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Living off-the-grid is possible, but it’s not enough to fix climate change

My old house has never been connected to the electricity supply. It runs on a couple of photo voltaic (solar) panels and is warmed by firewood. All water used is rainwater. I have a vegie garden, fruit…

It is technically possible to supply your own food, energy and shelter, without reliance on the grid. Moosicom/Flickr

My old house has never been connected to the electricity supply. It runs on a couple of photo voltaic (solar) panels and is warmed by firewood. All water used is rainwater.

I have a vegie garden, fruit trees and chickens. My pumps and machinery run on 12 volt solar electricity. I travel 25km to paid work once a week, by bicycle and train, and drive about 10km a week. I never go away on holidays. The average Australian household uses about one kilowatt of electricity; I use eight watts.

So isn’t downshifting to less consuming lifestyles the way to solve the greenhouse problem?

Emphatically, no it isn’t. It’s part of the solution but not the main part. If you want to fix the climate, developing nations' poverty, resource depletion and other environmental problems you will also have to totally scrap economic growth, and therefore capitalism, and largely scrap globalisation, centralisation, the market system, representative democracy, the financial system, big cities, modern agriculture and urbanism.

A little extreme? Here’s the core argument.

Everyone knows the basic facts and figures, but few face up to what they mean. To provide the average Australian with food, settlement area, water and energy now requires about eight hectares of productive land. If by 2050, nine billion people were to have risen to the present Australian “living standard”, and the planet’s amount of productive land is still the same as it is today, the amount available per capita will be about .8ha. In other words Australian’s today are using ten times the amount that will be possible for all.

It’s much the same for all other resources. There are already scarcities regarding food in general, fish, water, most industrial minerals and petroleum, with estimates of peak coal occurring within a few decades. Only about one fifth of the world’s people have rich world consumption rates, and six times as many will soon be aspiring to them.

And yet, everyone is manically obsessed with constantly increasing “living standards”, production, consumption and GDP. At the standard 3% per annum growth rate, according to WWF figures we will need more than 20 planet earths to meet 2050 resource demands.

Living off-the-grid is not completely without a source of energy … solar panels are an integral part of the lifestyle. sridgway/Flickr

The glaringly obvious yet ignored point is that rich world per capita levels of resource consumption and ecological impact are far beyond levels that that are sustainable, or that could be made sustainable by any remotely plausible technical fixes. People, including most of the green ones, do not grasp the magnitude of the overshoot, nor the significance of the change required to solve the big problems.

The problems are being caused primarily by our systems, not our lifestyles although these are far too affluent. It’s not possible to get resource consumption down to one-fifth or one-tenth of present levels, unless we not only shift to a zero growth economic system, but to one with a far lower level of GDP. That means an economy in which there can be no interest paid.

That means we have to scrap the present financial system, and the forces driving innovation, incentive, work and investment, and the quest for greater wealth. It means much more than scrapping capitalism; it means completely abandoning some of the fundamental ideas (like the definition of progress,) and values (such as getting rich) that have driven Western culture for 300 years.

We could do it, easily, if you wanted to. My system, The Simpler Way (detailed in my book), is one whereby we transform our present suburbs and towns into highly self-sufficient and self-governing local and zero-growth economies, in which the quality of life would be higher than it is now in the consumer rat race.

Yes, an important part must be the willing acceptance of frugal, self-sufficient, cooperative ways at the level of the household and community. But it would not be necessary to go as far as I choose to on my bush homestead. We could still have electricity grids, (small) cities, (some) trade and heavy industry, railway networks, a (small) central state (under the control of town assemblies), universities and professional skills, and more socially useful high tech research and development than we have now. You might need to work for money only one day a week.

An ecovillage at Currumbin in Queensland. Flickr

Many people in eco-villages more or less live in the required ways now. Many are attempting to transform their towns and suburbs into being more self-sufficient and self-governing local communities.

But these very encouraging beginnings are not yet focused on the crucial goals. If you really want to help save the planet don’t fret much about downshifting but join your local community garden, with a view to getting people there thinking more about the need to focus on us eventually achieving the big structural and cultural changes.

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  1. John Newlands

    tree changer

    This lifestyle is idealised in the thinking of frequent flyer greenies but in reality I think they really want everything at the flick of a switch. Solar panels and windmills large or small won't power heavy industry, jet travel and late night hospitals. It also takes a fair bit of financial capital and physical space to get set up the right way to go off grid. If everybody had a large plot of land but needed to commute to a CBD it would be inefficient.

    This lifestyle works better for a small…

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    1. Trevor S

      Jack of all Trades

      In reply to John Newlands

      John

      I think you completely missed the point and many of the points you make are simply reductio ad absurdum. We need to do away with most heavy industry, stop commuting into the CBD, in fact there should be no need for a CBD High capital cost is more easily overcome by community and a lowering of expectations. Chopping firewood with a sprained ankle is overcome with community once again and doing away with the need to sue someone if you do sprain your ankle.

      We moved to a milder climate to get away from "blizzards " and you arguments go on, concentrating on what you perceive as the negative without saying, well yes, this is a star, bravo to you sir and it's something we all need, no have to move towards. There is not other "solution" if a solution is what we're after.

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  2. Kim Bulwinkel
    Kim Bulwinkel is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Retired regional medical specialist

    Why is it that the core problem is never touched on? It almost seems taboo to mention although Dick Smith was game enough to raise its public profile a year or two ago.

    There are just too many people on this earth! The rapid rises in population are occurring in patches of the world out of sensible, educated control. 7 billion is bad enough, let alone 9 billion. We all collectively have a real problem and climate change is not it!!!

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    1. Peta Page

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Kim Bulwinkel

      We don't talk about population because as a country we rely on third world nations to continue to not educate their women so that they will continue to have large numbers of children so we can continue to get cheap stuff!
      There is very few ethical approaches to decreasing our current levels of population. By 2050 our population should plateau at around 10 billion and unless you feel like starting world war 3 or sending out some pretty potent viruses we need to find a solution that accommodates all of the current people in this world and not talk about how it would be so much easier if there were less of us.

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    2. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Peta Page

      Peta, what mechanism would cause the population to "plateau at around 10 billion"? Can you explain how it is possible to increase the carrying capacity of the planet such that it will provide for the ever increasing population growth? Kim is absolutely correct - a kerb on growth rates is the only real answer.

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    3. William Pinskey

      Accountant

      In reply to John Phillip

      I do not have the research or the exact details, John, but from memory I believe the theory states that as more people on the planet raise their living standards and education, the birth rate is likely to slow down. This can be observed currently: developing nations have a significantly higher birthrate than established nations. So they have extrapolated this kind of data and thought that maybe by 2050-2060 we would have about 10-11 billion, and (hopefully) we would have raised the living standards in third world nations by this time, ergo the birthrate would have slowed down sufficiently so that it would only be replenishing the population. It's still too many people imo, but it's something.

      Of course, this is all based on the proviso that we continue to develop third world nations at the current speed, which may have impacts to climate change. What a tangled web we weave

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    4. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Kim Bulwinkel

      Kim wrote "The rapid rises in population are occurring in patches of the world out of sensible, educated control. 7 billion is bad enough, let alone 9 billion. We all collectively have a real problem and climate change is not it!!!"

      Go Kim!
      My thoughts exactly!

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    5. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Peta Page

      Peta wrote "There is very few ethical approaches to decreasing our current levels of population."

      We can start by not branding anyone advocating population control as a racist, as seems to be the case with Dick Smith!

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    6. Matthew Thredgold

      Software Engineer/Secondary Teacher

      In reply to George Covas

      How about we start by not branding anyone advocating real science, real evidence, and real solutions to dealing with anthropogenic climate change "climate change alarmism poseurs!" ?

      I'm afraid that it does make you look like a naive, ignorant, hypocrite.

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    7. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to George Covas

      When the advocates for reduced population start talking about "us" rather than just "them" I'd be less inclined to see a racist self-serving viewpoint George.

      Let's see their suggestions for reducing the number of Australians on the planet. I'm not talking about immigration and refugees (that's just redistribution). I'm talking about absolute reductions in the national headcount - a cull.

      What policies do these fellas propose for reducing the numbers of us who eat 15 times the resources of the poorest lot.

      How do we get our population down to a "sustainable" number in line with the "natural carrying capacity" of the country - that's about 500,000 by best historical estimates. Who's for the chop? Where can we send Adelaide?

      Let's look at what we can do rather than what "they" should do - or worse - what "we" should do to "them".

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    8. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter wrote "Let's see their suggestions for reducing the number of Australians on the planet"

      Are you serious?
      Are you really and truly saying that Australia's population of about 20 million or so can be a problem against the BILLION or so, say in China?

      Oh by the way, China has become the biggest global emitter of trace gas plant food CO2 recently.

      If you seriously consider too much atmospheric plant food a problem, then let's concentrate on where by far most of "the problem" lies!

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    9. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to George Covas

      Depends how much of the world we gobble up George ... how many chinese peasants can we fit into the average Aussie suburban home footprint.

      Not just numbers - it's what those numbers do. And we do a lot more damage than our fair share. Too easy to see all of "them" and ignore little old "us". That's in essence what makes it racist. It's not about numbers - it's about consumption and impact.

      How about an Aussie 1 child policy - or spraying Melbourne with some sort of sterlising agent as suggested we try in the "Third World"... let's bring our prescriptions home.

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    10. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter wrote" how many chinese peasants can we fit into the average Aussie suburban home footprint"

      Are you suggesting that we should all abandon our modest lifestyles here in Australia, for negligible impact on global trace gas plant food CO2 levels?

      A better suggestion would be to encourage less breeding and cultivate higher standards of living in third world OVERPOPULATED countries.

      N'est ce pas?
      Or are you just anti western?

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    11. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Matthew Thredgold

      Mathew wrote" real evidence, and real solutions to dealing with anthropogenic climate change"

      Sorry, but I'm not aware of any evidence for "anthropogenic" global warming.

      The null hypothesis still holds until there is evidence.
      That's what a true scientist would say.

      Oh by the way, the globe has been warming NATURALLY at about 0.27ºC/century since the Little Ice Age (Look up Central England Temperature Record from about 1659),
      AND
      most of the current warming of about 0.8ºC has occurred before 1940 when CO2 wasn't a factor.

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    12. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to George Covas

      George, are you aware of any evidence for gravity...for that matter, are you aware of any evidence for your own identity.

      If you ar ecpomfortable making statement as manifestly absurd as that, you warrant nothing more or less than being completely ignored. Debating rationally with you would obviously be a waste of time.

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    13. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to George Covas

      Now George I'm starting to suspect you're not really a brain surgeon.

      I'm just interested in the fact that all these Population is The Problem people seem to think that population happens over there somewhere - with "them" and our tiny modest insignificant lifestyles don't make a dint on the world.

      Sadly George this just ain't true. You can measure it... just like a scientist. And it looks like this (at least in 2008): We Australians come in at needing 7.8 global hectares each every year…

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    14. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter wrote" We Australians come in at needing 7.8 global hectares each every year…"

      [sigh]
      And that would not be a problem with a lower population!

      Oh by the way, what's your lifestyle like?
      Or are you just advocating a lower standard of living for the rest of us "A La Gore"?

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    15. Leo Kerr

      Consultant

      In reply to Kim Bulwinkel

      You're right Kim - but don't be alarmed, our locked in future climate will ensure that population growth of our viral species will be severely curtailed - just a pity we will take so many other innocent life forms with us due to our imbecilic excesses.

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    16. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to George Covas

      Very simple George my little life ... growing much of my own tucker and not using a vehicle tends to cut a few toes off the footprint.

      Depends I guess if one equates a "high living standard" with having some machine doing all the work and the walking.

      Interesting isn't it folks how this keeps coming back to "us" and "them"? ... and the price for our "high living standard" will be fewer of "them". Glad it's not racial at all.

      I reckon we could do the Aussie cull alphabetically myself - just take out everyone from A - M ... phew I made it.

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    17. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Fekix wrote "George, are you aware of any evidence for gravity"

      Yes, I even know the equation.

      What evidence is there for AGW?
      I know of none.
      Do you?

      Oh by the way true science is not democratic, I don't care how many "scientists" (activists disguised as scientists?) you quote.
      Science just looks at the evidence, and 16 years of NON warming falsify the warmist climate models

      The history of science shows us that most breakthroughs are not made by “the consensus”. it is the small group of sceptics who challenge the consensus that account for most scientific breakthrough.

      When Einstein published material that challenged the consensus theories of Newton he was pilloried by the existing “scientific” experts.

      Germany’s top 100 “scientists” wrote a book to discredit him.

      I don’t need to tell you who was right in the end.

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    18. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to William Pinskey

      "Of course, this is all based on the proviso that we continue to develop third world nations at the current speed, which may have impacts to climate change"

      and resource consumption.

      There was some research done on how much resource consumption was needed and global warming caused to achieve this demographic transition of third world nations. The result was that it was impossible with likely available resources and impossible without excessive global warming.

      Bottom line: resource exhaustion and excessive global warming will happen anyway, demographic transition of third world nations will just speed it up.

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    19. Chris Lloyd

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      The 7.8 to 0.8 ratio will change though Peter. I am all for efficiency and solar. But I fear that folks like you are just too fearful of opening a politically incorrect conversation to acknowledge that population IS THE problem.

      Sure, fixing the problem is tough and long term. But can we start my acknowledging the problem? Personally, I would vote for serious tax penalties on third children in Australia, rather than baby bonuses and tax benefit B. Most people are not in denial about climate change. Most people seem in denial about the population bomb.

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    20. Nev Norton

      Farmer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Hehehe Peter, Thanks for stopping at M!
      The answer to solving the population problem and AGW is turning off fossil fuels globally. Anarchy will do the rest, and it won't matter what initial you have. Who would push the button?

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    21. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris wrote "Here is 16 years of warming"

      Really?
      So why is this scientist winning the bet then??

      Scientist winning bet against Gore: world isn’t warming http://www.theclimatebet.com/?p=5

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    22. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris wrote "Here is 16 years of warming:"

      Looking at the graph, note how the green graph has current temperatures about the same as in 1996 (viz: NO WARMING), while Hansen's GISS has diverged wildly on the upside.

      Does the divergence have anything to do with Hansen's notorious "adjustments" on the GISS dataset????

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    23. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Chris Lloyd

      Denial. Not really. I just point to a different culprit - one closer to home and one that we can actually do something about.

      THIRD child penalties ???!!! ... in a country where your average suburban house of 4 will be needing just over 30 footy fields to keep going.... hmmmm... I'd be looking at first child penalties myself Chris. I'd put taxes on smiling at the opposite sex.

      Just replacing ourselves ain't enough - we have to reduce our population - not just hold it back - and we must…

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    24. Olav Muurlink

      Research Fellow, Griffith Business School at Griffith University

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I don't often get a laugh or even a smile out of The Conversation, but your line " I'd put taxes on smiling at the opposite sex" had me laughing out loud...in a good way. This is one of several comments you've put up today that has had me (largely) nodding in agreement, Peter. Not that I would appreciate a tax on smiling at the opposite sex. What about a Vasectomy Bonus?

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    25. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, your proposed solutions are doomed to failure by dint of Australia's population as a proportion of the world's being so small. Bringing our prescriptions home will have absolutely zero effect on global growth rates whereas reducing the population growth of the most populous nations will actually make a difference.

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    26. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Phillip

      And how would you propose we do that John ..." Hey you Chinese - cut it out or else ... and no you can't have a toaster..."

      What does one billion people laughing actually sound like I wonder. I wonder if you could hear it on the moon like the Great Wall myth.

      Actually even empirically you'd be a bit wrong John - Australia is the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter per capita on the planet last time I looked. In fact according to the Age (so it must be true) http://www.theage.com.au/environment/australias-global-footprint-one-of-the-worst-20100505-uape.html we are 9th in the world in terms of our estimated national ecological footprint... not bad for a place with a teensy weensy little population is it?

      A teensy weensy population of big fat buggers who eat too much, watch too much sport on TV and drive everywhere. Let's start there rather than telling everyone else what to do for us.

