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Heretic: Melbourne Theatre Company runs with the goons

Who would have thought the Melbourne Theatre Company would get into bed with Andrew Bolt? The MTC’s new play The Heretic, which premieres on 17 May, tells the story of climate scientist Dr Diane Cassell…

Courageous dissent? “The MTC is patting itself on the back for staging The Heretic. But the MTC is not being bold … it is being cowardly.” Flickr/Carlton Browne

Who would have thought the Melbourne Theatre Company would get into bed with Andrew Bolt?

The MTC’s new play The Heretic, which premieres on 17 May, tells the story of climate scientist Dr Diane Cassell at a north of England university, whose research in the Maldives shows that sea-levels are not rising. On that basis, it soon becomes clear, she believes she has nullified the entire corpus of climate change science.

Diane Cassell is presented by playwright Richard Bean as the lone figure of integrity who has the courage to stand up to the climate science establishment, scientists who are cravenly manipulating their research to stay on the gravy train.

Bean recycles every discredited trope of the climate denial machine. But instead of coming from the mouths of the usual rat-bags, like Lord Monckton, Alan Jones, Janet Albrechtsen and the spokesmen from Exxon-funded think-tanks, they are spoken by the only character in the play we are invited to admire.

None of it is ironic; Richard Bean has swallowed, without chewing, all of the climate denier talking points favoured by the Tea Party. He must have spent a long time clicking from one denier website to the next, without ever bothering to look at any real science — you know, the science endorsed by every scientific academy in the world.

So every one of the absurdities echoed daily by the conspiracy theorists, fossil-fuel industry hatchet men, and cyber-bullies can now be heard on stage at the MTC Theatre. Our heroine parrots the claim that the “hockey stick” graph showing recent warming has been discredited. Bean forgets to tell us that the hockey stick data have been subjected to the closest possible scrutiny and found to be sound.

Instead, Bean has Cassell’s boss Kevin, also a climate scientist, confess that “we are all sceptical of the hockey stick”. That calumny against climate scientists is trumped by the play’s reversal of the facts about death threats. In The Heretic it is Diane, she who has proof that global warming is a hoax, who receives the death threats, this time from green fanatics.

In the play we hear nothing of the real climate scientists who have had to upgrade their home security and change their children’s bus routes, or the young woman who after speaking about carbon footprints at her local library emerged to find her car smeared with excrement spelling out “climate turd”.

Instead it is the climate “sceptic” who is the victim of a hate campaign, a distortion of history that can only embolden the shit-spreaders.

In the play all of the incredible claims culled from denialist websites are uttered by the play’s only credible character. “The IPCC is a political body and should be ignored.” “Climate scientists used to claim we would now be in an ice age.” “There is no evidence that CO2 is the cause of 20th century warming.” The peer review process is corrupt. On it goes.

Diane is convinced those who believe climate science are “disaster junkies”. Armageddon has been prophesied a thousand times “and has always turned out to be wrong”. Environmentalism is “the perfect religion for the narcissistic age”. No wonder Andrew Bolt admits to “gloating” about The Heretic.

The Melbourne Theatre Company presents a “fleet-footed black comedy”.

For our heroine the scientific consensus - itself often the subject of attack - proves nothing because there used to be an “overwhelming consensus” that the Earth was the centre of the universe. And in an unwitting exposé of the essential denialist fallacy, when Kevin says “the vast majority of climate scientists have no doubt …”, Diane cuts him off with “the vast majority of people on earth believe in God, and they’re all wrong”.

For deniers there is no difference between a scientific truth and a personal belief.

The typical MTC audience member doesn’t read the Murdoch tabloids or listen to right-wing shock jocks. If they stumble on them then their bullshit antennae are on full alert. Yet when the same fantastic claims are retailed in a play by the MTC the antennae are down. That is why, between the clever lines, The Heretic is so insidious.

Those who decide to see The Heretic ought to be aware that as they take their seats they are in for an evening of climate denier propaganda wrapped in a “funny, provocative and heart-warming family drama”. Bean doesn’t balk at writing the grubbier accusations into the lines of his heroine. Al Gore is a “carbon trading billionaire” — a revelation that prompts Diane’s greenie daughter, Phoebe, to declaim “What a cunt!”. Greenpeace wants to price the poor off the roads, which will be “a good day for totalitarianism.”

There is even a replay of the Climategate computer hacking scandal. This time the heroine’s student — whom she has turned from an unthinking green loony into a sceptical seeker of the truth — hacks into the computer of a rival scientist at another university. Of course they find that he has been fiddling his data.

Echoing the three most famous words picked out of the Climategate emails, “hide the decline” (words seized on by Sarah Palin and right-wing shock jocks across the United States), the nefarious rival is caught sending an email to a colleague saying he has manipulated his data in order to “bury the downturn”.

In another distortion of history, Bean excludes the dénouement of the Climategate story — that every accusation of misconduct and malpractice was subject to the most rigorous investigation, by nine official inquiries on both sides of the Atlantic, all of which exonerated the scientists involved and concluded that nothing had dented the authority of climate science. But, hey, this is art.

The MTC is patting itself on the back for staging The Heretic. It thinks it is being heretical itself, daring to unsettle many who make up its usual audiences. But the MTC is not being bold; by capitulating to the comforting feelings that flow over those who reject the scientific warnings, it is being cowardly. Brave theatre companies don’t run from unpleasant truths, they rub our faces in them.

Perhaps Richard Bean’s next project will be The Heretic 2, another “funny, provocative and heart-warming family drama” in which the maverick academic David Irving, lone defender of the truth, uncovers definitive evidence that the Holocaust never happened. Sent to Coventry by his fellow historians — a spineless lot who have for years been manipulating the evidence to protect their funding and their reputations — David is in the end vindicated; the Holocaust was a Zionist plot after all.

Staging that would be courageous.

Cutting-edge playwrights have always set out to debunk orthodoxies and shatter conventions (Bean himself has said he thrives on causing offence), but the orthodoxies they attack have been ones that are in some way oppressive, stultifying and against life; in short they use their craft to undermine the dominant powers.

In The Heretic, Bean crosses to the other side to make himself the ally of Exxon-Mobil and the Tea Party. That’s a price Bean seems willing to pay to flatter himself as the writer who resists the tide. Rarely has an exercise in artistic wanking had so little regard for the social cost.

Yes, it’s heretical to reject the overwhelming consensus among those qualified to judge, but only in the way it is heretical to deny that HIV causes AIDS or smoking causes lung cancer. It’s not about being a liberal or a leftie or an environmentalist; it’s about having a basic respect for the truth on a question of the utmost importance for the future of civilised society.

Other side of the climate turd: morning commuters pass near the cooling towers of a coal-fired power plant in Shuozhou, Shanxi Province, China. AAP/EPA/Qilai Shen

Now the MTC has joined the deniers’ parade. The play has plenty of sharp lines, to be sure, but the humour only sweetens the spoonfuls of poison. Like a performance by Lord Monckton, The Heretic is an evening of slippery falsehoods covered over with theatrical lines.

In its publicity the MTC writes that “the play questions what is important to us”. Well, it certainly is about the most important issue around. But the play’s “questioning” is not about why our politicians won’t provide leadership, why much of the public is so apathetic, or why the fossil fuel lobby has been so successful. It doesn’t ridicule the conspiracy theories of Nick Minchin, parody the fantasies of Monckton or expose the threats to real climate scientists.

No, the question the MTC believes it must tackle is: why are scientists, including every science academy in the world, feeding us a pack of lies about global warming?

Apparently, that’s what an avant-garde theatre company does these days. But by participating in this historical travesty everyone associated with it — the director, the programmers, the designers and the actors — will have to accept their little share of the blame for the world that’s coming.

Clive Hamilton is currently an academic visitor in the philosophy department at the University of Oxford.

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  1. Marc Hendrickx

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

    Congrats to the MTC for breaking away from the alarmism on climate that has infected so many in the Arts community. Congrats to brave actors for taking on challenging roles. If you are getting Mr Hamilton upset, you must be doing something right! I look forward to attending, perhaps you can tour the play nationally. Based on numerous positive reviews many would enjoy it.

    The play raises many important questions about the politicisation of scientific investigation and research that are worth discussing…

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    1. Hugh Sturgess

      Student

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      I'm one of the close-minded who pressed "unconstructive" on this broken record player of a commenter. It's really very remarkable that twenty-five people found your comment insightful, when you usually get negative scores from average readers of the Conversation. In fact, every one of your fellow denialist blowhards got exceedingly positive scores. How suspicious. I may write a play about it. Needless to say, I'm expecting a few negative points of my own, now.

      And Clive would gladly restore Hitler? Really? That's great. I don't think enough people compare environmentalists to Hitler.

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    2. Rob Brooks
      Rob Brooks is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Professor of Evolutionary Ecology; Director, Evolution & Ecology Research Centre at UNSW Australia

      In reply to Hugh Sturgess

      I think Andrew Bolt's blog post today sent a lot of his readers in this direction. As you would expect. I went the other way and read Bolt for the first time in a while. Hopefully The Conversation just diversified its audience of curious, thoughtful readers today. Irrespective, it's been interesting to see Bolt-isms cropping up in this thread.

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    3. Roger Jones

      Australian Citizen

      In reply to Hugh Sturgess

      You are quite right Hugh, we don't want alternative views here. This is The Conversation. Only the enlightened are welcome to comment because we only want to reinforce our understanding based upon what we want to believe. I mean most of the authors are academics so their views must be correct, right.

      Seriously you guys need to chill out a little. With such defensive positions adopted neither side is prepared for a Conversation because neither side are open to consider alternate view points. Funnily enough that is the problem with Clive's article.

