so you'd think the designers would at least avoid "redundant" systems that could be fairly easily knocked out by the same root cause.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 15 Mar 2011 #permalink

If the Japanese Earthquake was 100 000 times that of Christchurch (as is claimed in the article) then the NZ earthquake must have only been 4 on the Richter Scale. From my very rough calculations from 6.9 to 9 on the Richter Scale would be an increase of a bit over 100 in intensity.

And I'm wondering as well just how short a half life is he talking about? Some reports I've read have claimed a half life of 7 seconds, wouldn't that be pretty much immeasurable after a couple of minutes?

[Critique]( of Brave New Climate from Jim Green of Friends of the Earth.

Ben Heards article (see Tim's link) is not convincing when even Tepco the operator indicates that it is not sure what is happening in the reactors. I am afraid that BNC in compaining about misinformed reporting is guilty of shooting the messenger.

We have 40 year old reactors in an earthquake zone subject to tsunamis run by a company Tepco that in 2002 was [found guilty of false reporting in routine governmental inspection of its nuclear plants and systematic concealment of plant safety incidents](

Re spottedquoll

Perhaps the 100000 is of some other damage measure (not having read the article referred to)? Anyway, you are correct to query that on magnitude grounds.

The comparison is likely with the M6.3 earthquake that caused the deaths in Christchurch, not the earlier M7.1(?) quake. So, the calc based on magnitude is (10^{9-6.3})^{3/2} ~ 11200 times more powerful.

P. Lewis, from the Ben heard article, link at the bottom of the main text.

"On 11th March, Japan experienced an earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter Scale. The Richter Scale is logarithmic, meaning a 9 quake is ten times more powerful than an 8, 100 times more powerful than a 7 and so on. On this basis the quake was something like 100,000 times the force of that which struck Christchurch recently. It is only the 4th quake of greater than 9 magnitude in recorded history."

And where do you get the additional "^{3/2}"? I was also under the impression the recent Christchurch quake was a 6.9 rather than a 6.3? (but will concede I could be wrong, it has happened before)

The destructive power scales with (shaking amplitude)^1.5. See Wikipedia Richter magnitude scale or Moment magnitude scale articles.

New Zealand had two (three apparently) major recent earthquakes. Christchurch, Feb 2011 = M6.3; Canterbury, Sep 2010 = 7.1. Both values culled from any number of news reports a few days days after the event (after any adjustment I've presumed) and also here.

spottedquoll, And I should have said that "more powerful" in my first post should have read "more destructive" really.

Thanks P. Lewis, I'm still a bit confused by it all but either way Ben Heard seems to have made a mistake mathematically and has failed to express himself particularly well.

I make it a point not to expect any side to tell the truth, at least not completely. The solution is to be skeptical and check claims that are made, most obviously the ones that sound unlikely and more importantly the ones that sound perfect.

By Robert Murphy (not verified) on 16 Mar 2011 #permalink

Jim Green [points out](
>*Andrew Bolt at the Herald Sun has been urging people to read the "marvellously sane and cool explanation" from "our friend Professor Barry Brook".*

Barry Brook's "marvellously sane and cool explanation" that Bolt is [not referring to](…):

>*Perhaps the most pervasive meme in the climate crank blogosphere is that the Earth hasnât warmed for the last 10 years (or since 1998) [...]But say we, being generous folks or simply for the sake of argument, decide to give people like Bob Carter and Andrew Bolt the benefit of the doubt and accept that they really do believe that the Earthâs air temperatures havenât warmed for a decade (or so)...*

What did Bolt say again?

>*How can you be so cynical about the one and so gullible with the other?*

> What are "brown groups"? I assume it is meant as an antonym to "green groups", but surely there is a better phrase?

Green-field sites are untrammeled pastureland. Brownfield sites used to be industrial or residential areas that were flattened and left alone.

BNC seems to have some good technical info about the reactors, and even better comments, but their spin on Fukushima is boggling. The reassurances in the posts get overtaken by events before they're even written.

I get that nukes might have to be part of the solution, but I wonder if there's a deluding desperation among climate-aware types for it to save our asses.

Aye,he's a dim one,our Andy. He's also railing against alarmism while arguing that a carbon price will ruin the economy and Rudd/Gillard are 'luring' refugees to their deaths at sea.

