JoNova Takes a Classic Climate Denial Myth on SkyNews Outsiders

Climate science denier, so-called “science communicator”, and blogger JoNova went on SkyNews’s Outsiders programme last weekend.

Outsiders, in case you didn’t know, is hosted by Ross Cameron and Rowan Dean who together think human-caused climate change is a myth.

SkyNews is a bit of a haven for climate science denialists, what with Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt and the Outsiders crew. Continue reading “JoNova Takes a Classic Climate Denial Myth on SkyNews Outsiders”

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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.”

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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?”

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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?”

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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”

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Launching Positive Feedback – a podcast on climate science, denial and all that other stuff

positive feedbackI’ve launched a new podcast called Positive Feedback that will look at “climate science, denial, and all that stuff in between.”

Right now, it’s an entirely independent operation.

I’m drawing on the few radio skills I gained from a couple of years at BBC Radio more than a decade ago (mostly forgotten) to produce the whole thing myself.

I’m hoping to be able to cover both ends of climate change – from the hard science to the way I think it gets mangled and misrepresented in the minds of the public.

Podcasts are booming, but that’s not really why I’m doing it. Continue reading “Launching Positive Feedback – a podcast on climate science, denial and all that other stuff”

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Column in The Australian calls climate denialist Malcolm Roberts a “complete nutter”. A glitch in the matrix?

I’ve written plenty of stories over the years having a go at the way Rupert Murdoch’s loss-making newspaper The Australian covers climate science.

So it would be a bit churlish if I didn’t point out when its coverage is, shall we say, a little more mainstream.

But first, some context. Continue reading “Column in The Australian calls climate denialist Malcolm Roberts a “complete nutter”. A glitch in the matrix?”

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More sophistry from The Australian on coral reef science in wake of Great Barrier Reef bleaching

Lizard071 - May 2016
Bleached and algae covered coral at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, May 2016: Credit: XL Catlin Seaview Survey

If you’ve been reading The Australian recently, you might think that coral reef science is in some kind of crisis.

The Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper has been attempting to spin the worst coral bleaching event in the reef’s recorded history as a beat-up by environmentalists and high-profile scientists.

It isn’t.

The latest instalment came earlier today from the newspaper’s environment editor Graham Lloyd, under the print headline “The bleaching of parts of the reef is dividing the scientific world” and online under the headline “Great barrier battleground over coral bleaching.”

Lloyd seems to be trying to construct a narrative that the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef and the subsequent death of about a quarter of all the corals has opened some sort of schism among scientists.

The bleaching, writes Lloyd, has “unleashed long-simmering tensions over the quality of reef research.”

This is, in my view, bollocks [sorry kids].

Lloyd includes three individuals to back up his claims. They have two things in common. Continue reading “More sophistry from The Australian on coral reef science in wake of Great Barrier Reef bleaching”

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Were historical pictures of reef degradation really misused, as The Australian newspaper claimed?

Coral death at Lizard island after the 2016 mass bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef: Credit XL Catlin Seaview Survey
Coral death at Lizard island after the 2016 mass bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef: Credit XL Catlin Seaview Survey

The Australian published a convoluted story this weekend about the Great Barrier Reef and the claims of a scientist over some old pictures.

Remembering for a minute the reef has just gone through its worst bleaching event on record leading to the death of a quarter of the corals – a huge and historic deal that will impact the reef for the rest of our lifetimes.

I’ve written a few stories about that recently – including this piece looking at a recent dodgy editorial in The Australian.

But anyway, over the weekend The Australian published a story about Professor Peter Ridd, of James Cook University, who had apparently been disciplined for criticising colleagues and the the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) for using some old pictures of reef near Stone Island to show how coral cover had declined over time.

According to Graham Lloyd, The Australian’s environment editor, Ridd said the pictures – from between 1890 and 2012 – didn’t show for sure the reefs were declining. Scientists needed to be more sceptical, he said.

For kicking up a stink, Ridd was reportedly almost fired.

The Australian also reported that Ridd had sent scientists out to check on the reef in question – valiantly displaying the kind of scientific skepticism that was so lacking in others. Some areas were OK, The Australian said.

But the story seems to me to be built on two supremely flaky arguments. Continue reading “Were historical pictures of reef degradation really misused, as The Australian newspaper claimed?”

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The faulty science of the Climate Hustle documentary

One of the United States’ most visible climate science denialists, Marc Morano, has a new movie coming out that he claims will “rock the climate debate”.  It won’t.

What it will do, though, is apparently rehash some old climate science denial talking points.

Hiding away on the website of the documentary’s producers was a segment destined for the film.  The segment put some slick graphics to the old myth that because carbon dioxide is only a small part of the atmosphere, that it couldn’t have an effect on the climate.

So I asked some leading climate scientists to look at it, and then produced a bit of a critique of my own.

I’ve written a few pieces now about the documentary for DeSmog – how it’ll reheat old denialist tricks, how there’s a particular religious zeal behind the director and how the premiere was skilfully stage managed when even the red carpet was fake.

Anyway, here’s the vid. UPDATE: Marc Morano has contacted DeSmog to say the clip was not in the final version of the film.  I’ve clarified this in the YouTube clip and the clarification also appears on the DeSmog story that went with it.  I also apologise. The clip was on the public website of Climate Hustle’s production company, CDR Communications (screenshot here) , and was marked “Climate Hustle”. As of right now, 7 Jan 2016, the clip remains there. I should say also, that Mr Morano and CFACT executive director Craig Rucker both told me outside their Paris screening that they would have welcomed me to see the film, but that it was full.  People in the screening later told myself and DeSmog editor Brendan DeMelle that the theatre was in fact only about 70 per cent full.

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