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Can Australian farmers take on the challenge of climate change?

Farmers are some of the most innovative Australians - since 1970 they have lost 7.5% of arable land, but they’ve found ways to increase production by 220%. They’re also some of the most conservative, expressed…

Farmers are adept at using science to deal with all kinds of challenges, but they have their doubts about climate change. Jeff Pang

Farmers are some of the most innovative Australians - since 1970 they have lost 7.5% of arable land, but they’ve found ways to increase production by 220%. They’re also some of the most conservative, expressed in their reluctance to accept the science of climate change. So what will win as they face a changing climate: innovation or conservatism?

The agriculture industry has been developing for the past 10,000 years, but it could be argued that the biggest advances have come in the last 50 to 60 years. Since 1970, the world population has doubled, yet farming area has stayed the same.

Essentially farmers and the research that has supported them have been fantastic. A recent Conversation article highlighted this. But now agriculture faces, possibly, its biggest challenge: climate change.

Australian agriculture: the greatest story never told.

Research in Western Australia found that over half (52%) were uncertain whether human-induced climate change was occurring. This is in sharp contrast to the 97% of climate scientists who agree that humans are causing global warming. Only 31% thought climate change represented a major threat to the future of their farm businesses. Results also showed that only 33% of all respondents found climate change information easy to understand.

In Western Australia since July 2010, the Farm Business Resilience program has, in part, been seeking to educate farmers about climate change. Before the initial sessions, farmers were surveyed by Chris Evans for their perceptions, knowledge and attitudes to climate change. Only 33% reported that they agreed climate change was occurring and just 19% believed climate change was human induced. Surveys at the end of the course assessed perceptions, knowledge and attitudes again, now showing that 80% of the farmers understood the impact of climate change and variability change on their businesses.

This was a staggering improvement, considering the difficulties that communicators face when they’re trying to correct misinformation. Numerous social studies have found misinformation is notoriously difficult to dislodge and debunking myths can sometimes have the effect of reinforcing them (known as the backfire effect). The backfire effect is particularly potent when presenting climate science to conservative audiences. If myths are not replaced with an alternative, plausible explanation, their influence can persist like returning weeds.

Farmers live and breathe a changing climate. Anthony Georgeff

The key to the program’s success came down to knowing how to contextualise information. An example is that most scientists present science to the public but fail to make their knowledge understandable. The authors know how important it is to explain that information and doing so in a program like this allows clear explainations and discussion. The advantage of speaking with farmers about climate is that they live and breathe it. Million dollar business decisions often hinge on seasonal outlooks, so farmers usually have a good knowledge base to work with.

So why is it important to educate farmers about climate change? Because successful farming is really important. Need proof? Don’t eat for a week.

Even without climate change, farmers have a lot to deal with in the next few decades. There are pressures on productive land from:

There are also social and political pressures for chemical usage, access to technology and production practices. The current debates over access to GM technologies and use of pesticides are just two examples of social pressures on farming. There are also the ever-present economic pressures, as returns decline and costs increase – the cost price squeeze.

Under all of this pressure, agriculture has to supply increasing food demands, all while climate change is forcing down productivity. Given that most of the world’s agriculture is rainfed (73%), agriculture has a lot to lose with changes in rainfall resulting from climate change.

A recent article on The Conversation highlighted how little people outside of agriculture know about where and how their food is produced. It is important for everyone to understand how modern agriculture works, to see the science and technology that is involved. Just as farmers need to know about climate change and how it will impact them, the wider community has to understand what agriculture needs into the future.

Agriculture has a lot to lose from changes in rainfall. Jane Rawson

Without community support, farmers will not have access to the latest technologies, trade agreements will be jeopardised and production will leave our nation without needed food security. And without more knowledge about farming, the wider public won’t understand proposed strategies for agriculture under climate change.

So the agriculture industry needs to be involved in an informed discussion of its future. Having farmers and the wider public meet will also help non-agricultural people understand where their food comes from and how it is produced. The better this link between producer and consumer, the better the industry will be. Through programs like Farm Business Resilience we can improve agriculture. But it can’t stop there: if farming doesn’t come to grips with climate change, it will affect us all.

This article was co-authored by Tim Scanlon. Tim is a scientist who is primarily involved in the agriculture industry as an extension specialist. His current focus is in climate change extension to rural Australia as part of a national program being trialed in Western Australia.

Join the conversation

146 Comments sorted by

  1. Marian Macdonald

    logged in via Twitter

    Well, we're doing our best. In my part of the world, dairy farmers are already well on the path to adjusting to climate change (or, at least, increased climate variability).

    We've had plenty of forums on just this topic and some the the ways we are responding are listed here http://milkmaidmarian.com/2012/04/27/climate-change-the-gazillion-dollar-question/. As you say, we live and breathe climate and are reading the tea leaves. Have a look at this fantastic resource for more examples: http://futurereadydairy.blogspot.com.au/

    Maybe dairy farmers are one step ahead of the pack!

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    1. Tim Scanlon

      Author and Scientist

      In reply to Marian Macdonald

      It was something that was noted with our dairy farmers here in WA Marian.

      When asked what figures they used for their water calculations they all stated they used the past decade rather than the longer term figures. They had already taken into account the fact that there had been a 20% decline in rainfall, that their deciles had shifted, because they had to know exactly how much water they had.

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    2. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist: The Con is a bad Monty Python sketch, for climate sense see: http://www.thegwpf.org/

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      Why isn't your name at the top Tim? Seems that most of this is your work.

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    3. Ian Ashman

      Manager

      In reply to Marian Macdonald

      Marian, I hope you are OK after the floods. Dairy farmers usually are in front of the pack ;)

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    4. Daryl Deal

      retired

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      Spotted over at Eli's place.

      Indicators of a delusion: -

      1. The patient expresses an idea or belief with unusual persistence or force.

      2. That idea appears to exert an undue influence on the patient's life, and the way of life is often altered to an inexplicable extent.

      3. Despite his/her profound conviction, there is often a quality of secretiveness or suspicion when the patient is questioned about it.

      4. The individual tends to be humorless and oversensitive, especially about the…

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    5. Grendelus Malleolus

      Senior Nerd

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      LOLz

      So for proof that Oreskes is unreliable to link to the website of a political entity ideologically opposed to the reality of what science has demonstrated to be likely? That is, a party that ignores any reality that does not accord with its beliefs...

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    6. Ian Ashman

      Manager

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Anthony Cox is even less reliable - a member of the fringe group called the Australian Septics (or is that Sceptics)?

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    7. Grendelus Malleolus

      Senior Nerd

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      True, very true. Good of you to say so old chap seeing you were so far over the barrel you might has well started calling yourself Roger.

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    8. Grendelus Malleolus

      Senior Nerd

      In reply to Ian Ashman

      I think you mean " The Climate Sceptics" since the "Australian Skeptics" are a far more honorable, critically minded group (they actually consider the evidence).

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  2. Joseph Bernard

    Director

    love the line "Don't eat for a week!"

    says it all, and why we must support our farmers

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  3. mark feltrin

    Renewable Energy and Resources

    There is a implication here that productivity is tied to food outcomes alone which is not the case.
    A farming landscape produces
    -food - essential and non essential (eg wine)
    -fiber and materials
    -energy (the tree crop you described for sequestration can be used for energy as well)
    -environmental outcomes

    All are needed by people and society and these arguments focusing on just a part of the puzzle can have some serious negative effects on how we go about creating healthy landscapes that…

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    1. Tim Scanlon

      Author and Scientist

      In reply to mark feltrin

      I agree Mark. The article focussed on food because it is relevant to everyone, regardless of their ideals. The point is that farmers are also the largest environmental managers as well. I'd actually like to see some sort of program that sees "management grants" that provide a payment for upkeep of the environment. The USA have these sorts of payments, as do parts of Europe.