Less than three months to "Andrew Bolt is a D1ckhead Day", according to my T-Shirt from Crikey's "First Dog on the Moon". Just remember to buy your purple ribbons on June 3rd, 2011, from the kind people that will be collecting on the street corners. Give generously, for although last year was hugely anticipated and a great success, as today's comments from the Bolter illustrate, much work still needs to be done.

By Donald Oats (not verified) on 16 Mar 2011 #permalink

Gillard [on whether you should trust pundits or scientists](…):

> Ms Gillard said human-induced climate change was real and opinion polls could not change that. "I ask, who would I rather have on my side?" she said. "Alan Jones, Piers Akerman and Andrew Bolt?"

> "Or the CSIRO, the Australian Academy of Science, the Bureau of Meteorology, NASA, the US National Atmospheric Administration, and every reputable climate scientist in the world?"

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 16 Mar 2011 #permalink

@15. Bolt doesn't realise his own significance to the fields of psychology and neuroscience.

He's probably one of the strongest pieces of evidence around for the theory of cognitive dissonance.

Is Bolt trying to outdo The Australian's War on Science Series?

Here's another Bolt post special maybe needing your surgical scrutiny, Tim:…

You are probably more familiar with the credibility of his scientists' list than I am, but it stood out to me when I saw Bob Carter and Roy Spencer among them.

And on the 'proven liar' meme. on the "Insiders" TV program last Sunday he claimed only 800 attended a pro-carbon pricing rally at Treasury Place in Melbourne when the official figure was estimated at 8000. In a later blog, he claimed to have "misspoken" but at the time defended his figure when queried by another panellist.

By Don Wigan (not verified) on 16 Mar 2011 #permalink


The thing about Bolt's list of scientists is that none of them have produced credible evidence against AGW and none of them have come up with plausible alternative explanations for the post-industrial rise in global temperature.

Bob Carter, as a stand-out example, has no published science that backs his claims. His book does not quote any of his geological papers in support of his polemic.

I tried reading Carter's piece in Quadrant, but had to give up when I started feeling sic(sic).

By Ezzthetic (not verified) on 16 Mar 2011 #permalink

Ezzthetic,Carter's cooking is indigestable. No real food content,and the rest is straw.

I said it elsewhere, but I suspect Bolt suffers from an extreme selective perception problem, and the side effects of years in an operant conditioning chamber. The only information that can penetrate is that which "fits", and after years of in-elastic thought, squeezing out nasties, getting "positives" from an internet button he presses with increasing rapidity, he would be almost incapable of doing or thinking anything different.

By drsusancalvin (not verified) on 16 Mar 2011 #permalink

Another answer to Bolt

"scientists" like those featured on Brave New Churnalism can be, without notice, actually management students who have an unused background in mechanical engineering but are basically MBAs.

By Marion Delgado (not verified) on 17 Mar 2011 #permalink

I have, over the years, grown so inured to the contradictions that Bolt daily parades in front of readers, that I have long ago consigned him to irrelevance. So has the rest of the mainstream media,I am told. He is, apparently, a byword for absurdity among most established journalists in this country.

By Trevor Williams (not verified) on 17 Mar 2011 #permalink

> Why do people who think their government and scientists lie about climate change also think brown groups would always tell the truth? How can you be so cynical about the one and so gullible with the other?

I propose the antonym of 'greens' be 'jobbie browns'.

Let us appeal to the Heartland Institute's supporters to replace CEO Joe Bast with noted animal rights activist Orit Fox.

By russellseitz (not verified) on 18 Mar 2011 #permalink

How long before Bolt picks up on this claim from right wing nutter [Anne Coulter](

With the terrible earthquake and resulting tsunami that have devastated Japan, the only good news is that anyone exposed to excess radiation from the nuclear power plants is now probably much less likely to get cancer.

It is not like Bolt to be out-nuttered from the right. I mean he is [almost there](…)

...journalists [who] have fed the hysterical fear of a nuclear incident that has killed no one and probably never will.

In the similar hysteria over Chernobyl, the disaster that killed 65 people, the media-whipped panic stampeded up to 200,000 women into having abortions for fear of birth defects.

MikeH, great spotting, only took 2 days, the more extreme reality gets, the more extreme the crazy gets.