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    4. Geoff Brown

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Sherry Mayo

      Then Sherry, Let's all forget Al Gore's performing arts piece - An Inconvenient Con which was ruled to be flawed by the British Courts and the main piece of evidence produced by Gore was the Ice Core graphs which he used deceptively. The Ice core graphs show that CO2 does NOT force up temperatures, in fact the reverse is true. Rise in atmospheric CO2 follows rise in temperature.

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    5. Hugh Sturgess

      Student

      In reply to Roger Jones

      I thank you for such an accurate, perceptive parsing of my comment, particularly when I insinuate that only an academic elite should be allowed to air their opinions. I feared that writing nothing on that subject would mean readers would fail to perceive the point I was making - but fortunately you have proved me wrong.

      Seriously, what a contemptible statement. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but not all opinions are worth engaging. The truth isn't negotiable - science cannot and should not…

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    6. Hugh Sturgess

      Student

      In reply to Rob Brooks

      That would make sense. People like Bolt often encourage their disturbed followers to carpet bomb sites that disagree with them, either to intimidate their opponent or to create an inflated impression of public opposition. Richard Glover in the Sydney Morning Herald had a humorous article he wrote about global warming deniers posted on an American denialist site, along with his email address and an encouragement to "let him know" how readers felt about him. Unsurprisingly, he received a flood of death threats (and, weirdly, rape threats), along with expressions of disbelief that "an American newspaper" could print such a thing and threats against Glover's life if he should ever leave Britain.

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    7. Hugh Sturgess

      Student

      In reply to Geoff Brown

      Because we all know that every single government and agency in the world bases its climate change policy on Al Gore's book/film?

      Could you point me to the text of the judgement of "the British Courts" (what, all of them?) in which they excoriate it? Because in the real world, pretty much the only thing the justice cited as a flaw was Gore's (undated) prediction of "twenty feat" of sea level rise, which, by not being dated, became meaningless, and didn't fit with the scientific consensus.

      Ice…

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    8. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Geoff Brown

      "The Ice core graphs show that CO2 does NOT force up temperatures."

      No, just because temperature changes while CO2 does not, does not prove that a change in CO2 cannot change temperature. Get the logic right, please.

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    9. Roger Jones

      Australian Citizen

      In reply to Hugh Sturgess

      Hugh, wow, your passion and certainty are rock-solid. I see you are a student which means you might be young, I don't know. Me, I'm well into my 50's and have given up on a lot of the certainties I once held. I note your points but find I disagree with a lot of them.

      I'm sorry you feel the need to label me either a liar or an ideologue. I'm just suggesting that wider discussion and taking the hard edged anger out of the discussion would actually be more productive.

      Ultimately, in Australia if the Govt is going to take real action on climate change it will only be achieved if the wider populous are brought along in the conversation, not sidelined, ignored or abused. Both sides are guilty of abuse. People are getting seriously turned off by it but the effect will damage the pro-AGW side more than the other. It is always easier to do nothing than do something.

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    10. Andrew Glikson

      Earth and paleo-climate scientist at Australian National University

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris,

      CO2 AND TEMPERATURE

      It is a common misconception to ask whether "CO2 drives temprature" or "temperature drives CO2" since we are looking here at cyclic climate feedback situations, namely:

      A. When CO2 and other GHG rise, such as due to major volcanic eruptions or methane release, this results in a rise in the atmospheric greenhouse effect.

      B. When temperatures rise, for example due to elevated insolation, oceans warm and absorb less CO2 and vegetation dries, releasing CO2, which…

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    11. Hugh Sturgess

      Student

      In reply to Roger Jones

      I could be a mature-aged student :-) And you are an Australian Citizen. Congrats, I hear a lot of people in this country are. Now, that was a personal attack, and I don't mean it to offend, I'm just showing you how easy and cheap it is to pull rank (and don't kid: citing your age is an attempt to make you sound like you know more than I do).

      I did not label you an ideologue nor a liar, and I'm sorry if you took it that way. I certainly did not say so in my post. I was instead suggesting that your…

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    12. Roger Jones

      Australian Citizen

      In reply to Hugh Sturgess

      There is no rank to pull Hugh. I was only making the point that I don't have your level of certainty. Your certainty comes across in your posts as anger, powerful anger. You may well be right technically that this subject is so complex that it should only logically be debated by qualified scientists. I would just make the point that at the stage where large amounts of public money need to be spent on action to combat climate change then the people stumping up the cash are going to want some involvement…

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    13. Hugh Sturgess

      Student

      In reply to Roger Jones

      You said you were in your 50s, whereas I am young, and after all the years you've been alive you've lost a lot of certainties. You are evidently trying to suggest that, as my elder, you are the calm, rational fellow whose seen it all before. Why else mention it?

      The public cannot be involved in "the discussion" in any real, conversational way. We can vote against action on climate change at the ballot box, I'd suggest holding townhall meetings in which scientists from our universities can answer…

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    14. Roger Jones

      Australian Citizen

      In reply to Hugh Sturgess

      I simply made the point that I no longer held the level of certainty that I once had compared to your very strong level of certainty. All the other stuff you are assuming is utter nonsense. It matters not which of us is smarter, faster or cleverer. That is beside the point.

      I'm just offering my observation that action on climate change, having gained a marked degree of momentum and popular support for action with the election of the Rudd Govt has since seen that support collapse. Why is that so…

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    15. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Andrew Glikson

      I appreciate your fuller description of the process Andrew, but in case it's not clear, my comment was directed at people like Geoff Brown who apparently will never understand the process when it is always described in full.

      I just want to point out their failure of logic in the simplest and shortest way. Anything more clearly confuses them.

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    16. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Hugh Sturgess

      "It's really very remarkable that twenty-five people found your comment insightful"

      Just means this article is fly-paper for logic-denialists.

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    17. Hugh Sturgess

      Student

      In reply to Roger Jones

      Who are these people who "created fear through exaggeration"? Rather than the people who attempted to whip up suspicion and distrust of science through lies and distortions in order to avoid any action on global warming. They are responsible for the debate becoming "more polar and aggressive", not scientists who have responded to the deniers mostly with bewilderment. Reagan took pro-environmental measures, John McCain put emission-cutting proposals before the Senate, Howard promised to create a trading…

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    18. Roger Jones

      Australian Citizen

      In reply to Hugh Sturgess

      Hugh, you're getting angry again. It's not an attractive look man, nor does it help you. Have some disgraceful things been said about both sides? Certainly. I've seen and heard a lot of the nastiness and find it sad. Just because I might not agree with someone doesn't make me think they are not good, honourable people. But it comes from both directions. It need more people to break from the angry cycle and engage. I actually think James Lovelock made some major progress recently when he admitted he badly exaggerated the scare mongering. It must have taken huge courage to do than knowing the ridicule he would get but admitting it has brought his more reasonable pronouncements into contrast.
      Of course you can go about it anyway you like. If being angry and confrontational makes you feel good go for it. If however you are right and AGW is happening then it would be to all our benefits that you break the cycle. It is of course the harder option. This is my last post on this subject today.

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    19. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Roger Jones

      "you're getting angry again."

      Hmm. Tell us, how do you react to, or how do you deal with, people who lie to you?

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    20. Hugh Sturgess

      Student

      In reply to Roger Jones

      That's how you respond when I say of course I feel angry when the same shameless lies lurch on like zombies? To point out that I'm angry?

      Since this seems to be the end of the conversation, let us recap, and see whether you might be a little responsible any small frustration of mine.

      First, you sarcastically "agreed" with a sentiment I didn't express: that all differing opinions should be silenced here on the Conversation because I only want to hear what I already agree with. How you got this…

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    21. Peter Best

      Computer Programmer

      In reply to Roger Jones

      Alternative views, are they like alternative medicine, eg homeopathy, acupuncture and anti-vaccination? The science is consistent, and it's supported by evidence.

      This is a play that has sought to take on science. That is the ground it has chosen. In doing so, it sought to deliberately provoke a response by avoiding everything that science has to say on global warming, and has instead sought evidence from non scientific sources. What else did the author expect in response but incredulity that his premise is so broken from the start. I doubt he really cares. Provoking a response is the cheapest and easiest form of fame in the artistic world. He has got what he wanted.

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    22. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Geoff Brown

      Hey Geoff, lighten up coz rumour has it that the Comedy Festival are about to premiere Lord of Lies, Heaven and Mirth, Fuzz and Fudge and Freddie's Old Fag Packets.

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    1. M Hains

      Phd

      In reply to Rob Brooks

      Those without arguments resort to petty name calling. That sums up this "article".

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    2. M Hains

      Phd

      In reply to M Hains

      I just read Andrew Bolt's civil response. Game set and match Bolt.

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    3. Roger Jones

      Australian Citizen

      In reply to Rob Brooks

      Hey Rob Brooks,

      "Pure gold: "Rarely has an exercise in artistic wanking had so little regard for the social cost".

      Mate, seriously, you and Clive need to chill out a little. Good or bad I doubt this play is likely to have any measurable affect on our lives. Incredible though it might seem I have managed through my life to see many Shakespeare plays yet have managed to restrain myself from sleeping with my mother, murdering family members, etc. How was that possible?

      We don't need signposts to think logically and make up our own minds.

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    4. Rob Brooks
      Rob Brooks is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Professor of Evolutionary Ecology; Director, Evolution & Ecology Research Centre at UNSW Australia

      In reply to Roger Jones

      Fair enough, Roger. I was admiring the turn of phrase. As I explained in the post above, "I read Hamilton's article as a highly critical and scornful review of a play." Couldn't agree more that audiences don't need to be signposted or told what to think. The question for me is whether the play is doing that in a sloppy and simplistic cut-and-paste propagandist way (as Clive seems to allege it is), or whether it is an interesting piece of art.

