Friday, 2 September 2011

Media, democracy and government funding.

Michael Ashley
Researcher or Fool?
Michael Ashley is a Professor of Astrophysics at University of New South Wales. Michael Ashley receives funding from the Australian Research Council and other Australian government bodies for his research in astrophysics.

It is a pity that Michael didn't use some of his research funding to research some of the claims that he makes in a blog post called  Event horizon: the black hole in The Australian’s climate change coverage.

“Read the full article at The Conversation

Early in his piece on the editorial policy of the Australian, he writes:
Other editorials (he links one) have made it clear that The Australian believes it is treating its readers as mature adults who should be able to make up their own minds based on arguments from “both sides” of the debate.
The problem is that on one side of the debate you have 97% of the world’s published climate scientists and the world’s major scientific organisations, and on the other side you have fools.
First Ashley quotes Skeptical Science which quotes the 97% figure from the flawed study -Doran, P. T., and M. Kendall Zimmerman (2009), Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change, Eos Trans. AGU, 90(3). Skeptical Science is hardly a reliable site. See eg HERE and HERE. For Skeptical Science's funding see

John Cook will receive lots of money for climate propaganda

As for the "Scientific Consensus paper, see Climate Quotes -
In this post at The Hockey Schtick, it is pointed out that the 97% statistic is based on only 79 climatologists, and that those participating were self-selected. There are two concerns here. The first is sample size. While climate science isn't a massive field, 79 participants is fairly small. To claim definitely that 97% believe this or that you would need to poll significantly more people. The second concern is the fact that the scientists were self-selected by an online survey. This may not have led to a representative sample.
Hardly an accurate source, was it Michael?  The second link to "the world's major scientific organisations" also links to the Skeptical Science site. Skeptical Science is maintained by John Cook who writes:
Michael Ashley ...... (he's the guy who suggested to me that Skeptical Science should do multiple levels of rebuttals, fundamentally and irrevocably changing the website).
 The link to the "97%" at Skeptical Science includes:

 A survey of all peer-reviewed abstracts on the subject 'global climate change' published between 1993 and 2003 shows that not a single paper rejected the consensus position that global warming is man caused. 75% of the papers agreed with the consensus position while 25% made no comment either way, focusing on methods of paleoclimate analysis (Oreskes 2004).

This is a false claim. One only has to google "Peer reviewed papers supporting skepticism of AGW" to get many references including the Global Warming Policy Foundation's 900+. 900+, Michael.

The last piece of Michael's diatribe says: "...on the other side you have fools." This  link for fools goes  to, wait for it, Skeptical Science. Michael, you get paid for research and you use only one source. Is that how a researcher researches a subject? To use only one source, and a source suggested by yourself to do rebuttals? Is that the action of a diligent researcher? Or is that perhaps that action of a fool?

As stated, the link for "...on the other side you have fools," goes to a page at Skeptical Science titled "Skeptics." The page includes many scientists, some ex NASA etc. Nowhere is there any evidence that they are fools. The foolish statement that these people are fools is unsubstantiated.

New Report on Global Warming Contradicts U.N.’s IPCC

Press Release by The Heartland Institute on the release of their 2011 report
Click here for an executive summary of the book (PDF).
Click here to review the book chapter-by-chapter.
Donna Laframboise, on her blog No Frakking Consensus, recently posted: "The IAC Report - One year later."
IPCC officials and supporters have long advanced an outrageously misleading marketing message. We’ve been told this UN body is in a class of its own with respect to its thoroughness and transparency – that there is no “parallel on the planet.”
We’ve been told it is “one of the most rigorous scientific review bodies in existence.” Words like authoritative, gold-standard, and eminent are routinely uttered by those describing the IPCC (see a hyperlinked list of quotes here).
But the first time a group of outsiders took a close look at how the IPCC actually behaves it identified “significant shortcomings in each major step of the IPCC’s assessment process” (see the first paragraph here – the entire report is available here).
Well, the Heartland Institute has issued its 2011 report - "Climate Change Reconsidered."
August 29, 2011 Joseph Bast; Craig Idso; S. Fred Singer; Robert M. Carter 
The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), already under severe criticism for violating the requirements of academic peer review and relying on secondary sources, comes under attack again in a new report co-produced by three nonprofit research organizations.
According to the new report, “natural causes are very likely to be [the] dominant” cause of climate change that took place in the twentieth and at the start of the twenty-first centuries. “We are not saying anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHG) cannot produce some warming or have not in the past. Our conclusion is that the evidence shows they are not playing a substantial role.”
The authors of the new report go on to say “the net effect of continued warming and rising carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere is most likely to be beneficial to humans, plants, and wildlife.”
Both conclusions contradict the findings of the widely cited reports of the IPCC.
Key findings, as outlined in the interim report’s executive summary, include:
  • “We find evidence that the models over-estimate the amount of warming that occurred during the twentieth century and fail to incorporate chemical and biological processes that may be as important as the physical processes employed in the models.”
  • “More CO2 promotes more plant growth both on land and throughout the surface waters of the world’s oceans, and this vast assemblage of plant life has the ability to affect Earth’s climate in several ways, almost all of them tending to counteract the heating effects of CO2’s thermal radiative forcing.”
  • “The latest research on paleoclimatology and recent temperatures [finds] new evidence that the Medieval Warm Period of approximately 1,000 years ago, when there was about 28 percent less CO2 in the atmosphere than there is currently, was both global and warmer than today’s world.”
  • “New research finds less melting of ice in the Arctic, Antarctic, and on mountaintops than previously feared, no sign of acceleration of sea-level rise in recent decades, no trend over the past 50 years in changes to the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (MOC), and no changes in precipitation patterns or river flows that could be attributed to rising CO2 levels.”
  • “Rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentrations, by increasing crop yields, will play a major role in averting hunger and ecological destruction in the future.”
  • “The latest research suggests corals and other forms of aquatic life have effective adaptive responses to climate change enabling them to flourish despite or even because of climate change.”
  • “Global warming is more likely to improve rather than harm human health because rising temperatures lead to a greater reduction in winter deaths than the increase they cause in summer deaths.”
  • “Even in worst-case scenarios, mankind will be much better off in the year 2100 than it is today, and therefore able to adapt to whatever challenges climate change presents.”