Climate clippings 66

New solar PV nanotechnology

There have been so many developments in PV technology it’s hard to know which will be significant.

Gizmag tells us about new material consisting of tiny hollow spheres, made out of nanocrystalline-silicon.

The new material is efficient, light, flexible, should be easy and cheap to make and their efficiency is less affected by the angle of the sun.

No downsides are mentioned.

No easy choices

The Grattan Institute has compiled a report No easy choices: which way to Australia’s energy future? which assesses the prospects for seven technologies – wind, solar PV, concentrating solar thermal, geothermal, carbon capture and storage, bioenergy and nuclear – that generate electricity with near-zero emissions and that have the prospect of deployment at large scale over the next 40 years.

All have their problems and the suggestion is that governments must intervene directly beyond putting a price on carbon. The report details what governments should and should not do.

I haven’t had time to study the report in detail, but I must say I was disappointed with the publication design being so unfriendly to internet viewing.

Permafrost carbon feedback

Courtesy of Skeptical Science the Potsdam people and others have examined the problem of carbon emissions from permafrost. The suggestion appears to be that the resulting warming will be relatively modest.

The seed emergency: The threat to food and democracy

Vandana Shiva has written a piece for Aljazeera arguing that the fact the farmers can no longer save their own seeds is having a profoundly adverse effect on how farmers operate in India and elsewhere. The wide use of GM seeds has reduced diversity and spread debt:

As a farmer’s seed supply is eroded, and farmers become dependent on patented GMO seed, the result is debt. India, the home of cotton, has lost its cotton seed diversity and cotton seed sovereignty. Some 95 per cent of the country’s cotton seed is now controlled by Monsanto – and the debt trap created by being forced to buy seed every year – with royalty payments – has pushed hundreds of thousands of farmers to suicide; of the 250,000 farmer suicides, the majority are in the cotton belt.

On Monday P. Sainath also told Phillip Adams that farmer suicides were increasing, and that they were concentrated in areas where cash crops were being grown. He was also on PM:

He says power is concentrated in the hands of the seed and agri-petrochemical companies. And that the state has abandoned its poor, instead acting on behalf of its super-wealthy.

Shiva also blames the US government, Monsanto and WTO rules. As she told Phillip Adams back in 2009 she advocates a return to local economies and small-scale food production as the only solution to save the planet and humanity. She calls it the Earth Democracy.

Nukes struggle

Despite the approval of two new nuclear power stations in the US, nuclear power is struggling for momentum, or so we were told last night.

It seems we need to look to Asia for momentum, but India is “problematic” for unspecified reasons and in China the relative contribution of nuclear is small and likely to remain so. If China stop building the bottom would fall out of the world’s nuclear order book. They built none last year.

The heartbeat of the world grows stronger

The El Niño/La Niña phenomenon has been referred to as the heartbeat of the world.

New Zealand have been studying El Niño and La Niña events by examining the tree rings of kauri trees. The rings grow more during El Niño events and less when La Niña holds sway.

Dr Anthony Fowler from the School of Environmental Science of the University of Auckland says:

“Notably wide and narrow kauri tree rings have become more frequent as the world has warmed over the last few centuries. We infer from this that El Niño and La Niña events become more frequent or intense as the world warms, or that New Zealand’s climate becomes more strongly influenced by such events. Either possibility suggests that droughts and floods related to El Niños and La Niñas will continue to significantly affect New Zealand, and may well become more intense.”

They are now extending the study to look back 4000 years.

BOM special climate statement

In an earlier thread Ootz linked to a Special Climate Statement put out by the Bureau of Metereology. The last two years show up as the wettest two-year period on record, but the dry pattern persists in the SW corner of the continent and the western part of Tasmania.

Here’s the average for the last 15 years:

Rainfall for 15v years to 2011

If you overlaid that map with an average rainfall map, much of the above average rainfall has been in places that remain fairly dry. All the state capitals have been on the dry side.

Here in Oz

The Federal Government is to provide $100 million in funding for a new power station fired by brown coal and coal seam gas in the Latrobe Valley.

And the Alcoa smelter jobs threatened as the company reviews the viability of its aluminium smelter in Geelong.

Alcoa says a combination of factors including metal prices, input costs and exchange rates have caused the Point Henry smelter to become unprofitable.

Abbott blames the carbon tax.

Alcoa says it’s already losing money, but obviously they will have to take the carbon tax into account.

Looks like a big government handout coming up.