      I grew up when Landcare started and it did a lot for the environment. The catchment approach we had in our district worked very well, as it did across much of the country. This sort of approach would definitely be needed again in the future.

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    2. mark feltrin

      Renewable Energy and Resources

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      "The point is that farmers are also the largest environmental managers as well."

      Yes im very much on the same page. Sorry if it came across as a gripe but it seems that too often people talk about the rural landscape in terms of just food and forget that it is just one component- maybe we do this to bridge the urban devide.

      "I'd actually like to see some sort of program that sees "management grants"

      With carbon credits and biodiversity credits (we bio credits in victoria - and talked about…

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  4. Peter Lang

    Retired geologist and engineer

    John Cook said

    "They’re also some of the most conservative, expressed in their reluctance to accept the science of climate change. So what will win as they face a changing climate: innovation or conservatism?"

    It seems you can't help but let your ideologically based beliefs creep into every comment or post you make.

    Conservative means they are rational; i.e, not driven by irrational socialist/progressive beliefs.

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    1. Tim Scanlon

      Author and Scientist

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Incorrect Pete.

      There has been a lot of research done on extension in agriculture and how hard it is to produce change due to the conservative nature of farmers. David Pannell has written extensively on this. Even relatively simple changes take decades to be fully adopted.

      Also, you are incorrectly stating that climate change is not happening. Part of the success of the extension work was from farmers having already noticed a change to climatic systems. They knew it was happening, but needed the information contextualised.

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    2. Hugh Sturgess

      Student

      In reply to Peter Lang

      "It seems you can't help but let your ideologically based beliefs creep into every comment or post you make."

      I think you just proved that, unlike oil, coal, uranium, etc., irony is an infinitely renewable resource.

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    3. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist: The Con is a bad Monty Python sketch, for climate sense see: http://www.thegwpf.org/

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter,
      The tenticles of neo-lysenkoism continue to spread!

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    4. Nicholas Pericolo

      Teacher

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      Could farmers' views be presented as part of the climate change evidence? If they are environmental managers, surely their view counts? I'd suggest that an ordinary Australian might be more sympathetic towards a farmer rather than a scientist (in terms of accessibility?).

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    5. Daryl Deal

      retired

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      Found at Tim's place : "Deltoid Science Blogs" courtesy of MikeH.

      Unified Theory of the Crank

      1. Cranks overestimate their own knowledge and ability, and underestimate that of acknowledged experts.

      2. Cranks insist that their alleged discoveries are urgently important.

      3. Cranks rarely if ever acknowledge any error, no matter how trivial.

      4. Cranks love to talk about their own beliefs, often in inappropriate social situations, but they tend to be bad listeners, and often appear to be uninterested in anyone else’s experience or opinions.

      Link: http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/2007/04/30/unified-theory-of-the-crank/

      if the shoe fits...................................................

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    6. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Daryl Deal

      Deal: Two of the papers Cook links to are by cranks, namely (1) Li et al who claim that AGW implies droughts that will reduce NPP yields by 90% by 2100 even though the "science" is that rising temperature produces more atmospheric water vapour, which for all except climate scientists like Trenberth necessitates rising precipitation aka rainfall.

      And (2), Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture ‐ reduction options
      Richard Eckard, DPI Victoria and The University of Melbourne.

      Eckard is not…

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    7. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Mr Curtin makes an excellent point about rising temperatures leading to elevated atmospheric water vapour content (which itself causes further warming).

      However, just as uniformly increasing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations do no produce uniform temperature increase, expectations of uniformly increasing rainfall increase are already proving ill-founded.

      Increasing rates of evaporation also result from increasing temperature, increasing the susceptibility of food crops to being affected by even short periods of dry weather.

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    8. Tim Scanlon

      Author and Scientist

      In reply to Nicholas Pericolo

      Nicholas, the article links to some of the reports that have been written up on the first round of the pilot. Those reports have some comments and profiles on the entire pilot. The research papers also do the same.

      Round two has just had its final meeting this week so there will be two reports available soon that cover this point and I believe there are even some videos from the facilitators on Youtube. Just do a search and you should find some, hope this helps.

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    9. Tim Scanlon

      Author and Scientist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Tim you have failed to actually understand Richard's paper. The entire paper was about methods to reduce emissions from agriculture and the technologies that are currently available and will be available soon. It was a very pragmatic approach to the situation.

      Secondly you are dismissing the volume of climatic science evidence on rainfall changes in favour of the minutia of an untested hypothesis. Clouds or water vapour feedbacks are not fully understood yet, but your comment proposes that we ignore the very real changes that have already happened in favour of hoping for the best.

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    10. Daryl Deal

      retired

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Watt, can one say Tim, an interesting gish gallop of cherries.

      Who'd have thought, one who is in deep denial of reality and the laws of thermodynamics, now labels real scientists, as a bunch of cranks. Pot, kettle is black.

      Just like the sad batch of easily debunked complete nonsense, you keep dropping off at Tim Lambert's Deltoid Science Blog, too! Link:- http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2012/05/17/tim-curtins-incompetence-with/ (hint: If I was you, I would read my own previous postings for…

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    11. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Daryl Deal

      Thanks Mr Deal.

      My intention is not to support Mr Curtin's contribution as set out its failings.

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    12. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Laughable from Lang - FYI to be conservative means " Holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in politics or religion.". It has NOTHING to do with rationality. It's a belief system. (though it is eminently possible to be conservative and rational one does nOT imply the other - except in Mr Lang's strange universe)

      Rationality, to the extent it's humanly possible, ought to be about being driven by data and logic, irrespective of belief systems or politcal ideologies (conservative or otherwise).

      The trouble is Mr Lang can only interpret those who differ with him as being "left wing ideologues" - no doubt this is a perverse (and in my view irrational) way to enable him to avoid thinking about the issue clearly

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    13. Gerard Dean

      Managing Director

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      A note to Mark Hendrickx

      I have only been reading The Conversation for a few weeks and I couldn't work out what the red and blue boxes with numbers meant. Now I finally worked it out, readers vote + for insightful and - for unconstructive.

      Why did I mention this. Because, you good Sir, appear to have the biggest numbers in Red against your name.

      From now on, I am going straight to the Red box to see what you have written.

      Thanks

      Gerard Dean

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    14. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to David Arthur

      My reply to Mr Curtin's comment did not mention that intensification of the hydrological cycle has increased the rate of heat transfer from surface to upper troposphere (heat absorbtion at surface through evaporation, heat release in upper troposphere due to condensation), thus contriuting to the slowed rate of surface temperature increase this last decade.

      My apologies for not including it in my initial response to Mr Curtin on this occasion; I've set it out on several past occasions. If I knew more about html, I'd set up a "bot" that would troll the internet for all Mr Curtin's contributions, and automatically make the point.

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    15. Glenn Tamblyn

      Mechanical Engineer, Director

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Timothy

      Rising water vapour levels in the atmosphere does not necessarily mean more precipitation. Rising evaporation levels would.

      For the hydrological cycle in the atmosphere to remain in balance, evaporation must equal precipitation. Therefore you need enough cloud formation to produce enough produce precipitation to balance evaporation.

      If air temperatures were to rise without any corresponding increase in evaporation then the water vapour level required in the atmosphere before cloud…

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    16. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      You're a public servant, aren't you Tim, and given your support for Mr Cook's article about food supply, no doubt also supportive of farming and farmers who don't get paid out of taxpayers' funds as they struggle against natural variation and obstacles to produce food for the rest of the population, including public servants. So what is your take on the Thompsons:

      http://joannenova.com.au/2012/06/the-thompsons-fight-on-from-the-usa-a-business-ruined-by-green-tape-and-the-australian-carbon-tax/

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    17. Grendelus Malleolus

      Senior Nerd

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Is that some kind of "psychic business failure"? It must be given that their agribusiness failed in 2010 and the Carbon Tax was not annouced until January this year...

