How many things did Andrew Bolt get wrong about the sacking of climate contrarian Peter Ridd? Ready, set… go.

James Cook University has fired marine scientist and climate science contrarian Professor Peter Ridd and as predictably as night follows day, Andrew Bolt is all upset.

As a very brief summary, Ridd has long been associated with groups that have misrepresented the state of climate science, he has been speaking openly for more than a decade about his views which, to give you an even shorter summary, is that the Great Barrier Reef is doing just fine and is not threatened by global warming or industrial activity.

But back to Bolt, who devoted his editorial on his Sky News show to Ridd’s case. In his trademark righteous tone, Bolt began: “A scandal in one of our universities,” before weaving the case into the politics of energy prices and free speech.

 

But how many of Bolt’s points did he muck up? On your marks, get set… go. Continue reading “How many things did Andrew Bolt get wrong about the sacking of climate contrarian Peter Ridd? Ready, set… go.”

Share

Peter Ridd and the climate science deniers – group think, anyone?

In some ways, the way the climate science denial community and the conservative echo chamber has rallied around Professor Peter Ridd is impressive.

In other ways, it is entirely predictable given the James Cook University academic is serving up two of their favourite dishes in one serving- a supposed fight for “freedom of speech” against the establishment, and a rejection of the science linking human activity to climate change and, in this case in particular, the Great Barrier Reef.

The story starts in mid-2016 when, through the pages of The Australian,  Ridd was making what I considered to dubious claims about alleged misuse of pictures of the Great Barrier Reef. JCU issued a censure against Ridd.

Since then, Ridd has continued to claim that fellow JCU scientists should not be trusted, leading to allegations of serious misconduct from JCU that Ridd had repeatedly breached their code of conduct . Ridd hit back and filed a case against them. It’s ongoing.

All the usual suspects have had a run at Ridd’s story.  The Daily Caller, FoxNews, Andrew Bolt (lots of times), The Australian’s Graham Lloyd (lots of times) James Delingpole in Breitbart, Alan Jones (loads), Rowan Dean, and so on. Continue reading “Peter Ridd and the climate science deniers – group think, anyone?”

Share

One Nation’s website has fake quote from former UN chief

Sometimes, climate science denialists make stuff up.  Sometimes, their distinct lack of scepticism has them pushing around fake quotes.

I’ve written about that for DeSmogBlog, where I tracked down the source of some of the most popular “quote mining” that goes on.

Here’s one example.  On the website of One Nation, is a page that claims to reveal that environmental sustainability issues from the United Nations under the Agenda 21 banner is not a non-binding set of recommendations, but is instead “just communism resurrected in a new guise.”  Agenda 21 is a whole world of conspiracy theorising.

On the One Nation page, is this quote:

At the U.N. Summit at Rio in 1992, the Conference Secretary-General, Maurice Strong, said “Isn’t the only hope for this planet that the industrialized civilization collapse?  Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?”

The suggestion, clearly, is that Strong had a secret plot to destroy industrialised civilisation. Bang to rights?

If you put that quote into your favourite search engine, you’ll find it reproduced on hundreds of pages.  The problem is, though, that Maurice Strong did not say those words at that conference.   Continue reading “One Nation’s website has fake quote from former UN chief”

Share

The Anthropocene – a special Brisbane Writers Festival podcast edition

Panelists at the brisbane Writers festival discuss the anthropocene
Panelists at the Brisbane Writers Festival discuss the anthropocene

Will it be the sudden emergence in rock strata of layers of chicken bones, the well dispersed deposits of plastic or the leftovers from nuclear bomb tests?

It could be all of these things, and more, that scientists will use to mark the beginning of a new geological epoch made entirely by humans.

Personally, I’d offer up the leaf-blower. Continue reading “The Anthropocene – a special Brisbane Writers Festival podcast edition”

Share

How a 1969 snorkelling trip was “cooler” than the moon landing

 

It’s 1969 and NASA had put two men on the moon. About 500 million people huddled in front of TV sets around the world.