73 thoughts on “Climate clippings 66”

  1. In addition to the idiotic and baseless (the ongoing legal case against the development was cited as a reason) decision to extend yet again the final deadline for this disgraceful project Martin Ferguson has promised, out of the blue, $100 million for Carbon Net, a CCS project in the Latrobe Valley. The HRL-Dual Gas plant, first established under the Howard Government, has met none of the interim goals that were required of it as a condition of government funding and would add 400 million tonnes of CO2e to Australia’s greenhouse gas burden. The combination of this decision with the appalling mismanagement of the Solar Flagships program and the laughably inadequate Draft Energy White Paper suggest to me that were it not for the presence of the Greens in Parliament and the anomaly of minority government the Gillard government would have made no move to introduce useful climate change legislation. Gillard is after all something of a protege of Ferguson.

  2. On Alcoa
    Among the the Victorian State Government’s numerous climate crimes is its fifty year extension of a pre-existing option for ALCOA to continue to mine brown coal at its open cut mine near Anglesea on Victoria’s Surf Coast. This was expected to result in another 50 million tonnes of brown coal being mined and burned in ALCOA’s nearby power station which is dedicated to supplying the struggling Point Henry smelter with necessary power at bargain basement prices. ALCOA is responsible for 20% of Victoria’s electricity consumption and presumably 20% of the greenhouse gas accruing from electricity production. Loss of jobs and export revenue will certainly trump environmental considerations in the (temporary) resolution of this problem.

  3. You really have to wonder about this statement regarding the issuing of the combined operating licence for the two AP-1000 NPPs:

    the NRC’s chairman Gregory Jaczko dissented, because the licences were issued without, as he put it, “any binding obligations that these plants will have implemented the lessons learnt from Fukushima accident”

    Jaczko voted in favour of issuing the design licence. Were the immediate lessons of Fukushima not considered?

  4. Brian, thanks for the 2009 Vandana Shiva bit, remarkable perspective alignment.
    To see how far Australia has retreated from personal food production, read Andrea Gaynor ” Harvest of the suburbs ” .

    ( just a reminder that 2012 is “Australian year of the Farmer ” with over double the suicide rate of any other sector and the average median age of sugar cane farmers ,that some hope will provide the cane for Ethanol, is 60. )

  5. Commission Voting Records (CVR) for 2011

    quokka, I don’t have time to read through these in detail right now, but gleaned enough to not be sure what your point is? Jaczko’s supplementary comments appear to make clear his understanding of what approving a design license entails (enough safety criteria satisfied for time being to proceed, opportunity post-design approval for companies to satisfy oustanding criteria before granting operating license).

  6. Mar’n insists he was being entirely consistent canning a solar project grant for failure to meet timelines and allowing the brown coal project an extension.

    I think he’s right — it’s just not the sort of consistency most people are keen on. Consistency in using one’s discretion in favour of the filth merchants is no virtue.

  7. When the second paragraph of the the Grattan Institute report “No easy choices: which way to Australia’s energy future?” starts by saying:

    Markets must be the primary mechanism by which Australia transforms its electricity supply.

    I had trouble with my bullshit detector. Further reading of the technical section of the report tended to reinforce this initial reaction. Sure there is a lot of useful data but the underlying assumption seems to be governments should be about providing subsidies to encourage investment and then step back

    There are two problems with depending on market forces. Firstly, the cost of renewables is dropping rapidly. Investors run the risk that they will be forced to cut power prices before their investment has been repaid. If we want private investment the logical approach is to use competitive tendering to set up contracts to supply that last long enough for investments to be repaid.
    The second problem is the complexity of our part privatized power infrastructure. Sensible investment requires an overall engineering plan that sets out boundaries for the mix of generating systems and location. This is another reason for going with the “contract to supply” approach. This approach allows investment to limited to particular technologies/locations without disadvantaging potential investors. (They can tender a higher price even though costs for alternatives may be lower.)
    The technical section was disappointing and looked as though it was written by an economist. It didn’t really spell out the possibilities that were worth pursuing.

  8. Nick,

    Obviously, the other commissioners did not feel there were sufficiently serious safety issues to warrant delaying the COL. In any case, these AP-1000s will be subject to any new NRC requirements post Fukushima, as all other operating NPPs in the United States. And any such requirements will be mandatory.

    I think Jaczko has tried to lay a trap and succeeded only in ensnaring himself.

  9. The Guardian has an interesting report of some public comments by Eurelectric (the European electricity industry body) on the problems posed by intermittent renewables for European grid stability. It seems these problems are starting to become potentially quite serious with a rapid rise in the number of incidents in northern Europe.