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    27. Matthew Thredgold

      Software Engineer/Secondary Teacher

      In reply to John Phillip

      Indeed it was, but there is the problem of how to deal with people like George. He is of course wrong on everything, but can't be told. Do we humour him? Do we ignore him? Reason doesn't work. And if he is throwing around insults such as "climate change alarmism poseur" which was moderated out, and did cause offence, why should we have to put up with it?

      Sorry for perpetuating the pointlessness of it all.

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    28. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Matthew Thredgold

      I'd be playing George with a straight bat myself - maybe a clip into covers for 3.

      Treat him like the self-opinionated dill he is. Have a laugh - but under no circumstances take his juvenile antics seriously. Talk to us, not him. Talk over his heavily browed forehead.

      It'd be just nifty to be born with a supreme understanding of the cosmos and climate wouldn't it ... sufficient to be able to argue the toss with a whole world full of (so-called) experts and professional sciency types in coats…

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    29. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Matthew Thredgold

      Mathew wrote "how to deal with people like George."

      A true scientist would welcome dissent and review the evidence.

      An activist disguised as a scientist (ie many current climate "scientists"), or a closet totalitarian leftist warmist would call for censorship and suspension of democracy!

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    30. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter wrote "I'd be playing George with a straight bat myself"

      Reminds me of the made up smear applied to any scientist questioning apocalyptic AGW nonsense

      Notice how ALL DISSENTERS are somehow labelled 9/11 conspiracy believers, apologists for passive smoking, etc.

      Anyone else notice a distinct pattern here?

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    31. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to George Covas

      What does one call an activist disguised as a brainsurgeon pontificating on climate change using data he doesn't understand to demonstrate that this climate business is all just silly and so awful, as any fool can see if they'd only look.

      Why do you think you know anything about this stuff George? You obviously haven't studied it - you just know somehow? Did it come in a dream?

      Why do you think it is wrong? That all this science and all these scientists are just wrong wrong wrong. But you - George the Brainsurgeon - have outsmarted them all with their contrived centigrades and hectopascals. The fools.

      But as for suspending democracy or censoring you - hell no I say ...here even delusional ratbags get the vote - and they make us laugh

      Perhaps it is something only any fool can see.

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    32. Leo Kerr

      Consultant

      In reply to George Covas

      I noticed it George - gives George a big hug....... by the way what are your thoughts on Catholicism as a veiled continuation of Babylonian paganism?

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    33. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to George Covas

      It's not just the numbers ('consensus' if you like) that make the case clear - though they are not trivial - it's the huige body of evidence and the complete absence of any substantial counter-evidence that makes the case crystal clear - particularly given that the quickest way to win the next Nobel Prize and achieve scientific fame that would shade the renowned Einstein would be to produce some genuine data disproving the basic anthropogenic global warming hypothesis and therefore researchers would…

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    34. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Olav Muurlink

      like the vasectomy bonus bit, but it would be at its best if the actual payout was in inverse proprtion to your measured IQ.

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    35. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to George Covas

      George, why do you respond to my proof of your error with a non-sequitur assertion? Could it be that you're an emperor with no clothes?

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    36. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to George Covas

      A true scientist would welcome counter-evidence - dissent for the sake of it isn't quite the same thing, or haven't you figured that out yet?

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    37. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Or we could only pay out to folks who shortcircuited the wedding tackle themselves - with a couple of bricks... this would save any scientific quibbles about the validity of IQ - and it'd be cheap.

      Another option with a proven track-record is the establishment of an administrative/political class based on eunuchs. Or have we already done that?

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    38. Leo Kerr

      Consultant

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix - how much do you think the payout would be to George?

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    39. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Leo Kerr

      Be half the budget I'd reckon Leo - but a whip-round might be a good investment for TC readers.

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    40. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to George Covas

      "the green graph has current temperatures about the same as in 1996 (viz: NO WARMING)"

      So you're a cherry-picker, a well-known intellectually dishonest trick of argument, also known as the Texas sharp-shooter fallacy: http://www.fallacyfiles.org/texsharp.html

      But if you're really silly enough to cherry-pick just the beginning and end points of one graph, then its end-point is warmer than its starting-point anyway. But as I said, you'd have to be really silly to do that.

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    41. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Seems George the Brainsurgeon knocks off at 5 pm sharp. .. no staying power at all.

      Actually has anyone noticed how the usual band of deniers have dropped off the boards over the last few months... at least the more serious tryers. I'm actually rather disappointed in the calibre of ratbags we're being subjected to of late.

      Either a shift in tactics - more time in the popular press, Alan Jones etc or they're just getting bored - something's shifting.

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    42. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Having been boring myself watching the latest record breaking flooding in northern australia, I was most amused by the amount of times the (manly) QLD premier needed to say that the flooding was not as bad as 2 years ago. Code for, this is not climate change, this is not climate change, this is not climate change. Or was it the very serious BOM experts in the back-ground, occasionally allowed to mention the word unprecedented, then swept back to their proper position. Truth is this flood is climate change in action, and in Australia both the question, and the answer are not "allowed". Pathetic. Masterful men know sooo much

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    43. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to George Covas

      Notice how ALL DISSENTERS claim that ALL DISSENTERS are somehow labelled 9/11 conspiracy believers, apologists for passive smoking, etc.

      Anyone else notice a distinct pattern here?

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    44. Leo Kerr

      Consultant

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      the change may be due to the most recent examples of climate change in action - hurricane Sandy, crop failure in US due to severe heat, unprecedented flooding in Jakarta, our own bush fires, simultaneous floods, hottest temperatures ever in certain parts of the country and I'm sure there are other examples but I think it's the stuff in our own backyard that is challenging the diehards ...

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    45. Leo Kerr

      Consultant

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      well Alice - the coal lobby have him locked up nice and tight - same goes for the feds

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    46. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      "The basic anthropogenic global warming hypothesis"

      This is not the null hypothesis as much as you'd like it to be.

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    47. Tom Meyer

      Science Teacher

      In reply to George Covas

      George,

      Yesterday in Scientific American a SciAm blogger Bora Zivkovic wrote his and the publications rules for engagement on their blogs. He wrote a lot about responders just like you. In the article two of the rules were: 1 if you claim that evolution is not real, your comment is removed. 2. if you claim man-made global warming is a hoax, your comment is removed. In other words there is more measured scientific evidence for these two phenomenon than for the Big Bang theory. If you can't accept that reality then you won't be able to productively enter into a conversation. Maybe The Conversation should adopt some of these ideas.

      http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/a-blog-around-the-clock/2013/01/28/commenting-threads-good-bad-or-not-at-all/

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    48. Ben Heard

      Director, ThinkClimate Consulting

      In reply to John Phillip

      Hi John,

      There are very sound reasons why the population is forecast to top out. I discussed this important issue recently in this blog post. It also contains an embedded video from Hans Rosling, a global specialist in this area, which I also recommend watching. I hope this helps.

      http://decarbonisesa.com/2013/01/10/bounding-the-future-essential-thinking-on-population/

      In short, the RATE of global population growth peaked in about 1970 and has been in decline since then... sounds amazing, but completely true!

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    49. Ben Heard

      Director, ThinkClimate Consulting

      In reply to George Covas

      Understandable sentiment perhaps George, but about as useful as objecting to the tide coming in. The die are already cast for population in 2050, it will be somewhere between 9.5 and 10 bn, but it will not likely rise much beyond that by 2100. We might as well internalise this reality and looks for solutions that embrace it. Anything else really is futile.
      http://decarbonisesa.com/2013/01/10/bounding-the-future-essential-thinking-on-population/

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    50. Ben Heard

      Director, ThinkClimate Consulting

      In reply to Chris Lloyd

      Chris,

      Australia's natural population growth is below replacement levels. Our growth comes through immigration. So the options is to halt that. That will not stop global population growth to 2050, the die are already cast, the determinants are already basically fixed. It will just mean that Australia turns people away, they have their impacts somewhere else, and we keep living our rapacious lifestyles.

      The global population issue is, to a significant extent ALREADY SOLVED. It just takes time for the impact to pass through. http://decarbonisesa.com/2013/01/10/bounding-the-future-essential-thinking-on-population/

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    51. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to Tom Meyer

      Concur. It would save a lot of garbage on the comments pages. Informed debate is one thing, denialism another.

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    52. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris wrote "then its end-point is warmer than its starting-point anyway"

      So you're saying that this scientist winning the bet with Gore is wrong then?

      SORRY BUT NO WARMING FOR 16 YEARS DESPITE "SOARING" CO2 LEVELS!

      Why don't you inform Gore he's really winning the bet instead then?

      Here is some detail on the bet ...
      Al Gore is invited to select any currently available fully disclosed climate model to produce the forecasts (without human adjustments to the model’s forecasts). Scott Armstrong’s…

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    53. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter wrote " the usual band of deniers have dropped off the boards"

      Because it's futile arguing with rusted-on leftist AGW zealots maybe?

      BTW
      Try refuting the fact that there has been NO WARMING for 16 years despite "soaring" CO2 levels.

      THE NAIVE (NO-CHANGE) MODEL IS WINNING AGAINST WARMIST GIGO CLIMATE MODELS!
      http://papundits.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/scientist-winning-bet-against-gore-world-isnt-warming/

      There is a telling quote from the scientist involved ...

      Armstrong said this was about more than debunking Gore.
      It was about defending science from alarmism and those who profit from it:
      "The aim of the bet is really to promote the proper use of science, rather than the opinion-led science we have seen lately."

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    54. Olav Muurlink

      Research Fellow, Griffith Business School at Griffith University

      In reply to George Covas

      George, do you ever contemplate that you might be wrong, and that climate change is really happening...and that we might be facing some kind of climate disaster?

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    55. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Tom Meyer

      Tom wrote "1 if you claim that evolution is not real, your comment is removed. 2. if you claim man-made global warming is a hoax, your comment is removed"

      A typical warmist ploy when they find they have no answer - change the subject and bring in the usual made up smears!

      There was never a campaign calling for censorship when evolution was still controversial.

      Very "scientific" of you to call for censoring any dissent!

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    56. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to John Newton

      John start here ....
      THE NAIVE (NO-CHANGE) MODEL IS WINNING AGAINST WARMIST GIGO CLIMATE MODELS!
      http://papundits.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/scientist-winning-bet-against-gore-world-isnt-warming/

      There is a telling quote from the scientist involved ...

      Armstrong said this was about more than debunking Gore.
      It was about defending science from alarmism and those who profit from it:
      "The aim of the bet is really to promote the proper use of science, rather than the opinion-led science we have seen lately."

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    57. Matthew Thredgold

      Software Engineer/Secondary Teacher

      In reply to George Covas

      From that accomplished climate scientist Andrew Bolt. Hilarious. The denial blogs are an echo chamber. Try to read a bit more widely.

      How about trying these instead George? Can you read and interpret graphs? What do they prove?Just that you are wrong about the last 16 years.

      http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3/Fig.B.gif
      Land and Ocean temperature means.

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    58. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to John Newton

      John wrote "Informed debate is one thing, denialism another"

      So why are you in denial of the FACTS, as opposed to what GIGO climate models are predicting then?

      THE NAIVE (NO-CHANGE) MODEL IS WINNING AGAINST WARMIST GIGO CLIMATE MODELS!
      http://papundits.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/scientist-winning-bet-against-gore-world-isnt-warming/

      There is a telling quote from the scientist involved ...

      Armstrong said this was about more than debunking Gore.
      It was about defending science from alarmism and those who profit from it:
      "The aim of the bet is really to promote the proper use of science, rather than the opinion-led science we have seen lately."

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    59. Matthew Thredgold

      Software Engineer/Secondary Teacher

      In reply to George Covas

      There is dissent, which indeed would be valuable, and then there is useless noise George.

      Guess which category everyone thinks your contributions here fall into?

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    60. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to George Covas

      George ...

      This scientist you're talking about - J Scott Armstrong - not exactly a "scientist" is he?

      Do you want to explain who he is or do I have to?

      God save us all from DIY brainsurgeons, DIY scientists and marketing gurus.

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    61. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter wrote "Treat him like the self-opinionated dill he is"

      In denial of the observed FACTS, and treating GIGO climate model forecasts as facts are we?

      Try a few ACTUAL FACTS instead ....

      THE NAIVE (NO-CHANGE) MODEL IS WINNING AGAINST WARMIST GIGO CLIMATE MODELS!
      http://papundits.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/scientist-winning-bet-against-gore-world-isnt-warming/

      There is a telling quote from the scientist involved ...

      Armstrong said this was about more than debunking Gore.
      It was about defending science from alarmism and those who profit from it:
      "The aim of the bet is really to promote the proper use of science, rather than the opinion-led science we have seen lately."

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    62. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter wrote "using data he doesn't understand"

      I understand this. Do you?

      THE NAIVE (NO-CHANGE) MODEL IS WINNING AGAINST WARMIST GIGO CLIMATE MODELS!
      http://papundits.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/scientist-winning-bet-against-gore-world-isnt-warming/

      There is a telling quote from the scientist involved ...

      Armstrong said this was about more than debunking Gore.
      It was about defending science from alarmism and those who profit from it:
      "The aim of the bet is really to promote the proper use of science, rather than the opinion-led science we have seen lately."

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    63. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to George Covas

      George,

      I know you're new at this, but you're just not getting a grip on this astroturfing business at all mate.

      The idea is to cut and paste the same pile of denially dross and post it all over the place. Preferably under different names. Gotta make it look like a groundswell of common sense - a grassroots rejection of all this edjerkashun and sciencey stuff.

      It's not just repeating your day's clipping endlessly on the same thread on the same site. That's just being lazy. You heart's not in it.

      It makes it look like the denialists are a dwindling rump of ratbags waging an increasingly ineffectual campaign. Who would have guessed?

      Must try harder.

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    64. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix wrote " it's the huige body of evidence and the complete absence of any substantial counter-evidence "

      I'm sorry but the null hypothesis on changing climate (viz: that it's natural variation) has yet to be disproven!
      And the bet confirms it!

      THE NAIVE (NO-CHANGE) MODEL IS WINNING AGAINST WARMIST GIGO CLIMATE MODELS!
      http://papundits.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/scientist-winning-bet-against-gore-world-isnt-warming/

      There is a telling quote from the scientist involved ...

      Armstrong said this was about more than debunking Gore.
      It was about defending science from alarmism and those who profit from it:
      "The aim of the bet is really to promote the proper use of science, rather than the opinion-led science we have seen lately."

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    65. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Leo Kerr

      Not sure but, if it's not too late, I'd be willing to subscribe to the fund...

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    66. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Olav Muurlink

      Olav wrote "climate change is really happening..."

      As it always has.
      The cause has yet to be determined.
      Solar driven cloud cover variations would be a far more powerful effect than variations in trace gas plant food CO2 levels, and far more likely.
      This is being researched currently. Stay tuned.
      I could be wrong but so could our alarmist friends.
      Time will tell ....

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    67. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      I never thought it was the null hypothesis, simply a hypothesis that explains observed phenomona pretty well, was based on sound basic science and vaste amounts of data and research and is widely endorsed by relevant experts. It isn't only a null hypothesis that can sit back and require alternative explanations to justify themselves. The best hypothesis we have remains the best we have and, when it's as solid as this one, I think it's perfectly reasonable to require alternatives to prove their case.

      I await your customary ill-mannered, arrogant and snide response culminating in the claim that because your academic qualifications are bigger than anyone else's you are therefore right (I don't suppose youh appen to remember the professor from Gilligan's Island? The other thing he had in common with you was that he was somehow unable to fix a simple hole in th ehull of a boat.)

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    68. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to George Covas

      It's not censoring any dissent, merely stopping people from endlessly repeating the same PRATTs - more comparable with anti-littering laws than censorship.

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    69. Olav Muurlink

      Research Fellow, Griffith Business School at Griffith University

      In reply to George Covas

      That's the right attitude, George. It's important to keep an open mind. You could be wrong. I think one of the things that distinguishes this debate from other scientific debates is that the cost of being wrong is quite...drastic. It's a form of Pascal's Wager, really. It's a form of Armstrong's bet, but with life on this planet as we know it at stake, not $10,000. Pascal argued that if God doesn't exist (and there's little evidence that he does) then it is still a better bet to behave as…

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    70. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to George Covas

      George!

      What's with the newfound humility all of a sudden - "I could be wrong.."? When have you ever been wrong? Just common sense innit ... can't be happening - not never. Just isn't. There. You find me anyone who can actually prove you've ever been wrong.

