Friday, October 29, 2010

Mann, Ehrlich, and Rahmstorf - Devil's gift to the Tea Party

In a post titled "Dan Greenberg meets the climate scientists" Roger Pielke Jnr has posted a few emails by Dan Greenberg who reviewed Pielke's book The Climate Fix for Nature., including this one:

Dear Professors Mann, Ehrlich, and Rahmstorf,
Your correspondence concerning my review of Roger Pielke's book "Climate Fix" has provided me with a deeper understanding of the widespread public skepticism toward climate science. In your hands, apple pie and motherhood would come under public suspicion. Have you considered taking a remedial reading course? Can you comprehend the difference between a book reviewer's own beliefs and the reviewer's presentation of the beliefs expressed by the author of the book under review? Apparently not. Furthermore, your insinuation of an undisclosed relationship between me and a conservative think tank is preposterous. In 2006, I participated in a panel discussion sponsored by the Marshall Institute---as I have done with numerous other organizations, including the Brookings Institution, RAND, AAAS, and various academic societies and universities. Common practice for journalists. Nor did I, as you allege, write a report, or anything, for the Marshall Institute. The panel's words were transcribed and published by the Institute. I wrote nothing for them. You guys are the devil's gift to the Tea Party and other climate-change wackos.
Sincerely, Dan Greenberg

ABC are yet to report on The Climate Fix, books by ABC staff however seem to be getting a lot of attention.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Leeching - Part 2: a hypothetical ethical dilemma

Here’s a hypothetical ethical dilemma.

Let’s pretend you are employed by a mulitmedia corporation to host a TV/Radio/Internet program. You are also an author. You have written a new book and, at no cost to you, your employer has assisted in its publication. The book even carries the organisation’s logo which is well respected by the community. Your employer allows the book to be promoted on the station for which you work and by the corporation’s other media arms. You promote the book during your program, on your internet profile page, and you use the organisation’s facilities to help promote the book. You share in the profits from the sale of the book.

The broadcaster is funded by the tax payer.

Some questions:

1. What proportion of profits from the sale of the book goes to you, and what proportion goes back to the corporation?
2. Will you be donating your share of the profits to a charity?
3. Our hypothetical organisation’s Editorial Policy, which you are obliged to follow, contains the following statements: "Announcements about activities which result in financial benefit to the presenter may not be broadcast within that presenter’s regular program. and "Online announcements for activities which result in financial benefit to a presenter may not be hosted on that presenter’s profile page." Were you aware of these policy statements? If so, how do you justify the intense promotion of your book on your regular program? If not, will you desist from further promotions? Do you consider that you have breached this policy?
4. Given some of the profit falls to you, what contribution have you personally made to costs associated with promoting and advertising the book?
5. Given you receive profits from the sale of the book; do you feel comfortable using tax-payers money to promote the book in this manner?
6. Have you previously promoted other books in which you have an interest on your regular program?
7. Given you receive profits from the sale of the book; do you intend to re-pay taxpayers for promoting and marketing your book?
8. The book contains a collection of works previously broadcast on your program. Given tax-payers have already paid once for the work, why should the tax-payer pay for it again?
9. Given you are found to have breached editorial policy, will you resign?

Would the situation change if the corporation was privately owned? If so why?

Leeches at ABC

photo: istockphoto
Leech: A person who derives profit from others, in a parasitic fashion.

ABC Editorial Policy section 15.4.6 states "Announcements about activities which result in financial benefit to the presenter may not be broadcast within that presenter’s regular program." and section 15.4.11 "Online announcements for activities which result in financial benefit to a presenter may not be hosted on that presenter’s profile page." 

So who's guilty? Stay tuned...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Missing Views: Judith Curry

Climate scientist Judith Curry says: "When I first started reading the CRU emails, my reaction was a visceral one.  While my colleagues seemed focused on protecting the reputations of the scientists involved and assuring people that the “science hadn’t changed,” I immediately realized that this could bring down the IPCC. " 
Read more at Climate Etc as you won't find these views on the ABC.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Missing News: No skill in climate modelling

Earlier this year we reported that ABC failed to cover problems with IPCC climate models that predicted both more and less rainfall in Eastern Australia. Now a new study in Hydrological Sciences Journal compares model outputs with observed data finding "that model projections at point scale are poor, results show that the spatially integrated projections are also poor".

