Tuesday, May 20, 2014

ABC environment-a good yarn

ABC pump up the alarm with this piece by "free lancer" and non climate expert Sue White:

7 of your favourite foods affected by climate change
Climate change could be coming to a supermarket near you, with a shocking list of your top seven favourite foods affected.

In her description about herself Sue says she "can compile a good yarn on almost any topic, but she mostly focuses on health/wellbeing, environment, travel, careers and productivity."

Definition of yarn:
  1. 1.
    spun thread used for knitting, weaving, or sewing.
  2. 2.
    a long or rambling story, especially one that is implausible.
  1. 1.
    tell a long or implausible story.
    "they were yarning about local legends and superstitions

Seems that definition spot on! Your tax dollars at work.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Fact Free opinion

Brief WEB break.
It seems ABC's commentators make up their minds in the absence of facts. A more rigorous editor might request facts but if the end result fits with your own alarmist mindset, it seems those pesky facts are not required.

Case in point is a recent opinion piece on ABC's environment page titled Walking the climate tightrope on Macquarie Island This deals with die back of Azorella (a cushion plant) on Macquarie Island. The writer immediately leaps to climate change as the cause : "The most likely culprit it would seem is climate change." ABC promote this tenuous link in the following manner: "Even in the remote reaches of the Southern Ocean, climate change is likely having an affect on the most hardy of plants." ABC promote certainty where there is none.

In a related piece broadcast on the increasingly irrelevant Landline, titled Cold Comfort we are told the cause of the die back that was only noticed about 5 years ago, has not been determined. In relation to the role of climate change it seems this must be very recent climate change indeed. Given the definition of climate change relates to an average of about 30 years of weather the link does not stand up to even moderate scrutiny. A look at some real data casts more doubts over climate change as the cause.
Macquarie Island has weather records going back to 1948. The graphs below from the BOM website chart max/min temp and rainfall.

There does not appear to have been a significant change in the weather in that time, especially over the last 30 years which would represent 1 climate cycle according to the WMO definition. 

There are quite a number of factors that may account for the die back admitted to in the Landline piece. It is unfortunate that the ABC allows its commentators to make statements unsupported by factual data. It seems ABC are unable to accept that we do not know the cause and instead promote alarmist speculation. 

Of note, a coincidence not mentioned is that the pest eradication program started a little over 5 years ago. Another hypothesis may involve the introduction and/or spread of a pathogen by this program.

Horses, donkeys, pigs, cattle, goats, dogs and sheep are long gone, and between 1989 and 2000, weka and cats were eradicated. A major project to remove the last remaining mammal species - rabbits, ship rats and mice - has been under way since 2007.  Aerial baiting of the entire island was completed in July 2011, followed by intensive monitoring by hunters and highly trained detection dogs, to detect and dispatch any surviving individuals.

In April 2014, after nearly three years of monitoring with no sign of surviving individual rabbits, rats or mice, the project was declared a success. 

The likely cause?...
Abstract: Azorella dieback on Macquarie Island.  A. macquariensis is a keystone species of the dominant feldmark vegetation on Macquarie Island. In recent years it has suffered from a severe dieback yet no causal agent could be isolated. In an attempt to determine whether a potential pathogen is associated with the die-back next-generation sequence technologies were used to characterise fungal bacterial and oomycete communities associated with healthy and die-back affected plants. A species of Rosellinia was the most frequently detected fungal species overall and was strongly associated with roots and rhizosphere soil of die-back affected plants. While Koch’s postulates must be fulfilled to demonstrate that this pathogen is a primary cause of the die-back on Macquarie Island, this finding provides strong evidence to support this hypothesis. Current attempts to isolate the pathogen responsible for Azorella dieback include techniques and semi-selective media suitable for this genus.
About the Speaker: Morag is a molecular biologist and mycologist with an interest in forest health, biodiversity and biosecurity of natural ecosystems as well as plantations. Current work is focussed mainly on root rots and rusts.

Friday, May 16, 2014


Blog taking a break while more important things take precedence. Back when we are back. Thanks for your patience!

In the meantime ABC news being regularly scrutinised by BOLT, BLAIR, HENDERSON, QUADRANT AND CATALLAXY.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

ABC failing on fat facts

From The Australian...

ABC admits Catalyst health show erred on fat facts.