      How can one be wrong drawing on the works of Alan Jones and the Prince Regent Monckton? Standing on the shoulders of giants George.

      True there was the ill-advised DIY lobotomy experiment which some hard-hearted observers have suggested was just plain wrong but such is the challenge of science... and you were only just starting out.

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    71. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter wrote "not exactly a "scientist" is he? "

      You could have looked this up yourself ....
      University of Pennsylvania Professor J. Scott Armstrong, author of Principle of Forecasting: A Handbook for Researchers and Practitioners, and Kesten C. Green, of the University of South Australia (and Armstrong’s Co-Director of forecastingprinciples.com), have been unable to locate a scientific forecast to support that viewpoint. As a result, Scott Armstrong offers a challenge to Al Gore that he will be able to make more accurate forecasts of annual mean temperatures than those that can be produced by current climate models.

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    72. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris wrote " why do you respond to my proof of your error with a non-sequitur assertion"

      So you're saying that if the beginning and end points on a graph of temperature are at the same temperature, that this graph shows a warming trend?
      Really?
      Is this what you were saying?

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    73. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris wrote "But if you're really silly enough to cherry-pick just the beginning and end points of one graph, then its end-point is warmer than its starting-point anyway."

      Warmer by about 0.05ºC!
      This is significant to you?

      Let me get this straight, you're saying that if the start and end of a temperature graph are at the same level, then this shows a warming trend?

      Is that what you're saying?

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    74. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Leo Kerr

      Leo wrote "hurricane Sandy"

      A little history will set things straight for one-eyed warmists.

      The Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635:
      One such storm was known as the Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635, striking the Jamestown settlement and Massachusetts bay colony in that year. The storm had a storm track similar to the Great Atlantic hurricane of 1944 which was parallel to the coast.

      The eye of the storm evidently passed between Plymouth and Boston, and winds were estimated at 140mph, a deadly…

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    75. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to George Covas

      Ah george cherry picking is one thing ... reinventing the author of "Pursuasive Advertising: evidence based principles: (2010) as a "scientist" is a cherry too far...

      Applied science (1959), Industrial engineering (1960), Industrial administration (1965) and a PhD in "management" (1969). He's been rather quiet over the last 50 years. His forte George is statistical methods in management decisions - in marketing and advertising.

      Yep this'd be a guy with a deep understanding of atmospheric science and natural processes. Bout as good as your grasp on the cerebral cortex George. A veritable Alan Jones of the physics of the thing.

      You can bone up on Mr Armstrong here if you really think it's necessary. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Scott_Armstrong

      You're a hoot ... just shows that ignorance and laziness is no substitute for industrial strength arrogance. The perfect model of an astroturfer.

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    76. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Leo Kerr

      Leo wrote "our own bush fires"

      Yes our very own have been happening for aeons!

      Here is an eyewitness account of the 1851 Black Thursday, Fires in Victoria
      Now that was a wild fire!

      The year had been one of exceptional heat and drought. Pastures had withered; creeks had become fissured clay-pans; water-holes had disappeared; sheep and cattle had perished in great numbers, and the sun-burnt plains were strewn with their bleached skeletons; the very leaves upon the trees crackled in the heat…

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    77. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Leo Kerr

      Leo wrote "simultaneous floods"
      Aren't they always "simultaneous"???

      Just like this one ....

      Floods are frequent occurrences in Australia and can be of sizeable magnitude, e.g. the Great Floods of 1990 in southern Queensland, northern New South Wales and south-east Victoria covered an area larger than Germany.

      Oh how I yearn for the stable climate when CO2 levels was at “safe” levels.
      Oh wait a minute.
      1941 Record Heat And Drought Followed By Record Rain And Cold
      http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/48388811?searchTerm=climate%20change&searchLimits=

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    78. Leo Kerr

      Consultant

      In reply to George Covas

      George you can pick examples from history all you like mate - that is not the point - the earth has had many major disasters - it's the frequency that is worrying. Sandy ..... oh and Katrina just a few short years earlier. Re the Jakarta floods:
      The 2007 Jakarta flood was a major flood in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia and affected several other areas around the city, such as West Java and Banten. The flood, beginning on February 2, 2007 was a result of heavy rain, deforestation in areas south…

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    79. Spiro Vlachos

      AL

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, climate scientists use statistical forecasting methods, but most do not do it very well. Statistics is a science and it is well established that "a deep understanding of atmospheric science and natural processes" is not necessarily required to obtain the best forecast. In fact the standard scientific methods of forecasting time series enable the researcher to discern the data generating process. Armstrong and Green offered testimony to US congress and this was accepted and used to make…

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    80. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      A Handy Bullshit Button On Disasters and Climate Change

      Anytime that you read claims that invoke disasters loss trends as an indication of human-caused climate change, including the currently popular "billion dollar disasters" meme, you can simply call "BULLSHIT!" and point to the IPCC SREX report!

      28 March 2012

      The full IPCC Special Report on Extremes is out today, and I have just gone through the sections in Chapter 4 that deal with disasters and climate change.

      Kudos to the IPCC…

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    81. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      "I think it's perfectly reasonable to require alternatives to prove their case."

      No. Yours is the alternative hypothesis. Ask Dr Kevin Trembath. You really should read up on hypothesis testing and on what refutation or non-refutation of the null means.

      As to qualifications - if you are too timid or haven't the cojones to put yours up that's your problem and not mine. They're not there. That's a fact and not a hypothesis that needs testing.

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    82. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Just couldn't resist, could you Grant?

      Of course, I wait to be told about all the relevant work on climate science that you performed as a physicist with DSTO. I also wait to have it explained why your qualifications deserve respect but those of the overwhelming majority of active scientists in the field do not (at least not by you).

      While you're there, do please tell us why it is that only you and a sad little rump of others (some of whom, like Ian Plimer, are also well qualified and have…

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    83. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      Hello Spiro,

      I have a sore leg. And a broadband connection. Watch out!

      Last time I looked you had some claim to a grasp of economics. But you have rationalised yourself to the point of near anonymity .. AL indeed.

      Now I I don't know how much econometrics and economic or financial modelling you've tinkered with but our efforts make the prognostications of biophysical modelling look like bedrock-safe sure bets. I'd put my house on 'em. I have.

      This "universally applicable statistical…

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    84. Spiro Vlachos

      AL

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Deny the scientific methods all you like Peter. It is of no consequence to anyone.

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    85. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to George Covas

      "this scientist winning the bet with Gore"

      "this scientist" doesn't have a bet with Gore. Your citation was just an invitation to bet on something that doesn't prove anything.

      You're very reassuring George. If the only people who don't accept scientific work are as incompetent as you are then we can rest assured that the scientists are right about their own work.

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    86. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      The null hypothesis ( the current warming is natural and not manmade) is the one that best explains the current warming or lack thereof for the last 16 years.

      Currently the warming period 1980-1996 is 16 years duration and is matched by the NON warming period 1996-2012 of 16 years.

      The only period of correlation with CO2 levels is 1980-1996.

      Any alternative explanation, such as AGW, needs to produce some evidence for it, before the null hypothesis can be overturned.

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    87. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Matthew Thredgold

      Anything coming from GISS I take with a HUGE grain of salt.

      That guy Hansen is involved.
      I'd better say no more.

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    88. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris wrote" Here is 16 years of warming: "

      Quick, contact Al Gore and tell him he's winning the bet!

      Scientist winning bet against Gore: world isn’t warming http://www.theclimatebet.com/?p=5

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    89. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix, to help you out I've updated my profile. Why don't you do the same? Go on, have a stab.

      Mind you atmospheric transmission probably doesn't have much to do with climate science these days. Most of the blue sky research in that field appears to be in the social sciences. Climate denial 'n all that.

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    90. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      It makes no difference at all Felix. Please feel free to continue with your daily arguments from authority. And I will continue to not take you very seriously as it is clear you are posting under a pseudonym.

      That's my hypothesis.

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    91. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to George Covas

      "world isn’t warming"

      George, your model is completely useless. It only forecasts one year into the future. The only thing you can demonstrate with it is that global average temperature has a large one-year autocorrelation. But the only way it can forecast, say, 30 years in advance is by knowing the temperature 29 years in advance. Whoopee!

      Anyway, I know you're intellectually dishonest because you dropped your "16 years of no warming" claim like a hot potato as soon as I proved that claim wrong and you moved your goal posts somewhere else (which also failed to prove your claim). Your strategy is known as a "Gish Gallop".

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    92. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to George Covas

      "Chris wrote " why do you respond to my proof of your error with a non-sequitur assertion"

      So you're saying that if the beginning and end points on a graph of temperature are at the same temperature, that this graph shows a warming trend?"

      George doesn't seem to know what "non-sequitur" means. I ask him why he responds with a non-sequitur and he responds with ... another non-sequitur!!

      You couldn't make this up!

      By the way, I'm not interested in your strawman arguments.

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    93. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to George Covas

      "Chris wrote "But if you're really silly enough to cherry-pick just the beginning and end points of one graph, then its end-point is warmer than its starting-point anyway."

      Warmer by about 0.05ºC!
      This is significant to you?"

      The "if you're really silly enough to cherry-pick" phrase should have given you a clue. I don't think silly choices are significant. But clearly you're clueless.

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    94. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Grant, apart from the fact that your entire contribution has been to slightly lengthen your personal profile (undoubtedly a normal side effect of being unable to get your hand off it) I suggest that, if you even bothered to open a phone book you would discover that your hypothesis, like most of your arguments here, is based on nothing beyond personal prejuduce and has little if anything to do with evidence.

      I am listed as F MacNeill in the Canberra phone directory. A simple Google search could identify me. So much for your intellectual rigour.

      Then again, someone who believes that arguing on the basis of the overwhelming evidence, including noting the expert views of the relevant scientific bodies, constitutes mere 'arguing from authority' probably has the kind of worldview where evidence doesn't matter that much.

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    95. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Grant, the only thing that is starting to make sense is your sad obsession with me - it's now becoming the online equivalent of stalking.

      I strongly suggest that you talk with your therapist about this.

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    96. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix old fruit, I have no obsession in you whatsoever so I'll pass on the rapist. I was merely interested in your CV reticence but it's now become clear.

      Carry on working at your desk and have a wonderful day. I'm off to golf.

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    97. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      And the difference between your sequence of postings here and obsession would be?

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    98. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Something I have noticed as well Alice, mmmmm.

      Perhaps many of the ACC deniers are based in flooded parts of QLD, or burnt out bits of the east coast and Tassy. This could explain why we haven't heard a lot from them lately.

      I can see the frustration on the faces of experts, wanting so much to say to those deniers, "We told you so".

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    99. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Leo Kerr

      Leo wrote "hurricane Sandy"

      Really?
      It wasn't even a hurricane when it struck!

      The term “powerful storms” summons up graphic images of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated New York – except IT WAS NO LONGER HURRICANE STRENGTH WHEN IT STRUCK.

      But the Manhattan area it flooded contained huge areas of high-density development on reclaimed swamps, ponds and what was riverbed before civilisation drained, dozed and filled to provide for the population of one of the world’s greatest cities.
      When New York has absorbed the lessons from this, it will be able to pass on advice and technology to places such as Bangladesh.

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    100. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Grant wrote "This is not the null hypothesis as much as you'd like it to be."

      Do you know what the null hypothesis is?
      here, let me explain ...

      The phrase ‘Occam’s Razor’ is now generally used as shorthand to represent the fundamental scientific assumption of simplicity.

      To explain any given set of observations of the natural world, scientific method proceeds by erecting, first, the simplest possible explanation (hypothesis) that can explain the known facts. This simple explanation…

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    101. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to George Covas

      "the proper null hypothesis is that global climate changes are presumed to be natural"

      e.g. that the trend in global average temperature over, say, 20 years is due simply to random variation. The statistical significance calculator at http://www.skepticalscience.com/trend.php shows that the trend over 20 years was 0.14±0.10 deg C/decade (using HADCRUT4 and error bounds of 2σ). Thus the null hypothesis that the trend was due to random variation fails at greater than the 2σ level. It is less than 2.5% likely that the warming trend of the past 20 years was produced by random variation.

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    102. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Judith wrote "I can see the frustration on the faces of experts, wanting so much to say to those deniers, "We told you so"."

      Told us what?
      That floods and fires have never happened before in all of history until "evil" atmospheric CO2 rose slightly???

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    103. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Leo Kerr

      I Agree Leo, it's the elephant in the room. And how long can we continue to think we can keep exporting it. Or that the rest of the world won't start becoming punitive.

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    104. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to George Covas

      George, call a spade a spade please. It' very easy to shovel as much shit as you like with a shovel. But a spade can be used with centuries in mind.

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    105. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Judith, are you out there, I saw one bloke on the east coast pre sandy, moaning about his local council who wanted to interfere with his water-front, (very manicured). I think his name was George.

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  3. Matthew Thredgold

    Software Engineer/Secondary Teacher

    Heating a home with firewood is not appropriate in most situations because of the proven toxicity of woodsmoke and the fact that there is no safe exposure limit to PM2.5 particulates. Woodsmoke is carcinogenic, mutagenic and teratogenic. It is also far from carbon neutral despite the urban myths around it.

    I worry that casual articles like this (although if he's off-grid he probably is far from neighbours in which case he is only poisoning his family and himself), or articles in lifestyle magazines…

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    1. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Matthew Thredgold

      Matthew, fireplaces are wonderful, but sadly they are anyhing but sustainable. Not only do they cause health problems, as you note, but there's increasin gevidence that the black soot they generate causes far worse greenhouse gas impacts than had previously been thought.

      I love my efficient little wood heater. i love the ritual of stacking and chopping firewood. I even love cleaning out the ashes and adding them to piles of autumn leaves to make a very nice leaf mulch mixture. But, with real regret, I've had to accept that I need to stop using it and look at some kind of electric alternative (I don't think I'll ever actually remove it, as it would provide a source of heat for cooking and surviving winter if worst should ever come to worst - but I think there's no ethically-defensible option other than to mothball it for the foreseeable future).

      Of course, maybe right out in the sticks it may be the only option...

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  4. David Clerke

    Teacher

    As always the best form of leadership is by example, and not by classic tokenism.

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  5. John Newton

    Author Journalist

    If you're right Frederick Trainer, and i think you are, we're all fornicated.

    The one political party that agrees with you gets - and will always get - 10, tops 12 percent of the vote.

    Listening to our foreign minister fulminating - as he is wont to do - the other day on Radio National, about the great challenge of climate change and how must all stand up to the line - he was then asked by the presenter how then can his government continue to sell coal? His response was, in essence, that it was very good quality coal.

    We're fornicated.

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    1. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to John Newton

      John wrote "The one political party that agrees with you gets - and will always get - 10, tops 12 percent of the vote."

      That's because most see through the Great Global Warming Scam!

      Now, if this political party tackled REAL problems such as OVERPOPULATION and NUCLEAR POWER, instead of trying to drag down western democracy with futile, punitive CO2 taxes, then maybe more would get on board.

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    2. Karl William Davis

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to George Covas

      mate, it's not a 'scam', what rubbish
      what possible motivation could there be for the vast majority of the world's climate scientists and scientific institutions, and the vast majority of the world's governments, to concoct a 'scam' to make us switch to renewable energy, which is something that we have no choice but to do anyway?

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    3. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Karl William Davis

      Karl wrote "something that we have no choice but to do anyway?"

      We ain't gonna do it anyway! But it's a non-problem so why try?

      Even in 2035, with the most optimistic scenario, the International Energy Agency estimates that just 2.4% of the world's energy will come from wind and only 1% from solar. As is the case today, almost 80% will still come from fossil fuels.
      As long as green energy is more expensive than fossil fuels, growing consumer markets like those in China and India will continue to use them, despite what well-meaning but broke Westerners try to do.

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323485704578258172660564886.html?mod=WSJ_MostPopular_US

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    4. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Karl William Davis

      Karl wrote " the vast majority of the world's climate scientists... to concoct a 'scam'"

      Here's one scientist's opinion ...

      Climate Scientist Dr Roy Spencer On The FAKE CONSENSUS …

      Why would scientists allow themselves to be used in this way?
      When I have pressed them on the science over the years, they all retreat to the position that getting away from fossil fuels is the “right thing to do anyway”.