      In any case the Thompson's case was about environmental concerns relating to their feedlot and complaints about its smell - not carbon emissions.

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    18. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Grendelus Malleolus

      Really, how witty; that's what you got out of the report; a smelly agricultural business shut down because of fair dealing by the DEC with no implications for the sceptical position of the owners.

      What a joke; environmental agencies throughout Australia are pushing farmers off their lands [does Peter Spencer ring a bell?], the Carbon Farming Initiative legislation [what an Orwellian name] has already seen Henbury and Toorale stations sold so they lay fallow and no longer produce food.

      Green groups aren't interested in food production; it completely contradicts their support of pristine nature.

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    19. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      For what it is worth, my take on the Thompsons is that Jo Nova (and Anthony Watts) has been up to her dirty tricks again.

      The glaring omission in Nova’s spin is that hundreds of affected citizens of Narrogin had presented a petition to the Shire:

      1) “We the undersigned petition the Shire of Narrogin and the Department of Environment and Conservation, to take immediate action to stop emission of odour from the Narrogin Beef Feed Lot.”

      2) The Thompsons had in fact violated their licence agreement…

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    20. Tim Scanlon

      Author and Scientist

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      I'm actually well aware of the Thompson's case and can safely say that greenhouse gas emissions was absolutely nothing to do with their business failure.

      I can't speak to the specifics of that case, but I do know three of the DAFWA people who were negotiating the issues with DEC. Suffice to say Jo Nova is beating up a load of BS. DEC were not happy with their environmental setup, which was part of their license. It all came to a head over odour, but there were a lot of other issues. I can't really comment more publicly as it is a legal matter.

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    21. Tim Scanlon

      Author and Scientist

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Anthony that is incorrect.

      Whether or not the carbon tax is the best tool we could have come up with (the debate that we should have had rather arguing over whether climate change was real or not) does not change the fact that GHG emissions are a market failure. The correct for this market failure is to make sure that this externality is accounted for in the supply chain costs. Thus the carbon tax should aid in redressing this market failure.

      So business practices will need to change. Reluctance…

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    22. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      1 Here is a copy of the petition supporting the Thompsons:

      http://jonova.s3.amazonaws.com/politics/thompsons/petition-narrogin-beef.pdf

      No doubt Shirley has a copy of the petition allegedly against the Thompsons.

      2 Not true; the DEC actually admitted the Thompsons had been treated unfairly by the DEC's own standards. The original 6000 head lot had been increased to 10000 and the application for 15000 was submitted and preliminary approval had been given; that conditional approval was changed…

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    23. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      "The Greens will not be happy until this country is starving in the dark."

      No Anthony - at least, not the whole country... just the suburban lawyers, the Institute of Public Affairs and those who have invented a whole new physics for themselves like "Jo Nova" and her ilk without any sort of edjerkashun whatsoever. Politics of the worst kind dressed up as science. And heavily funded by vested interests via the Heritage Foundation.

      Hope you lot aren't left to starve in the dark ... I want to watch.

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    24. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      "the fact that GHG emissions are a market failure"

      I don't know what you mean by that. The carbon capture industry would disagree.

      If AGW was out of the equation then real environmental issues like population, food production using GM technology and water pollution from mining could be dealt with.

      Anyway, why is my comment about the CFI legislation and the incentive for farmers to leaving agricultural land fallow to accrue credits wrong?

      Regardless of your answer, I can tell you one thing, once the lawyers get involved the average guys are going to get done over; and the lawyers are up to their necks in this anti-farming legislation:

      http://www.claytonutz.com/publications/news/201108/24/carbon_farming_initiative_bills_passed_now_to_get_ready_for_them.page

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    25. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Charming.

      How's your crop of credits going Pete?

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    26. Tim Scanlon

      Author and Scientist

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      You are missing the point Anthony.

      Carbon capture and storage is the market response to the market failure. CCS has come online because of schemes that were developed to address the market failure of GHGs.

      I don't want to go into ag land being used to offset emissions. I see it as a white elephant and red herring rolled into one.

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    27. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Now last time I looked Anthony you were running a legal practice down in Newcastle... seems a curious stand to be bagging your fellow lawyers getting involved in these matters doesn't it?

      As for the espoused concern for "real" environmental issues I think your attitude to the Thompson's feed-lot and Spencer's insane land-clearing demands (too rabid even for the NFF, but not the IPA apparently) gives a pretty clear indication of your real attitude to "green tape" and environmental regulation.

      You IPA/ Jo Nova/ Alan Jones free-market slash and burn characters aren't remotely interested in the environment - not unless there's a quid in it - you just dance along to whatever tune the fossil fuels industries of the US pay you to do via the Heritage Foundation which bankrolls your operations. And a curious little jig it is too.

      Lawyers. Such a waste.

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    28. Grendelus Malleolus

      Senior Nerd

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Anthony your Herring is no less red or malodorous for having been bolstered by a petition to save it - the Carbon Tax and carbon policy was unrelated to the Thompson case no matter how hard you try to spin it otherwise. As far as I can see your argument is:

      The Thompsons started an agribusiness. They were vocal against AGW so the DEC trumped up a reason to shut them down.

      Is that about the strength of it?

      Care to share some evidence to back that theory because everything on Jo Nova's own…

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    29. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Grendelus Malleolus

      You can't say that! I object Your Honour... this is the best hearsay evidence one could hope for - from a respected source of objective truth like "Ms Nova" ... what more is necessary?

      I wonder if Anthony's lawyering is as good as his science. Must check.

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    30. Grendelus Malleolus

      Senior Nerd

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      No Anthony that is what I got of your introducing the case into this argument as proof that the carbon tax is bad - the issues arose way before the carbon tax was looming and the reasons given on Jo Nova's own site don't support an argument otherwise.

      Unless you subscribe to wild conspiracy theories.

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    31. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Grendelus Malleolus

      The CO2 tax is bad but it is only a symptom of what I see as a strong misanthropic element in the AGW movement; I wrote about it here:

      http://theclimatescepticsparty.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/our-abc-green-narrative.html

      I'll quote from someone else who was published at the ABC on the subject:

      "Today, the Green narrative incorporates no such faith, but rather a belief that humanity is blight upon the Earth. This is manifest in a palpable horror at the size of the world; a disgust at its incomprehensible billions; a disdain for the unfathomable numbers who hope to share our prosperity. It is a distinctly anti-human narrative, which buries the idea that humankind is a reservoir of possibilities."

      Actually I like my conspiracy theories tame and stupid, just like AGW. It is this attitude, not the CO2 tax, which probably got the Thompsons, but, as Tim suggests, we'll see after the court case.

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    32. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Yes - the same "degree in climatology" that was actually a formal qualification in geography (as it was called at the time), I believe from newcastle. Although Mr Cox will make grand claims about the course content covering climate matters I do not believe it was named as such at the time.

      Given that he is on record as confusing Watts with Joules on these threads (rather like his fellow pseudo-skeptic Mr Curtin) he really doesn't have any credibility in this subject

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    33. Daryl Deal

      retired

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Sadly, you know when the denialati mononeurons, have absolute zero come back, when they play the old shoot the messenger joker card, from the bottom of the deck............

      As for the farmers, being stewards of the land, they were planting native trees long before there were carbon credits.

      link 1: http://www.listener.co.nz/current-affairs/farmers-take-a-stand-on-native-trees/

      link 2: http://www.abc.net.au/landline/content/2006/s1674809.htm

      Oops.

      From the "Unified Theory of Cranks"

      1. Cranks overestimate their own knowledge and ability, and underestimate that of acknowledged experts.

      Cheers ; 0

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    34. Daryl Deal

      retired

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Where may one find the artificial imaginary econometric proof of your outrageous horse hockey claims "Carbon Tax is Evil" again?