    It’s my impression that grid operators hitherto have not said a lot publicly on this issue – whatever their private assessment has been. Perhaps preferring to keep a low profile. I take these fairly strong statements as some indication that the issue is both serious and immediate.

  10. Fran, it may be that if Bob Brown and Sarah Hanson-Young came to the party on offshore processing, then more funds may become available for solar projects.

    Just a thought …

  11. Terry tried:

    Fran, it may be that if Bob Brown and Sarah Hanson-Young came to the party on offshore processing, then more funds may become available for solar projects.

    That’s an offensive red herring.

    1. The two issues aren’t connected
    2. We would never horse trade the life chances of people — and the idea that we might do that in the case of vulnerable people is especially repulsive.
    3. Mar’n is always in favour of the filth merchants. This is not about money but about posturing.
    4. It would be a damn sight cheaper to process onshore if administrative detention were not being used explicitly in a futile attempt to appear tough on asylum seekers to ignorant xenophobes in places like Lindsay. Even at the primary level of analysis then — opportunity cost — your claim is bogus.

  12. Huggy,

    I wouldn’t be worried too much about HF in the manufacture of these things.

    Go and check out all the other extremely toxic, explosive and deadly stuff used in wafer fabs one day.

    Brian, I have a real problem with citing a couple of these references as somehow significant. Maybe its ‘the vibe’ ?

    1/ Kauri tree rings. Data only back 700 years, but a conclusion of “Notably wide and narrow kauri tree rings have become more frequent as the world has warmed over the last few centuries” is significant?

    2/ Australian rainfall: Again, lowest/highest 15 year period within 110year records is hardly a low probability event.

    Have these records back through the medieval warm period, little ice age, etc and maybe we can see something.

  13. it may be that if Bob Brown and Sarah Hanson-Young came to the party on offshore processing, then more funds may become available for solar projects.

    Just a thought …


    The Greens won't be participating in such mind altering rationale as they know THE PREVENTION OF RACISM IS BETTER THAN THE CURE.

    RACIST PROPAGANDA MAKES WAR A VOTE WINNER so I would expect them to keep their noses clean regarding race issues!

  14. Racism is a big call. If you are saying that anyone who questions that there are pull factors that drive attempts to enter Australia by boat, you would be calling Robert Manne a racist, as he reluctantly conceded last year that there are pull factors in operation, and they strengthened after 2008 with the policy changes under Rudd.

    Also, since very few places in the world operate an open borders migration policy, you are in effect calling a large amount of the world’s population racist. Also, a Labor policy in this area is very likely to be less harsh than a Coalition one, so The Greens may need to consider where their 11% support base is going to sit vis-a-vis the two major parties into the future.

    At any rate, the point emerging in 2012 is that, insofar as Labor has any small slither of being returned to office, or at least stemming a rout – at least under current leadership – then it lies with being the party for manufacturing workers uncertain about their future.

    That was the basis of the last poll bounce, and is the message coming through about the “Labor values” voters who are lukewarm about the government but not considered to be completely lost to the Coalition. And they are unlikely to be swayed by policies on solar panels, as compared to policies to the car industry or to keeping the Alcoa plant open in Geelong.

  15. Thanks for the excellent round-up, as usual, Brian.

    Very concerned over the news from Victoria that Ferguson has approved a six-month extension for the $100m federal grant for the HRL brown coal power plant, together with $100m for the CarbonNet carbon capture and storage project, also in the Latrobe Valley.

    Links and my views on this:

    Especially noteworthy were Ferguson’s comments at the announcement about “shoring up the value of the brown coal resource in Victoria”.

    Re Alcoa, there was a good story on ABC 7.30 Victoria with the Grattan Institute’s John Daley interviewed on the value of supporting the smelter with further public money. I agree with Daley’s view that the workers can be supported without throwing yet more money (on top of around $4.5b so far), keeping the plant running.

    He didn’t extend this reasoning to coal, but it applies just the same – instead of negotiating contracts for closure with the big coal-fired generators, or compensating them under a carbon price, we should really be concentrating on supporting workers as they transition away from emissions-intensive fossil fuel jobs.

    The smelter, of course, is incredibly emissions-intensive and cannot be rationally supported if we are serious about tackling climate change.

    Shorten also appeared on the program, effectively damning the Government’s climate action plan by claiming the carbon price has had no role in the Alcoa decision – it damn well should have.

  16. Terry commented:

    Racism is a big call.

    It depends what one means by it. Racism comes in a variety of forms. Not all of it is in its crudest and most overt form. Parochialism can be a form of racism.