      In other words, they have let their worldviews, their politics, their economic understanding (or lack thereof) affect their scientific judgment.

      I am ashamed for our scientific discipline and embarrassed by their behaviour…

      (I strongly suspect that most true scientists are too afraid to speak up against this climate fraud!)

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    5. Leo Kerr

      Consultant

      In reply to George Covas

      really George - the great global warming scam - hmmmm - how much in front of your face evidence do you need rather than the scientific predictions that have been made. Floods, bushfires, extreme heat, hurricanes, crop failure, ice melts, extreme (one in a hundred years events) happening every couple of years globally. Yes its such a scam - good thing you're a brain surgeon and can refute all this nonsense for us - Andrew Bolt, Lord Monckton, Alan Jones, Ian Pilmer, Gina Rhinehardt, Koch brothers, Heartland institute and even our next prime minister, the Climate Change is Crap Tony Abbott all agree with you George - so reassuring. LMAO

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    6. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Leo Kerr

      Leo wrote" the scientific predictions that have been made."

      You mean like "permanent drought", permanent El Nino", "no more snow" "no pause in warming over the last 16 years" etc?

      Yes, that's evidence that the climate models have been well and truly FALSIFIED!

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    7. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Leo Kerr

      Leo wrote"Floods, bushfires, extreme heat, hurricanes, crop failure, ice melts, extreme (one in a hundred years events) happening every couple of years globally"

      This has been happening throughout history.
      Alarmists should be required to study climate history before they are allowed to mouth off.....

      If you want "extreme weather events" then you have to go back to 1890 a doozy of a year for "extreme weather events"!!!
      http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/result?q=&l-publictag=WarmCold1890s&sortby=dateAsc

      Or what about 1921

      A Long Siege Of Freak Weather Is Hitting The US And The World
      http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=uGdcAAAAIBAJ&sjid=oVYNAAAAIBAJ&pg=1098,559361&dq=long+siege+of+freak+weather&hl=en

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    8. Leo Kerr

      Consultant

      In reply to George Covas

      as I said George, so reassuring that you have set me straight on all this - I'll ignore all these extreme weather events as just 'climate as usual' in future. So grateful that the declining rainfall where I live (as predicted by those scurrilous scientists) is just another example of business as usual and the Water Corporation graphs of WA Rainfall are nothing to be alarmed about. I'll sleep much sounder now and not "mouth off" as you so quaintly put it.

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    9. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to George Covas

      "Dr Roy Spencer: When I have pressed them on the science over the years, they ALL retreat to the position that getting away from fossil fuels is the “right thing to do anyway”".

      Sorry, but I'm not aware of any evidence for this.

      The null hypothesis still holds until there is evidence.

      That's what a true scientist would say.

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    10. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Leo Kerr

      Leo wrote " So grateful that the declining rainfall where I live (as predicted by those scurrilous scientists)"

      Drying climate?
      BOM graphs show no evidence of drying climate anywhere in Australia!

      http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/change/timeseries.cgi?graph=rain&area=saus&season=0112&ave_yr=0

      http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/change/timeseries.cgi?graph=rain&area=eaus&season=0112&ave_yr=0

      The following BOM chart actually show rainfall is increasing in Australia!

      http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/change/timeseries.cgi?graph=rain&area=aus&season=0112&ave_yr=T

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    11. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Leo Kerr

      Leo wrote "I'll ignore all these extreme weather events as just 'climate as usual' in future."

      GOOD!
      We have always had "extreme weather" as the links I provided show!
      The main problem with alarmists is that they are (wilfully?) ignorant of climate history.

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    12. Leo Kerr

      Consultant

      In reply to George Covas

      so I can again rest assured that the Water Corporation graphs of streamflow into WA dams are in fact just a fabrication and their statement:
      "This graph shows how the average amount of water received into our dams has dropped dramatically in recent times." is just rubbish also.
      Here's the link George and you will note the rather dramatic drop in more recent times - but I know that it's probably just some more scientists fudging the figures, right:
      http://www.watercorporation.com.au/D/dams_streamflow.cfm

      So glad those BOM charts contradict the declining rainfall we get in WA. I'll tell the State government to shelve the plans for more desal plants - maybe you can write them a letter also and expose the Water Corporation fraudulent figures.

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    13. Leo Kerr

      Consultant

      In reply to George Covas

      yes I know you're right George (just like you're right about declining rainfall in WA) - those dammed alarmists - there's this nagging question though George that these extreme events seem to be happening more regularly but of course that would not make them extreme anymore - that would in fact make them normal so back to my happy napping. Sure........

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    14. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to George Covas

      George,

      I'm astounded by your own grasp of "climate history" ... mind telling me where you fitted this into your education - or is it something you just picked up - or just know?

      See the reason I ask is that you are favorably quoting Armstrong's Institute of Forecasting which aims to be a deeply critical assessment of the assumptions and outcomes arising from all sorts of modelling... a reality check. Serious sums.

      But you've quoted the wrong tables from the BoM site if you're actually…

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    15. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Lawrie Conole

      Lawrie wrote "Then again there's this:"

      So what does including a major drought in the chart prove?

      Actually most of the chart is in the green, showing that even if you include a major drought most areas have a rising trend in rainfall.

      Is that your point?

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    16. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Leo Kerr

      Leo wrote "these extreme events seem to be happening more regularly"

      What evidence do you have for this when extreme weather is part and parcel for this planet, as the following two links show?

      "extreme weather events" in 1890+ a doozy of a year for "extreme weather events"!!!
      http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/result?q=&l-publictag=WarmCold1890s&sortby=dateAsc

      Or what about 1921

      A Long Siege Of Freak Weather Is Hitting The US And The World
      http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=uGdcAAAAIBAJ&sjid=oVYNAAAAIBAJ&pg=1098,559361&dq=long+siege+of+freak+weather&hl=en

      Methinks your opinion is based purely on "gut feel" rather than hard evidence.

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    17. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter wrote "Strangely you've chose to ignore the actual climate data"

      So a LONG TERM trend chart of rainfall ain't climate??

      Do you really believe that?

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    18. Leo Kerr

      Consultant

      In reply to George Covas

      hmmmmmm George - perhaps you need a new prescription for your shortsightedness - the graph clearly runs from 1911 and the trend lines are unambiguous - we are getting less rainfall and streamflow into our dams at an alarming rate especially since the mid 1970's (just as those dammed climate scientists predicted for the South West)

      But I know you're a brain surgeon and you don't get little things wrong like not reading the graph information correctly. I'll be sure to tell Premier Barnett to dump the next desal plant and mothball the existing one - I'll let him know we're getting more rainfall cos you said so.

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    19. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Leo Kerr

      Leo wrote "these extreme events seem to be happening more regularly"

      REALLY?
      ON WHAT EVIDENCE?

      Debunking The Three Horsemen Of The Climate Apocalypse, Wildfires, Droughts, And Hurricanes.

      Historical analysis of wildfires around the world shows that since 1950 their numbers have decreased globally by 15%. Estimates published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences show that even with global warming proceeding uninterrupted, the level of wildfires will continue to decline…

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    20. Leo Kerr

      Consultant

      In reply to George Covas

      oh and George - no need to SHOUT - pity what you shouted about was so blatantly INCORRECT ...

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    21. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Leo Kerr

      Leo wrote "So glad those BOM charts contradict the declining rainfall we get in WA. "

      The contradiction is solved by Lawrie's graph which showS rainfall on a steep rising trend for most of WA with the exception of a few small coastal areas.

      Looks like Perth is situated in the WRONG PLACE FOR RAINFALL!!
      It ain't climate change but bad planning!

      Maybe the Peth govt could try collecting some of the rainfall in the upwards trending areas for Perth
      MUCH CHEAPER THAN HUGELY EXPENSIVE DESAL!

      http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/change/trendmaps.cgi?map=rain&area=aus&season=0112&period=1970

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    22. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to George Covas

      Leo wrote "So glad those BOM charts contradict the declining rainfall we get in WA. "

      It ain't "declining rainfall we get in WA"

      But "declining rainfall we get in PERTH"

      That explains the apparent contradiction.

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    23. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Leo Kerr

      Leo wrote "what you shouted about was so blatantly INCORRECT"

      Which part is incorrect?
      The decreasing rainfall in PERTH?
      or
      The steeply increasing rainfall in most of WA?

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    24. Leo Kerr

      Consultant

      In reply to George Covas

      aww George - you couldn't acknowledge your mistake in reading the graph incorrectly. Straight on the offensive. LMAO. You're right about my inclusion of WA - that should have read the South West of WA (not just Perth). But that was precisely what climate modelling predicted - declining rainfall in the South West - that's the part where most of us live by the way and we all notice it.

      Now tell me George before you operate on people's brains do you actually read the various medical charts as carefully as you read the Water Corporation chart? Remind me what hospital you work in please.

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    25. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Lawrie Conole

      Lawrie wrote "Showing that cherry picking is something any keyboard thumper can do"

      Que?
      What cherry picking?.
      Are you saying that quoting BOM charts is cherry picking?

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    26. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to George Covas

      Only when you pick time series data over climate trends and then misinterpret them George... left foot, right foot, left foot ,right foot ...

      That's not even picking good cherries - especially not from the dark sinister pages of the BoM/IPCC metric lies and fibs.

      Talk to some of the other denier ratbags here .. funny they've all gone - they'll tell you all about the BoM and the Weathermen matey ... a seething cesspit of subborned science... No wonder their charts were just wrong wrong wrong, even when they looked right right right - god they're clever.

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    27. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Leo Kerr

      Leo wrote "that should have read the South West of WA"

      Looks to me more like a narrow coastal strip in WA rather than the whole South West.

      Leo also wrote "precisely what climate modelling predicted "
      Precisely???
      So the which climate model was forecasting rising rainfall in WA but falling rainfall in Perth then?

      So desal is preferable to collecting water from the rising trend, high rainfall areas of WA eh?

      Only a dedicated believer in The AGW Fraud would say that.

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    28. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter what on earth are you smoking?

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    29. Leo Kerr

      Consultant

      In reply to George Covas

      George - predictions like - increased global temperatures, increased Artic ice melt, severe weather events (like bushfires and floods - now where have I seen those recently) - come back to me George and give me the refutation of all of these - I know you have a cut and paste handy somewhere.

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    30. Leo Kerr

      Consultant

      In reply to George Covas

      the part that was incorrect George was you stating : "Your graph is SHORT TERM and only goes back to 1971" when in fact it goes back to 1911. Tell me again you're a brain surgeon pleaseeeeeeeeee

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    31. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to George Covas

      "The contradiction is solved by Lawrie's graph which showS rainfall on a steep rising trend for most of WA"

      Sure. In places that are still desert, even after a rising trend, or thousands of kilometers from Perth.

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    32. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to George Covas

      "Here is the evidence."

      Looks like George is another one of those people who have a great deal of trouble getting the point when they don't want to get it.

      George, the point is not that I'm denying that Roy Spencer made his claim. The point is that there is no evidence to support his sweeping assertion.

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    33. Leo Kerr

      Consultant

      In reply to George Covas

      The precise climate modelling for the South West of WA George is here:
      http://www.ioci.org.au/our-climate.html?start=1
      and here:
      http://www.climatekelpie.com.au/images/stories/pdfs/3_wa_climate_change_projections_final.pdf
      oh and here:
      http://www.clw.csiro.au/publications/waterforahealthycountry/swsy/pdf/SWSY_Climate_TechRpt.pdf

      but of course those organisations are full of those pesky climate scientists.

      It is by the way George the whole of the South West (not a narrow coastal strip).

      By the way George you're now putting words in my mouth - I didn't say desal was preferable to collecting water - in fact I believe quite strongly in water harvesting as a more effective and efficient system than desal which is very energy intensive and expensive. But only a dedicated person like yourself would falsify what I said.

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    34. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to George Covas

      George, your talents are wasted on the brain. I have been reading the debate with great sadness and believe I have the answer. NASA needs you George, who cares about energy consumption and equity. This is a problem for a true scientist like yourself. Dust off the CV, NASA needs to know about the little ice-age, (and rid itself of Hansen at the same time). Masterful.

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    35. Karl William Davis

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to George Covas

      I said we have no choice but to do it anyway because we simply don't have a choice, virtually all our energy sources are finite. Even if climate change was a scam, which it most certainly isn't, oil is still going to run out regardless, coal is still going to run out regardless. The only way our civilization has a future is if we at some point switch to renewable energy
      In an increasing number of cases in some parts of the globe, renewable energy has approached or even reached price parity with fossil fuels, though of course the job would be easier if the world's governments didn't give fossil fuel companies hundreds of billions of dollars of subsidies per year.Iif those subsidies were switched to renewables, we wouldn't even be having this conversation

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    36. Karl William Davis

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to George Covas

      Freak weather events happen in different parts of the globe at different times every so often as a matter of course, but generally aren't all that common, that's why they are referred to as 'freak'.
      Look at Queensland at the moment, for example. They've had two once-in-a-century weather events in the last two years. That alone doesn't say anything to you about the obvious changes in the climate?
      Should point out that weather and climate aren't the same thing - something a lot of people seem to…

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    37. Karl William Davis

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to George Covas

      You do realise that weather and climate aren't the same thing right? Like how so many people didn't seem to understand that the term 'global warming' didn't literally mean that every single square inch of the Earth was getting warmer?

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    38. Karl William Davis

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to George Covas

      Only quoting the parts that are convenient for your argument is the very definition of cherry picking, especially if you misread the whole thing in the first place.

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    39. Karl William Davis

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Leo Kerr

      I'm curious as to the feasibility of powering desal plants with renewable energy, like say solar or wind now, or tidal power down the road.

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    40. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to George Covas

      George do you know that our government gives $7 billion in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry every year? Without that subsidy would fossil fuel still be viable?

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    41. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Leo Kerr

      Leo wrote "pity what you shouted about was so blatantly INCORRECT ..."

      Is this "INCORRECT" as well then?

      THE NAIVE (NO-CHANGE) MODEL IS WINNING AGAINST WARMIST GIGO CLIMATE MODELS!
      http://papundits.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/scientist-winning-bet-against-gore-world-isnt-warming/

      There is a telling quote from the scientist involved ...

      Armstrong said this was about more than debunking Gore.
      It was about defending science from alarmism and those who profit from it:
      "The aim of the bet is really to promote the proper use of science, rather than the opinion-led science we have seen lately."

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    42. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Leo Kerr

      Leo - are desal plants okay to operate intermittently and simply make fresh water while the sun shines (or wind blows) and pump it into the dam, and then have a little nap when the renewables aren't pumping that well?

      Given that there's no reason why desal water needs to be produced constantly, as we are able to store water, is there any mechanical reason why the equipment would be damaged by uneven/intermittent operation? If not, surely it's the perfect candidate for 100% renewable energy.

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    43. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Karl William Davis

      Karl wrote "Look at Queensland at the moment, for example. They've had two once-in-a-century weather events in the last two years. "

      Once in a century?
      Bet you made that up!

      Some FACTS ...
      Floods are frequent occurrences in Australia and can be of sizeable magnitude

      The Australian record for rainfall is at Bellenden Ker, Queensland, January 1979, where 1947mm fell in 48 hours.

      Australia's worst flood occurred in NSW, February 1955 in the Hunter, Macquarie, Gwydir and Namoi valleys – 25 lives were lost, more than 10,000 houses flooded, 15,500 evacuated.

      Australia's deadliest flood was in Clermont, Queensland, December 1916, causing 61 deaths.

      The Great Floods of 1990 in southern Queensland, northern New South Wales and south-east Victoria covered an area larger than Germany.

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    44. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Alice wrote "NASA needs you George,"

      NASA already has Hansen busily "adjusting" the GISS temperature data to fit the agenda!

      Yep they need me, but Hansen would have to leave or he would be found out.

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    45. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Leo Kerr

      Leo wrote "predictions like ...."

      I can't refute predictions only time will, and so far, the NAIVE model is winning!

      THE NAIVE (NO-CHANGE) MODEL IS WINNING AGAINST WARMIST GIGO CLIMATE MODELS!
      http://www.theclimatebet.com/?p=5

      There is a telling quote from the scientist involved ...