      Mean while , back in the real world of reality, using the 'Internets', I find the exact opposite, why is that?

      Carbon Pricing Alarmists Disproven by the Reality of RGGI

      link : http://www.skepticalscience.com/carbon-pricing-alarmists-disproven-by-rggi.html

      How I lived through a carbon tax and survived to tell the tale.

      link: http://www.skepticalscience.com/How-I-lived-through-a-carbon-tax-and-survived-to-tell-the-tale.html

      You lose, game set and match in one.

      Cheers ; 0

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    35. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      The very same fella Shirley. Interesting the sort of characters who are drawn to the skirts of Alan Jones and the Jo Codlings of the world isn't it?

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    36. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Much as I love exchanging ideas with such witty, intelligent people as Shirley, Peter, Mark, Darryl and Grendelus [where is Michael?], and as reassured as I am that the future of this great country is safe in the hands of such people I must depart to other right wing causes.

      But as a parting gift this link to some equally motivated good people may be of interest to the above solid citizens:

      http://greentremayne.com/Carbon_Free_Living.html

      Some good advice there! Don't forget to take it in the spirit it is given!

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    37. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      I love the idea of baby credits. Probably have to buy double credits if the kid turns into a lawyer don't you reckon?

      Actually there's a couple of good jokes in that site ... we should never take ourselves too seriously.

      Curiously enough I have a couple of young mates who have converted their diesel engines to run on waste cooking oil as well as diesel. Simple as heck actually and costs less than a few hundred dollars. They get the fuel for free and don't pay a cent for boodling about all over the place. Damn smart if you ask me ... but the exhaust smells like hot chips and one is hungry all the time.

      Good luck with the IPA and Heartland Tony... they're always on the lookout for lawyers ... can't get enough of them.

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    38. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Enough of your warbling Anthony Cox. The Thompsons were holding 10000 head of cattle, which by all accounts was in breach of licence conditions. Your slithy comrade-in-spin Nova slyly implies the Thompsons were licensed in 2005 to hold 10000 head when the 2005 licences stated 6000.

      2005 Licences:

      “9 May 2005 L7873/2 (amendment) As above •6,000 head limit (preamble). 28 Sep 2005 L7873/3 2 years •6,000 head limit (preamble).” (Source: Appeals Convenor WA).

      I know a little about licensing…

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    39. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Reasonable people have asked me to post this; I will do so and then go and bathe:

      "The glaring omission in Nova’s spin is that hundreds of affected citizens of Narrogin had presented a petition to the Shire":

      1) “We the undersigned petition the Shire of Narrogin and the Department of Environment and Conservation, to take immediate action to stop emission of odour from the Narrogin Beef Feed Lot.”

      ANSWER: Narrogin wanted them to stay:

      http://joannenova.com.au/2010/09/thompsons-part-5-community-support

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    40. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Anthony!

      "Heresay"!!!??? Or is that Heresy? Surely you mean Hearsay? What sorta law you practising down there?

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    41. Tim Scanlon

      Author and Scientist

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Anthony, I can see several fraudulent or half-truth statements in your post regarding the Thompson's feedlot case. Being a lawyer you should understand that you are committing slander and misleading the wider public with your comments on the matter.

      If you want to know the truth, contact the DAFWA and DEC people involved. They have extensive records, as they are required to, and can give you the real information.

      Also, the Australian Skeptics would disagree with you being a sceptic. You aren't seeking evidence, you are seeking confirmation of your thoughts. This is a logical fallacy called confirmation bias and unacceptable to the true skeptics.

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    42. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      "fraudulent or half-truth statements"

      Tim, as I intimated in my previous post I have supplied the information which was prepared by other people; I did not prepare the time-line or any of the other information.

      Perhaps you should take your specific complaints across to Jo Nova's site and discuss the issue; or at least state what those specific complaints regarding "fraudulent or half-truth statements" are.

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    43. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Good catch Peter. Those long years of honest toil in the soil have not dimmed your mental faculties.

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    44. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      No Anthony mentally I'm but a shadow of my former self ... but I do remember enough to recall that peddling unverified information and allegations (heresay if you like) obtained from other sources as though it is fact can get one into serious strife with the beak.

      It is quite simply a lame response when challenged on the veracity of your regurgitated allegations, go hide under the table and tell your audience that it wasn't you who made the stuff up - someone else done it your honour... 'twasn't me. I didn't do nuffink. Ask them what said it first.

      Or is this the sort of individual responsibility the IPA is looking for nowadays?

      So, go back to Joanne Codling (or Nova if you like) and ask her to answer Tim's specific and detailed questions.

      And get out from under that desk.

      10,000 head on a feedlot! That's not farming - that's a factory.

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    45. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Aw Anthony Cox, you speak with forked tongue yet again so you can stop shovelling Nova’s cowdung now, thank you:

      Date Licence no. Duration Details of key conditions:

      1 Dec 2003 L7873/1 1 year •2,000 head limit (preamble)
      11 Nov 2004 L7873/2 1 year •6,000 head limit (preamble)
      9 May 2005 L7873/2 (amendment) As above •6,000 head limit (preamble)
      28 Sep 2005 L7873/3 2 years •6,000 head limit (preamble)
      22 Nov 2007 L7873/3 (amendment) 3 months 6,000 head limit (preamble)
      11 Feb…

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    46. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Shirley says:

      "Your slithy comrade-in-spin Nova slyly implies the Thompsons were licensed in 2005 to hold 10000 head when the 2005 licences stated 6000."

      "slithy"

      There certainly appears to be some discrepancies between the written records and the Thompson's assertion of verbal advice they received from the DEC in this matter. Again I stress the following is what I have been advised what happened.

      The Thompsons applied on 23rd Aug 2005 for 10,000 head. The license was issued on 28th Sept…

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    47. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      @ Anthony Cox: “The Thompsons applied on 23rd Aug 2005 for 10,000 head. The license was issued on 28th Sept 2005 except the office of the DEC failed to change the numbers 6000 ---> 10,000 in the preamble.”

      Ullo ullo – wattsupwiththat? Um, the current licence states a maximum 6000 head of cattle may be held at the feedlot. The licence expires on 31 March 2015. Seven years hence and DEC’s 2005 “mistake” has not been “corrected.” Heh.

      (Slithy:adj. A nonce word in Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky combining the senses of "slimy" and "lithe" --> easily bent.)

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  5. Robert Gully

    retired pharmacist/farmer

    This is an extraordinarily important topic. Farmers and our society as a whole are going to have to face the challenge sooner or later. Every farmer should read Jared Diamond's book "Collapse...how societies chose to fail or succeed"
    which details case studies of past societies that adapted to changed climatic conditions and survived, and those that did not change and subsequently collapsed. Conservative attitudes can make it very difficult for some to change.
    Individual farmers will probably be well informed of impending climate challenges, and will prosper at the expense of those who choose to remain uninformed, by re-locating for instance.
    The current difficulties our society is having in trying to prevent the unsustainable farming practices along he Murray-Darling do not auger well for the future.

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  6. Marc Hendrickx

    Geologist: The Con is a bad Monty Python sketch, for climate sense see: http://www.thegwpf.org/

    In a piece about a new paper by Gergis et al (https://theconversation.edu.au/post-1950s-warming-in-region-unmatched-in-1-000-years-7081#comments) Ian Ashman comments:
    "Lol! Climate Audit. Even the deniers have disowned these jokers. Marc needs to update his denialist portfolio. McIntyre and McKitrick - the Bevis and Butthead of climate science..."
    That paper now withdrawn. Here are David Karoly's comments following the discovery of errors in the Gergis paper by Steve McIntyre and other bloggers…

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  7. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    Scanlon: Eckard's paper shows no awareness of how important availability of [CO2] is to continuing growth of crop yields. He also displays invincible ignorance in refusing to consider that ruminants and all other livestock are major stores of carbon until they die, and when they do my dog does his best to sequester their bones!