    If you are saying that anyone who questions that there are pull factors that drive attempts to enter Australia by boat, you would be calling Robert Manne a racist, as he reluctantly conceded last year that there are pull factors in operation, and they strengthened after 2008 with the policy changes under Rudd.

    Perhaps he is. Who knows? That’s hardly germane though, even if so.

    Also, since very few places in the world operate an open borders migration policy, you are in effect calling a large amount of the world’s population racist.

    That doesn’t follow, since only a tiny handful of the world’s population have an important say in how their jurisdictions go about making policy.

    We Greens have amost no interest in the ebb and flow of ALP fortune. Certainly, we aren’t going to surrender principle to help the ALP save the furniture and be damned for all time — especially when this is entirely a problem of the ALP’s making. If there are any amongst us who fancy that course, there’s nothing stopping them from joining the ALP. The thing is that almost all Greens either left the ALP or chose us over them precisely because they realised that this course was the road to ethical ruin.

  17. duncan @ 13, I didn’t say either of those items were significant in terms of climate change. I thought they were interesting.

    The kauri rings is an attempt by NZ scientists to understand what is going on with the ENSO influence. I wouldn’t think it is conclusive by itself. The notion that the Kauri grow more during El Nino is interesting in that I would have expected the opposite.

    People always tend to be interested in the weather. I made no attempt to link it with climate change, nor did the article. You might consider, however, what you see in the map against this paragraph from my post about Will Steffen’s 2009 report :

    Progress has been made in sorting out what is happening with the climate in Australia. The shorter story is that there is a clear climate change signal in the drying pattern in south-west Australia in recent decades and in the lower edge of the Murray-Darling Basin. There is some evidence of a climate change signal in the drying trend in Victoria and the lower half of South Australia. In Northern NSW and Queensland it is too early to say. There is evidence of increased rainfall in the north-west from the Asian brown cloud. There is no clear pattern yet of changes in El Nino.

    Sorry I haven’t had time to restore the images which got lost when we changed servers.

  18. @13 seems deeply confused…

    Have these records back through the medieval warm period, little ice age, etc and maybe we can see something.

    Well, the 700-year old kauri tree-rings do go back far enough to the period you are after…and they are becoming more wobbly and volatile in the recent past…yet you dismiss this as not significant in one breath, while calling for long-term records in the next breath. Confused much?

    But, having decided to call for long-term records, the records you call for are irrelevant. There was no ‘medieval warm period’ or ‘little ice age’ in the region where kauri trees grow. The MWP and LIA were North Atlantic phenomena…They would not show up in Kauri tree rings because they took place on the other side of the world.

    Sorry duncan, but your first objection is self-contradictory (there are long-term records, they’re called old trees, but you dismiss them)…and your second objection concerning the MWP and LIA can be filed under ‘not even wrong’. You are calling for long-term records of something that wasn’t occurring in the region under study, to validate a tree-ring proxy phenomenon you consider to be of no consequence. que?

    This may shock you, but if there were reliable centuries-old records available, scientists would use them…they really would! But since we only have the data we have, not the data we would like to have, we have to make do. For you to object to this state of affairs is churlish at best. To further imply that we can’t claim to know anything because the oldest reliable records start ~150 years ago is just…well…a bit too cute.

  19. Mercurius,

    my point is you can’t claim any signal which is a large proportion of the sample set to be a ‘significant’ difference in a signal.

    200/700 years is not, and neither is 15/100.

    Direct records of the MWP and LIA in the Southern Hemisphere are, of course, somewhat limited; however there has been plenty of study concluding that solid proxies for climate show that both also occured there.

    Try here for starters:

  20. On the subject of hydrofluoric acid: I’m not so worried about its use. I would expect any workers to be gloved up, goggled up and masked up anyway, to prevent them contaminating the silicon by sneezing.

    It’s the disposal that concerns me. Where do you put the stuff after use?

  21. Down and out,

    disposal probably involves neutralising with a base… make it harmless then tip down the drain.

  22. Duncan: I doubt it’s as simple as bunging in some Sodium hydroxide and flushing.

    Fluorine is more toxic than Chlorine in general, and a lot of the fluoride-silicon chemicals (which are along for the ride) sound pretty nasty in particular.

  23. D&O.. I was being a bit facetious.

    I would assume:
    acid+bad stuff + base -> bad stuff (precipitate) + water

    Water (to local environmental standards) is flushed down the drain, other stuff removed.

    Lax environmental laws is one reason cheap solar cells (for example) are made in China.

  24. duncan, the authors are much more cautious about their claims then the press release would suggest. They compare their results to other proxies. They also specifically address the effects of the LIA.