      Armstrong said this was about more than debunking Gore.
      It was about defending science from alarmism and those who profit from it:
      "The aim of the bet is really to promote the proper use of science, rather than the opinion-led science we have seen lately."

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    46. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter wrote "Only when you pick time series data over climate trends"

      Are you saying that the BOM historical charts of Australian rainfall would not show up a trend in rainfall?

      What on earth are you smoking?

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    47. Leo Kerr

      Consultant

      In reply to George Covas

      George is that an admission that you read the graph wrong? That what you stated was INCORRECT? C'mon George, are the words "I got it wrong" not in your vocabulary. Don't duck behind Prof James Armstrong (did you read that in Andrew Bolt's column) - are you Andrew Bolt George? Think you must have cut and pasted that little reference at least a half dozen times George.

      You know I secretly hope you guys are right about climate change George - I really really do because if the climate scientists are right then we have a very dismal future ahead of us. For my part I think we should take out some insurance just in case all this science is right - sure we might waste a lot of money cleaning up our act on this planet (and god knows it needs cleaning up) but wouldn't that be a better scenario than burning the house down.

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    48. Leo Kerr

      Consultant

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      I'm not sure Felix - I think they run all the time (our rainfall the last couple of years has been dismal) but the idea of them running on renewables is very appealing - I would imagine that with the increase in renewable storage beginning to make headway around the world a situation where the desal plants are run on renewables may be possible in the not too distant future.

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    49. Leo Kerr

      Consultant

      In reply to George Covas

      George is that the only cut and paste you have for us today. Getting a bit tired looking. The prediction of Polar Ice Melt seems to be happening pretty rapidly now. Have you a cut and paste please to refute that?

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    50. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Leo Kerr

      Thanks Leo.

      Of course, now you mention it, if they're in the business of processing, moving and storing water, you have the obvious possibility of the old pump the water uphill when you have power coming in and run it back downhil through the water wheel when you don't trick. That would certainly go a long way to solving the intermittency problem and making a desal plant reasonably genuinely self-sufficient in energy.

      If that could actually be achieved, desal might become a far more reasonable prospect - particularly in a dry and drying Australia.

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    51. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Leo Kerr

      Leo wrote "The prediction of Polar Ice Melt seems to be happening pretty rapidly now. Have you a cut and paste please to refute that"

      The Antarctic is doing fine and expanding.
      The Arctic has cyclical melts as shown below ....

      1954 Scientists Seeking Funding Tell Congress That The Arctic Might Be Navigable By 1979
      http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/page/1769713?zoomLevel=1&searchTerm=warming%20arctic&searchLimits=sortby=dateAsc|||l-availability=y

      1907 The Arctic Is Now Warmer Than Britain And Greenland Is Warmer Than France!
      http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F10917FF345417738DDDAD0994DF405B878CF1D3

      DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN EH?

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    52. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Leo Kerr

      Some references for you Leo.
      Don't panic the world is not ending ....

      *To learn more about the naive model, and the performance of no-change forecasts compared to the IPCC’s “forecasts”, see these papers:

      Green, K. C., Armstrong, J. S., & Soon, W. (2009). Validity of climate change forecasting for public policy decision making. International Journal of Forecasting, 25, 826–832.

      Green, K. C., Soon, W., & Armstrong, J. S. (2013). Evidence-based forecasting for climate change. [Working paper - not for citation].

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    53. Leo Kerr

      Consultant

      In reply to George Covas

      I knew you'd have a cut and paste for me George - brilliant - can sleep again on that one and ignore this latest one:
      http://edition.cnn.com/2012/11/29/world/europe/climate-ice-sheets/index.html

      Now George you have to admit those last two links you gave me are to say the least pretty damn flimsy and not up to your usual standards. If you're relying on those to assure me all is normal in the Polar regions you really are skating on thin ice (excuse the pun).

      Glad you can state the Antartic is doing fine and expanding when the latest research shows the opposite. And the Artic - your reassurance is compelling based on that link you sent (NOT) - then again you're a brain surgeon so I know I can trust you.

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    54. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to John Newton

      John wrote "George do you know that our government gives $7 billion in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry every year?"

      No I didn't know.
      What form do these subsidies take?
      I was under the impression that "the fossil fuel industry" was making obscene profits and being taxed to the hilt.
      Please correct me.

      BTW it's "the fossil fuel industry" which is keeping you in the lifestyle to which you have become accustomed.

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    55. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Karl William Davis

      Karl wrote "As in the area in which the majority of WA's population actually resides. "

      Silly them, they should have picked an area with plentiful rainfall.

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    56. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Karl William Davis

      Karl wrote "Only quoting the parts that are convenient for your argument is the very definition of cherry picking, especially if you misread the whole thing in the first place."

      Example please.

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    57. Matthew Thredgold

      Software Engineer/Secondary Teacher

      In reply to George Covas

      If only those 19th century settlers of Western Australia had have consulted you George.Then they would have got it right.

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    58. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to George Covas

      Heck George - and you were trying so hard...

      Look mate ... when an author sticks a note on a paper reading "[Working paper - not for citation]" it means HEY ASTROTURFERS DON'T CUT AND PASTE THIS.

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    59. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to George Covas

      This post was pinched word for word from Armstrong's site - the Climatebet.org.

      You are so so lazy George ... still I guess while you're at this hobby you're busy with the other hand removing lesions on some bloke's cerebral cortex... Talk about a talent.

      Now if anyone want serious laugh - here's gthe reason that paper from Armstrong's site George posted earlier was "not for citation":

      It's actually written by some woman in Adelaide

      Here's how she deals with uncertainty in climate modelling:

      "....uncertainty about causal forces is such that they should be avoided in climate forecasting models... "

      there, that was simple wasn't it.?

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    60. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Karl William Davis

      Karl wrote "many people didn't seem to understand that the term 'global warming' didn't literally mean that every single square inch of the Earth was getting warmer?"

      But it also didn't mean that the whole northern hemisphere would be covered in ice and snow as it is now, eh?

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    61. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to George Covas

      All those stupid dumb pig ingerrunt lying IPCC scientists and their TV frontpersons!~ If only they'd asked you George....

      I hope you're being paid George and that this isn't your real name.

      Only an hour to go before knock-off.

      Here - some light reading: http://www.stopabductions.com/

      As a brainsurgeon you'd probably have a anti alien abduction helmet anyway I guess. Probably lots. Probably designed 'em.

      Had to have a laugh - turns out that Kesten C Greene is actually a bloke at Adelaide Uni in the business school. He used to run a horse racing forecasting business... what a hoot! He seems to spend most of his time campaigning against the IPCC actually for anyone reading this down there. All over the world.

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    62. Karl William Davis

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Well solar power is entirely capable of providing base-load power, that is providing power 24/7, it's been proven in Spain

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    63. Karl William Davis

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to George Covas

      I didn't make that up, the flood events right now and the ones two years ago have both been classified as 'once-in-a-century' due to their severity.
      Only climate change deniers need to make up 'facts', since the facts are clearly and consistently not on their side.

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    64. Karl William Davis

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      For example, you could potentially not have to take anywhere near as much water from natural water courses like the Murray-Darling, which has suffered greatly from our overuse of it

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    65. Karl William Davis

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to George Covas

      http://www.acfonline.org.au/fossil-fuel-subsidies

      As an example: "The biggest of these are the diesel fuel handouts to the miners – called the fuel tax credits scheme. This is a tax payer handout to big miners worth $2 billion per year.

      This equates to $182 per taxpayer every year, and worth a staggering $9.4 billion over the next four years to some of the most profitable companies operating in this country. This is a much greater cost than the carbon price will have on households.

      These wasteful, inefficient handouts will continue to promote fossil fuel use at a staggering rate of $4,480 of taxpayer dollars per minute, day in, day out."

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    66. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Karl William Davis

      That solar thermal technology is getting rather exciting actually - big numbers. And it seems lovely and scalable. Ticks lots of boxes actually... nice fringe benefits from smaller scale systems like a free cool room.

      I cannot understand why we are not into it up to our fetlocks myself. The Spanish sure are - with a drooling eye on the African and Middle East markets.

      What a pity we don't have any capitalists in this bloody country!

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    67. Karl William Davis

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to George Covas

      And exactly what areas of WA would have plentiful rainfall compared to the south-west, in a state that's roughly the size of Texas but almost entirely desert?

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    68. Karl William Davis

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to George Covas

      If the 'whole northern hemisphere' were 'covered in ice and snow as it is now', in the way you're trying to make it sound, yeah perhaps. That's if you ignore the fact that the polar ice caps have melted faster in the last 20 years than in the last 10,000.

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    69. Matthew Thredgold

      Software Engineer/Secondary Teacher

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Thanks for giving me the Kesten Greene and Armstrong names - their "research" is hilarious. Their "Forecasting Principles" are on first reading not worth the paper they're printed on. Their "scientific" method and their "scientific" score on the validity of a forecast are about as robust as a Dolly magazine pop quiz. And then Andrew Bolt, George Covas, and the whole of the denial machine keep on quoting round in circles and circles the same old rubbish, which at its core is, as far as I can tell…

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    70. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Karl William Davis

      Karl wrote "As an example: "The biggest of these are the diesel fuel handouts to the miners – called the fuel tax credits scheme. This is a tax payer handout to big miners worth $2 billion per year"

      And that's not covered by the massive taxes on the massive profits made by the miners?????

      Methinks the "handouts" are miniscule relative to the taxes and royalties paid by the miners!

      So to call these "subsidies" is most likely warmist spin!

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    71. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Karl William Davis

      Karl wrote "the flood events right now and the ones two years ago have both been classified as 'once-in-a-century' due to their severity. "

      You made that up again.
      Where are your links?

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    72. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter wrote "All those stupid dumb pig ingerrunt lying IPCC scientists and their TV frontpersons!~ "

      Not many real scientists in the IPCC.

      The IPCC Is Stuffed With Scientifically Illiterate, Young Activists, Not Scientists

      IPCC participants are picked by governments, not for their scientific knowledge and expertise, but for their political connections and for “diversity.”

      Also, approximately one third of the sources for the IPCC come from magazines, press releases and unpublished scientific…

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    73. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Matthew Thredgold

      I'm actually blown away Matt.

      The piece on forecasting elections based on politicians' faces is just priceless.

      I reckon it's John Clarke aka Fred Dagg having a leg-pull myself... scientific slapstick!

      Here, from their own lips, a sketch (in the Laurel and Hardy sense) of their research outline - verbatim:

      "Study design:

      We extended the findings on facial appearance to long-term forecasts of candidates’ success in the U.S. presidential primaries and caucuses based on snap judgments…

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    74. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Did someone mention the IPCC?

      Here is a temporary slip-up by the leftists/warmists infesting the IPCC in 1995.

      But ever-vigilant warmist Ben Santer soon fixed it by deleting the following conclusions!

      In IPCC report "The Science of Climate Change 1995", lead auther Benjamin D. Santer removed the following conclusions made by genuine scientists, and without the scientists being made aware of this change.

      "None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed climate changes to the specific cause of increases in greenhouse gases."

      "No study to date has positively attributed all or part [of the climate change observed to date] to anthropogenic [man-made] causes."

      "Any claims of positive detection of significant climate change are likely to remain controversial until uncertainties in the total natural variability of the climate system are reduced."

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    75. Olav Muurlink

      Research Fellow, Griffith Business School at Griffith University

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Ridiculing Armstrong et al in this way doesn't do you too much credit, Peter. I agree that an expert in marketing and forecasting isn't ideal to comment on meteorology, but much of the mainstream climate change literature is also coming out of experts 'playing out of position'. And besides, 'thin slice' judgement studies are becoming increasingly mainstream, accepted, replicated, and, to be honest, downright fascinating. It's perfectly science-y, even though some of the field is kinda challenging.

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    76. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Karl William Davis

      Indeed - provided you have the molten salt system or something similar - not disputing that at all - I think it's a great step forward.

      I guess I was simply musing more locally on desal - on the concept that you could just let it burble along according to the wims of sun or wing without having to even bother about setting up some kind of energy storage (these, though workable, are still imperfect, waste a bit of energy and cost a bit). I just wondered to what extent a desal plant could be allowed to fire up or slow down without causing damage to the machinery, that was all.

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    77. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Karl William Davis

      Couldn't agree more! If we could really have fully-renewable-power desal it starts to look like a no-brainer, particularly for the big coastal cities (mightn't work so well here in beautiful rising-sea-level-immune-at-least Canberra!)

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    78. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Olav Muurlink

      Olav,

      yes you're right ... I shouldn't take this stuff so seriously mate.

      People might think a farmer attacking the credibility of a business school researcher over global climate processes is a touch Pythonian. But actually I've spent a lot of time churning over opinion research, politics and the like - and this paper is just utter drivel from every conceivable perspective ... like phrenology for capitalists.

      But at least the overwhelming majority of engineers and geologists who take up…

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    79. Olav Muurlink

      Research Fellow, Griffith Business School at Griffith University

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I did have a quick look before at Dr Green's CV. Remember there are professors who are perfectly respectable and admired in their field who believe the Bible is literally true (I most certainly don't)...so just because Green is crazy on climate doesn't mean everything he produces is nonsense. It's irrelevant to the current conversation, but this thin slice research happens to really interest me, Peter. And by the way, I certainly don't think your comments should be discounted because you are a farmer. I was too in my early years. Now I'm academic, I just plough through a different kind of soil...

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    80. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Olav Muurlink

      Yes people believe all sorts of stuff ... but they don't dress it up a science. Or jet about the place attacking real science for a living.

      Some folks even accept the notion that one can find a sample of respondents who had never watched TV, seen a picture of Obama, knew he was black, that Hilary was a woman, that any of it was happening... A sample composed entirely of Kardashians perhaps?

      I was not always a son of the soil.... lots of time looking at the techniques of polling and opinion…

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    81. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to George Covas

      "the whole northern hemisphere would be covered in ice and snow as it is now"

      How delusional can you get?

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    82. Karl William Davis

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to George Covas

      What 'massive taxes'? There are no 'massive taxes' on the miners. Rudd, rightly, tried to bring one it and we all know how that turned out. The Mining Tax we ended up with hasn't brought in a single cent.
      They make massive profits which all go straight into the pockets of fat cats, many of them not even Australian, the Australian people don't get anywhere near their fair share.
      And $500-$750 billion dollars in subsidies worldwide annually isn't 'warmist spin'. The very term 'warmist spin' suggests that those you refer to as 'warmists' (or what I prefer to call realists, or those who don't have their heads so far up their arses or their hands so deep in their back pockets that they can accept mountains of scientific evidence) would actually need to create 'spin' to get the point across. This is simply not the case because the actual real correct facts are completely on our side.

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    83. Karl William Davis

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      I dunno, these denialists can get pretty delusional. Funny, just realised the two words are surprisingly similar lol.

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    84. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Karl William Davis

      Karl wrote "What 'massive taxes'? "

      Glad you asked.

      Just one example.
      Rio Tinto has published its "Taxes paid report" which outlines the US$10.2 BILLION PAID IN TAX for 2012.

      Just one company's tax payout makes your $2Billion "taxpayer handout" look a little insignificant eh?

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    85. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Karl William Davis

      Karl wrote "As examples:
      http://www.theaustralian.com.au/in-depth/queensland-floods/toowoomba-copped-wrath-of-la-nina/story-fn7iwx3v-1225985875512 "

      I see the mention of La Nina in your first link.

      Weren't you warmists predicting "PERMANENT EL NINO" a fews years back?

      ''It appears that we have a very good case for suggesting that the El Ninos are going to become more frequent, and they're going to become more intense and IN A FEW YEARS, OR A DECADE OR SO, WE'LL GO INTO A PERMANENT EL…

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    86. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Karl William Davis

      Karl wrote "And $500-$750 billion dollars in subsidies worldwide annually isn't 'warmist spin'."

      OH YES IT IS!
      Check out my other post on just one mining company forking out $10 BILLION in taxes in 2012!

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    87. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Matthew Thredgold

      Mathew wrote "Their "Forecasting Principles" are on first reading not worth the paper they're printed on. "

      BUT they're certainly beating the "sophisticated" GIGO climate models to shreds!

      Now why would that be?

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    88. Matthew Thredgold

      Software Engineer/Secondary Teacher

      In reply to George Covas

      Armstrong and Green are not as you say "certainly beating the climate models to shreds".