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    5. Roger Jones

      Professorial Research Fellow at Victoria University

      In reply to Rob Brooks

      I read a few reviews of when it was staged in London - good play (a bit too long, though) but bad science. It was contrasted with the play Greenland: good science, bad play.

      Apparently the good play with good science is "The Contingency Plan", which a community theatre company colleague is trying to stage in Australia pending funding.

      And can the whole global warming thing be overturned through sea level rise/falls in The Maldives? Not a chance, so implausible scenario.

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    6. Roger Crook

      Retired agribusiness manager & farmer

      In reply to Rob Brooks

      Pure gold: "Rarely has an exercise in artistic wanking had so little regard for the social cost".

      Now I understand what education and being a professor is all about. May my grandchildren not follow in his footsteps.

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  2. Anton Lang

    Retired

    Umm Clive, you do know that the disgusting awful despicable pollution you see spewing into the, er, environment, in your second image is , umm, ... steam, harmless water vapour.

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    1. Matthew Thompson

      Editor at The Conversation

      In reply to Anton Lang

      Dear Anton,

      Thank you for your comment.

      I should point out that editors add the photos not the authors, and in this case the editor was me. As I wrote in the caption, it is a coal-fired power plant, meaning that coal is burnt to produce that steam. A more coal-focused view of a plant in the same province (and possibly it is the same plant) appears here:
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/gallery/2010/sep/16/pollution-coal-ash-china

      Steam doesn't come from nowhere.

      Yours,

      Matt.

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    2. Anton Lang

      Retired

      In reply to Matthew Thompson

      Why thank you for that clarification Matthew, and the link to that emotive image.

      My apologies.

      So, where you refer to 'climate turd', you don't mean the steam. It's umm, sort of like a metaphor then, eh!

      So when we see images of wind towers, what we really 'mean' to show is this image of the environmental damage in China caused by the rare earths that are used in those wind towers, shown at this link.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1350811/In-China-true-cost-Britains-clean-green-wind-power-experiment-Pollution-disastrous-scale.html

      Tony.

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    3. Gary Murphy

      Writer

      In reply to Matthew Thompson

      Then why just focus on the steam? That is what is misleading about the photograph. Why are we always treated to a chimney stack billowing steam, it is obviously, always, a deception to make people think that it is pollution.

      If you were more honest and truthful you would at least mix it up a little with photographs of other things that were also by-products of coal powered electricity generation.

      How about a photograph of a tiny baby on a life support machine?

      You are right, steam doesn't come from nowhere, but nor does the electricity that powers life support machines.

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    4. Roger Jones

      Australian Citizen

      In reply to Matthew Thompson

      Matthew, yours is indeed an interesting photo choice. Beyond those nasty cooling towers we can indeed see that it is a power generation plant. In the foreground of the photo is the image of a local community in low cost housing and powerlines leading into their houses.

      Bringing millions of people out of poverty is done by creating jobs. Jobs are created by creating businesses and businesses need to be powered by electricity. You look at the photo and see the end of the world. I look and see hope and opportunity.

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    5. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Anton Lang

      Yes indeed the authors of your link do appear outraged over the rare earth dump in China so they take a waddy to the wind farm industry. How ignorant (selective?) is that when these rare earth materials are widely used in the metallurgy, machinery, chemical engineering, and aerospace sectors and in cell phones, computers and cameras?

      Have these self-interested authors considered the human rights’ abuses, corruption and environmental degradation for which they must surely be complicit when they…

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  3. Matthew Joyce

    logged in via Facebook

    Clive aren't you a Professor of Ethics? I don't think there's anything ethical about this article. You know what? There are plays, articles etc based on ideas that I don't particularly agree with. However I respect people's right to have their say no matter their opinion...as long as they do it in a civil way. You've crossed that line by a fair margin. Time to sit back and have a good long hard look at yourself mate.

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    1. Hugh Sturgess

      Student

      In reply to Matthew Joyce

      Whereas those who smear shit on people's cars, send them death-threats, throw baseless accusations of fraud and dishonesty and compare them to Hitler are being civil? And scientists and those who support them should receive this deluge of filth and say in response: "Thank you. You have given me much to think about. Particularly that "hide the decline" stuff, I've never heard that one before."

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    2. Mike Smith

      retired

      In reply to Hugh Sturgess

      Hide the decline refers to the "divergence problem" in that Michael Manne's (of hockey stick fame) tree ring series having eliminated the MWP and the LIA does Hide the decline refers to the "divergence problem" in that Michael Manne's (of hockey stick fame) tree ring series having eliminated the MWP and the LIA does something inconvenient about 1960. At that point they go down when obviously the actual temperature is going up. If they are wrong for the last 50 years then how can they be relied on for the previous 1000? Simple just merge the thermometer data with the tree ring data and say nothing. In the Climategate emails this is referred to as Mike’s trick and later as “hide the decline”. There is much more that could be said about the Hockey Stick of Manne’s.something inconvienent

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    3. Phil Clark

      former lecturer in professional ethics to postgrad students

      In reply to Matthew Joyce

      Mr Hamilton's article displays a very sad lack of comprehension of basic professional ethical standards. Should we assume that 'public ethics' is a branch of political ideology marketing, rather than being related in any meaningful way to professional ethics, particularly when the author of the article declares 'no conflict of interest' at the outset?

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    4. Hugh Sturgess

      Student

      In reply to Mike Smith

      Frankly, it was pretty clear from what I said that I was well aware of what "hide the decline" referred to. I also think it was pretty obvious that what I was getting at was that deniers simply use and re-use long-debunked arguments - like "hide the decline" - to bolster their preconceived opinions, like any good cranks dodging the endless rebuttals.

      Since the scientist in question is Michael Mann, not Manne, I can't help feeling that your grasp of the finer details is somewhat lacking. Perhaps…

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    5. Hugh Sturgess

      Student

      In reply to Phil Clark

      "particularly when the author of the article declares 'no conflict of interest' at the outset?"

      Umm, what the hell are you talking about? Are you saying Clive does have a conflict of interests? What is it then?

      I'd hate to disagree with a former lecturer in professional ethics, but how does this article display Clive's sad lack of professional ethics? Because he criticised a play and the people who put it on? So we can't criticise anyone... except Richard Bean, who is allowed to publicly accuse scientists of being corrupt liars and would-be dictators - yeah, that's very professional.

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    6. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Mike Smith

      For the record, here's how we know that Bean's premise is a joke.

      Earth is warmed by absorption of short wave sunlight. Because of this, Earth's temperature can remain unchanged by returning the same amount of energy to space. That is, solar shortwave energy is balanced by the earth re-radiating to space as a 'black body' radiator with a characteristic temperature of ~255K; that is, from space the earth's spectrum is roughly that of a radiating body with an optical surface temperature of around…

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    7. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Mike Smith

      Mike Smith: "Hide the decline refers to the "divergence problem" in that Michael Manne's (of hockey stick fame) tree ring series having eliminated the MWP and the LIA"

      It didn't actually but anyway,

      "does something inconvenient about 1960. At that point they go down"

      No, the series shown in MBH98 (Figure 5b) does not go down in any sustained way and there is nothing inconvenient about it. In fact the 50-year low pass filtered series shows the tiniest of declines during the period when global temperature did actually decline a little (1940-1970). Mann showed all his temperature reconstruction results up to the year the proxies ended, 1980. Mann hid none of his proxy reconstruction results. Claiming he did is purely and simply a bare-faced lie.

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  4. Anthony Cox

    logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

    "For deniers there is no difference between a scientific truth and a personal belief."

    Clive Hamilton has no sense of irony or sense that he is describing those who BELIEVE in AGW.

    But Mr Hamilton's shortcomings go beyond an absence of irony; he cannot see that this applies to the approach, methods and philosophy attendant on AGW:

    "Cutting-edge playwrights have always set out to debunk orthodoxies and shatter conventions (Bean himself has said he thrives on causing offence), but the orthodoxies…

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    1. Hugh Sturgess

      Student

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      The biological carbon cycle (i.e. plant-animal respiration) doesn't change the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere - as plants remove CO2 from the air and then animals return it. Hence "cycle". It's cyclical. No one is suggesting applying a tax to the CO2 in human breath.

      If you don't understand science you shouldn't go about hitting it. Not that I expect this will have any impact on your behaviour - I'm just one of the "believers" who will refuse to see the light / mindlessly accept some long-debunked bullshit and feel "heretical".

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    2. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Hugh Sturgess

      The point Hugh, is this; humans contribute to the atmospheric pool of CO2 by exhaling; in fact exhalation contributes about 10-15% of human emissions of CO2; increasing population compounds that; given this the solution is at Mr Hamilton suggests in may of his books [ie see Growth Fetish], less people, leading more 'natural' lives.

      Think of it as an indirect tax; or perhaps a culling tax.

      And I do understand the science; this quaint idea that climate science is sooo complex that only climate scientists can understand it is both patronising and ridiculous.

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  5. Tom Clark

    Senior Lecturer in Communication at Victoria University

    This is a very disappointing line to run. One of the worst aspects of the denial campaign – Bolt offers many prime examples of this – is its preference for personal and factional denunciation over evidence-based argument. But this article is taking the same approach to making its case.

    The MTC is entitled to do stupid things from time to time. (Isn't that better than doing sensible and boring things all the time?) But epithets like "insidious" are putting us on alert for some kind of intentional evil that you can't seriously pin on them.

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    1. John Berry

      Director

      In reply to Tom Clark

      Considering that it's the warmers who would like to see us tattooed. gassed, charged with future crimes and be generally done away with, your comment is remarkably at odds with reality.