    From the paper conclusions:

    Our results indicate that ENSO-related activity in the NZ region was reduced during the LIA, then increased as global temperatures recovered. Whether owing to centennial-scale waxing and waning of ENSO activity, or to a major reorganization of teleconnections, our results support the contention that past global temperature changes were associated with significant conjoint ENSO changes. Further changes as the world continues to warm is a reasonable hypothesis and a plausible future is a warmer world characterized by more-dynamic ENSO-related inter-annual variability. In this context, our results are broadly consistent with arguments that the twentieth century was the most ENSO active of the past few centuries, although we do not claim uniqueness in the context of millennial-scale variability.

    They note that there are some problems with the assessed variability back to 1300-1400 because of issues with the sampling (i.e. samples don’t overlap quite so nicely and there aren’t as many of them so things are noiser), especially because none of the other ENSO teleconnection regions for which we have proxies show such variability. If you’ve got access to the paper then you can have a good look at the techniques they use to control the uncertainty that you’re worried about.

    Also, I’m not quite sure about your ‘200/700 years not being significant’. You can certainly pull a statistically significant trend out of a fifth of a dataset. What matters is the sampling period relative to the characteristic timescale of the phenomenon that you’re sampling. In the case of ENSO, you’re looking at a characteristic timescale of about 5 years, so 200 years is certainly long enough to claim significance for the study.

    Brian: The growth in El Nino years is odd from an Australian viewpoint. IIRC a warm ENSO event in Australia ~ cool in NZ and vice versa. Or maybe you’re just subconsciously supporting the West Island climate hegemony! 🙂

    Interestingly, the kauri-ENSO correlation appears particularly strong, as the authors note:

    In fact, correlations between kauri tree-ring chronologies and the Southern Oscillation index are much stronger than with local temperature and precipitation…

  25. Jess, it hadn’t occurred to me that the effect of ENSO might be different in NZ, being the same side of the Pacific and all.

    Thanks for the report on the article. I picked up the the authors were being careful not to over-egg what they found, but their suggestion that “a plausible future is a warmer world characterized by more-dynamic ENSO-related inter-annual variability” does seem reasonable. To be confirmed or not by other research elsewhere.

  26. The really scary thing about the seed issue and the Monsato’s of the world is that seed diversity is being reduced.

    India, the home of cotton, has lost its cotton seed diversity

    Scary because it is the diversity that increases our chances of rapidly breeding/identifying varieties that can handle the problems of the future.

  27. #28 John D,

    Is seed diversity really being reduced? We hear this claim frequently but I don’t know the extent and have never seen anybody offer numbers. This is not to say that there are not some instances, but is it in fact, a generalized problem? (Other than of course through loss of biodiversity due to habitat destruction).

    Another gripe I have with some of this stuff is the elevation of “farmers saving their own seeds” to be some sort of absolute principle. This seems to me to be utter nonsense and definitely not something that has suddenly become an issue because of the advent of GM crops. Many crops are F1 hybrids long predating GM and you cannot save the seeds. Even if they germinate they will not grow true to form and not predictably inherit the desirable characteristics of their parents. They are used of course for reasons of higher yield, better disease resistance etc etc.

    The seeds are produced in facilities where pollination is tightly controlled and cannot be produced under conditions of open pollination. Farmers buy and use them because it is economically much better than saving their own seeds. I cannot see why, in principle, such considerations should not also apply to poor farmers in developing countries and they may very well benefit from NOT saving their own seeds.

    This is not to say that there are not serious issues with sharp practices and that IPR needs a good hard look at, but this stuff is too important to be submerged under a flood of emotional button pushing.

  28. Fran@12
    On the question of Govt intervention in power generation try this”The Department of Energy is providing the Southern Company with $8.3 billion in taxpayer-based loan guarantees for its new nuclear plants, part of a multi-billion dollar loan guarantee fund that has been established for new nuclear power plants”.
    Note that they now have a one step licencing program – build and operate- one stop shop no more checks and balances – any heap of shit gets to operate..
    Now rune that line of subsidies for solar power past me again 🙂

  29. quokka, Vandana Shiva has been saying what she’s been saying about the situation of small farmers in India for a very long time. When she participated in 2 minutes silence for the victims of 9/11 in 2001 she had just been comforting the relatives of some farmers who had taken their own lives and contemplated the structural violence that was being wrought by trade policies.

    She does have a belief that we need to maintain contact with nature in a way that industrial agriculture doesn’t or we are going to be doomed as a species. You can call that utter nonsense and emotional button pushing, but I’m not certain that she is wrong.