      Their "forecasting principles" are beyond embarrassing, and have absolutely no scientific relevance or credibility. They are a complete joke. They are no more scientific, and a whole lot less delightful, than an Andy Capp comic strip.

      If your arguments against climate science are based on that, which they are, then you have completely lost the argument and you have zero credibility.

      George, we are laughing at you.

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    89. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Karl William Davis

      Karl wrote "a state that's roughly the size of Texas but almost entirely desert?"

      Yeah right
      You're obviously not aware of the HUGE DOWNPOURS that occur in the northern regions of western Australia are you?

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    90. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Leo Kerr

      Leo wrote ""This graph shows how the average amount of water received into our dams has dropped dramatically in recent times." is just rubbish also."

      YES IT IS RUBBISH!

      The True Story On “Declining Stream Inflows” In Perth
      There never was a rain shortage to justify seawater desalination for Perth’s water supply.
      Interesting raibfall graph for the Perth catchment area!
      THERE IS NO DECLINING RAINFALL TREND IN PERTH, ONLY DECLINING MANAGEMENT.

      2011 update 37 year Perth dams catchment rainfall…

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    91. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Leo Kerr

      Stunning ignorance and lies surround Perth water supply policies

      The graphic continues to show – year after year, Perth dam catchments rainfall has proved remarkably reliable over 35 years in the face of recent WA Govt propaganda spruiking, “our drying climate”, etc etc.

      There is no “dry climate” over Perth dam catchments – see the graphic of 35 years of May-October catchments rain which averages near 900mm.
      Any water shortage in Perth is artificially induced by Govts failure to do simple…

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    92. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Karl William Davis

      Karl wrote "As examples:
      http://www.theaustralian.com.au/in-depth/queensland-floods/toowoomba-copped-wrath-of-la-nina/story-fn7iwx3v-1225985875512 "

      I see the mention of La Nina in your first link.

      Weren't you warmists predicting "PERMANENT EL NINO" a fews years back?

      ''It appears that we have a very good case for suggesting that the El Ninos are going to become more frequent, and they're going to become more intense and IN A FEW YEARS, OR A DECADE OR SO, WE'LL GO INTO A PERMANENT EL…

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    93. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Matthew Thredgold

      Mathew wrote "Armstrong and Green are not as you say "certainly beating the climate models to shreds". "

      You're not saying that the GIGO climate models actually predicted the current 16 year, and counting, hiatus in warming are you?

      Surely not!

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    94. Matthew Thredgold

      Software Engineer/Secondary Teacher

      In reply to George Covas

      What 16 year hiatus? There is none. We keep on pointing out to you that you are wrong, that you have cherry picked the data, and we have referred you to graphs, that if you could read them, show that you are wrong, wrong, wrong.

      We are blue in the face.

      You are wrong. You know nothing, and have contributed nothing. Shout louder if you must, but guess what George, the world is warming, will continue to warm, and humans are responsible.

      And we are still laughing at you.

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    95. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Matthew Thredgold

      Mathew wrote "What 16 year hiatus?"

      ... don't forget AND COUNTING!

      When the starting and ending values of global temperature on a 16 year timeframe are exactly the same, that indicates no warming.

      Are you saying that if the current global average temperature is identical to that 16 years ago, it indicates a warming trend?

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    96. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to George Covas

      "When the starting and ending values of global temperature on a 16 year timeframe are exactly the same, that indicates no warming."

      No, it indicates that you are a clueless cherry-picker (even if they were exactly the same).

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    97. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix wrote "If we could really have fully-renewable-power desal it starts to look like a no-brainer,"

      Typical leftist approach.
      Bugger the cost, so long as it's "green"!!

      I can just imagine it, hugely expensive "green" power supplying hugely expensive desal!
      No-brainer eh? Only to a rabid greenie!
      [shudder]

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    98. Spiro Vlachos

      AL

      In reply to Matthew Thredgold

      Matthew, your comments about Armstrong and Green show the poor state of secondary school teaching in Australia, and which is evident in the first year students we see each year. You have little understanding of scientific method.

      If you would like something dumbed down and cherry-picked, then Fox news has a page on dodgy climate forecasts of the past that have depended on something less that the best statistical science has to offer and are therefore something less than science:

      http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/12/30/botched-environmental-forecasts/

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    99. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to George Covas

      Yep - sure can George... see that's what you are not grasping...

      A trend line will have variations up and down from the overall trend ... some years will be hot some colder but the background trend is one of rising temperatures.

      This is not some horse race where you're trying to pick a winner in the saddling yard George - it is not about "prediction" - you said this but it's only that ... it is not a weather forecast. The temperature in any given year can fall - will fall - above or below the trend.

      I don't know why I'm bothering actually ... George already knows... he's always known ... everything. Infallible, omniscient and delusions of grandeur... They thought he didn't know at uni and tried to tell him stuff - but he showed them. He'll show them all.

      Perhaps in the absence of Bushmasters our Connecticut Aussies take to ratbag notions to indulge their delusions. Probably the lesser of two evils I guess. It's not like anyone takes them seriously any more.

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    100. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Matthew Thredgold

      Mathew wrote "What 16 year hiatus? "

      Maybe you missed the report from the Met ...

      Global warming stopped 16 years ago
      A Met Office report quietly released… and here is the chart to prove it:

      The figures reveal that from the beginning of 1997 until August 2012 there was no discernible rise in aggregate global temperatures

      This means that the ‘pause’ in global warming has now lasted for about the same time as the previous period when temperatures rose, 1980 to 1996

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2217286/Global-warming-stopped-16-years-ago-reveals-Met-Office-report-quietly-released--chart-prove-it.html#ixzz29E78OR9H

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    101. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      I assume you have read the Armstrong & Green paper Spiro - would you like to discuss it?

      You ran off yesterday after accusing me of "denying the science".... I just couldn't find any.

      Are you up for a few light rounds here and now?

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    102. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter also wrote in denial of a pause in global warming ....

      BUT, BUT, BUT, ...
      ‘The new data confirms the existence of a pause in global warming,’
      Professor Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Science at America’s Georgia Tech university,

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2217286/Global-warming-stopped-16-years-ago-reveals-Met-Office-report-quietly-released--chart-prove-it.html#ixzz2JWFyJMCd

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    103. Matthew Thredgold

      Software Engineer/Secondary Teacher

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      Their method involves picking some arbitrary, subjective numbers, as good as randomly, about how someone feels about some forecasted values based on 142 marketing terms, and then putting the numbers together, and producing a "scientific" number that is meant to mean something.

      That would be a joke methodology even in the realms of the marketing profession. It's not a scientific methodology. It's a random number generator.

      To claim it can tell the validity of climate modelling is insulting to…

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    104. Spiro Vlachos

      AL

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Try:
      "Validation and forecasting accuracy in models of climate change"
      Robert Fildes∗, Nikolaos Kourentzes
      International Journal of Forecasting 27 (2011) 968–995

      Although I doubt you have the resources to obtain or the ability to understand the content. I had noticed on another post that you had explained the discovery that there is a second as well as a first moment of a distribution!

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    105. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter wrote "A trend line will have variations up and down from the overall trend "

      In a rising trend you would have "higher lows".

      But the current data does not show a "higher low", so it looks as if the trend has been broken.

      After all, a trend line looks at OLD DATA!

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    106. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to George Covas

      George, I'm sorry but all this dust scattering and making noise is really too odd. You quite obviously have no grasp whatsoever of the basics of the subject, yet you want to keep prancing about in a figleaf out wobbling your limp ignorance at us.

      All I can think of is that you're actually a greenie agent in the denialist camp... a caricature of a crank.

      Can someone please send us a better class of astroturfer - the one from yesterday had a slightly better idea. This is the dill from two days ago.

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    107. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Karl William Davis

      Karl wrote "I do recall hearing that specific term used in ABC's coverage of both the current flood events and those of 2 years ago."

      So what about the neat CSIRO trick purporting to show that Australia is "drying out"??
      Good one eh?

      Another trick the CSIRO pulled last week in its deceitful pamphet to whip up warmist panic.

      It published this Bureau of Meteorology graphic to show how our more populated areas have got much drier since 1960, thanks to (it claims) man-made warming:

      So why did the CSIRO choose to show only the rainfall changes from 1960, when the BoM’s records go back many decades earlier?

      Answer:
      perhaps because if it showed the rainfall changes from, say, 1900, you’d see that most of Australia has got wetter over the century:

      http://joannenova.com.au/2010/03/the-bom-csiro-report-its-what-they-dont-say-that-matters/

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    108. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      A second moment --- double dipping! - did I say that? I must have been insane!!!!

      No - here it is... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_moment_method

      Must admit I must have been sleepwalking - I have been guzzling a lot of pills this week - I have no recollection of announced even a first distribution let alone the presumptive assertion of a second.

      Now Spiro - stop trying to drag the chat away from Messers Armstrong and Green - that work - and the ignorance of it - after all is the basis of you sneering at other less capable teachers.

      Let's be having you or get back under the desk.

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    109. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris wrote "Don't believe everything you read in the Daily Fail, especially when it's written by David Rose:"

      What about prof Judith Curry?
      Do you believe her?

      ‘The new data confirms the existence of a pause in global warming,’
      Professor Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Science at America’s Georgia Tech university,

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    110. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to George Covas

      Anyone interested in what Curry actually said can have a look at this:

      http://judithcurry.com/2012/10/14/pause-discussion-thread/

      On her website she takes Rose to task for attributing comments to her regarding "deeply flawed" models...her point being that the effects of large subsystems such as ocean currents are having much larger influence - both up and down - than existing models allow... that the models do not allow for enough variability of large natural systems. They are more unrpedictable than we realise.

      Now if you'd like to read Judith Curry in her own words and have a chat about her views and their implications George I'm all fingers.

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    111. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Here’s what prof Judith Curry said in CONFIRMING THE PAUSE!
      Are you disputing this Peter?

      “The data confirms the existence of a ‘pause’ in the warming.” ……
      “These new observations and climate modeling results will hopefully impact the the IPCC AR5 deliberations so that we do not see the same OCERLY CONFIDENT CONSENSUS statements that we saw in the AR4. “
      ……. “The natural variability has been shown over the past two decades to have a magnitude that dominates the greenhouse warming signal.” ….” I sincerely hope that the AR5 provides an assessment of what we know and what we don’t know and areas of disagreement, rather than trying to MANUFACTURE A CONSENSUS. “

      http://judithcurry.com/2012/10/14/pause-discussion-thread

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    112. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Hey Peter look at this ….

      Prof Judith Curry’s ‘forecast’ for the next 5 years:
      It looks like the AMO may have peaked, and we remain in the cool phase of the PDO with a predominance of La Nina events expected (unlikely to see a return to do El Nino dominance in the next decade). I PREDICT WE WILL SEE CONTINUATION OF THE “STANDSTILL” IN GLOBAL AVERAGE TEMPERATURE FOR THE NEXT DECADE, with SOLAR playing a role in this as well.

      http://judithcurry.com/2013/01/16/hansen-on-the-standstill/#more-10934

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    113. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to George Covas

      "Do you believe her? (Curry)"

      Not if she actually said something that isn't true. And I'm not about to take the word of David Rose for what she said either.

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    114. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to George Covas

      “The natural variability has been shown over the past two decades to have a magnitude that dominates the greenhouse warming signal.”

      Well so what if this was true? (It's only true with 2.5% probability for the last 17 years BTW.) Just means the greenhouse warming signal dominates over a longer period. How is that supposed to be nothing to worry about?

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    115. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Even arch warmist Phil Jones agrees with her ....

      Professor Phil Jones, director of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, who found himself at the centre of the ‘Climategate’ scandal over leaked emails three years ago, would not normally be expected to agree with her. Yet on two important points, he did.

      The data does suggest a plateau, he admitted, and without a major El Nino event – the sudden, dramatic warming of the southern Pacific which takes place unpredictably…

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    116. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris wrote "Just means the greenhouse warming signal dominates over a longer period."

      WTF does that mean?
      If "natural variability has been shown over the past two decades to dominate the greenhouse warming signal" why wouldn't it continue to do so?

      That's assuming there actually is a "greenhouse warming signal"!!!

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    117. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      Spiro, to actually be able to talk about dumbed down things and then cite Fox News as a source of information is simply head-explodignly ridiculous.

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    118. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to George Covas

      “The natural variability has been shown over the past two decades to have a magnitude that dominates the greenhouse warming signal.”

      OK, WTF does that mean?

      "If "natural variability has been shown over the past two decades to dominate the greenhouse warming signal" why wouldn't it continue to do so?"

      The greenhouse warming signal keeps adding up. The natural variability has little, if any, long term (> 20 year) trend.

      I can see that George's cognitive skills are clearly lacking.

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    119. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to George Covas

      George! Put that fig leaf back on immediately!

      There is a fundamental difference between your own and Rose's "take away" message from Curry's comments.

      Rose asserts that global warming stopped 16 years ago. Curry points out that the dramatical variability we are seeing means that our models are not sufficiently chaotic.

      The consequence of this variation is that depending where you start and finish you can create a false impression.

      Previously, some scientists had asserted that a…

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    120. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to George Covas

      "“STANDSTILL” IN GLOBAL AVERAGE TEMPERATURE FOR THE NEXT DECADE"

      Big deal. Even if that turns out to be true, the problem is about MUCH more than the next decade.

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    121. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to George Covas

      George ...

      Why are they using words like "pause" and "standstill" rather than "NOT HAPPENING"?

      Now that means the trend - the direction is up - and depending where you start and stop you'll get a different picture. Only you and David Rose reckons pause means stopped. Curry certainly doesn't.

      There are still boffins about who feel confident enough to say 17 years will smooth the variations - in essence there can be no temporary pause exceeding that period. I reckon that has the smell of…

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    122. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      1996 was an El Nino year and 2011-2012 were La Ninas. Comparing surface temperatures in these years is very misleading.

      Surface temperatures are a quite narrow way of measuring the earth's heat content anyway. A better measure is oceanic heat content (since 90% of the extra energy is absorbed by the oceans).

      The oceans have continued heating in the last 15 years. As evidenced by the continued increase in sea levels.

      Oceanic Heat Content:
      http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/

      Sea Levels rising
      http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

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    123. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      OK, Peter. I'll be the one to admit ignorance. "I keep smelling melted wax and feathers" seems to be a reference to Icarus, but I cannot for the life of me work out the association with the rest of your comment. Please put me out of your misery! "8-/

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    124. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter wrote "Why are they using words like "pause" and "standstill" rather than "NOT HAPPENING"?

      Because they look at the evidence, and wait to see if it will pan out, rather than shrieking "the science is settled" and treating GIGO climate model outputs as evidence, as the warmists do.

      Once the non-warming/cooling is confirmed after say about 30 years then they might rub it into your noses with "NOT HAPPENING"!

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    125. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      I was meant to be a reference to "overreaching" Doug ... stretching the data that step too far... not knowing what we don't know yet.

      Had to look up "hubris" in answering - what a curious word and concept - damn Greeks, too philosophical by half.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubris

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    126. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Karl William Davis

      Karl wrote "it's been proven in Spain"

      That explains why Spain is currently a total basket case!

      Which Form Of "Alternate" Energy Has Caused The Most Misery

      Solar?
      Which almost bankrupted Spain and is on that path to do the
      same for California?

      Wind?
      Which has ruined countless natural vistas and driven up the
      cost of electricity exponentially?

      Biofuel?
      Which has cause dramatic rises in prices AND scarcity of
      food in the First, and Third worlds, as well as ushering in new poverty?

      The only harmless one seems to be geothermal, which like hydro-power is natural and more or less free once you pay a relatively cheap price for the power installations.

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    127. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      An admission of NO WARMING from the godfather of global warming, NASA’s James Hansen:

      “The five-year mean global temperature has been flat for the last decade, which we interpret as a combination of natural variability and a slow down in the growth rate of net climate forcing. “

      http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/719139main_2012_GISTEMP_summary.pdf

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    128. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, thanks for clarifying. Hubris is a wonderful word to drop into conversation, but not with someone who is likely to ask what it means "8-)

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    129. Karl William Davis

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to George Covas

      How much of that is taxes paid to the Australian governments though, given that it's an international corporation with a presence on six continents and operations all over the world, and that the amount was given in USD?
      And do you have a link to that one?