      Most of us would indeed prefer to debate things on the actual facts, but strangely enough the warmers run from any debate that they cannot stage manage to their satisfaction.

      As to the article itself, I can only say that if a Professor of "Public Ethics" can't rise above schoolyard name calling when he disagrees with somebody then the Vice Chancellor needs to take his chair back and give it to a reasoning and reasonable adult.

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    2. Rob Brooks
      Rob Brooks is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Professor of Evolutionary Ecology; Director, Evolution & Ecology Research Centre at UNSW Australia

      In reply to Tom Clark

      I read Hamilton's article as a highly critical and scornful review of a play. I couldn't agree more that theatre audiences should be challenged and trusted to think for themselves. There are differences, however, between art that explores the tensions, complexities and conflicts in an issue and art that whitewashes an issue. The latter usually makes for turgid propaganda, and seldom stands the test of time. And critics can be expected to take sides in this kind of evaluation of art.

      The difference…

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    3. Roger Jones

      Australian Citizen

      In reply to Rob Brooks

      No Rob, Clive's article is not just a review of the play. It is a serious criticism of MTC for even daring to put it on. It mocks them for having the temerity for presenting an alternative view. Through his over-the-top review I'm now certain that Clive has guaranteed wider promotion and larger sales. More people will now see this play in Melbourne than would have before his 'sky is falling in' rant.

      What are you guys so afraid of?

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    4. Rob Brooks
      Rob Brooks is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Professor of Evolutionary Ecology; Director, Evolution & Ecology Research Centre at UNSW Australia

      In reply to Roger Jones

      I'm not sure who you mean by "you guys".

      He mocks them for recycling crappy denialist propaganda generated largely by corporate interests, and putting them in the mouth of a character who is, in other respects, a serious scientist. Of course artists have a right to do that, but they have a right to be criticised when their work doesn't ring true.

      I'm pleased he's stirred a response and that Bolt's column has sent his readership galloping over the hill to read The Conversation. Stick around. Read what the experts are saying. Decide what you think.

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    5. Roger Jones

      Australian Citizen

      In reply to Rob Brooks

      I'm not over from Bolt. I've been on The Conversation for a number of months now. When you say experts to whom do you refer? Surely you are not suggesting all authors of Conversation articles are experts?

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    6. John Coochey

      Mr

      In reply to John Berry

      Absolutely spot on!

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    7. Peter Best

      Computer Programmer

      In reply to John Berry

      I think that was the main criticism of the play, the scarcity of facts, with the whole plot based on non science he read on the internet somewhere.

      The author is not disagreeing with someone, he is stating that the scientific evidence is against them.

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    8. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to John Berry

      John Berry starts with
      "it's the warmers who would like to see us tattooed. gassed, charged with future crimes and be generally done away with"

      and finishes with
      "I can only say that if a Professor of "Public Ethics" can't rise above schoolyard name calling when he disagrees

      Clearly an Andrew Bolt supporter.

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    9. In reply to Rob Brooks

      Comment removed by moderator.

    10. John Berry

      Director

      In reply to Peter Best

      Peter, if that were the case then why the vitriol? The actual hard scientific evidence is against all science fiction and fantasy stories as well.

      Without having seen the play I've simply assumed (and nobody has said any different) that it is about the struggle of one person who finds themselves in possession of data that overturns a paradigm, which puts them at odds with the establishment. There is nothing particularly new in this except for placing it in the context of climate change.

      So again, why the vitriol? It appears that to Clive and others, their religion is above commenting on and those who do comment must be silenced.

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    11. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to John Berry

      John - when you made the claim

      "warmers who would like to see us tattooed. gassed, charged with future crimes and be generally done away with."

      and then attacked Hamilton for "schoolyard name calling", did you not notice the hypocrisy.

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    12. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Roger Jones

      I'm actually afraid of really awful theatre myself Roger ... imagine two hours locked in a room listening to a mob of actors mouthing the wisdom of Andrew Bolt or the poetry of Gina Rinehart....

      Anyway it's wonderful to see that a mob of theatre folks are on top of all this global warming business ... standing up for freedom of silly speech and the right to wishful thinking ....now I must duck off because I have a heart condition and probably should call a plumber or a dramaturg and get a diagnosis.

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    13. John Berry

      Director

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      "Attacked"? Pointing out that he didn't actually review the play as spend his time writing vitriol is an attack? Seriously? Did diddums get a boo boo?

      I ask you to note that my comment was in response to this from Tom Clark "One of the worst aspects of the denial campaign – Bolt offers many prime examples of this – is its preference for personal and factional denunciation over evidence-based argument."

      I was pointing out the sheer delusion that the "denial campaign" has a preference for personal…

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    14. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to Fred Pribac

      Sardonic questioning often eludes the wit of those unable to appreciate the subtlety of language.
      Fred, I am puzzled as to whether your intervention is a question or a comment. Correct punctuation often reduces ambiguity, n'est-ce pas?!

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    15. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Very intertaining Peter; everytime I read one of your witty posts I think it's about AGW believers; I have to look closely to see the patina of reference to sceptics.

      How subversive you are.

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  6. Michael Brown

    Professional & academic

    So do you support freedom of expression or not, Clive? Yes, no, or only when it matches your views?

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    1. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Michael Brown

      That is an interesting concept of "freedom of expression" you have going there Michael. I assume that this is one of Andrew Bolt's talking points.

      In what way is Clive's criticism of the play impacting on freedom of expression?

      Should theatre critics be in fear of their profession?

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    2. Roger Jones

      Australian Citizen

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      I have no issue with Clive's criticism of the play. It's his criticism of the MTC for putting the play on that I have an issue with. It is his insinuation that MTC has some sort of duty of care to signpost the play to warn that content is not founded in fact.

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    3. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Roger Jones

      I see now Roger.

      Clive is guilty of thought crimes.

      I am sure with you and Andrew Bolt on the job, keeping the world safe from Clive's insinuations, we can all sleep safely.

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    4. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      To sleep perchance to dream, aye there's the rub....

      But who can sleep Mike when one's very heart is tortured by The Fear and the tentacles of climate conspiracy slither in through the windows to entangle us in our beds?

      We lie awake tossing and turning our minds filled with the science of it all ... the ice cores, the bleaching coral, the radiative role of CO2 and the rest of all that stuff. And resonating pounding in our breasts the Voice of Freedom - Andrew Bolt - telling it how it is and risking his all to alert us to The Truth.

      SSRI's in the water supply ... perhaps Xanax on an intravenous drip... or make the Russians restore the old regime - so we who the enemies really were and where - under the bed.

      But now Evil is everywhere... our schools, our science, our very own acronyms of global deceit. Eternal vigilance. All our days. And, sadly, nights. En guarde!

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  7. Fred Pribac

    logged in via email @internode.on.net

    "No, the question the MTC believes it must tackle is: why are scientists, including every science academy in the world, feeding us a pack of lies about global warming?"

    Could it be because we all b-grade movie scientists bent on either world domination or self-aggrandisement?

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  8. Denzil Bourne

    Retired

    If this is an example of Hamilton's work it is troubling..I his position imagine how many young minds he must infect with this sort of rabid rhetoric. The science on climate change is by no means settled and a truly intelligent person would not simple appeal to authority and personal abuse to make their point. Incidentally, I read Andrew Bolt's measured response to this article and in my view he won this round hands down. Lift your game Clive.

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    1. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Rob Brooks

      I've been to choir practice, what are you on about?

      I notice that Clive Hamilton's commitment to climate change doesn't preclude commuting between Oxford and Charles Sturt. Make us Carbon Neutral, dear God, just not yet.

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    2. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Denzil Bourne

      "The science on climate change is by no means settled"

      It's settled enough. How many decimal digits of accuracy do you need?

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    3. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Denzil Bourne

      Arrhenius published the first calculation of global warming from human emissions of CO2 in 1896. Mighty Muckety-muck Bolt thinks he’s the boss of us. Fascism is a right-wing trait. “Lift your game” Denzil.

      Definition of ethics: The study of standards of right and wrong.

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  9. brett masters

    artist

    I note that Clive is an academic visitor to the Philosophy dept at Oxford, whilst there he really should take a course on logical fallacy. This is an adolescent article, quite vile.

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  10. James Jenkin

    EFL Teacher Trainer

    The article is discussing the ability of audiences to think for themselves.

    (Climate change is a red herring. I think we might have a few pro-Bolt commenters using this as a discussion about AGW.)

    Hamilton suggests art containing noxious ideas is 'insidious' when it isn't clearly signposted. He believes audiences will be fooled because the ideas aren't coming from 'Murdoch tabloids' or 'right-wing shock jocks', which they would naturally be wary of.

    I'd suggest the opposite. The play isn't insidious - it's doing what good art does. Art should be provocative and challenging, and the less moral guidance the better. Audiences can and should work it out for themselves.

    The MTC once staged a play that was, in some ways, sympathetic to Stalin. Good! It made the audience think.

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    1. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to James Jenkin

      "The MTC once staged a play that was, in some ways, sympathetic to Stalin."

      No doubt the MTC will soon be putting on a holocaust denial play. That'll make the audience think too.

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  11. Gary Murphy

    Writer

    "In the play we hear nothing of the real climate scientists who have had to upgrade their home security and change their children’s bus routes, or the young woman who after speaking about carbon footprints at her local library emerged to find her car smeared with excrement spelling out “climate turd”."

    Which is all well and good Mr Hamilton, but perhaps some of this behavior is deserved.

    It was not the climate change deniers who made a series of commercials which suggested killing AGW skeptics…

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    1. John Berry

      Director

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Actually Chris it is very interesting. Anybody who has looked at the time period is aware that there were three warming periods, 1850-1880, 1910-1940 and 1970 -2000. Very interesting to note that all thre had a statistically identical warming rate of .16 degrees/decade.