But for a ten-year-old Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, the thing that really got him excited that year wasn’t Neil Armstrong’s “one small step for man”.

Instead, it was a snorkelling trip with his grandfather to what “probably wasn’t much of a reef” in the Whitsunday Islands.

Butterfly fish

“I just remember seeing this butterfly fish.. this gorgeous creature… orange and white with a long nose, swimming among the coral,” says Ove. Continue reading “How a 1969 snorkelling trip was “cooler” than the moon landing”

Share

A response to “lunatic farmer” Joel Salatin

Joel Salatin at Polyface Farm in Virginia. Credit: cheeseslave, CC BY 2.0

So a couple of weeks ago I wrote a story for DeSmog reporting on self-described “lunatic farmer” Joel Salatin’s views about climate change and how he thought it might not be caused by humans.

There’s been quite a reaction to the story, mainly through Facebook discussions sparked by Salatin himself and by others who are part of what you might broadly describe as the sustainable farming movement (this is an entirely imperfect term though, given the diversity of thought among the great many people looking for alternative ways to grow healthy food in a way that has less impact on the environment).

I’ve been accused by one Australian figure, Tammi Jonas, the interim president of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance, of writing an “unproductive and divisive” article that was “pure click bait ‘gotcha’ rubbish.” More on that in a bit.

Salatin penned a long response on his Polyface farms Facebook page that was liked almost 3000 times and shared 1000 times more.

So I thought I should go over some of the responses and clear a few things up.  First, some background. Continue reading “A response to “lunatic farmer” Joel Salatin”

Share

Will Australia have ‘clean coal’ questions in a new citizenship test?

Is the Australian Government about to introduce a bunch of questions about “clean coal” and climate change into its citizenship test?

If you’d read stories and reaction late last week, then you might have thought that it was.

But it isn’t.

High profile TV presenters, politicians and online media outlets were all sparked into indignation by a story in The Australian.

Continue reading “Will Australia have ‘clean coal’ questions in a new citizenship test?”

Share

Andrew Bolt brings readers news from climate denialist echo chamber – three years late

“Wow,” proclaimed Andrew Bolt as he shared a clip on his blog a few days ago, “a brilliant smackdown of a CNN host by a climate sceptic and scientist, John Coleman. Great stuff.”

“Wow,” proclaimed me just now, “that clip’s nearly three years old and John Coleman’s not even a scientist. Fake stuff.”

That’s the short version. But let’s break this down a bit for those who like some detail. Continue reading “Andrew Bolt brings readers news from climate denialist echo chamber – three years late”

Share

How climate science denier Senator Malcolm Roberts turned warmer into colder

Sometimes watching YouTube videos is a lot like eating your favourite flavour of chip, fudge or whatever else it is that you think is moreish.

You watch one video and then, on that panel on the right hand side, up pops a whole load of others that YouTube thinks you’ll like.

No doubt because of my years of writing about climate science denial, YouTube taunts me with all manner of climate science denialist crap – some quite sophisticated, some not. Continue reading “How climate science denier Senator Malcolm Roberts turned warmer into colder”

Share

Hey Andrew Bolt. The guy in that picture isn’t who you say it is, and Richard Lindzen is totally not a world leading climate scientist

Every now and again I drop over to News Corp climate science denialist Andrew Bolt’s blog just to check that he’s still doing the stuff he’s always done, like misrepresenting climate science and giving his readers and followers bum information.

The answer is still yes, although Bolt’s post from a few days ago caught my eye for another reason.

The host of Sky’s Bolt Report pointed his readers to a lecture by Richard Lindzen.  Bolt has a picture. Here’s how it looked.

The first thing to say about this is the dude in the picture is not Richard Lindzen.

That’s actually Penn State climate professor and glaciologist Richard Alley delivering a lecture at MIT in November 2016.

You might think Bolt would have seen the mistake, given that he describes Lindzen as “one of the world’s most famous climate scientists.”

Yeh.  Nah.   Continue reading “Hey Andrew Bolt. The guy in that picture isn’t who you say it is, and Richard Lindzen is totally not a world leading climate scientist”

Share