    You Tim at least should know something about the carbohydrate content of crops. Will 350 ppm sustain the present level of yields at 390 ppm?

    Re drought, there are always regional; and cyclical variations but the dogma of the IPCC is that AGW means more not less precipitation, pace Cook's Li & co.

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    1. Tim Scanlon

      Author and Scientist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      I see you are continuing with your spurious assertions about the carbon cycle and claims about photosynthesis. I also see you are insulting Eckard's work which is actually directly measuring emissions, not casting aspersions.

      You really should take my advice and actually look into the plant physiology basics. CO2 does not drive crop/plant "production". The plants (and animals) that currently live on this Earth have evolved with CO2 levels of ~280ppm, thus they don't need more, they can concentrate…

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    2. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      Scanlon, you are beyond redemption I fear. Do you really think today's cereal and other food production would have been possible with [CO2] at 280 ppm? Of course there was production then, but life was nasty brutish and short. You clearly believe today's cereals etc production feeding 7 billion at 390 ppm would have been possible at 280. I really do give up on you.

      As for rain, we have had 3 years now of rain way above the average, so far this year more than 100 mm more than in the whole of 2006. Get lost!

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    3. Tim Scanlon

      Author and Scientist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Your statement is completely at odds with the reality of agricultural production. You seem to think that CO2 is the reason we have increased yields of crops in the past 30-40 years, yet that means you think nothing has been gained from all the research and innovation in the sector. Are you honestly implying that no-till did nothing, that the improved plant varieties weren't improved, that nutrition, rotations, disease and weed management did nothing?

      Curtin, it is you who is deluded and talking nonsense. You finishing statement is once again confounding seasonal variability with climate and climate change. By your logic: I hear it is really cold at the south pole as well, must be global cooling. Please consider opening your mind and reading up on what agricultural science and farmers have achieved, as you are currently insulting an entire industry.

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    4. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      Scanlon: you refuse to comprehend my multivariate analysis of crop yields in my paper on climate change and food production (available at www.timcurtin.com). It is not honest to have said here what you just did when you are in fact well aware of that paper - and indeed of Garnaut's commissioned study from CSIRO by Crimp et al. If The Conversation had any standards for quality of its threads, yours would never have appeared.

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    5. Tim Scanlon

      Author and Scientist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      A paper I have already pointed out the flaws in. It also comes up short on the very basic logic that I have pointed out: simply put you are ignoring all of the advances in agriculture in favour of a correlation.

      I have also pointed out previously to you the perfidious way you interpreted the Howden and Crimp submissions to the Garnaut paper. To ignore the major caveats stated is nothing more than cherry picking.

      In terms of your multivariate analysis, this has been torn to pieces by several mathematicians. It is clear that your analyses are not just fatally flawed but lacking analytical rigor as well.
      http://tamino.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/tc-and-dw/
      http://tamino.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/big-difference/
      These are only two dissections of your work, there are many more, both lay (like these two blog posts) and scientific.

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    6. Daryl Deal

      retired

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Watt a complete load of horse hockey, for your econometric paper, completely fails both "Occam's Razor" and the second law of thermodynamics.

      "Answering Climate Change Skeptics, Naomi Oreskes"

      Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXyTpY0NCp0

      As they say Tim, you have neither the science nor the mathematics on your side of the fence, to defend the indefensible, nor detract from the real science in the IPCC AR reports, one through four and the new up coming AR5.

      But since you are a fan of the trash well debunked science fiction called "Slaying the Sky Dragon - Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory", that comes as no big surprise!

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    7. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      My Climate Change and Food production paper (2009) discusses new crop varieties and othern variables. The fact remains that presence of [CO2] is a necessary condition for all plant growth and thereby for all life. Reducing it, all other conditions cet.par., will reduce yields and the essential carbohydrate content within plants.

      I stand by the Crimp and Howden results as reported in Garnaut Table 6.5 2008.

      Tamino spotted only one statistical error in just one of the many Tables in my TSWJ paper…

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    8. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Daryl Deal

      Daryl, you rely too much on hearsay. Have you read Claes Johnson on the 2nd Law? It is Trenberth Fasullo and Kiehl along with Pierrehumbert whose cartoons shows "back radiation" from the atmosphere to the earth out of the 390 allegedly radiated from the earth which if true would turn it in to a fireball, as its 324 W/sq.m. that they show absorbed by the surface is nearly double that (168) absorbed from the sun. (See the first KT cartoon at AR4 WG1 p.96).

      Do go to Johnson's website, you just might learn something.

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    9. Eli Rabett

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Read and giggled that someone could be so dense. What Johnson never confronts is how the photon radiated from the earth knows it has hit something that was hotter than where it left. That, dear Tim is either serious action at a distance, every distance as a matter of fact, since the photon could have hit some distant sun or intelligent photon theory.

      In short Johnson is selling idiot attraction.

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    10. Tim Scanlon

      Author and Scientist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      You don't stand by Crimp and Howden at all, you've misquoted and cherry picked them, as I have pointed out on many occasions. Howden's work on modelling plant growth is well known and very good work, it is a pity you don't read it properly.

      Once again I see you are continuing to push your flawed logic on CO2 and plant growth. CO2 is not a driver of photosynthesis, it is just a part of it. Plants have adapted to 280ppm over a million years, so your claims fail the basic tenants of logic.

      But…

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    11. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      Tim Scanlon: you are not being truthful when you state (1)

      "CO2 is not a driver of photosynthesis, it is just a part of it".

      So you are saying photosynthesis is possible without CO2?


      (2) That I "have consistently attributed ALL of the improvements in yield of the past century to CO2 increases". Show me where I ever said that. I NEVER did in my E&E paper Climate Change and Food Production paper (available at my website www.timcurtin.com).


      The problem with you Scanlon is that you exhibit the Peter principle or Dunning Kruger effect whereby you combine ignorance with arrogance.

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    12. Tim Scanlon

      Author and Scientist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      This comment is irrational and fallacious.

      Firstly how can I state that CO2 is a part of photosynthesis and have you interpret that statement as "so you are saying photosynthesis is possible without CO2"? This is extremely ridiculous and makes me question your comprehension skills, which may also explain your cherry picking.

      Secondly, did you mean the insinuations you have made here that CO2 increases have driven yield gains and not any of the advances in agriculture? Or did you mean the same…

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    13. Daryl Deal

      retired

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Surely, you jest TC?

      To believe in CJ's monologue of complete nonsense, I would have to unlearn 5,000 years of basic science, since civilization first began.

      Claes Johnson's, postulate of complete nonsense, fails "Occam's Razor Test", the basic laws of physics, including the second law of thermodynamics.

      Definition of postulate : http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/postulate

      Top twenty logical fallacies : http://www.theskepticsguide.org/resources/logicalfallacies.aspx

      *Circular…

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    14. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Daryl Deal

      Claes Johnson unlike Trenberth and you is fully consistent with Occam's razor, as he dispenses with the otiose and invalid postulate of back radiation, invalid as it violates the Second Law by claiming that heat of 390 W/sq. metre rising from the earth to the cooler atmosphere then mostly (324 W/sq.m) returns from that cool to the earth.

      If only Trenberth was right, because we would then capture more heat from the earth at night (324 W/sq.m) than from the pathetic 168 which is all the sun can manage and then only by day. No doubt your solar panels are already delivering energy at night from all that back radiation! If not, why not?

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    15. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Matthew Albrecht

      Photons are the light energy arriving from the sun; the infrared LW radiation from the surface travels only from warm to cool. We still all want to know how much electricity your solar panels generate at night from all that back radiation.

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    16. Daryl Deal

      retired

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Seriously Tim, you have yet to learn basic science, from K7 through to K12 and need to attend another twenty four lectures, from Yale University on basic physics, first.