    I don’t have figures on how many cotton varieties have been lost and I’m not sure who’s counting, but memory tells me that farmers in Orissa were using about 130 before GM and these were being replaced by about three.

  30. Quokka: In the case of hybrid seeds the farmer could make a commercial decision whether to buy hybrid, use retained seeds or buy cheaper. No special laws were needed to protect the producer of hybrid seeds from farmers who chose to use their own. Even so, I wonder how many farmer Fred’s special seeds (which may have had a special gene) have been lost.

    GM is far more serious because the seeds from GM plants can be used for the next crop. As a result laws have been introduced to protect the GM seed suppliers and block the use of seeds that may have the protected seed because of pollen drift from a nearby field of GM plants. Some countries now insist that only registered seeds can be used by farmers. Suggest you read the linked article.

  31. Quokka @ 29

    Is seed diversity really being reduced? We hear this claim frequently but I don’t know the extent and have never seen anybody offer numbers.


    “”According to FAO estimates 75% of the genetic diversity of crop plants were lost in the last century. A survey by RAFI found that approximately 97% of U.S. Department of Agriculture lists have been lost in the last 80 years.

    Filipino farmers once grew thousands of kinds of rice. Today only two varieties account for 98% of the area sown. Mexico has lost an estimated 80% of its varieties of maize. Of 8000 traditional rice varieties being grown in China in 1949, only 50 remained in 1970.

    The main reason for the loss of traditional varieties is their replacement by modern varieties. The expansion of cash crop agriculture and pasture to feed cattle has contributed to the decrease in the amount of land farmed by small farmers who are more likely to rely upon and preserve the landraces.

    Modern varieties are superior in yield, but for this they often rely on high ammonts of inputs, fertilisers and irrigation. Pesticides are relied upon because they lack the breadth of resistance to pests and the adaptability of the less uniform landraces.””

  32. Respond to Fautusnotes over @23 on the spin thread.

    Faustusnotes, that leak story is surprisingly carried by SMH this morning

    The documents show Professor Carter receives a ”monthly payment” of $US1667 ($1550) as part of a program to pay ”high-profile individuals who regularly and publicly counter the alarmist [anthropogenic global warming] message”.

    Professor Carter did not deny he was being paid by The Heartland Institute, but would not confirm the amount, or if the think tank expected anything in return for its money.


    There is a hint ofmore to come. Apparently it is not an illegal hack but a genuine insider leak.

  33. Ootz, it’s interesting to compare The Heartland Institute’s response to climategate with their response to this leak. They had a ball with climategate, including accusing scientists of using AGW science to get funding, and of being corrupted by govt funding. They demanded inquiries and open release of more information. They don’t seem so happy about the same approach being applied to them.

    WUWT is also running scared, since he’s been outed as being funded to produce a website that presents NOAA data. On the surface a good idea, but given that the funders are the Heartland Institute and they are now on record as wanting to prevent science teaching in schools, can we trust the results that the WUWT website would produce?

    They are a pack of hypocrites and arseholes.

  34. “They are a pack of hypocrites and arseholes.”

    The Heartland Institute is using taxpayers money ?

  35. Yup vile drug pushers they are, just like the mafia, a systemic cancer.Anti-Science Blogger Admits Heartland Institute’s ‘Special Project’ To Distort Temperature Data

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration does not have the resources to present their data in a more public-friendly form because of the endless assault on government by groups like the Heartland Institute and their right-wing funders. Last November, Republicans even killed a no-cost plan to streamline the agency to provide better services to the public.

    I am waiting for the relevation of carbon tax doomster Alan Moran’s pay check to keep his w@nk tank afloat.

  36. I wonder what will happen now that guys like Carter/Lindzen are outed as receiving money directly from Heartland (although I think this was already insinuated previously – it’s certainly common knowledge in scientific circles).

    I’m not sure it will change many minds in the denialist community but it might stop the mainstream media running to him for comment on matters climate if his reputation is sufficiently besmirched.


    Prof Bob Carter receives a “monthly payment” of $US1667 ($1550) as part of a program to pay “high-profile individuals who regularly and publicly counter the alarmist [anthropogenic global warming] message”.

    Then he claims (LOL!) the Heatland Institute do not expect anything in return “That suggestion is silly and offensive – a kindergarten level argument,” Professor Carter told the Herald.

    Actually, Bob, its self-evident. Your attempt to deny the bleeding ovious is pre-schooler stunt here.

    Not much money is it, really, compared to some others?

    The only thing worse than being a whore is being a cheap whore, Bob.