See: A comparison of local and aggregated climate model outputs with observed data 

Authors: G. G. Anagnostopoulosa; D. Koutsoyiannisa; A. Christofidesa; A. Efstratiadisa; N. Mamassisa


We compare the output of various climate models to temperature and precipitation observations at 55 points around the globe. We also spatially aggregate model output and observations over the contiguous USA using data from 70 stations, and we perform comparison at several temporal scales, including a climatic (30-year) scale. Besides confirming the findings of a previous assessment study that model projections at point scale are poor, results show that the spatially integrated projections are also poor. 
Once again ABC provide its audience the climate science it wants you to see.

Climate models: raining on your parade ground

Anonymous writes:
You missed South-east climate changing: CSIRO
The SEACI uses DownScaling to apply the IPCC Global Climate Models to South East Australia. They are actually computer projections of computer projections which as everybody knows result in computer projections! Don't look now fellas but its raining on your parade ground.

With IPCC models predicting more and less rainfall for SE Australia (see our post
Missing News: Climate models are an each way bet) why doesn't the ABC spend some more time actually investigating these claims?
From that post "7 of 15 models predict that mean annual rainfall would decrease by between 2 and 10 per cent, while 8/15 models predict that rainfall would increase by between 2 and 10 per cent by 2030. "

Friday, October 22, 2010

Extreme drought predictions little more than hot air

ABC once again push all the alarmist buttons with this headline "Earth could see extreme drought in 30 years" covering a study that reports on the findings of a new paper titled Drought under global warming: a review by National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) scientist Aiguo Dai. Pity ABC did not spend the time to investigate past the press release. Roger Pielke Snr points out some items missing from ABC's coverage: 

The National Science Foundation Funds Multi-Decadal Climate Predictions Without An Ability To Verify Their Skill

"This UCAR press release and the article itself are not scientifically robust. Buried within this material are the significant cavaets:
1. “Dai cautioned that the findings are based on the best current projections of greenhouse gas emissions. What actually happens in coming decades will depend on many factors, including actual future emissions of greenhouse gases as well as natural climate cycles such as El Niño.”
2. “Future efforts to predict drought will depend on models’ ability to predict tropical SSTs.”
In other words, there is NO way to assess the skill of these models are predicting drought as they have not yet shown any skill in SST predictions on time scales longer than a season, nor natural climate cycles such as El Niño [or the PDO, the NAO, ect].

Funding of multi-decadal regional climate predictions by the National Science Foundation which cannot be verified in terms of accuracy is not only a poor use of tax payer funds, but is misleading policymakers and others on the actual skill that exists in predicting changes in the frequency of drought in the future."

Once again ABC miss the real story.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Missing News:CO2 Control Knobs skewed

ABC science have thus far not reported on a recent paper in Science by Andrew Lacis et al that claims atmospheric CO2 is the principal control knob governing Earth’s temperature. Just in case they do and omit to balance their report with the opinions of other distinguished scientists here are a few comments on the paper of relevance that thoroughly skew it as it rolls off the presses...
Dr Roger A. Pielke Sr.
"Quite frankly, this would be a good Master’s thesis study to show why CO2 is an important climate forcing as well as provide insight into the water cycle feedback. However, it presentation as a major new research insight by Science is puzzling,.."
Dr Roy Spencer:
"As I have already pointed out, the authors have predetermined what they would find. They assert water vapor (as well as cloud cover) is a passive follower of a climate system driven by CO2. They run a model experiment that then “proves” what they already assumed at the outset.
But we also need to recognize that their experiment is misleading in other ways, too

The a paper itself appears to be a re-hash of Lacis comments made at Andy Revkin's Dot Earth blog under the header "Lacis at NASA on Role of CO2 in Warming"

Friday, October 15, 2010

Missing News: BoM admits to hot cities

BOM finally finds UHI in Australia's temperature record, and somehow ABC don't find it newsworthy!

