Trying not to forget climate change amid the chaos of 2016


A week, proverbially, is a long time in politics and in 2016 that may even feel like an understatement. 2014 seems like another world in comparison, a world in which David Cameron looked like a dull but safe British Prime Minister and Jeb Bush looked like the most likely Republican candidate for US President.

Meanwhile, when the news is not dominated by dysfunctional politicians, the human cost of that dysfunction is apparent: a refugee crisis with root causes in the US/UK military adventure in Iraq, deadly terrorism that appears to be tapping into male anger, and as I write this a possible coup in Turkey.

However, reality moves at its own pace and some issues burn more slowly than the news cycle. I’m going to spend a bit of time over the next few weeks talking about global warming and climate change just because it is easy to forget about it amid both the noise and deep social issues that are dominating the news.

Now I also like reviewing books and I also like looking at dysfunctional thinking and I also like looking at how the modern right is busy attacking its own cognitive abilities, and I also like fiction written about science, so I’m going to do all of those by reading a book.

The book in question is called “Climate Change: The Facts 2014” although due to a missing colon on the cover it could be read as “Climate – Change The Facts”. Published at the start of 2015 by an Australian rightwing think-tank called “The Institute of Public Affairs”, the book is a collection of essays by various figures from the world of climate-change doubters – and it really is quite bad.

There are 21 chapters and an introduction. That is a lot of nonsense to wade through and I don’t know if I’ll do it all. I’m sure Timothy may need to help explain some of the chapters and in the spirit of news-media policies on ‘balance’, I’ll let him speak up from time to time.

The book is edited and introduced by Alan Moran. Moran was, until mid-2014, Director of the Deregulation Unit at the Institute of Public Affairs. He was riding quite high at the time, well liked by Prime Minister Tony Abbott in a year when Australian conservatives were feeling empowered. Unfortunately, after anti-Islamic tweets, Moran and the IPA parted ways with Moran apparently too controversially rightwing for a controversially rightwing think tank. Here is Moran on more up to date Australian politics

Other notable contributors include:

  • Nigella Lawson’s not as interesting dad.
  • Ian Plimer -quixotic Australian geologist
  • Anthony Watts – notable blogger
  • and Andrew Bolt – who is a rightwing Australian columnist with a TV show.

The Introduction highlights my earlier point: time flies.
Prompted by successive reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the issue of human-induced climate change has become a dominant theme of world politics. This is especially so in Australia where it was famously called the greatest moral challenge of our time by Kevin Rudd. The issue was pivotal to Mr Rudd’s replacement in 2010 as prime minister by Julia Gillard,his subsequent restoration to that position and his loss to Tony Abbott in the election of 2013.

Moran stretches things to say it was ‘pivotal’ to Rudd being ousted by Gillard or vice-versa but it certainly was an issue in the 2013 election which saw Tony Abbott come to power. He omits to mention that it was pivotal to the original ousting of Malcolm Turnbull by Tony Abbott as leader of the Liberal Party and, of course, back in 2014 couldn’t have known that Abbott himself would be ousted later in 2015 or that Turnbull would scrape back in as PM in 2016. Turnbull is famously sympathetic to the issue of climate change but currently faces a rocky parliament and a rowdy right wing faction in his own party. Times change but also things can remain resolutely the same.

The rest of the introduction gives a short synopsis of each chapter. I shan’t spoil them for you yet. 🙂


24 responses to “Trying not to forget climate change amid the chaos of 2016”

  1. You may have picked this up already, but there’s some concern being expressed in the UK that the recent cabinet reshuffle included merging the dept for Energy and Climate Change into a new entity that doesn’t have Climate Change in the title. Of course, it could simply be that the new dept name (BEIS) was already too long without adding CC as well, but some are taking it as A Sign that the new May gvt wants to sideline the issue. I suspect that’s overstating it and that it’s too early to tell.