      I estimate, that it would take you, at least six years minimum, before you can understand, even these simple seventh grade books!

      "Thermodynamics For Dummies" :link : http://www.booktopia.com.au/thermodynamics-for-dummies/prod9781118002919.html

      "Statistics For Dummies" : link : http://www.booktopia.com.au/statistics-for-dummies/prod9780470911082.html

      "Global Warming For Dummies" : link : http://www.booktopia.com.au/global-warming-for-dummies/prod9780470840986.html

      You have a lot of work to do Tim, and at least another six years of hard study, to overcome your basic illiteracy, on the subject of real science and statistical mathematics.

      Cheers ;0

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    17. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Matthew Albrecht

      Matthew:

      My comment that your belief that photons can convey heat from the cooler atmosphere to the warmer earth breaks the 2nd Law and implies in the Trenberth cartoon that backradiation warms the earth by nearly twice the W/sq.metre from the sun and suggests a huge free energy resource is confirmed by these pieces I just found via Google:

      1. "The "being" soon came to be called Maxwell's demon, because of its far reaching subversive effects on the natural order of things. Chief among…

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    18. Matthew Albrecht

      Postdoctoral Researcher at Curtin University

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Just so I understand you correctly, you're saying that there is 0 probability that an IR photon emitted by an atmospheric CO2 molecule will travel towards earth because the earth is warmer than the emitting molecule? If that's not what you're saying, you should clarify because that's what it sounds like. But if it is....

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    19. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Wrong - photons are emitted from bodies producing energy. They don't get to "select" whether or not they travel TO a cooler body. The spectrum (or range of frquencies or wavelengths) of photons from a heat emitting body is a function SOLELY of it's blackbody radiation curve the spectral shape of which varies according to temperature. It does NOT vary according to what body those photons subsequently pass through, or are absorbed by, or are reflected by.

      Mr Curtin just continues to demosntrate he is at the top the climate science Dunning-Kruger effect class - which is to say not only does he not have a clue what he is talking about but that he is astoundingly unaware of his total ignorance.

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    20. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Oh yes, probably wasting my time with Tim "Dunning-Kruger" Curtin but this comment on Solar panels and IR radiation is so astoundingly silly it beggars belief.

      Tim - photons come in quanta (discrete packets of energy) that are inversely proprotional to the wavelength and proprtional to the frequency. So High frequency photons (e.g. UV) have higher energy per quanta than low frequency (e.g. IR) \..

      For a solar panel to work the quanta of the photon must be above the excitation energy (band-gap…

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    21. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Matthew Albrecht

      Matthew: what is the heat content of the photons? If it is the 342 W/sq.m.PER SECOND backradiated to earth according to Trenberth & co, what happens to that incredible amount of heat? We would all be fried critters by now if Trenberth is right

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    22. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Once you mention Dunning Kruger, which fits you perfectly, I know it is a waste of time conversing with you.

      The question you refuse to answer is what happens to Trenberth's back radiation to the earth of 324 W/sq. per second day and night. Neither you nor D-K have a clue.

      Bye.

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    23. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Idiotically wrong again. The notion of a Watt per second is physically meaningless.

      A Watt is a JOULE PER SECOND.

      Tim - stop maiking such a silly ass of youself (by the way 342 Wm-2 is the total incident solar radiation at TOA it is NOT the backascattered IR that Trenberth reports - thats actually around 333 Wm-2)

      One wonder how you manage to get things so wrong and not see it.

      Tim "Dunning Kruger" strikes again!!

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    24. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      See my comment above. Curtin has no idea what he is even saying. A Watt (a unit of power) is a Joule (a unit of energy) per second.

      To talk about W/m-2 per second is physics gibberish - which reflects Mr Curtin's understanding of the subject matter - which is to say less than zero.

      And 342 @m-2 is the total incident Solar power at TOA - backscattered Ir is about 333 Wm-2

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    25. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Thanks Mark, I am glad you agree that the IPCC's AR4 WG1 is total gibberish, because at p. 96 when displaying Trenberth's Mickey Mouse cartoon, it states "The amount of energy reaching the top of Earth's atmosphere EACH SECOND on a surface area of one square metre facing the sun during DAYTIME is about 1,370 Watts, and the amount of energy per square metre per second averaged over the entire planet is one quarter of this (Fig.1)" - and of that amount only 168 W/sq.m reaches the surface.

      But by Trenberth's sorcery, no less than 390 W/sq.m. is radiated by the surface, and 324 W/sq.m. [PER SECOND] is back radiatted, hallelujah! Alas, despite that, we need our fire going flat out here in Canberra tonight, as the back radiation never seems to reach us with or without panels, and we are giving up on carbon taxed electric heating.

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    26. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      I really don't know whether to laugh or cry at such persistent idiocy.

      Tim - IPCC is 100% correct - you just 150% fail to understand it.

      The amount of energy... per second (that's power measured in Watts) is indeed 1370 Watts (joules every second) per square meter

      Let me re-word the IPCC statement in kindergarten terms for you to understand

      The amount of energy (joules) reaching the top of Earth's atmosphere EACH SECOND on a surface area of one square metre facing the sun during DAYTIME…

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    27. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Damn - ypos - got to stop baning this out so fast

      the sentences with energy should read "energy/s/m2" so

      "So (now follow carefully) that means the atmosphere now has 175 Wm-2 of energy/s/M2"

      and

      "So - of the TOTAL energy/2/m2 being moved around by absorption and radiation (199 up and 333 down) - the bulk (more than 60%) is DOWN."

      By the way - there's a clear explanation here

      http://www.geo.utexas.edu/courses/387h/Lectures/chap2.pdf

      try reading it sometime

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    28. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Mark: "So - of the TOTAL energy/2/m2 being moved around by absorption and radiation (199 up and 333 down) - the bulk (more than 60%) is DOWN."

      So why are we not being barbecued?

      I see that you blame me for the inanities in AR4 Wg1, p.96. I plead not guilty.

      Get real!

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    29. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Tim - I really cant help it if you are too dense to understand what the IPCC has written - it is completely correct. What is deficient is your understanding of what you read (and indeed of the physics in general as your posts - like the amount of power to boil a kettle - repeatedly show).

      For the umpteenth time. If there was NO back radiation surface temperature would be about 33 degrees celcius lower than it is. The back radiation DOES increase the surface temperature

      Perhaps you should comsider this - since you are apparently insufficiently numerically or scientifically literate to understand plain english. Is it really credible that the IPCC and the vast body of atmospheric physicists etc have it so wrong and only YOU can see the errors? Do you you not see that this classic Dunning-Kruger - complete incompetence on a topic and complete ignorance and lack of awareness of this incompetence.

      You just continue to make youself look like a complete idiot.

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    30. Matthew Albrecht

      Postdoctoral Researcher at Curtin University

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Just as I thought.
      It's amazing how you've managed to butcher the most fundamental principles of physics, chemistry, climate science, and statistics. Your econometrics paper is a travesty. It fails on the most fundamental statistical principles. If that's how statistics was conducted, we'd hardly ever find physical relationships between anything (simple simulations would show you this, if you knew how to conduct them). Although, after seeing your treatment of radiative physics and thermodynamics…

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    31. John Holmes

      Agronomist - semi retired consultant

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      A historical review by an Israeli agriculturalist of agricultural yields by and Israeli who looked at the yields reported in Biblical, Crusader, Byzantine, Ottoman and any other records from his area of the Middle East over a period of about 3000 years seems to indicate that the relationship of wheat yield / rainfall has not changed much. As crops were hand sown, the nominal sowing rate was about 50 kg/ha. Crop yield were reported as the amount harvested compare with that used for sowing. So reports…

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    32. Tim Scanlon

      Author and Scientist

      In reply to John Holmes

      John I would love that reference.