Bureau of Meteorology
Wednesday 13 October 2010

Hot cities

If you thought our cities are getting warmer, you're right.
Bureau of Meteorology researchers have found that daytime temperatures in our cities are warming more rapidly than those of the surrounding countryside and that this is due to the cities themselves.
Bureau climate scientist, Belinda Campbell, said "we've known for a while that city night time temperatures have been warmer because the heat's retained after sunset just that much longer than the countryside, and that city daytime temperatures have been warming too."
"But what we didn't know was whether city day time temperatures were also warmer because of the urbanisation or whether it was due to the overall warming of the planet associated with the enhanced greenhouse effect."
"We can now confidently say that the reason our cities are warmer and warming faster than the surrounding countryside during the day is because of the urbanisation, the fact that all those offices, houses and factories absorb the heat and retain it a little bit longer," Ms Campbell said.

Rest HERE and conference abstract HERE

We wonder how Laverton faired?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

High CO2 kills Krill!

ABC reporters failed to ask pertinent questions and produced this rather scary headline on ABC News Online: Antarctic krill at risk from CO2. The report states:
"Scientists exposed the laboratory krill embryos to varying levels of carbon dioxide, from as little as 380 parts per million, which is the current surface level, to 2,000 parts per million. The embryos exposed to the highest level did not survive."
Here are a few questions ABC did not ask...
Question: And what is the likelihood that atmospheric CO2 levels will reach 2000ppm in the near future?
Question: Given that atmospheric CO2 levels are unlikely to go anywhere near 2000ppm over the course of the next million to 100 million years, how are these alarming but highly improbable results relevant to the current policy debate? 
Question: How did krill perform under conditions that are realistic over the next 100 years, at CO2 levels say of 500ppm? Is it true there was no effect at this level of CO2?
Question: Krill are crustaceans. You have taken krill adapted to current levels of CO2 and placed them in an environment they are not adapted to. As crustaceans are among the most successful animal groups having survived  periods in Earth's history when CO2 levels were more than 4000ppm, what does this say about the capacity for krill to rapidly evolve to future conditions where CO2 levels are higher? As they have survived previous periods of high CO2 would you agree that the odds are that they will be around long into the future, any comment?

Update: Here's some good news for the Krill...
  1. Jessica. A. Ericson, Nicole Hellessey, So Kawaguchi, Stephen Nicol, Peter D. Nichols, Nils Hoem, Patti Virtue. Adult Antarctic krill proves resilient in a simulated high CO2 oceanCommunications Biology, 2018; 1 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s42003-018-0195-3

Where's Aunties Vigorous climate debate

The Australian provides a stinging editorial on media coverage of climate change, damning rival newspaper The Age for its lack of balance in reporting climate change science. 
It concludes:
There was a time when The Age took a broader view of national debate rather than the narrow, monocultural outlook that has permeated its columns in recent years, which has tended to exclude more-mainstream opinion. It is not the media's role to play quasi-censor in an unfolding debate in which so much is at stake economically and socially.

It also works if you substitute "The Age" for "The ABC". Where's Aunties vigorous climate debate?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

BBC told to be balanced, but what about the ABC?

The UK Telegraph reports "BBC told to ensure balance on climate change"

Climate change sceptics are likely to be given greater prominence in BBC documentaries and news bulletins following new editorial guidelines that call for impartiality in the corporation’s science coverage.

Time the light of reason was also shone on the ABC?

Missing News: "pseudoscientific fraud"

Missing News on the ABC
A TOP American professor has quit a prestigious academic body after claiming that global warming has become a “scam” driven by “trillions of dollars” which has “corrupted” scientists.