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    130. Karl William Davis

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to George Covas

      Like almost the entire rest of the country, most of the population is concentrated on or near the coasts, where of course there's more rainfall since the center of the country is mostly desert, the same is the case in WA. And that's why most of WA's population lives on the coast, clustered in the south-west and north-west, because almost the entire rest of the state is desert, hence why I said it was. There are plenty of deserts around the world that have periods of heavy rainfall at certain times of the year, just not enough to maintain any sort of environment other than that of a desert.
      And given the current events in Queensland, which are repeating themselves and are most likely to do so again, I'd suggest that perhaps a region that can be defined as having 'HUGE DOWNPOURS' may not be the ideal place to heavily populate.
      Fun fact: Technically, by rainfall, the world's largest desert is Antarctica.

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    131. Karl William Davis

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to George Covas

      What exactly were the content of the Green's objections to past water management? Because it's possible they may have been perfectly justified, just saying

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    132. Karl William Davis

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to George Covas

      You do realise that we will HAVE TO convert to renewable energy one day, right? Whether climate change is happening or not, whether mankind's use of fossil fuels is responsible or not?
      That's because our primary sources of energy, as well as being very damaging to the environment in a variety of ways, are all FINITE ie. they will run out one day.
      The most optimistic predictions of peak oil say it'll be after 2020 and that we'll notice little impact assuming that we've made significant progress…

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    133. Karl William Davis

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Spiro Vlachos

      If you would believe anything that Fox 'News' says, let alone would actually post a link to their website, you are clearly so misinformed that you have no place participating in a sensible debate.

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    134. Karl William Davis

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to George Covas

      Maybe because we got wetter between 1900-1960 and have gotten drier since then? Are you a child? I certainly hope that you're a 'Brain Surgeon' on the opposite end of the country to me, if i ever need anything done I wouldn't trust you with a toothpick.
      If you take a large enough amount of data over a large enough amount of time you can make it look like anything you like, hence why the CSIRO used the data that was actually relevant to the present day, unless you believe climatic conditions now are identical to what they were in 1900. Should also point out yet again that weather and climate aren't the same thing, warming of the climate changes wind and sea currents and is entirely capable of causing greater rainfall in some areas.
      Also, i wouldn't trust anything coming from the website of someone described by Andrew Bolt as 'outstanding' as being in any way objective, or useful or relevant.

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    135. Karl William Davis

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to George Covas

      The practicality for the technology has been proven in Spain, any excessive cost for renewable energy is largely due to it's relative infancy, just like every single other new technology that we've ever invented, it's always more expensive at first and then comes down in price over time and as it's more widely adopted. The massive subsidies and the pre-established nature of renewable energy's fossil fuel competitors doesn't help of course.
      That's assuming a causal link between Spain's use of renewable…

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    136. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to George Covas

      George, thats what I'm saying. Of course you should, and must prove your intellectual prowess directly to NASA, and demand his position as chief scientist. There is no time for delay! Go for it.

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    137. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Karl William Davis

      Karl wrote "fossil-fuel consumption subsidies worldwide amounted to $523 billion in 2011"

      So how much in taxes were paid worldwide, and why was this information omitted?

      I bet much, much more than $523 billion!

      So these ain't really subsidies but TAX DEDUCTIONS!

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    138. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Karl William Davis

      Karl wrote "You do realise that we will HAVE TO convert to renewable energy one day, right? "

      Agreed, as soon as it's reliable and cost effective, the whole world would be clamouring for renewables.

      Even I would accept it, but for the right reasons, not mythical AGW.

      Not just yet though.

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    139. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Karl William Davis

      Karl wrote "If you take a large enough amount of data over a large enough amount of time you can make it look like anything you like"

      You've described the CSIRO's cherry picking of the data to show mythical "drying" to a tee!

      I prefer to see the whole record, which shows "wetting"!

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    140. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Karl William Davis

      Karl wrote "it's always more expensive at first and then comes down in price over time and as it's more widely adopted."

      Let's hope so.

      I don't intend to be an early adopter guinea pig, unless the greenies continue to send cheap coal-fired power prices through the roof, which they are fully intent on doing!

      Australia must have some of the most expensive electricity in the world.

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    141. Karl William Davis

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to George Covas

      Here's the problem though, we can't wait until fossil fuels have already reached their peak before 'clamouring for renewables', by then it'll be too late.
      Look how long we've been working on renewables for, like any new field of technology it takes time and money to work out. What sort of an impact do you think it would have on our society if our primary energy source reached it's peak and began to run out, and it's replacement/s wasn't going to be ready for, say, 5 or 10 years?
      Logically, if…

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    142. Karl William Davis

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to George Covas

      On the other hand, the same logic can easily be applied to everything released by climate deniers. It really comes down to whether you have faith in the scientific community and the peer review process or whether you prefer to bury your head in the sand.
      As I said, weather and climate aren't the same thing, a changing climate changes wind and sea currents, and thus changes weather patterns. This can easily cause certain areas to experience greater rainfall and/or lower temperatures.

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    143. Karl William Davis

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to George Covas

      As of a year ago, which I note is before the introduction of the carbon pricing scheme, we did have the most expensive electricity in the world, much of this due to the cost of upgrading infrastructure that been been neglected for years.
      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-21/australians-pay-highest-power-prices-says-study/3904024

      And to be fair it's not really a case of 'let's hope so' in regard to the price of renewable energy technology becoming cheaper over time, research, and adoption and…

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    144. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris wrote "30 years of warming trend is confirmed: "

      So you're saying that if the current global average temperature is the identical to what it was in 1996 that the globe has warmed over that period???

      Really??

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    145. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to George Covas

      George (me) wrote

      An admission of NO WARMING from the godfather of global warming, NASA’s James Hansen:

      “The five-year mean global temperature has been flat for the last decade, which we interpret as a combination of natural variability and a slow down in the growth rate of net climate forcing. “

      http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/719139main_2012_GISTEMP_summary.pdf

      The bit where he said "a slow down in the growth rate of net climate forcing. “
      THIS IS DESPITE"SOARING" CO2 LEVELS!

      What?
      No one trying to debunk this one???

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    146. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      Gary wrote "The oceans have continued heating in the last 15 years"

      Ocean heat content (or equivalently, temperature) has only been properly measured worldwide since mid-2003, when the Argo system of diving buoys became operational.

      Nearly all pre-2000 measurements were made from ships-of-opportunity along the main commercial
      shipping lanes, or near ports that host oceanographic research institutes, so geographical coverage
      of the world’s oceans was very poor. The data set is therefore biased…

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    147. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris wrote ""the whole northern hemisphere would be covered in ice and snow as it is now"
      How delusional can you get?"

      Let's start with Britain ...
      For those people, this news from Britain:
      TRAVELLERS are being warned to brace themselves for snowy weather across much of the country with 15 metre waves off the north coast as forecasters predicted this could be the coldest February in almost 30 years.

      http://www.scotsman.com/news/scottish-news/top-stories/weather-scots-set-for-coldest-february-since-80s-1-2773990

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    148. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to George Covas

      "So you're saying that if the current global average temperature is the identical to what it was in 1996 that the globe has warmed over that period???"

      No, that's only a clown putting words in my mouth.

      I know you deliberately ignore the fact that anyone who says global average temperature is identical to what it was in 1996 is not telling the truth.

      Deliberately ignoring facts is denial.

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    149. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to George Covas

      "the whole northern hemisphere would be covered in ice and snow as it is now"

      "Let's start with Britain"

      So Britain is within cooee of being the whole northern hemisphere?

      As I said, how delusional can you get?

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    150. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to George Covas

      "The measurements of ocean heat content down to 700m, as measured by Argo since 2003"

      George's idealogical blinkers cut-out anything from below 700m.

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  6. Greynomad Travelling

    logged in via Facebook

    The opinion has an answer which is far too simplistic. We can't all burn timber for heating or live in places surrounded by huge plots of land....
    I do agree that our never ending drive for growth is absurd and the road to our ultimate destruction..... When the economy is slowing the government encourages house construction..... Another simplistic and destructive response. Growth as measured in today's terms does not take into account the loss of biodiversity as we continue to build bigger cities or destroy rainforest for the planting of Palm Oil..... I suspect that it will all change as a result of a system collapse and changing weather patterns my be an early sign of that

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    1. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Greynomad Travelling

      Greynomad wrote" changing weather patterns my be an early sign of that"

      Education in climate history seems to be required here .....

      If you want "extreme weather events" then you have to go back to 1890 a doozy of a year for "extreme weather events"!!!
      http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/result?q=&l-publictag=WarmCold1890s&sortby=dateAsc

      Or what about 1921

      A Long Siege Of Freak Weather Is Hitting The US And The World
      http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=uGdcAAAAIBAJ&sjid=oVYNAAAAIBAJ&pg=1098,559361&dq=long+siege+of+freak+weather&hl=en

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    2. Leo Kerr

      Consultant

      In reply to Greynomad Travelling

      Greynomad - don't worry mate - brain surgeon George Covas explains it all for us mere mortals. See his cut and paste answer below - he set me straight...............

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  7. Phil S

    Physics PhD Student

    What about space exploration?
    We can get more resources from space. We can get land from space.

    I imagine that, faced with the prospect of transforming our society to the one you describe, many rich people will suddenly find the prospect of spending their money on space exploration, worth while! Yes it will take a lot of work, time and money, but I don't think expanding, at least throughout our solar system, will be impossible by the year 2050.

    I'm honestly surprised you didn't mention this possibility in your article, as it seems the logical solution to the problem of not having enough space! I realise we need to increase the amount of productive land, which will be difficult to achieve on other planets, but it shouldn't be written off as impossible.

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    1. Stuart Purvis-Smith

      Clinical Cytogeneticist (retired)

      In reply to Phil S

      As John Newton has just said, we are basically fornicated. So why would we, without learning the lessons from our present failures, go off into space and fornicate some other place? I would suggest also, that we will be in deep trouble here long before we have the ability to mine or colonise space.

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    2. Karl William Davis

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Stuart Purvis-Smith

      not necessarily, if all goes according to plan we should be mining resources in space within a decade, if not sooner

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    3. Leo Kerr

      Consultant

      In reply to Phil S

      Philip - you're a physics student - omg. Do you really think we can terraform planets or have meaningful extra terrestrial living quarters in place before the manure hits the fan. It's nice to dream but that dream is fanciful to say the least.

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    4. Phil S

      Physics PhD Student

      In reply to Stuart Purvis-Smith

      Maybe we would do that in the hope that, given more time, we will learn from our present failures? I'm not suggesting we can avoid change forever, but expanding into space gives us a much longer time period to make the necessary changes.

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    5. Phil S

      Physics PhD Student

      In reply to Leo Kerr

      Ok, firstly, what was the point of mentioning the fact that I'm a physics student?

      Secondly, yes I do think that if enough money is thrown at the problem we can have extra terrestrial living quarters on another planet (shall we say Mars for simplicity?). My point was that if we really are boned, then wealthy business men are going to be looking for an exit strategy, and I can't imagine ditching capitalism will be one of the possibilities they consider.

      We may still suffer, possibly even for…

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    6. Leo Kerr

      Consultant

      In reply to Phil S

      I mentioned physics student Philip for as such I'd have thought you would have been more aware of the difficulties and expense of not only travelling to other planets (and the only conceivable one is Mars) but making them habitable for large numbers of people. The idea of being able to live there in numbers that would somehow alleviate the current overpopulation of this planet is imho ridiculous.

      I don't know whether capitalism will be ditched - I didn't mention that. What I do know is that is has some serious hurdles to overcome if it is to somehow survive.

      I was around when Apollo 11 voyaged to the moon. That was in 1969 and there really doesn't seem to have been very much progress in space exploration with the idea of outer world colonies since - not if you consider it in comparison to the progress made from the Wright brothers first flight in 1903 to the situation with aircraft 40 odd years later. Space is hard hard hard.

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    7. Karl William Davis

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Leo Kerr

      To be fair, the deepest parts of the ocean are more inhospitable than outer space, and the reason that we haven't made significant progress in space colonization since '69 isn't because of the difficulty, but because everyone stopped seriously trying to do anything in space. For the foreseeable future though, any exploitation of space would more than likely be centered around harvesting resources, somewhat alleviating the impact of our resource use here, it would likely be some decades until we would…

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  8. Olav Muurlink

    Research Fellow, Griffith Business School at Griffith University

    Refreshing stuff, Frederick. The other options are pray, pray to almighty technology, or, as other commentators have hinted at, savagely cut population/population growth or rely on the seeds we have planted to do the cutting for us. It's surprising how underground this whole debate is. We humans truly have strange brains, so adaptable, so powerful and yet so weak when faced with a real challenge.

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    1. Karl William Davis

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Olav Muurlink

      well what has been suggested in this article will never be possible without a much smaller population anyway, plus technology is the only thing that will get us out of this mess with the least number of people dying and the least dramatic impact on our society

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  9. Anthony Nolan

    logged in via email @hotmail.com

    Thank you for this article Frederick. It needs to be said, over and over, even if large parts of the audience are caught up in some form of psychological denial of reality. What really beggars the politicians is the sheer scale of the problem:

    "That means we have to scrap the present financial system, and the forces driving innovation, incentive, work and investment, and the quest for greater wealth. It means much more than scrapping capitalism; it means completely abandoning some of the fundamental ideas (like the definition of progress,) and values (such as getting rich) that have driven Western culture for 300 years."

    Readers are urged to reread that paragraph over and over. Then let the real conversation commence.

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  10. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    Jings - (we) have to totally scrap economic growth, and therefore capitalism, and largely scrap globalisation, centralisation, the market system, representative democracy, the financial system, big cities, modern agriculture and urbanism. Not much left really is there? Suburbanism perhaps?

    I've been noticing of late this attack on democracy coming from this perspective - the implicit assumption that self-interest and greed will always trump reason, sense and moderation. We need some sort of…

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    1. Gerard Dean

      Managing Director

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      When you farmers stop using Roundup and diesel, I will listen to you telling me to stop living a western lifestyle.

      Gerard

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    2. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      G'day Gerard,

      I don't go near diesel myself - far far too toxic. I do use a bit of petrol - chainsaw, brushcutter etc but not diesel - there's nothing I want to do that badly.

      Roundup on the other hand is a gift from god ... I swim in the stuff, pour it on my cornflakes and slosh it about like holy water. A necessary evil if one wants to retain any near natural bush at all. That I don't mind poisoning myself for.

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  11. Paul Cm

    logged in via email @gmail.com

    Technological solutions exist - or are not far away. One of the most useful mechanisms to employ them (including Frederick's off-grid set up) are capitalist markets with monetary driven incentive.

    Just when we can start to roll out fixes to one of the biggest environmental problems in history, I'd say it is counter productive to abandon the most powerful tools we have to finish the job.

    Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

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    1. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Paul Cm

      Dear heavens, Paul, it may be that you know something about solar power systems but I must say that your advocacy of 'capitalist markets' as some sort of 'incentive' mechanism is so far wide of the mark so far as self interest is concerned that it is hard to know where to start. Let's see - how about the absolute bollocks of a mess that was created by creating a water trading scheme for the Murray-Darling? You may need to look up how Cubbie Station became the Tiddalick the Frog of Qld.

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    2. Paul Cm

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Anthony, capitalism has always been considered an incentive based system, even the author has acknowledged this. My advocacy or otherwise will not change that fact.

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    3. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Paul Cm

      Paul, given the near-hysterical negative reaction of so many captains of industry and neo-liberal politicians to the simple. modest, still-nowehere-near-enough-but-at-least-its-a-start, thoroughly-market-based and classical-economic-to-its-bootstraps carbon price in Australia, the argument that capitalism will solve the problem is beginning to look a tad threadbare.

      Of course it COULD in theory do so, but it's leaving its run rather late...

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    4. Paul Cm

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      An on that basis Felix, can you imagine the added resistance to a form of climate action similar to which the author suggests? One that is unproven and unpopular?

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    5. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Paul Cm

      I think his argument wasn't exactly that this could/should/would be government policy, but rather a last-ditch preactical solution by individuals and small communities to, as far as possible, escape from dependency on a failing system.