      We had a few agribusiness people in this morning for brekkie and they were commenting upon how good min and no-till was for utilising moisture. Some silly decisions are being made because no-till allows them to chase moisture harder than they would normally.

      I wonder if T Curtin will listen to us both on water driving crop growth and yields?

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    33. Glenn Tamblyn

      Mechanical Engineer, Director

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Well done Tim.

      You have found a typo in the IPCC report. Well not really the Report, more the FAQ's associated with the report. But nonetheless, good spot.

      "The amount of energy reaching the top of Earth’s atmosphere each second on a surface area of one square metre facing the Sun during daytime is about 1,370 Watts, and the amount of energy per square metre per second averaged over the entire planet is one-quarter of this"

      Obviously this should read

      "The amount of energy reaching the…

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    34. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Glenn Tamblyn

      Hi Glenn

      I will respond to your latest re Trenberth asap, but it's late here in Canberra.

      Here are my tentative responses to your earlier invaluable and most helpful posts:

      I am most appreciative of your comments on my posts here, and especially those relating to Claes Johnson. I have had other commitments today so this is a very preliminary response.

      I agree with you re photons, on the whole, but what is their measure in terms of Watts per square metre? Absent measurement there is NO…

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    35. Tim Scanlon

      Author and Scientist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      As much as I'm not up on my physics, T Curtin you are clearly needing to read these pages:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_methane#Removal_processes
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_potential

      "CH4 cannot produce more of anything than the CO2 from which it derived" is completely wrong and is referred to by the global warming potentials. Of course it would also be worth reading up on radiative capacity and molecular excitation.

      Also if you don't agree that methane (or CO2) have a cycle they follow, then you need the first link.

      For a person claiming expertise in this field you really don't seem to have the basics understood yet.

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    36. Glenn Tamblyn

      Mechanical Engineer, Director

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Timothy.

      It i a totally physical concept. Each additional methane molecule added to the atmosphere has a much greater warming impact than the addition of a CO2 molecule. Eventually the the Methane molecule is oxidised to become CO2 but that takes on average around 12 years. So if we want to reduce the immediate warming impact, and we are going to be releasing carbon in some form, we are better of releasing it in the form of CO2 rather than Methane.

      And just to avoid confusion. This much greater…

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    37. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Glenn Tamblyn

      Great explanation Glenn. But as Tim "Dunning Kruger" Curtin's posts consistently demonstrate any totally physical concept is totally misunderstood, misconstrued and misrepresented by him.

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    38. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Glenn Tamblyn

      Glenn: I note you have not responded to my last. Meantime I think you need to check your maths when you say:

      "Therefore, per molecule, a methane molecule has a greater warming impact because it is adding to a much smaller pool of molecules".

      Garbage! Even the idiots at AR4 WG1 p.141 admit that there was no significant change in the atmospheric concentration of CH4 between 1998 and 2005, so that despite its "huge" impact on radiative forcing it achieved none at all.

      But even if it had, just tell us how many increases in molecules of CH4 would have enhanced the claimed but illusory radiative effect of CO2?

      As even the fatuous jerks of the IPCC admit, a rise of 11 ppb in CH4 between 1998 and 2005 had ZERO impact on radiative forcing.

      Can you tell the difference between ppm and ppb?

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    39. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      ROTFLMAO - this from the man who can't tell the difference between a joule and a watt, thinks 50W can boil a kettle in 3 minutes cant properly read or understand what the IPCC reports say and yet thinks he can overturn the body of climate science.

      Tim, you are too much - thanks for the amusement :)

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    40. Glenn Tamblyn

      Mechanical Engineer, Director

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      No Tim, I don't need to check my maths.

      If you refer to Myrhe et al 1998 (you know this paper, you have cited it in at least one of your papers), and go down to Table 3. There they give the formulae for calculating the forcing due to changes in different GH gases. I suggest you read those formulae and absorb what they mean.

      So If we take Methane and CO2 levels at 1998 since that is the AR4 baseline you have referred to. Then we look at how the impact of adding either 11 ppb of Methane compares…

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    41. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      We're all aware of the Myrhe forcing calculations Glenn.

      How do marry them with Levitus 2012 which says:

      “The heat content of the world ocean for the 0-2000 m layer increased by 24.0×1022 J corresponding to a rate of 0.39 Wm-2 (per unit area of the world ocean) and a volume mean warming of 0.09ºC. This warming rate corresponds to a rate of 0.27 Wm-2 per unit area of earth’s surface.”

      This is a forcing much less than calculated by Myrhe.

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    42. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Glenn Tamblyn

      Glenn this is what I actually said in my last response to you: "I am most appreciative of your comments on my posts here...." How was that rude? I am not aware of or have forgotten any previous responses.

      As for CH4, whilst per part per billion it may well be more potent than CO2, it's actual absolute level is very small and according to AR4 WG1 p.141 not growing at all between 1998 and 2005.

      I may have time to respond to your comments later, but not today.

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  8. Ken Fabian

    Mr

    Can Australian farmers rise to the challenge? To the challenges of adaptation, I think they will do their best with whatever the climate dishes out but the challenges of mitigation - which require wide acceptance of the reality and seriousness of the problem - look beyond them. The minority who accept it's seriousness will be undermined by the majority who don't.

    Whilst farmers are keen watchers of weather statistics too many retain a reluctance to look beyond the cycles of drought and flood they…

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  9. Ewen Peel

    Farmer

    Thankyou John for highlighting some of the great achievements made by
    Australian farmers.
    While climate change looms large as an issue threatening our future production, it is only one of many issues that could have a similar impact on
    the way we farm. things like resistant weeds, high fertiliser prices and other input costs are all issues that could have a big impact on what we do. We might however have a bit more control over some of these other issues and therefore possibly concentrate more…

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    1. Tim Scanlon

      Author and Scientist

      In reply to Ewen Peel

      Ewen, I agree the commodity prices and cost price squeeze are hurting agriculture, as we said in the article, they are part of the many factors that are impacting agriculture. It is why I think it is important for the wider community to understand farming, because the big topics that have hit agriculture in the last 2 years have been from the wider community.

      Also the reason for the climate section in the pilot was specifically to address your last point. With all the misinformation and discussion about the topic of climate change, it is important to understand how it is influencing your farm's future. The shifts we have seen in rainfall patterns require a different approach to just our standard need to deal with seasonal variability.

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  10. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    Eli: always good to hear from you, with or without giggles! I was just finishing reading Claes Johnson on Computational Blackbody Radiation when I was told of your post.

    It is not easy reading, but rather profound in my opinion, not least because he comments on the very issue you just raised when you said "What Johnson never confronts is how the photon radiated from the earth knows it has hit something that was hotter than where it left".

    Here is Claes in his post on 21st February 2012: "Notable…

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      There are few better personifications of the Dunning-Kruger effect in relation to climate science than Mr Curtin :)

      If it's not "CO2 is plant food" it's his latest foray into a "real scientific paper" (published in the Scientific World Journal). Not too long ago Mr Curtin was crowing on these threads about the papers imminent publication.

      By his own admission on this thread by Tamino

      http://tamino.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/tc-and-dw/

      and further examined here

      http://thepoliticus.com/content/tim-curtins-incompetence-basic-statistics-deltoid

      It's riddled with mistakes, even in the stats about which he claims some mastery - not to mention errors and basic complete misunderstandings of the physics of climate science.

      I note he's not crowing about it anymore? Just continuing to spread pseudo-skeptic ill informed climate science denialism

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    2. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Harrigan: Tamino (aka Closed Mind) spotted only one statistical error in just one of the many Tables in my TSWJ paper and its SI, and that error arose from my use of all GHGs including methane etc as well as [CO2] in the radiative forcing measure, thereby removing the autoregression. Closed Mind refused to admit this, thereby justifying my renaming of him - as he never cited an error in ANY of the remaining Tables of my TSWJ paper including its SI.