Professor Harold Lewis, 87, described his “revulsion” at last year’s leaked “Climategate” emails which appeared to show scientists at East Anglia’s world-leading Climate Research Unit rigging evidence in favour of man-made climate change.
He branded man-made climate change “the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud” he has ever seen.
Read the rest at the Express  (click link above)
Or read about it at The Register: Hefty physicist: Global warming is 'pseudoscientific fraud'

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Missing Voices: Pielke Snr on Climate Models

Roger Pielke Snr considers the performance of climate models in this post titled "When is a model a good model" unlikely to feature on the ABC.
"The obvious answer to the questions posed regarding a “good model” in the Hawking and Mlodinow 2010 book is that the models used in the 2007 IPCC report are not “good models” as they fail all four of the requirements."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fear is the key to irresponsibility

Recommended reading:
Fear is the key to irresponsibility by Frank Furedi, an essay in Saturday's Australian.

We live in an era where problems associated with uncertainty and risk are amplified and, through our imagination, mutate swiftly into existential threats. Consequently, it is rare that unexpected natural events are treated as just that. Rather, they are swiftly dramatised and transformed into a threat to human survival. The clearest expression of this tendency is the dramatisation of weather forecasting.
The Australian surpasses, by every measure the ABC in the diversity of its opinion pieces.

On leave

Slower posting over the next few months. If you find an error in an ABC news report use the ABC's online form to let them know.
If you are looking for something to read we recommend the following:
Groupthink, Sensationalism, Naive and Inept Journalism: Climate coverage at the ABC.
Kingsley Amis stated “Laziness has become the chief characteristic of journalism, displacing incompetence”. It’s vice-versa at the ABC.
Part 1 Introduction
Part 2 Cherry Picking the science
Part 3 Putting faith in authority
Part 4 Making Mistakes

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Worst radio interview ever?

We posted on The Science Show's woeful interview with Bob Ward earlier this week. Quadrant Online have now put up an essay on the issue by Tom Harris titled "ABC fails listeners" that is definitely worth reading.
It begins..."What’s the worst radio interview ever conducted on climate change? Could it be Australian? 

Maybe so. ABC radio’s Robyn Williams’ October 2, 2010 interview of UK-based public relations director Bob Ward is certainly a contender for the worldwide gold medal in the ‘worse ever’ category.  The interview, broadcast on the nationally prestigious Science Show, is so bad that listeners don’t need to actually know anything about climate science to spot the most obvious flaws. "
Read the rest at Quadrant Online

Update: See also comments at Bishop Hill: "Bob Ward's efforts to smear absolutely everyone who disagrees with his position on climate change continues apace, with a shameful attackon Bob Carter on ABC radio in Australia."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Melting Pole Ice threat to ports

In a story titled "Arctic sea ice predicted to disappear" ABC's World Today program reported on predictions by US Scientists that the Arctic will be ice free in summer in 20 to 30 years time. Of course it's not the first time such claims have been made, and we suspect it won't be the last. Here's a report from 1952 on the same theme, prior to the advent of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming.
See also The Arctic is Melting says Scientist
The Argus 31 May 1947
"A mysterious warming of the Arctic climate is slowly manifesting itself"

Secrets of the North Sea
The Argus 5 February, 1949
"In Greenland, he said, increased temperatures had be-come particularly noticeable."

The Sydney Morning Herald Saturday 31 May 1947
"The Arctic change is so serious that I hope an international agency can 
speedily be formed to study conditions on a global basis"

The Sunday Herald Sunday 21 May 1950
The director of the Museum of Technology and Applied Science, Mr. A. R. Penfold,said yesterday that Sydney was becoming a hotter place to live in.
"The whole world's weather is taking a turn for the better," he said.
"This has been going on for100 years, but the change has
been most marked in the last two decades.