  38. Johnny Rotten, the Heartland Institute (HI) is a “not-for-profit” organization which receives tax breaks from the federal government and is bound by strict rules on lobbying. Part of the investigation into HI by John Mashey includes investigation of its tax returns and lobbying activities, which suggest that at the very least it is playing very fast and loose with the laws governing “think” tanks.

    So yes, it is in receipt of taxpayer money through its not for profit status.

    Another denialist, I think it’s “Isdo”(?) is listed as receiving about 12000 US$ a month. That’s more than most of the reputable climate scientists are earning to do actual real research that benefits humanity. Yet he somehow expects us to believe that this funding, received from an organization that makes it clear it only bankrolls people who support its mission, does not influence his opinions.

    Imagine the hullabaloo if a climate scientist were receiving money from greenpeace and didn’t declare it …

  39. When senility kicks in and I go totally emeritus, I’ll be out there for the kickbacks, for sure.


    (© Spike Milligan for The Goonshow)

  40. FWIW I’ve met Bob Carter. Why the Heartland Institute would give him money and why he would accept it, I really don’t know. It seems unwise.

    As to influence, my impression is that there is a near prefect alignment of views and ideology, so the question of influence and obligation becomes irrelevant. He says he is just following where the science leads him. I accept that he believes that. As far as I know he does give his time free, so perhaps it is seen as a recompense for making himself available.

  41. Why the Heartland Institute would give him money and why he would accept it, I really don’t know

    Don’t be so coy Brian. Ok … only if you want to be.

    Plainly the money matters to him or he’d not accept it. That suggests he thinks it significant. Perhaps he’d not have accepted it if he’d thought it would be made public.

    It smells bad. This is the chap who smeared public figures as “horsemen of the climate apocalypse”. That doesn’t smell like “following the science” to me. It smells like someone singing for his supper.

  42. “It smells like someone singing for his supper.”

    Are you talking about Al Gore or Tim Flannery here?

  43. It smells like someone singing for his supper.

    What ? You never say that about Tim Flannery.
    I wonder why. Selective smelling ?

  44. Johnny and jumpy, I really don’t have much taste foir extending this line of discussion out to all and sundry.

    Fran, what I’m saying is that I think Carter honestly believes in what he’s saying. I understand his real area of expertise is in exploring what sea levels were in the Miocene. I think he falsely thinks this qualifies him to be a climate scientist. I think John Quiggin’s term “delusionist” is probably the most apt descriptor. It’s a harsh judgement, but that’s what I think. Nothing more or less, but with a heavy ideological load.

  45. Brian, maybe that’s why he’s little league where the payroll is concerned – 1600 compared to Idso’s 12000.

    Jumpy and Johnny Rotten,you can’t tell the difference between a paid propagandist and a scientist. You should think about how that lack of discrimination will serve you in contributing to public debate.

    Or maybe you think the Heartland Institute’s fine work on denying hte link between smoking and cancer was all about the “science”?

  46. “you can’t tell the difference between a paid propagandist and a scientist”

    Flannery fits the paid propagandist label perfectly.

  47. I’m not a huge fan of Flannery — John Howard’s favourite environmentalist — but at least in his case his money was above the table rather than in a metaphoric brown paper bag given out at the back of some hotel.

    Flannery’s scientific work (as distinct from his general writing) all stands up. Not so in the case of Carter.

  48. johnny rotten, Idso has form for deliberately misrepresenting the conclusions of climate science papers – finding papers that say “the ocean is acidifying” for example, and carefully quoting them to pretend they say the opposite. Of course, these papers being behind a paywall, we can’t find the truth unless we are scientists. Consider this example. Idso’s CO2 Science website actually runs a database of these misrepresentations.

    This is what he’s paid 12000 a month to do: to actively lie about the scientific record. Not just to spruik his side of an argument, but to deliberately misrepresent the conclusions of legitimate scientists’ work. Do you think that is equivalent to Flannery’s behavior?

  49. With respect Brian, Barry Jones had Carter nailed back in 2009

    Prof. Carter’s central theme can be summarised as ‘Scientists are corrupt but lobbyists are pure’.

    Today Graham Readfearn in Dollars, documents and denial: a tangled web over on the drum:

    “Professional scientists cannot have their opinion bought,” he (Carter) said, adding it was not important who funded research, but whether or not it was correct.

    This is an odd assertion for Professor Carter to make, given that he has regularly over the years attempted to suggest that mainstream climate scientists are motivated by research dollars.