      Since the first two were quite natural according to the literature, isn't it just an amazing coincidence that the "man made" third warming period has the same slope? What would be the odds on that?

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  12. Andrew Glikson

    Earth and paleo-climate scientist at Australian National University

    Statement by Professor James Hansen, NASA's chief climate scientist, who for over 30 years has studied the Earth's climate

    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2012/20120127_CowardsPart1.pdf

    "The threat of human-made climate change and the urgency of reducing fossil fuel emissions have become increasingly clear to the scientific community during the past few years. Yet, at the same time, the public seems to have become less certain about the situation. Indeed, many people have begun to wonder…

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    1. Gary Murphy

      Writer

      In reply to Andrew Glikson

      Professor Emeritus of physics, Hal Lewis of the University of California at Santa Barbara....

      "It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist."

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    2. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Andrew Glikson

      Andrew Glickson, could you explain this:

      "Their campaign is effective because the profiteers have learned how to manipulate democracies for their advantage."

      How is this manipulation occurring and how has it affected the current make-up of the federal parliament?

      Could you also explain how pro-AGW advocates conform to this standard:

      "The scientific method requires objective analysis of all data, stating evidence pro and con, before reaching conclusions."

      Perhaps in your explanation you could consider the context of the CRU emails where there are numerous statements from the pro-AGW scientists that papers and viewpoints contrary to AGW must be prevented from getting equal journal space.

      And, given your favourable quoting of Hansen about the media, does this mean that you agree with the conclusions of the recent Finkelstein review that a tighter regulatory regime of the media is needed?

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    3. Peter Best

      Computer Programmer

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      Sad, even a retired Professor can believe see a global criminal conspiracy by corrupt scientists to make trillions out of a fraud. This type conspiracy idiocy ranks up there with the 9/11, moon landing and holocaust denial.

      There is simply no evidence that scientists are colluding secretly to make trillions of dollars.

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    4. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      “Yet despite the complexity, the bottom line is that the earth will be substantially warmed by the accumulation of man-made gases, mainly carbon dioxide, and that warming could conceivably approximate the climate at the time of the dinosaurs. It seems likely, but not certain, that sea level will rise accordingly, conceivably by several feet or more. We are doing this to ourselves.

      “…..the only option in the long run is to decrease the amount of waste gases deposited in the atmosphere. That would require global cooperation and sacrifice now, to avert something far in the future and a conjectural something at that. There is no evidence in human history that that is in the cards, but one can always hope.”

      ( Excerpt from ‘Technological Risk’ – Hal W Lewis)

      RIP

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  13. Andrew Glikson

    Earth and paleo-climate scientist at Australian National University

    CLIMATE CHANGE STATEMENT BY THE AUSTRALIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCE:
    http://www.science.org.au/reports/climatechange2010.pdf

    The Australian Academy of Science's comments on the Joint science academies' statement: Climate change adaptation and the transition to a low carbon society

    The Australian Academy of Science notes the statement on climate change by the academies of science for the G8+5 countries. Although the Australian Academy was not involved in the drafting of the statement because it…

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    1. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to Andrew Glikson

      This statement is highly qualified and uses words more often associated with carefully crafted diplomatic communiques than scientific statements.
      It can be read in at least two ways depending on the readers' biases.

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  14. Andrew Glikson

    Earth and paleo-climate scientist at Australian National University

    CSIRO - State of the Climate 2012

    http://www.csiro.au/en/Portals/Media/State-of-the-Climate-2012.aspx

    13 March 2012 | Updated 14 March 2012

    Australia's land and oceans have continued to warm in response to rising CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

    This is the headline finding in the State of the Climate 2012, an updated summary of Australia's long term climate trends released by CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology today (14 March 2012).

    CSIRO Chief Executive, Dr Megan…

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    1. Gary Murphy

      Writer

      In reply to Andrew Glikson

      I believe that in order to be seen as being honest and truly scientific someone should not be allowed to cut and paste anything published by any organisation without also including the small print.

      In the case of CSIRO, as lifted directly from their own website, where you got this information...

      "Information at this site:

      is general information provided as part of CSIRO's statutory role in the dissemination of information relating to scientific and technical matters

      is not professional, scientific, medical, technical or expert advice

      is subject to the usual uncertainties of advanced scientific and technical research

      may not be accurate, current or complete

      is subject to change without notice

      should never be relied on as the basis for doing or failing to do something."

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    2. Fred Pribac

      logged in via email @internode.on.net

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      @Gary - interesting point raising the fine print caveats on CSIRO's website.

      These are typical sorts of caveats that consultancies put on any output they provide to third parties in order to avoid litigation in the event that actions based on then current advice have unexpected outcomes. I remember having a discussion with fellow CSIRO scientists several years ago much to the effect that these new "improved" disclaimers might reduce the impact and percieved expertise of CSIRO's advice. Seems I…

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    3. Fred Pribac

      logged in via email @internode.on.net

      In reply to Fred Pribac

      Oops ... I mean't the blog spot that Anthony Cox pointed to. Sorry.

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    4. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Fred Pribac

      Great critique Fred; the CSIRO is right because it is "federally sanctioned"; if this wasn't so serious that would be hilarious; what does "federally sanctioned" even mean? Anything this federal government "sanctions" would have to have to be assumed to be worthless.

      The serious point is that right now we don't know what is really happening in the climate [probably nothing] because the output from institutions like the CSIRO have been so "federally sanctioned" that they are useless.

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    5. Fred Pribac

      logged in via email @internode.on.net

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      You are correct to criticize me for calling it federally sanctioned. What I should have said is that it is the national government body for scientific research in Australia. By all standards it has been a stunningly succesful internationally respected research body for all of it's 86 years.

      However, the argument you make:

      "The serious point is that right now we don't know what is really happening in the climate [probably nothing] because the output from institutions like the CSIRO have been so "federally sanctioned" that they are useless."

      Cannot be taken seriously. This statement not only goes against the overwhelming expert consensus but also requires an acceptance of the perverse notion that "all" of the worlds national scientific bodies are in some sort of grand conspiracy or delusion.

      I think it is the self-evident weakness of this position that arouse such a shrill note in the voices that proclaim it.

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    6. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Fred Pribac

      I don't know about shrill except for Mr Hamilton's efforts.

      The CSIRO is funded by the government; it is run by an ex Rothschilds banker and to see how it treats dissent from the government position google Dr Clive Spash.

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    7. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Replies of pseudo-science written by a man claims to have a “degree in climatology”, when he only did a couple of geography subjects as part of his Bachelor of Arts in the 1970s.

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    8. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      How tedious.

      I guess this persistent stalking is a manifestation of an inchoate realisation that AGW is a failed theory, and the obsession with my alleged lack of qualifications an indication of the dearth of substance to AGW.

      Anything to distract and divert attention.

      For those who are interested my response to Mr Brown's accusations is here:

      http://theclimatescepticsparty.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/qualifications-right-to-speak-in-debate.html?showComment=1333348561775#c4404363045633249290

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    9. Fred Pribac

      logged in via email @internode.on.net

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      I'm not familiar with the details of Dr Spash's circumstance - but I do have some sympathy for his position based on my understanding. I would like to note that as far as I know he is "not" an AGW skeptic.

      I agree that CSIRO has increasingly become overly fearful of allowing rank and file scientists to discourse publicly ... but really ... what would you expect of any principle government science advisory body. It's not the only agency with this sort of restriction which is also common across many larger corporate entities.

      My point stands! There is no other Australian scientific research or advisory body that is as proven, trusted and responsible as CSIRO. If it comes down to a comparison of the objectivity of CSIRO versus the climateskeptics blog then I can only suggest that people go and check out any of the reports from CSIRO side-by-side with the CS blog. There is no comparison - one is considered and professional, the other is incendiary and uses vexatious language.

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    10. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Fred Pribac

      There are many critiques of CSIRO by well credentialled people such as this one by the late Ian Castles:

      http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=7865&page=0

      The point here is that the CSIRO appears to have forsaken self-evaluation in respect of AGW and instead has become an advocate rather than an impartial investigator.

      Clive Spash's predicament is described here;

      http://www.smh.com.au/environment/scientist-quits-csiro-amid-censorship-claims-20091203-k8vb.html

      As Spash notes…

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    11. Fred Pribac

      logged in via email @internode.on.net

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      The second link you pointed me to states:

      "The CSIRO refused permission for the paper to be published in the journal New Political Economy because it deemed it in breach of the CSIRO charter, which prevents staff from publicly debating the merits of government or opposition policies."

      Asking scientific staff to refrain from political commentary in their advisory capacity is simply due diligence. CSIRO quite properly makes this condition (which from memory is explicitly stated in contractual…

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    12. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Anthony Cox is completely free to speak his mind, but if he twists the truth he should expect people to point out his distortions. His qualifications are merely the easiest distortion to identify and there are many others.

      If you go to university and do a couple of maths subjects that include some statistics, you don’t have a degree in statistics.

      If you do a couple of history subjects that include some study of the renaissance, you don’t have a degree in renaissance history.

      If you do a couple of geography subjects that include some climate science (like Mr Cox), you don’t have a degree in climatology.

      There are many other distortions on the website of Mr Cox’s Climate Sceptics Party. For example, they use a single study to claim CO2 is not increasing in the atmosphere when the majority of other studies clearly find CO2 is increasing. To selectively choose one study while ignoring all the rest is not scepticism, it is denial.

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    13. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      "For example, they use a single study to claim CO2 is not increasing in the atmosphere when the majority of other studies clearly find CO2 is increasing."