Ask yourself, your friends, family and work associates if they know the answers to the following questions about Carbon Dioxide (CO2). Write down your answers .
Question 1. What percentage of the atmosphere do you think is CO2?
Question 2. Have you ever seen the percentage given in any media?
Question 3. What percentage of the CO2 is man-made?
Question 4. What percentage of the man-made CO2 does Australia produce?
Question 5. Is CO2 is a pollutant?
Question 6. Have you ever seen any evidence that CO2 causes a greenhouse effect?
Now check out the attached PDF for the answers.
So why must we have a carbon tax?

By Jim Lyons (not verified) on 21 Mar 2011 #permalink

Jim Lyons, ask your self this question, are your questions the most relevent and usful? And justify your rational for each question. Then I'll provide relevent answers.

Jim Lyons, you have chosen the wrong blog.

If you stick around here you run the real risk of being blinded by science. You need to find a place where the denizens will be baffled by your bullsh!t.

@ zoot, it's not even his (Lyons') bullshit - one or more emails of similar ilk have been doing the rounds for weeks now.

It is revealing that the radio shock jocks are all working off the same script. From last night's [media watch]( ...

Alan Jones: Nature produces nearly all of the carbon dioxide in the air. Human beings produce point 001 percent of the carbon dioxide in the air...
â 2GB Sydney, The Alan Jones Breakfast Show, 15th March, 2011

Chris Smith: Out of our journey of one kilometre there are just 12 mm left, about a half an inch, just over a centimetre, that is the carbon dioxide that global human activity puts into the atmosphere.

â MTR Melbourne, The Chris Smith Afternoon Show, 7th March, 2011

Howard Sattler: 0.038% as a fraction of what is in the atmosphere â thatâs CO2 â thatâs the carbon weâre talking about â 1/27th of 1%.
â 6PR Perth, Drive with Howard Sattler,14th March, 2011

SteveC, Oh yes I see. Jim Lyons is using [the same words](…) as Lion the Stake.

And [these turkeys](…) attribute these side track questions to someone Google Galileo called Gregg D Thompson.

Seems like shock jocks have [willing falling for]( Google Galileo's questions and bogus answers as well.

I could poke fun and most of [this fool's](…) claims but this two are a taste:

>*The following facts show that even high levels of CO2 can make almost no impact on heating the atmosphere.*

>*1. Glasshouses with high levels of CO2 â hundreds of times higher than in the air to make plants grow faster â heat up during the day to the same temperature as glasshouses with air in them. This is also true for bottles of pure CO2 compared to ones with air.*

>*2. The planets Venus and Mars have atmospheres that are almost entirely CO2 (97%) yet they have no ârunawayâ greenhouse heating effect. Their temperatures are stable.*

1. 0.038%
2. yes lots of times
3. 40%
4. 2-3%
5. yes
6. yes, you can do so yourself with a webcam, IR filter, flask of CO2 and an IR lamp or open flame.

Now ask yourself these questions:

1) When something has no effect should you include it in your calculations?

2) why do you go to journalists for your science when you can read a science book?

3) Is 40% a significant increase or not?

4) What percent of the world's population is Australian?

5) When you burn stuff is what you want out of it CO2 or something else?

6) Why is the earth so much warmer than the moon, despite the albedo of the moon being so much lower?

See what I mean Jim?

You'd be well advised to bow out now, before you make a complete dick of yourself



By Bernard J. (not verified) on 22 Mar 2011 #permalink

*[Off topic trolling deleted]*

By Harold Pierce Jr (not verified) on 03 Apr 2011 #permalink

>So what does this carbon tax scheme boil down to? It is a wealth transfer and redistribution scheme.

Seeing as we are in this for a Marxist one-world government, good.

>Individuals and families with an income >>$120,000 get no tax cuts.

My heart breaks for them.

>*So what does this carbon tax scheme boil down to? It is a wealth transfer and redistribution scheme.*

From dirty negative externalities to clean positive externalities.

Individuals and families with an income >>$120,000 get no tax cuts.

My income is a small fraction of this amount. I have children. I am more than happy to pay a carbon tax.

Spare me the bleatings of the richest people on the planet.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 03 Apr 2011 #permalink

Individuals and families with an income >>$120,000 get no tax cuts.

My income is a small fraction of this amount. I have children. I am more than happy to pay a carbon tax.

Spare me the bleatings of the richest people on the planet.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 03 Apr 2011 #permalink