      In his second attack on my ACE2011 paper, "Big Difference", he made the same mistake he accused me of in TSWJ, as in its Table 1 the D-W statistic clearly shows autocorrelation when radiative forcing of just [CO2] is considered (as I have noted here above). Again Grant Foster proved his Closed Mind by refusing to allow me to point out his own failure to use the Durbin-Watson Tables correctly.

      You are in dangerous territory by associating yourself with a serially economical with the truth Grant Foster (aka Closed Mind).

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    3. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      Tim: you and John are twerps, like Garnaut, for supporting the ludicrous Eckard paper with its actionably fraudulent claim that livestocks emit more GHG than they have ever absorbed.

      If I lived in WA I would have you reassigned to child care,as that is the level of your intellect and knowledge, provided you had no access to my grandson.

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    4. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Sure Tim, have it your way. I'll leave it to others to judge your ceridibility and draw their own conclusions re Dunning-Kruger. here's some great examples of your understanding of the topic
      1) You have stated on this thread (and others) that "CO2 is plant food" and therefore not a problem.

      2) Your so-called paper (in a journal with an impact factor of only around 1.5) purports to show that H20 is the main driver of climate change not CO2 - and is riddled with physics errors (e.g. P3 - ypu…

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    5. Grendelus Malleolus

      Senior Nerd

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      "And tonight on HBO we give you our thrilling new series - 'when economic advisors and physics collide'. Join us as we explore the amusing ways in which science can be mangled for ideological ends"

      Tim, I'll come chat to you when I have money to invest in a PNG project, but my science I'll take from a scientist. I trust them within their own fields and with the standard uncertainties and caveats that come with any scientific endeavor. Your constant haranguing of any post even remotely about climate change makes me ever more certain that your views are ideologically driven rather than based on any genuine rationale.

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    6. Glenn Tamblyn

      Mechanical Engineer, Director

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Timothy

      "Notable is also the complete absence of physicists in the debate, leaving room for all sorts of free inventions such as IR-photons busy traveling around the universe carrying little units of heat energy which they deliver to everybody without asking anything, in particular not about the temperature of the recipient."

      If Claes said that then he has managed to demonstrate in one sentence his complete and utter ignorance of the subject he claims he is revolutionising.

      All our understanding…

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    7. Tim Scanlon

      Author and Scientist

      In reply to Glenn Tamblyn

      I remember doing the science experiment in high school to show the duel nature of light. The vacuum flask, light source and spinning wheel. Pretty hard to overturn a tested and understood foundation of physics.

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    8. Tim Scanlon

      Author and Scientist

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Timelines Anthony.

      Over the medium and long term agriculture is carbon neutral. This is because the natural cycles are intertwined with plants and animals as part of that cycle. Humans have messed up that cycle by taking long term stored sources of GHGs (oil, coal, gas, anything Kim Beazley hasn't eaten) and released them into the atmosphere for the first time in millions of years.

      So over the short term, the agricultural emissions have an additive affect to the problem emissions. It makes for a larger short term impact that is harder to mitigate with the natural cycles and sequestration methods, thus causing feedbacks to occur (permafrost melt, more water vapour, etc). So it isn't quite as simple as being neutral. But it is the reason I don't see agriculture as the emission problem, I see industry and transport as the problem and agriculture can become more efficient (as emissions from ag are largely by products of less than efficient practices).

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  11. Gil Hardwick

    anthropologist, historian, novelist, editor and publisher at eBooks West

    Australian farmers have ALWAYS had to deal with highly variable climate extremes, have ALWAYS "met the challenge". The issue with 'climate change' is not centrally focussed on scientific debate rather on what's new? So, what's different, out of the ordinary, that we are going to have to plan for next that we haven't already taken into account?

    Likewise, there is ALWAYS something "hurting agriculture", these days significantly less so than in the past because those remaining in the industry are…

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  12. Gil Hardwick

    anthropologist, historian, novelist, editor and publisher at eBooks West

    Another issue coming to mind, from the view of anthropology rather than cognitive psychology, has less to do with whether farmers believe scientific claims of climate change, or whether as many beside myself have long argued farmers are already ahead of the game and merely express themselves differently, is that Australia is a land of complex social and cultural frontiers.

    I came in from remote inland Australia myself, travelling thousands of miles and going through extensive procedures that I…

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  13. Shirley Birney

    retiree

    I daresay any reforms in WA’s agricultural industry will be met with fierce opposition from WA’s Pastoralists and Graziers Association who by all accounts are more vicious than the hapless wild dogs in outback WA. The PGA has gone to great lengths to sabotage efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change:

    PGA’s climate change spokesperson Leon Bradley declares there is no relationship between CO2 emissions and global temperatures.

    Leon Bradley says he does not believe scientists who…

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    1. Tim Scanlon

      Author and Scientist

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      You will find that the PGA and the WAFF are not representative bodies. I have seen some figures that suggest they are battling for membership and are not covering more than single digit percentages of farmers. That figure is also apparently not made up of serious farmers.

      I can't say more, as I don't have the exact figures to quote, but suffice to say, those organisations have little sway in agriculture.

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  14. Danderson

    logged in via Twitter

    Re the disclosure statement,

    "John Cook does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations."

    Isn't his position as creator and owner of Skeptical Science a "relevant affiliation"?

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    1. Grendelus Malleolus

      Senior Nerd

      In reply to Danderson

      I call bullshit distraction Danderson! His association with Skeptical Science is overtly stated in his bio.

      I expect it is there rather than right under his name as he has a number of relevent affiliations that make for a lengthy statement. The information is one link away for the curious which you find out by clicking on his name up top of the left which leads you too his bio statement:

      "John Cook is currently the Climate Communication Fellow for the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland. He also runs skepticalscience.com, a website that makes climate science accessible to the general public and examines the arguments of global warming skeptics. He co-authored the book "Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand" with environmental scientist Haydn Washington and the popular booklet "The Debunking Handbook" with Stephan Lewandowsky. He is also an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Western Australia."

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    2. Danderson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Grendelus Malleolus

      So you agree with me, he does have a relevant affiliation which makes that disclosure statement incorrect. Vote me down for being right.

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    3. Danderson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Daryl Deal

      He's on the 'big climate' gravy train, he should disclose it.

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    4. Glenn Tamblyn

      Mechanical Engineer, Director

      In reply to Danderson

      And exactly how does one disclose being on a train that doesn't exist?

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    5. Grendelus Malleolus

      Senior Nerd

      In reply to Danderson

      Well, you assume that Contributing unpaid to a web site based on your professional expertise is an "affiliation". Should he also list any Wikipedia article he has written, journal article, blog post? Don't be ridiculous. The affiliation declaration is supposed to identify where a conflict of interest exists - ie some potential financial influence on his views. His participation in the website is plainly listed, but you just want to try and obfuscate the actual issue by throwing non-existent mud at the author rather than contributing productively to the discussion. That is why people click the "unconstructive" negative sign next to your name.

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  15. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    Excellent article John (and Tim) .... I reckon one can make a decent assessment of the value of a contribution on climate change by the venom and abuse generated by the confusionistas and wishful thinkers in reply.

    My grazier neighbours up here have been undergoing quite a transformation in recent years... sales of super from the local ag store have dropped by over 45%, stocking rates have been reduced and some of them are even planting trees and fencing off their watercourses.

    The denialists…

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    1. Tim Scanlon

      Author and Scientist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Thanks Pete.

      Transport is a big issue, especially as rural communities decline in size and farms enlarge. This isn't just a provision of an important resource, but also a cost. Were you would normally have a local carrier, you now have someone travelling further distances, which eats into the already small margins.

      I think there are many potential options, as you said, farmers are practical sorts. I think a big one is specialist markets and organisations. No reason why a group can't brand their local product, have their own supply chain and cut out all the middle men. And this is just my small thinking.

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