A BELATED admission by the ABC that popular television science program Catalyst had demonstrated bias against mainstream medicine has been welcomed by health groups.
Catalyst sparked controversy seven months ago with a two-part special that described the link between saturated fats, cholesterol and heart disease as “the biggest myth in medical history’’ and downplayed the benefits of anti-cholesterol drugs known as statins.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

/sarc on...thanks for another balanced climate change report.../sarc off

That much of the media accepted the NCA without questioning its findings and conclusions either indicates they are naive or they have chosen to promote a particular agenda and this report fits their goal. 
Prof. Roger Pielke Snr

Chris Uhlmann is now hosting AM. Instead of offering a fresh start on ABC's climate change coverage it seems we are getting more of the same pandering to alarmism and ignorance of the basic science that characterised Tony Eastley's time as AM host. Eastley recall was an MC for the Climate Commission but never declared this conflict of interest when interviewing commission representatives.

Take yesterday's morning's report: US climate assessment gets personal

ABC once again focus on highly uncertain, potential effects of possible change in the US without once exploring the science and seeking broader scientific input.

ABC broadcast the following claim:
But having a look briefly through the report, they're really trying to make this personal, make Americans realise that it's more than catastrophic headlines; it's sometimes a little more subtle, even looking at the growth in allergies that people might suffer from.

And immediately followed with this...(odd the canned laughter was missing as all this represents are more unsubstantiated catastrophic headlines and a total absence of subtlety).

Let's have a listen to some of the scientists.

KIM KNOWLTON: Now heat - it's not just an inconvenience; it can be lethal. It can send thousands of people to emergency rooms, as it has done in the past. There's been a two to three week increase in the length of rag weed pollen production season. Now that matters to people who have asthma.

TOM KARL: The bottom line, the current path we're on, will result in a climate that is far different than anything that this nation has experienced.

Perhap's Chris could have sought an interview with other scientists...the authors of the piece below for instance...and comments from other climate scientists (eg. Pielke Snr, Judy Curry) but seems that's against the ABC climate creedo Chris appears following.

ABC's sign off quite amusing...

LISA MILLAR: We've already heard from Republicans who say that no doubt he'll get loud cheers from the liberal elites, the kind of people who leave a giant carbon footprint and lecture everyone else about low-flush toilets. They're not convinced that there is an urgency and the economy is far more important.

Hmmm ...people who leave a giant carbon footprint ... the ABC perhaps??
Hmmm...lecture everyone else about low-flush toilets ... the ABC perhaps??

What the National Climate Assessment Doesn’t Tell You
The Obama Administration this week is set to release the latest version of the National Climate Assessment—a report which is supposed to detail the potential impacts that climate change will have on the United States.  The report overly focuses on the supposed negative impacts from climate change while largely dismissing or ignoring the positives from climate change.
The bias in the National Climate Assessment (NCA) towards pessimism (which we have previously detailed here) has implications throughout the federal regulatory process because the NCA is cited (either directly or indirectly) as a primary source for the science of climate change for justifying federal regulation aimed towards mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. Since the NCA gets it wrong, so does everyone else.
A good example of this can be found in how climate change is effecting  the human response during heat waves.  The NCA foresees an increasing frequency and magnitude of heat waves leading to growing numbers of heat-related deaths. The leading science suggests just the opposite.
Case and point. Last week, we had an article published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Nature Climate Change that showed how the impacts of extreme heat are often overplayed while the impacts of adaptation to the heat are underplayed.  And a new paper has just been published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives that finds that the risk of dying from heat waves in the U.S. has been on the decline for the past several decades.
By now, this should be rather unsurprising as it has been demonstrated over and over again. Not only in the U.S. but in Europe (and yes, Stockholm) and other major global cities as well. 
The idea that human-caused global warming is going to increase heat-related mortality is simply outdated and wrong. In fact, the opposite is more likely the case—that is, a warming climate will decrease the population’s sensitivity to heat events as it induces adaptation.  We described it this way in our Nature Climate Change piece:
Some portion of this response [the decline in the risk of dying from heat waves] probably reflects the temporal increase in the frequency of extreme-heat events, an increase that elevates public consciousness and spurs adaptive response. In this manner, climate change itself leads to adaptation.
 …Our analysis highlights one of the many often overlooked intricacies of the human response to climate change.
But this information often falls on deaf ears—especially those ears responsible for developing the NCA.

Judy Curry:
My main conclusion from reading the report is this:  the phrase ‘climate change’ is now officially meaningless.  The report effectively implies that there is no climate change other than what is caused by humans, and that extreme weather events are equivalent to climate change.  Any increase in adverse impacts from extreme weather events or sea level rise is caused by humans. Possible scenarios of future climate change depend only on emissions scenarios that are translated into warming by climate models that produce far more warming than has recently been observed.