      I have no idea what you are referring to; I don't deny atmospheric CO2 is increasing.

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    14. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Fred Pribac

      "refrain from political commentary"

      Really? Have you read the CSIRO's State of Climate reports? Do you really not think they are not political?

      The fact is the CSIRO is an advocate for AGW:

      http://www.csiro.au/news/GREENHOUSE-09-table-talk

      Spash was not dismissed for being 'political', he was dismissed for not being 'political'.

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    15. Fred Pribac

      logged in via email @internode.on.net

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      "Really? Have you read the CSIRO's State of Climate reports? Do you really not think they are not political?"

      I have read BOM's and CSIRO's state of the climate report - it is a bland summary of the most durable and robust evidence based findings. Your assertion that this is a political document is baseless scare-mongering.

      "The fact is the CSIRO is an advocate for AGW"

      I would counterdict that CSIRO is demonstrably an advocate for best practise scientific enquiry. I would further state…

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    16. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Fred Pribac

      It is not a matter of a 'toe to toe comparison of CSIRO outputs versus the Climateskeptics blog site"; TCS doesn't pretend to be a government funded and similtaneously honest broker on AGW evidence.

      The CSIRO does; my contention is you can't. 'll leave you with the opinion of Art Raiche, former Chief Research Scientist of the CSIRO, about the current CSIRO [the link is to Bolt, which I thought was topical since Bolt has been referred to so many times on this thread]:

      http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/csiro_heavy_says_dont_trust_csiros_scares/

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    17. Fred Pribac

      logged in via email @internode.on.net

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Thank you for this link it was of interest.

      My own time with CSIRO spanned quite a bit of the later period during which CSIRO moved further from an almost totally government funded research enterprise, to one significantly funded by external research clients. A parrallel change was that CSIRO adopted mainstream corporate management practises.
      in order to complement these changes.

      I can sympathize with some of what Dr Raiche says as it was still not an easy change for many of us to make even…

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    18. Geoff Brown

      Investment Analyst

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      "they use a single study to claim CO2 is not increasing in the atmosphere when the majority of other studies clearly find CO2 is increasing."
      Please give a link, Michael to this "single paper."

      If you like I can show many links from "Mr Cox’s Climate Sceptics Party" which show that atmospheric CO2 is increasing - eg graph on this post -
      http://theclimatescepticsparty.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/co2-regulate-climate-sheer-absurdity.html

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    19. Geoff Brown

      Investment Analyst

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      http://www.australasianscience.com.au/article/issue-januaryfebruary-2012/wonderful-world-csiro.html

      "On Christmas Eve 2011 The Canberra Times' Rosslyn Beeby broke the story that "oceanographer Trevor McDougall, has been made redundant by the CSIRO's Division of Marine and Atmospheric Research. It drew a stinging letter of rebuke from top international scientists". The letter accused CSIRO of ''relinquishing its responsibility'' to global climate science and is ''taking definitive steps towards mediocrity'' by abandoning ''high-impact research''. It was sent to top CSIRO administration, members of the CSIRO board, the Australian Academy of Science -- Dr McDougall being a Fellow of the Academy -- and Australia's Chief Scientist. So far there have been no public acknowledgements of the letter."

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    20. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Oh dear Mr "Climatologist" Cox, I see your ethics-free fraudulent claim is still on the web to dupe the unwitting reader. Have you no shame man? Please Sir - do try to keep both hands on the keyboard.

      http://www.climate-sceptics.com.au/the_team.html

      "Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth." (Henry David Thoreau)

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    21. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Shirley Birney, the Madame Defarge of the AGW 'debate'; thanks for the plug Madame.

      Truth in the AGW debate? What a gormless concept; the ideologues and believers of AGW aren't interested in truth because "oppression-sustaining illusions are the trademark of the ideological" [Kumar on Foucault]

      You're just an illusion Madame.

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    22. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Dear Mr Cox

      There was a good deal of uproar last week when Yahoo’s CEO, Scott Thompson was exposed for peddling bogus information about his credentials.

      Mr Thompson listed himself as a recipient of a bachelor’s degree in computer science when he was no such thing. The bogus degree was quite useful for him when he joined boards and when he agreed to speak at conferences.

      PS: You can the brass knuckles away now. Everybody knows the pen is mightier than the sword.

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    23. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      A mistake on my part. I should have said anthropogenic CO2 rather than just CO2. The relevant text from a blog post by Mr Cox is...

      The Knorr paper shows that the % of airborne fraction of ACO2 has not changed in 150 years.

      ...whereas there are a myriad of other studies showing CO2 increase is resulting from the burning of fossil fuels.

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    24. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Geoff Brown

      An example of a strawman argument and distortion is provided by the plot in Geoff Brown's link.

      Ask any climate scientist and they will explain that a myriad of factors influence global temperature, including CO2, aerosols, ENSO and Solar luminosity. Reducing it down to a single variable is misrepresenting the science.

      The plot also seems to imply an unusually high transient climate sensitivity (about 4 C) when lower values are usually assumed.

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    25. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      You have misunderstood Knorr; this paper does not preclude an increase in either anthropogenic emissions and anthropogenic contribution to an increase in atmospheric concentrations of CO2, nor an increase in atmospheric concentration of CO2.

      What Knorr has concluded is that the airborne fraction of anthropogenic CO2 has not changed in about 150 years. This lends support to the idea that not all of the increase in atmospheric increase in CO2 is due to anthropogenic emissions.

      For instance if the fraction of anthropogenic CO2 is 20% and atmospheric concentration increases from 100 to 200 the anthropogenic component has increased from 20 to 40 but other sourced CO2 has increased from 80 to 160.

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    26. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      My original point was why do so those denying AGW rely on single papers and ignore the bulk of the literature? For example, Le Quéré et al. finds the percentage of anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing.

      Mr Cox is using an overly simple arugment when estimating how anthropogenic CO2 contributes to CO2 rise. There is a carbon cycle which complicates matters considerably (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_cycle). For example, individual CO2 molecules remain in the year for several years and CO2 molecules are exchanged between the air and the ocean, which complicates the accounting of isotope ratios.

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    27. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      It is not a strawman argument; it is legitimate to compare CO2 against temperature because the IPCC says:

      “most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.” [AR4, Working Group 1, page 10].

      The graph has also nothing to do with Transient Climate Sensitivity [TCS]. As I explained to Mr Brown in the context of the Foster and Rahmstorf paper TCS is a final temperature response to 2XCO2; it is not about the rate of temperature response to changes in CO2, if any.

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    28. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Again this is misleading; the airborne fraction is a well established idea and incorporates CO2 residency periods.

      Knorr is supported by Tim Curtin's work which I will invite Tim to comment on if he can be bothered, and also other work by Gloor et al:

      http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/10/9045/2010/acpd-10-9045-2010.html

      Gloor have specifically addressed and contradicted the findings by Le Quéré et al who find a slight increase in the airborne fraction:

      http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/10/C4233/2010/acpd-10-C4233-2010-supplement.pdf

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  15. Andrew Glikson

    Earth and paleo-climate scientist at Australian National University

    CLIMATE STATEMENT BY 60 SCIENTISTS INCLUDING 20 NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS

    http://www.princeofwales.gov.uk/newsandgallery/news/the_three_day_nobel_laureates_symposium_on_climate_change_dr_1691222611.html

    Sixty scientists, including 20 Nobel Laureates, today agreed that climate change poses as great a threat to the world as the nuclear arms race, and called on leaders to take urgent action to tackle the problem.

    They were at the end of a three-day conference convened by The Prince of Wales at St James's Palace to discuss the issues and draw up a memorandum calling for international action on global greenhouse gas emissions.

    28th May 2009

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    1. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to Andrew Glikson

      So Prince Charles decides to convene a conference on a certain topic and decides whom he will send invitations to.
      At least this is a change from talking to his plants.
      Perhaps those who thought that Prince Charles was not noted for his scientific knowledge declined.
      Thus there were two filters in action before the conference started.
      Then you must factor in the the demand characteristics of the social situation. Fancy disagreeing with a prince. Goodness gracious. You might not be invited to one of the free dinners.

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  16. Andrew Glikson

    Earth and paleo-climate scientist at Australian National University

    Paleo-climate science indicates that CO2 emissions coupled with land clearing since the 18th century have resulted in a major climate anomaly.

    The release to date of over 500 billion tons of carbon through emissions and land clearing (close to the original ~590 GtC concentration of the atmosphere) is shifting the Earth’s climate toward Pliocene-like and possibly warmer conditions, on a time scale of a few centuries.

    Four of the large mass extinction events in the history of Earth (end-Devonian…

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    1. Roger Jones

      Australian Citizen

      In reply to Andrew Glikson

      Andrew, your post is off-topic and ridiculous. This is the sort of thing that kills threads. Is that your aim? The topic is Clive's criticism of the MTC.

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    2. Fred Pribac

      logged in via email @internode.on.net

      In reply to Andrew Glikson

      Thank you Andrew ... for giving up valuable time to riposte the false and illogical claims of the mendacious blogeratti by pointing to the published evidence and scientific consensus.

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    3. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Andrew Glikson

      An extraordinary post Andrew; you however left off this recent paper which repudiates the Lacis "control knob" paper:

      http://www.tswj.com/2012/761473/

      It is a water world and the very minor influence of CO2 is dwarfed by water, just as the climate science of AGW is dwarfed by reality.

      It is a pity the human race is going to waste hundreds of billions of dollars to find that out.

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  17. Gil Hardwick

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

    From an anthropological perspective, and from one who has found himself deeply embroiled in this argument and who is now on top of everything else at UWA Law School studying Victimology, my view is that Clive's article is quite a prejudiced as those he seeks to disparage.