    As far back as 2006, in the UK’s The Daily Telegraph, Professor Carter wrote: “scientists are under intense pressure to conform with the prevailing paradigm of climate alarmism if they wish to receive funding for their research.” Opinion?

    Oddly, on Professor Carter’s webpage he chooses to state that he receives no research funding from “special interest organisations such as environmental groups, energy companies or government departments”.

    Yet, if this funding doesn’t matter, then why make this statement? If he takes no interest in who funds his projects, then how would he know if he is receiving funding from “special interest groups” like those he describes.

    I pointed out to Professor Carter that it was standard practice for scientists to disclose the funders of research when they publish in peer-reviewed journals. This, said Professor Carter, was “a very quaint and old fashioned practice”.

    Not only has Carter’s science been blown out of the water previously, now this leak has pulled his home spun carpet of ethics from underneath his feet, to put it politely.

  50. If Carter is a serious scientist then he’s well aware that who funds you is considered very important in the scientific world. Try publishing an article that was funded by the tobacco industry in a medical journal and see how far “oooh, but it’s the quality of the arguments that count!” will get you. Or ask the Lancet how very very much they wished Andrew Wakefield had declared his funding sources when he submitted his fraudulent article…

    To slime out of this one, these guys are going to have to argue against the standard practice in scientific publishing, that was established after many, many cases of fraud and malpractice. But then, corrupting the scientific process has been their goal all along, hasn’t it?

  51. also, declaring funding sources is not a “quaint and old-fashioned practice,” it’s quite modern and it’s tightened up significantly in just the last 15 years. Precisely because of the kind of fraud that people like the Carters and Singers of the world have been up to.

  52. “Is anyone else beginning to deduce the existence of a shared song-sheet in the close vicinity of jumpy and johnny rotten?”

    Great minds think alike 🙂

  53. His scientific analysis and conclusions leading to many,many predictions about the climate have nearly all failed.

    I know you’ve heard this before and it didn’t register then, so probably wont now, but when it comes to climate science Tim Flannery is a science communicator, populariser, interpreter (and well qualified to be so), he is not and never has claimed to be a climate scientist. To the best of my knowledge he does not undertake scientific analysis of climate science hypotheses and data. Nobody credible looks to him for primary data or predictions.

    Bob Carter on the other hand does pretend to play in the primary field of research. With embarrassing results for him every time, having papers withdrawn due to schoolboy errors of arithmetic etc.

  54. I could list them if you wish.

    Please do Johnny.

    Actually, I think that this particular JR is here for our amusement.

  55. I could list them if you wish.

    Note in advance: material sourced from Piers Akerman, Andrew Bolt, Jo (Codling) Nova, will be deemed out of order. The above professional loudmouths are reckless verballers of those they regard as their cultural opponents.

    In particular, claims that “it will never rain in QLD again” (or slight variants) will, if advanced, be ruled as unserious.

  56. Wilful,
    Lomborg is barking at the wrong lizard.
    The cost of generating electricity with PV is now at about network price parity – in much of Australia. Most of the installations use German technology supplied by German companies.
    As I have written elsewhere, if solar is properly distributed on a large enough scale and linked into a global transmission network it will provide ultra reliable 24 hour power to the entire world. No need for energy storage; apart from on the LV distribution network to reduce peak loading on the network – not on the generation source.
    Problem with people such as Lomborg is that they have no imagination, all they can see are Fukishima’s across the globe. Pathetic.


  57. This is a mob i heard about on ABC radio today ( on the country hour, Australias longest running radio show)

    They’re after data on observed climate data of SE Australia going back 500 years,anything, even aboriginal stories on animal availability and migration.Little known scientific data. Anything before Official BOM data.
    They are compiling a ” one stop shop ” for this info and i recon folks here may show interest and help out.

  58. Brian – I too have met Bob Carter, when he has been speaking at conferences. I think you’re right that he genuinely believes that he’s correct – but I suspect he just suffers from an astonishing amount of Dunning-Kruger Syndrome. It can’t be that much fun when everyone else at the conference is laughing behind your back because your talk is studded with undergraduate-esque errors.

    And it’s the old problem for skeptics – if climate change isn’t happening and human-induced, then you’ve got a lot of fundamental physics to re-explain. To claim that all physics is wrong on the basis of some frankly sh*tty statistical fits to a cherry-picked climate proxy takes some chutzpah.

  59. Jess, I got the impression that his genuine love was for his paleo marine geology stuff, bringing up sediments and trying to figure out what happened 15 million years ago. I would question whether that is a good basis for understanding the issues involved in climate change as it affects us today.

    But yes, he is very confident, and more than happy to do his duty to set us all to rights.

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