    • I wasn’t aware of that but given the past leadership was arguably on of the most sound right-leaning anglophone government on the issue of climate change, and given the apparent rightward shift, I was expecting a change in policy 😦


  2. You know how you’ve been mocking Vox and his IQ thing, because it’s not scientific, and IQ is a cobbled together pile of crap that doesn’t measure anything, and it it actually did measure anything it would be measuring how big a dumbass Vox is? Remember that conversation?

    Global warming is the IQ conversation, but with less evidence and even bigger dumbasses.


    • Um, nope – I don’t remember that.
      I remember the conversation where I said IQ was flawed but had its uses, and that many of the assumptions made about it don’t have any strong scientific groundings. I remember the conversation when I pointed out, correctly, that IQ does not have the properties of a measure (e.g. with temperature a difference of 1 degree C = any difference of 1 degree C but a difference of 1 IQ point does not equal any difference of 1 IQ point). I remember the conversation where I pointed out the scientific papers Vox quoted didn’t support his position about IQ & immigration. I’ve never suggested Vox is a big dumbass – I think he is fairly smart but I do remember multiple conversations where I pointed out he didn’t know what he was talking about. Ignorance is different from intelligence.

      “Global warming is the IQ conversation, but with less evidence and even bigger dumbasses.”

      In a manner of speaking, you are correct. However, I suspect we will disagree on the identity of the dumbasses 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      • Oh good, so you do remember. I sometimes write in a hyperbolic style Camestros, there’s no point parsing my stuff like a law student.

        “Ignorance is different from intelligence.”

        Yes, as is deliberate lying. When you examine the American (and Canadian) temperature record, as well as the very damning evidence from East Anglia in Kipperstan (formerly England) you find a great deal of the ‘evidence’ upholding the creaky edifice that is modern Climatology is actually guys lying with statistics and computer models. Two words, hockey stick.

        Also, the satellite record does not resemble the ground station record. If everything was kosher, those two would be identical.

        Therefore, shenanigans. QED.

        The actual purpose of global warming in Canada is so guys hooked up with the Liberal Party of Canada can make BILLIONS selling wind generated electricity to the Americans, supported by luscious government subsidies. That’s also it’s purpose in Europe, for guys to get rich off wind power subsidies. Follow. The. Money.

        It is a scam. You boys bought it hook, line and sinker.


        • “Also, the satellite record does not resemble the ground station record. If everything was kosher, those two would be identical.”

          Given that they measure different but related things, the agreement is pretty good. There was a time when there was a bigger discrepancy between the two…but that was because of errors in the way the satellite data was processed (and yes, even Dr Roy Spencer noted ‘skeptic’ accepts that.)

          “I sometimes write in a hyperbolic style Camestros”

          And I’ll sometimes point out that what you say isn’t true as a consequence.


      • “a great deal of the ‘evidence’ upholding the creaky edifice that is modern Climatology is actually guys lying with statistics and computer models. Two words, hockey stick.”

        Yet oddly enough, this supposedly fraudulent research has never been overturned by gooder unbiased reconstructions. Despite there being a massive political and financial incentive to do so. Surely it would be trivially easy if the data is so clearly at odds with the conclusions?

        Instead we get fossil fuel backed think tanks writing op-eds, and endless poring over work emails looking for the smoking gun that simply *must* be in there somewhere…

        “Also, the satellite record does not resemble the ground station record. If everything was kosher, those two would be identical.”

        They’re measuring different things (temp at approximately ground level vs a slice up to 10km thick that includes some of the stratosphere). What makes you think they should be identical?

        Liked by 1 person

    • Climate change is a fact. Not a controversy. That man is causing it is a fact. Not a controversy. There is simply nothing to debate.


      • “There is simply nothing to debate.”

        I know. Because it’s not science. The whole point of science is to DISprove the hypothesis.

        As you say, disproving the global warming hypothesis is forbidden. Because that would mean you would have to find a new hobby horse to ride.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Looking forward to this series, sounds like it is right up my (temperature-rising, drought-stricken, allergen-releasing, dustbowl) alley.


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