    If public debate ever bothered to simply check the facts and kept away from the ethics and moralising personalities it would be a blessed miracle. It's far too late for all that, 150-200 years too late.

    My experience over…

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  18. Chris O'Neill

    Retired Way Before 70

    This just goes to show that there are useful fools in all sorts of places.

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  19. Tim Scanlon

    Author and Scientist

    I can't believe that anyone would take anything written by Andrew Bolt seriously. His smug and biased viewpoint is laughable for the lack of actual knowledge behind it. If he is going to write a play about science you can guarantee that there is no science in it.

    You know I saw an interesting video about wind power the other day. BP had invested $60 billion into wind power in the US. They saw it as the future as they realised fossil fuels had to be replaced to stop climate change. BP. If these guys are putting their money where their mouth is, I would think it was time for everyone else to start reading the science and understanding what needs to be done to stop climate change.

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    1. John Berry

      Director

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      "Stop Climate Change".

      Gee Tim, after that I can't believe that people would take anything written by you seriously. The fallacious belief that the only climate change is man made and therefore can be "stopped" is quite insane.

      Live in a high tech society or have everybody go back to subsistance farming and grass huts, either way the climate will always change. It always has and always will. Believing that we can "stop climate change" is as silly as believing we can throw rocks and hit the moon.

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    2. John Berry

      Director

      In reply to John Berry

      Hmmm, at least 5 people around here believe that we can throw rocks and hit the moon.

      Climate change will always be with us, and on a long term scale will pose great challenges for human society. Climate is the long term average of weather, like it or not. To assume that we can stop or modify climate change is to say that we can conrol the weather (at least in general) and I doubt anybody is going to defend that position.

      The bottom line, the ultimate reality is that whether mankind has an unintentional effect or not, until we can effectively control the climate and weather, then we will simply have to do what we have always done, adapt.

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    3. John Berry

      Director

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris, since you seem to take umbrage at my comment, it reasonably folllows that you do believe we ca stop climate change.

      Could you please explain to the breathlessly waiting world exactly how control of the global climate is done and when you expect the Nobel committee to present the award?

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    4. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Roger Crook

      "But then there was this"

      Oh yes, there's always a gaggle of useless journalists:

      http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2007/10/an_error_is_not_the_same_thing.php

      By the way, the judge said:

      "Al Gore's presentation of the causes and likely effects of climate change in the film was broadly accurate."

      But the science behind CO2's effect on the earth's radiation balance and its effect on temperature and thus climate has been explained ad nauseum. I would be wasting my time repeating it.

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  20. John Coochey

    Mr

    Why are we as taxpayers paying Hamilton's salary? Any body could have writtin this abuse I note he uses personal abuse in place of any argument or examination of fact. The hockey stick illusion has been shown to be just that it is a statistical truism and does not illustrate any sudden increase in temperatures. Why repeat a lie? It is like Rosslyn Beeby claiming that her exclusive on death threats to scientists scoop was not a lie. The Privacy Commissioner has examined the emails and concluded only one could even be considered as a possible threat, this made the front page of the Australian but people will still believe it. What is a Professor of Ethics anyway? How do I get to be one?

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    1. John Coochey

      Mr

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Are you denying that UEA tried to conceal the Mediaeval warm period and changed data bases mid way through graph?Which would have failed an undergraduate essay, are you also denying that temperatures have not increased for fifteen years or that the ANU fabricated death threats and that Ian Chubb the Chief Scientist does admits he does not have a clue on how long it would take for cooling if all human activity ceased?

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    2. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to John Coochey

      Whoa boy. You turn "moving the goal posts" into a major pastime. Perhaps this indicates the depths of your denial of the point I brought up, i.e. that there is indeed a "sudden" increase in temperatures as any instrumental global temperature record will show. Thanks again for confirming that you do not dispute that by your instant, and extensive, moving of the goalposts.

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  21. Gil Hardwick

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

    Something else that does need to be said here which is long overdue, is that for over 20 years while so many people carried out basic field research, worked in extension, built on-the-ground community organisations and funding strategies and conducted field days, patiently explaining the reality of environmental degradation, climate change, long term population growth and weather pattern trends, the Greens and the 'environmental activities' were away in their bush camps training followers in 'passive…

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  22. Luanne M. Ashe

    logged in via Facebook

    From your little misinformed tirade presented here, it is plain to see why you are an "academic visitor" in the Philosophy Department at Oxford.

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  23. Philip Dowling

    IT teacher

    It puzzles me so many posts here are so fearful that readers of Andrew Bolt's blog may visit this site.
    If enough of these feared visitors arrive this site might become as popular as Andrew Bolt's own blog.

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    1. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Philip Dowling

      "Fearful?" Who's fearful? You made that up. Bolt's fawning, brown nose hangdogs are already here with their paws on the minus symbol and their canines at Hamilton's jugular. See how they snarl? Hilarious!

      Bolt's blog popular? Yeah? Never read it. Don't like travelling second class? Quality beats quantity any day.

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    2. John Berry

      Director

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      If you've never read it, how could you possibly form a rational opinion as to the quality?

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    3. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Shirley,
      Thanks for your post. The appropriate use of ! and ? is an issue I have raised continually with my children in primary school.

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    4. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Philip Dowling

      Tsk tsk - wasn’t brung up proper like was I? Getting rattled are we Mr Dowling? Oh yes and speaking of fibbers, did you know that your climate guru/nuclear physicist Andrew Bolt PhD said: “Don’t ask me to adjudicate on the Lambert-Monckton stoush. Many of these issues are over my head?”

      Oh and here's anotheree: “Anyone exposed to excess radiation from the nuclear power plants is now much less likely to get cancer.”

      Did you know that your Mr Bolt can talk a glass eye to sleep?

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    5. Roger Crook

      Retired agribusiness manager & farmer

      In reply to John Berry

      Easy, John, listen to what your mates say and repeat it.

      I remember conducting focus groups on advertising and whether and how it causes changes in behavior.
      There were always those who would start by saying they didn't watch commercial TV. By the end of the evening they would often have revealed the ad they most disliked.

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    6. John Berry

      Director

      In reply to Roger Crook

      Hmmm, but doesn't that presuppose that all "mates" are rational? ;)

      Those focus groups sound like they could be interesting at times.

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  24. Comment removed by moderator.

  25. Anthony Nolan

    logged in via email @hotmail.com

    Clive, I've doggedly read all of critical comments about your review of the MTC production. That means that I've read all of the comments critical of AGW science. I haven't found any indication that anyone making those comments has actually been to see the play. Why does this not surprise me? If the MTC had hopes of broadening its subscriber base it will be deeply disappointed because, on a whole, the sorts of people opposed to AGW science tend not to be theatre goers.

    I won't worry too much about this play. No-one listens to the arts anyway.

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  26. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    Oh my goodness ... doesn't this just sound like a fantastic night out ... enter Associate Prof Hamlet stage right dragging whiteboard ... to warm or not to warm? Ophelia (Honours candidate) swoons....

    A couple of hours rehashing the data, quibbling about tree rings and ice cores... yep... can't wait. Pity Chekhov isn't still about.... the stuff of real human drama this. Like reading Alan Jones' blogsite for two hours without a drink.

    Personally I'd have more respect for the MTC if they did…

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    1. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Thanks Peter for restoring some sense of reality to the whole discussion.

      The play appears to me to be a missed opportunity for an excellent musical. Or at least a vaudeville show with acrobats, semi-nudity, fart jokes and a stage magician who makes scantily clad scientists disappear only to reappear as employees of the IPA. Music by Angry Anderson, Bob Carter as the MC and the prawn in a suit, Lord Whatsit, as the standup. I'd love to see Barry Brooks tapdancing as he clearly acquired early the skills for fast movement on thin ice. Nick Minchin stripping, Plimer doing an old fashioned eisteddfod elocution reading - preferably from Leviticus, to which I'm sure he'd lend some much needed humorous touches. Oh, the potential here is endless. It should tour the salt pan wheat belt of WA. Endlessly.

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    2. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Very good; perhaps the play can travel and give performances by the [rising] sea at Flannery's, Rudd's, Combet's, Blanchett's and Gore's fashionable sea-side residences. Power can be provided night and day by wind and solar; all proceeds can be accounted for by the likes of England, Karoly and Pittman and other scientists who have received $millions in government grants and are obviously good with a buck. Finally, if the play is not long enough there will be plenty of skits to pad out the time such as this:

      http://movieline.com/2010/10/04/watch-gillian-anderson-and-school-children-literally-explode-in-richard-curtis-banned-environmental/

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    3. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      No, Anthony Cox, satirising the play and denialism was my notion, not yours. You're the sort of guy who as a kid got school report cards stating "lacks imagination", aren't you?

      If I resided in Melbourne I'd be organising theatre parties to attend this show and we'd hiss and boo at the oil can harry bad guys and cheer and whistle at appropriate panto moments.

      Remember: don't be too polite, girls, don't be too polite, show a bit o' fight girls, show a bit o' fight.

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    4. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Mr Nolan,

      I am doing the first cut of the score for Heretic the Musical as we speak .... orchestrated for an ensemble of banjos, ukuleles and kazoos.

      I wonder if Mr Bean has tied down the rights for the TV series?

      This is going to be big Mr Nolan - global in fact. I'm thinking Matthew Newton to play Andrew Bolt. Cheryl, get me the States - we've gotta get that chap some bail!

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    5. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Big, Mr Ormonde, I'll give you big! Libretto by Gina Rinehart! Production by Nathan Tinkler who owns everything that moves in Newcastle except for a theatre company and hasn't yet realised that actors are much cheaper than footie players. The score MUST include parts for steel drums. Otherwise, I'm onto it as of now cause it's HUGE.