Monday, October 4, 2010

From the vault - getting it upside down on death rate

Australia’s population
Friday, July 24 2009, PM
On July 22, 2009, in a story about Australia’s growing population, the ABC incorrectly reported that Professor Peter McDonald, Director of the Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute at the Australian National University, said the biggest change affecting future growth in Australia as its population ages will be a declining birth rate. In fact, Professor McDonald told the ABC the biggest change affecting growth will be a rise in deaths.
"From the Vault" - digging up past corrections and clarifications from the ABC archives

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Slander on the Science show

ABC's Science Show Saturday 2 October 2010 featured an interview between presenter Robyn Williams and Bob Ward under the title “Sceptics’ publishing record on climate”. The interview aired Bob Ward’s views about the quality of scientific research by internationally respected scientists Richard Lindzen, Robert Carter and Ian Plimer.

How does the ABC justify allowing Mr Ward time on The Science Show to provide an evaluation of the scientific work of Lindzen, Carter and Plimer when apparently Mr Ward, a Public Relations director, is not a working climate scientist, has no qualifications in climate science, and has no record of peer reviewed publications in academic scientific journals on climate science.  The interview misrepresented the publishing record of Lindzen, Carter and Plimer who all have long records of academic publishing in the peer reviewed academic science literature. No statement about Mr Ward's apparent lack of expertise or political bias in the area of climate science was provided by presenter Robyn Williams, misleading ABC's audience. The obvious hypocrisy of Mr Ward's argument was not challenged by Robyn Williams. A piece on The Drum might be appropriate, but space on The Science Show gives unwarranted credence to Ward's spurious opinions.

While the ABC provided an opportunity for Bob Carter to respond to the allegations made in the interview, it seems no such opportunity was provided for either Richard Lindzen or Ian Plimer to respond to statements made by Bob Ward, left unchallenged by Robyn Williams. As such this piece lacks balance and contravenes ABC editorial policy.

It appears the ABC, The Science Show, Bob Ward and Robyn Williams owe an apology to those it has slandered.

Here's what Roger Pielke Jnr recently had to say about Bob Ward in a post titled Empty debate and climate attack dogs: "Ward's frequent efforts to reduce debate over climate change to tabloid-style mud wrestling is symptomatic of a debate that has lost touch with what matters.  It is remarkable to me that an institution of higher learning such as LSE would hire a spin doctor to systematically engage in attacking reputations across the blogoosphere and letter pages of newspapers.  "

Once again ABC's audience is left in the dark.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Complaint handling undertaken very badly by the ABC

An excellent article looking at the future of the ABC in today's Australian Newspaper, by former ABC deputy Chairwoman Judith Sloan. Aunty suddenly fills the air, and it's a real shame
We thought this passage was particularly relevant to us here at ABC NEWS WATCH:
"Complaint handling was an area undertaken very badly by the ABC and always in a self-serving manner.
The board would be regularly informed that a very high proportions of complaints had been investigated and rejected - often more than 90 per cent.
The complaint-handling process has all the usual hallmarks of a self-satisfied organisation: treat the complainant as a dimwit using a patronising tone; refer obliquely to the matter raised but respond that all approaches to journalism are equally acceptable; assure the complainant that the matter has been thoroughly investigated; and quote the internet address of the editorial guidelines for the complainant's edification.
It is not surprising that this approach yields very high rejection rates. The complaints that are accepted are almost always trivial and refer to some factual error made by a journalist.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Missing News: Climate Change Conference in Sydney

Missing News: No word on Auntie thus far about a Climate Change Conference held in Sydney today.
Speakers included:
Chris de Freitas: Developments in Climate Science: Potential Drivers of Emissions Policy Beyond 2012
Robert Carter: The Reconstruction of Past Sea-Level Change: Policy Implications
Senator Cory Bernardi: The Political State of Play of Climate Change Policy in Australia
David Evans: Is the Western Climate Establishment Corrupt?
Alan Moran: Lower CO2 Levels: Costs, Benefits and Possibilities
Barun S. Mitra: How Domestic Politics cools Global Warming
Joanne Nova: Defeating the Witchdoctors of the Twenty-First Century and Why Global Warming Is About Power, Money, and Sex

We wonder if Auntie's cadre of Groupthinking reporters were frightened off by the prospect of being enlightened by a few facts that would overturn the ABC apple cart.