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    6. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      A BIG play about a BIG issue written by BIG people ... Mr N - now you're talking!

      We could have the World Premiere set in one of Clive Palmer's new amphitheatres (nee open-cuts) up in the Deep North. Martin Ferguson as "the narrator" ... I think it will need an narrator to explain the more complex elements of the data.

      Hard to work in the steel drums ... tend to drown out the dialogue and very hard to sing with. Could use them to accompany the CSIRO's lines though. I'll work on it.

      Perhaps Mr Tinkler's footy team could form a chorus.

      Not just BIG - we're talking IMMENSE. LARGER THAN LIFE ITSELF.

      This will make the Convoy of No Consequence look like a Sunday drive by a lot of decrepit ratbags.

      Must be off to fill out the Grant application. Dearest Simon....

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    7. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Right, knock yourself out, you're obviously on a roll.

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    8. Fred Pribac

      logged in via email @internode.on.net

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      As a banjo and ukulele player I have to ask you to pick on some other instruments of destruction. I nominate accordion and theramin!

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    9. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Fred Pribac

      Yes Mr P ... I can see a role for the Theramin for sure ... had initially sketched out a part for the bowed crosscut saw but the modern miracle of the theramin would fit the bill nicely. A bit Russian of course, but they're just like us now aren't they - free and contented.

      Not sure about the accordion but .... far too many fingers and a large number of teeth seem required to excel. I'd have a sneaking hunch that the human crustacean Oh Lord Monckton might be a dab hand.

      I hope you recover from the ukulele and banjo in due course.

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    10. Roger Crook

      Retired agribusiness manager & farmer

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Now, this is getting silly. Just plain silly and juvenile.
      I had a comment moderated out the other day. Having read through this thread to this point, I am left wondering if there is consistency in moderation.

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  27. Troy Barry

    Mechanical Engineer

    I expect to see Godwin's Law at work in the comments, but this is the first time I've seen it proved true in an actual article on theconversation.edu.au. It's not a great contribution to raising media standards...

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  28. David Arthur

    resistance gnome

    Perhaps MTC's programme for "The Heretic" should include, for every theatre-goer, a list of all Dr Cassell's "findings", and a summary of the actual science and observations.

    We need also remember that in Continental Europe, there is little dispute about climate science; Denialism seems to be concentrated in the Anglophone aka Murdochian world.

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  29. David Arthur

    resistance gnome

    This Bean bloke is writing in Europe, where climate change Denialism is rightly recognised as the preserve of the wing-nut and tin-hat brigade (aka Spectator readership).

    If Bean was in the US, he'd have his scientist find evidence that Darwinism is a fallacy, and achieve just as much outrage (aka publicity).

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  30. Anthony Nolan

    logged in via email @hotmail.com

    The Guardian review of the UK production had this to say:

    "But one question kept nagging me: does Bean admire his heroine because of her courageous independence, or because he believes she is right? Would he extend the same charity, I wondered, to a flat-earth advocate?"

    Good question. Specially in the light of comments from other reviewers to the extent that the plot device featuring a lone scientist against bullying orthodoxy, institutional corruption and mad, violent greenies, is not a vehicle for examination of the human condition at all; that it is a contribution to the debate, in so far as a discussion with people who irrationally equate fact with faith can be a debate at all, around AGW.

    That being the case, and the proof lies in the presentation of untruths and half truths as scientific facts, this play needs to be seen as political theatre. As such we are witnessing a new moment in theatre history - corporate agitprop.

    If it tours I'll be making a group booking.

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    1. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      No no no Mr Nolan,

      This is far from the first venture of the corporate world into the Yarts of late.... who indeed can forget Gina Rinehart's moving ode to the nation ... urging the establishment of special export zones and the need to import skilled labor into the west.... a veritable sonnet. I have tried hard to forget - but somehow I just can't. Talk about baring one's soul - or the lack of same.

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    2. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      What mirth, what repartee; it would be folly to be wise around such proud jesting, except to note that delerium and happiness are synonyms and how bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man's eyes.

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    3. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Happiness? Seen through the darting eyes of denial?

      Who amongst you is truly happy - surely not the billionaire bard knee deep in her claimant children demanding their inheritance prior her expiry date? Surely not these Bolters besmirched by bad science and endangered by clandestine climate conspiracies?

      No I see no happiness there Anthony ... just fear and wishful thinking ... and a decent dose of delirium to boot. Observe the spelling.

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    4. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      You are correct, Mr O, to remind me of La Gina's venture into political poetics. It is not that I had forgotten her homage to guest workers and special economic zones - I had enough cash to seek treatment after reading it and had all traces expunged. Curse you for the reminder.

      I fear Anthony Cox has taken to quoting his desk calendar. He claims that it is a "bitter thing to look into happiness through another man's eyes". Good heavens, if there isn't already a law against such habits then there ought to be.

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    5. Anthony Cox

      logged in via email @optusnet.com.au

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      For my part I am happy with my lot and, since I have come from farming stock, the salt of the Earth, know that nature is a harsh mistress. About those who would take her side I do not think they really know what they are doing because while you may travel a spell by her side true happiness comes from keeping Gaia, for such is her name as bespoke by that pagan prophet, at arm's length, no more, no less. That cubit of distance is being whittled away by the sorceror's stones in the demon's lair at CRU so that natural law is being forced back upon humanity; of that I am positive.

      Anyway it is a Hobbesian choice between the dust of nature and windmills and such, and the Grecian Urn of achievement; happy indeed is the man who has made nature a "friend to man" .

      Potrzebie.

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    6. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Good grief. Breeding stock, harsh mistresses, goddesses, dust and Hobbes. You must stop reading Thomas Hardy man! Or get off the commune more often.

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    7. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Anthony Cox

      Harsh mistress? At least a mistress might throw one the odd smile or cuppa.

      As for me, having had more than a man's fair share of harsh mistresses, I prefer my nature not so much at arm's length but well and truly under foot.

      But down deep Mr Cox, I suspect Nature, Gaia - call her what you like - doesn't know we exist and I think that's the best option all round really. It's only with this damned CO2 business that we will come to her wrathful attention. And I remember all too well what it was like waking up to a harsh mistress with cause for complaint.

      The urn can be a formidable projectile when launched with true venom and lethal accuracy.

      She would not give me an inch let alone a whole potrzebie.

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    8. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Indeed, a timely reminder of judicial authority. The Beak and I had a different understanding of what constitutes a hobby. Never mind. Personally, I blame feminism, the woman who gave me a copy of Jessica Benjamin's 'The Bonds of Love' and my obviously far too literal interpretation of the text. There is little room left for Marxist materialist philosophy, it seems.

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  31. Comment removed by moderator.

  32. Andrew Glikson

    Earth and paleo-climate scientist at Australian National University

    ON THEATRE AND CLIMATE

    As indicated in Hamilton's article, had the "Heretic" been concerned with denying the holocaust of world war II, or the connection between tobacco smoking and lung cancer, or even with the evidence for the depletion of the ozone layer - the show would receive no sympathy from just about everyone.

    However, since the thrust of the show is concerned with climate change, it plays into the hands of those who support the use of the thin terrestrial atmosphere (breathable thickness…

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  33. Andrew Glikson

    Earth and paleo-climate scientist at Australian National University

    CORECTION:

    The second paragraph should read:

    "However, since the thrust of the show is concerned with climate change, it plays into the hands of those who support the use of the thin terrestrial atmosphere (breathable thickness of less than 10 km) for further carbon emisison on top of the >350 billion tons of carbon emitted since the 18th century and >150 billion tons carbon due to land clearing, fires etc., the pace of CO2 rise over the last 40 years recently reaching >2 ppm CO2/year, exceeding any recorded for the last 65 million years, while the atmospheric level of 394 ppm CO2 is near that of the warm Pliocene era some 3 million years-ago."

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  34. Bob Weis

    Film maker

    Thanks Clive - I haven't seen the play and will for a number of reasons but I was astonished to read your piece and even more astonished by the responses it elicited. It must be said that the climate science speaks with an international and unified voice and that the interviews I've read with the author of the play only confirm what you have written.
    What is sad is that reputable theatre companies abroad and here see the commercial interest in putting forth (in your analogy, David Irving like) untruths for an audience.

    NO IT is NOT the job of theatre to be a replacement for the church and guide their congregations to a place of truth but equally it is not appropriate for them to put on in the name of entertainment material that is obviously a piece of agitprop by an angry, uninformed and dangerous warrior.

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  35. Peter Redshaw

    Retired

    Clive, the question that should be asked and which I did not see in your article is 'who is funding the play' because that is far more important. Who are the backers?

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    1. Roger Crook

      Retired agribusiness manager & farmer

      In reply to Peter Redshaw

      Q.Who is funding? Who indeed are the backers?
      A. Spike Milligan and the Life of Brian Foundation.

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    2. Bob Weis

      Film maker

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Thanks for bringing us full circle Shirley. Indeed brown coal premier of the world and hopefully one term at that

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  36. Ilma Smith

    IT Consultant

    What Clive has written is nothing short of libellous to those he names and calls "rat bags". The tone and logical argument of the piece is childish. He has clearly not done his homework on CAGW, i.e. looked at the (non-)evidence for the causal link between CO2 and temperature, but writes from predetermined bias. He should rather be working for Greenpeace or WWF than Charles Sturt or Oxford universities. After all, GP and WWF have a lot more government money than do either of the universities, and could pay him a lot more to write this.

    On the other hand, such is the stupidity of the piece, he'll get more people taking a critical look at the scurrilous falseness of AGW, which can't be a bad thing. You could say he scored a massive own goal.

    You do have to ask though, why an ethics academic has written something so unethical?

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