      I'm not advocating it as a solution - I rather like modern prosperity and technology - I just worry that, unless the current capitalist system starts adapting very quickly and aggressively, there may be little practical alternative left.

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    6. Paul Cm

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      I'd be very interested (and surprised) to hear a workable way in which those objectives could be achieved without government policy Felix.

      Also, I think you should give it a little more time before concluding climate solutions within a capitalist framework have failed or is failing. Most of our technological innovations/development on offer have been - at least in part - a consequence of capital markets. They, along with government policy, economies of scale and majority demand are well placed to displace high emitting anthropogenic sources.

      Not overnight, but it is happening. Like I said, it would be counter-productive to abandon that powerful tool, and try an alternative likely to fail on multiple levels.

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    7. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Paul Cm

      Paul, this is in danger of degenerating into a purely subjective assessment of how quickly/well the current system is moving - a debate that is ultimately impossible to determine rationally.

      To be fair, most of the technological innovations have been as a result of science and research - capital markets have simply been the system we had in place to operationalise them. there's no denying that market-based systems tend to be better than control systems at this kind of job but it still doesn't…

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  12. David Clerke

    Teacher

    Does this article not break The Conversation Regs by advertising a book?

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  13. Dale Bloom

    Analyst

    We can run out of land to clear, and we can run out of resources, and we can also run out of money trying to attain something that is not exactly clear.

    We can also have governments with very short term plans (and our present federal government would have to be the best federal government Australia has ever had to have no plans or vision anyone understands)

    I also think people are now tending to hope for some miracle that can save us, such as a new round of climate change talks, or a new IMF bail out system, or some new scientific discovery that will make us all rich and happy.

    No such luck unfortunately.

    We cannot continue growing the population, and destroying the country in the process.

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  14. Comment removed by moderator.

  15. Sam Yates

    Research Fellow

    Exponential growth cannot continue indefinitely, and it is foolish to think that it can. That said, it is not the short-term focus on such growth which is causing climate change, but rather the use of fossil fuels for energy, or more fundamentally, the improper accounting which counts the costs to our environment as an externality.

    Fixing that will be hard, because our political systems are such that long term consequences are borne by those who have the misfortune to be in office when they come…

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  16. Chris Lloyd

    logged in via Facebook

    The author misses the key point - it is too many people that causes the problem. Only a massive drop in population will solve it. It should be abundantly clear to even the most dewey eyes adolescent socialist that people simple are NOT going to accept reducing their weath by a factor of 10.

    Leaders need to start making the point to their own citizens and the world that you have NO RIGHT to a third child. A good start would be to modify immigration policy. Anyone who has more than one sibling or more than two children gets rejected. Those causing the over-population do not get to flee their over-populated homeland.

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  17. Spiro Vlachos

    AL

    The zero-growth concept seems to be a way to mislead people into returning to pre modern values. With the zero population growth movement, it is similar to many religions that shun modern worldly values such as the Amish, as the idea is not gleaned from anything that resembles scientific rigour. It should be clear that the primary driver of economic growth is not population growth or the depletion of natural resources, but technological progress. Technological progress does not depend on natural…

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  18. Trevor S

    Jack of all Trades

    Ted

    About time you showed up here :) We have a wealth of people pontificating about how the climate is in trouble, as they jet away to another conference, thinking all we need to do is get their elected officials to solve the "problem", when the problem is the person staring at them in the mirror in the morning... not actually realising a genuine solution would be completely unpalatable to them ... but very few (any ?) of them actually do anything about it practical, mostly just finger point…

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  19. Colin MacGillivray

    Architect, retired, Sarawak

    A sustainable planet will evolve in due course when pollution is so bad that those who aspire to consumerism can't breathe and pick air quality over Chanel or Loius Vuitton. Or when branded goods are so expensive and so similar to normal things that nobody bothers. Or when every tourist destination is so full of tourists that people stop going. Or when manufacturers start making things that last forever or can be serviced easily. Or when we only eat 2500 calories of fruit and veges and grain etc a day grown near home.
    3 centuries or 4? Who knows?

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    1. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Colin MacGillivray

      Colin wrote "A sustainable planet will evolve in due course when pollution is so bad that those who aspire to consumerism can't breathe and pick air quality over Chanel or Loius Vuitton."

      Agreed.
      I'm against REAL pollution as well.
      BUT FYI CO2 is a colourless, odourless, trace gas, plant food!
      We actually need more of it to nourish plant life.

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    2. Leo Kerr

      Consultant

      In reply to George Covas

      and carrots George are good for you - provided you don't eat too many of them at one sitting. Oh and try breathing in a room full of the colourless odourless trace gas plant food stuff. It's about quantity - now that deserves a cut and paste about how little we produce in comparison to the planets natural production. Beta carotene becomes toxic when too much is consumed. Now tell me George are you Andrew Bolt in disguise or maybe even the classically trained latin pundit Lord M?

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    3. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Leo Kerr

      Leo wrote "Oh and try breathing in a room full of the colourless odourless trace gas plant food stuff."

      I have many times without ill effect.

      Current CO2 Levels Are Way Too Low

      We are supposed to panic over CO2 levels of a miniscule 380 parts per million.

      “Most life, plants and animals, probably developed with CO2 levels of about 1500 ppm – 400% above current levels.

      This fact is well understood by greenhouse operators who burn gas to increase CO2 levels to at least 1,000 ppm, 260…

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    4. Leo Kerr

      Consultant

      In reply to George Covas

      omg George - you really didn't get the point I was making - I'm seriously questioning your stated occupation now - tell me again you're a brain surgeon ....

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    5. Matthew Thredgold

      Software Engineer/Secondary Teacher

      In reply to Leo Kerr

      Give him a chance. Maybe that's what he wants to be when he leaves school?

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  20. Gerard Dean

    Managing Director

    Mr Trainer,

    You wrote, and I quote, 'The average Australian household uses about one kilowatt of electricity; I use eight watts'.

    What does that mean? The watt is a unit of power. To establish how much energy you use, simply multiply the power you use by the time you use it, hence the standard energy unit KiloWatt/Hour or KWh.

    The average home uses around between 10 to 20 KWh of electricity per day - many times what we used in the 1960's on the farm.

    So, can you clarify your statement. Do you mean you use 8 Watt/hours of energy per day which is inconceivably small or rather, 8 Watts per hour which equates to192 Watt/Hours or 0.192KWh per day?

    If you manage to live on less than 0.2KWh per day, that is amazing. To give our readers an idea of your achievement, turning on the average split system airconditioner would use this power in less than 6 minutes.

    Gerard Dean

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    1. Sam Yates

      Research Fellow

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      I presumed 1 kW referred to a long time average; that is, 24 kilowatt-hours per day. Correspondingly, an average power of 8 watts would be equivalent 0.192 kilowatt-hours per day.

      That said, according to the data at <URL: http://www.energymadeeasy.gov.au/bill-benchmark/results/2000/1>;, the yearly average electricity use for a single person household in Sydney is apparently 8 kW-hr/day, or 300 Watts. If the comparison is to be made between the author's usage (apparently one person's use? it is not clear) and the typical city-dweller, then this sort of comparison seems much more reasonable. Energy from gas is not counted, but then, neither is the firewood mentioned in the article.

      The difference between 300 Watts and 8 is of course stark, but it is still a factor of 3 less than the figure used in the article, which in my view constitutes a sloppy comparison.

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  21. Kim Bulwinkel
    Kim Bulwinkel is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Retired regional medical specialist

    Can anyone direct me to good data that indicates what the sustainable carrying capacity of this planet is? Is 10 billion souls sustainable under any modelling that currently exists?

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  22. duncan mills

    Social Ecologist

    The logic in this article appears to be patchy and inconsistent.

    We need clear thinking if we are too develop consensus on the type of change required.

    That we have finite material resources and finite capacity of environment to absorb insults, yes most of us would agree on.

    And yes that does mean a dramatic drop in consumption of non renewable natural resources with their attendant environmental damage.

    But how does mean that capitalism will cease too function?

    GDP may drop but we…

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  23. George Covas

    Brain Surgeon

    Love this headline!

    The New York Times warns civilization likely to end due to manmade warming – Professor Armstrong tries to avert panic.

    Here is a quote
    "Strangely, my evidence-based forecasts that our civilization is not threatened by dangerous warming did not meet the NYT criteria of “All the news that’s fit to print.” If you know any NYT readers, please inform them that they are safe."

    http://www.theclimatebet.com/?p=508

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  24. trevor bunce

    farmer

    A few have skirted the issue then shied away.
    Forget your ideologies your religions political affiliations etc they are all man made concepts and in no way are related to the natural world.
    being a farmer now for 37 years i have observed and learned a few things. often the hard way.
    if you put x amount of grazing animals in a given area there will come a time that the feed and water runs out, when it does if there is no other paddock to go to then animals begin to die out until some sort of intervention…

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  25. Doug Hutcheson

    Poet

    "If you want to fix the climate, developing nations' poverty, resource depletion and other environmental problems you will also have to totally scrap economic growth, and therefore capitalism, and largely scrap globalisation, centralisation, the market system, representative democracy, the financial system, big cities, modern agriculture and urbanism".

    Sounds do-able, if you say it fast enough ...

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  26. trevor bunce

    farmer

    to deal with symptoms achieves nothing other than wast.
    to deal with the cause will see the symptoms go away.
    the cause is to many people, we need to get our species in check, or we check out.

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  27. Chris O'Neill

    Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

    Now that George has knocked off "work" for the day, I'd like to point out that we can expect the denialist meme (lie actually) "there has been no warming for the past X years", where X=number of years since 1998, to persist for quite a few years yet because of the relatively low (yet still positive) trend from starting at the 1998 cherry-pick year. They will be able to dishonestly corrupt "statistically insignifcant" into "no" for quite a while yet.

    BTW, the skeptical science statistical significance calculator: http://www.skepticalscience.com/trend.php can be used to calculate whether the warming trend on a particular period is statistically significant or not.

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    1. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      "They will be able to dishonestly corrupt "statistically insignifcant" into "no" for quite a while yet."

      I calculate they will do this for 20 years after 1998. The skeptical science significance calculator gives 2σ=0.10 deg C/decade for the 20 year period 1993 to end of 2012. I estimate the trend starting from 1998 will reach 0.1 deg C/decade by 2018.

      So look forward to another 5 years (at least) of dishonest denialist wingeing.

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    2. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Mr O'Neill!

      It's one thing to be playing roulette and placing bets on the chaotic workings of an increasingly unstable climate - but no one - not even the most optimistically confident should even attempt to set some upper limit to the whining of denialists. But it's an increasingly ratty noise isn't it?

      My main concern is that we just don't have that much alfoil Chris - not the good thick heavy Aussie made stuff they'll be needing.

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    3. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter wrote "increasingly unstable climate"

      Sorry but no evidence for this.
      You made that up didn't you?

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    4. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Interesting how they attributed exactly the same "increasingly unstable climate" to GLOBAL COOLING in the 1970's eh?

      Alarmists can blame it on both global warming and global cooling, yet still maintain a straight face!

      Here's what they used to blame GLOBAL COOLING for ...

      THE PRINCIPAL WEATHER CHANGE LIKELY TO ACCOMPANY THE COOLING TREND IS INCREASED VARIABILITY – ALTERNATING EXTREMES OF TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION IN ANY GIVEN AREA
      - which would almost certainly lower average crop yields…

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    5. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to George Covas

      No George you've convinced me completely. You're dead right - I made the whole thing up - I'll take the wrap... I'll say it now for you so you can quote me in a post somewhere ...

      George - you've got the whole world in the palm of your hand. Who would have thought that a simple brain surgeon here in Australia - armed only with a voracious appetite for truth and a dial up connection at the workplace - could overturn the foolishness of a whole flotilla of scientific disciplines from all over the…

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    6. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      You.ve seen the light.
      Hallelujah!

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    7. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to George Covas

      And there are big black thunderheads rolling up the valley and the temperature is dropping moment by moment ... so it looks like it's all over then - this warming hysteria! Thank god for that! And thank YOU George.

      Phew. That was close.

      Nice cape.

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    8. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to George Covas

      George, your linked source also says "Under the simplest set of assumptions, this additional heat would raise the global temperature about a degree Celcius, but after various corresponding changes are taken into account, the overall effect might be a temperature rise as great a s 3.0 degrees." That's the problem with not quoting peer-reviewed science and relying on the popular press for your information. 3.0C is pretty much what the IPCC says today. I guess you just forgot to mention that, though, didn't you?

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    9. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Doug wrote " the overall effect might be a temperature rise as great a s 3.0 degrees."

      Huh?
      Which link is that.
      The one I most recently quoted referred to global cooling panic in the 1970's.
      There was no mention of a 3º C rise.
      Please supply the link you are referring to.

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    10. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to George Covas

      Doug - you just made that link up didn't you? - like all those weathermen on TV - telling us their BoM lies in decimals! You've been exposed!

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    11. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Doug wrote "3.0ºC is pretty much what the IPCC says today"

      But it ain't happened yet and maybe never will.

      It's based on non-existent feedbacks in the climate system.

      My bet is that it never will.

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    12. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Yes, Peter, I know I was cheating: I was actually unkind enough to read the document George linked to, unlike George, who was surprised when I quoted from it.

      George, you are quoting from the same document that I am quoting from. Best you read it thoroughly, I think. Quoting a magazine article that does not support your claim is wonderful - well done! By the way, have you found any peer-reviewed papers published in reputable journals that support your fantasies? Any that posit an increase in GHGs will not precipitate an increase in temperatures? Any that posit an increase in temperatures will not result in more water vapour in the air? I'm waiting with bated breath.

      Cue the sound of crickets ...

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    13. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      There's a "comprehensive list" of "peer reviewed papers supporting denialism doing the rounds - almost a thousand last time I looked - that weird Watt fellow carries it periodically.

      When the initial list of some 199 papers a few years back was published a herd of authors wrote in complaining that their papers actually said exactly the opposite and that the edited highlights presented gave a complete misrepresentation of their findings. End result, nothing.

      It is amazing how often any quote from a scientist with relevant expertise is ripped out of context and screwed into something else by these fellas. Real science is too qualified, careful and moderated to be adequately incendiary.

      They need a one liner that says "this IPCC is all rubbish"... which of course no real scientist will say - only retired engineers or geologists rattling their cages. It reflects their understanding of science and how it works - like barracking for a footie team.

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    14. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to George Covas

      To Peter " "increasingly unstable climate"

      Here's more evidence you made it up ....

      No Increase In Frequency Of Natural Hazard Events Since 1950
      The rising toll of natural disasters is due to more people and assets at risk.”

      Professor John McAneney, the director of Risk Frontiers, an independent research group funded mostly by the insurance industry, said that based on a database of natural hazard events in Australia, including some dating from 1803, ”there has been no increase in the frequency…

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    15. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to George Covas

      George!

      If you don't gird those flagrantly flaccid loins of yours I'm calling a priest.

      This SMH article you quote from here - the one headed "Climate change signals raining down but proof will take centuries"
      goes on to say this...immediately after your cherry was picked...

      "Cue howls of protests from climatologists and cries of "gotcha" from climate change doubters? Not quite.

      I will quote the rest of the article verbatim so people realise what you don't want them to look at…

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    16. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter wrote"I will quote the rest of the article verbatim so people realise what you don't want them to look at:"

      What I quoted was from AN EXPERT in natural disasters.
      The rest of the article is the usual Fairfax warmist trash attributing WEATHER events to so-called CLIMATE change!

      Looks like you would rather accept the warmist trash than what an expert in the field says.

      Now that's cherry picking!

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    17. Pop Tech

      Computer Analyst

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      The list has nothing to do with your ad hominem but rather,

      "1100+ Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skeptic Arguments Against ACC/AGW Alarm"

      Anthony Watts published it exactly one time when it was first released at 450 papers. There was never an initial list of "199".

      There were no "heard of authors" who wrote in anything about the list. There were an entire 3 authors who were contacted by alarmists who disagreed with their papers classification and thus the papers have been removed and are no longer on the list.

      Your inability to get simple facts straight on this issue speaks to your ability to get them right on anything else.

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    18. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Pop Tech

      "Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skeptic Arguments"

      Of course, this includes "support" such as short isolated warm periods happening anywhere between AD 800 and AD 1400.

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    19. Pop Tech

      Computer Analyst

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      A chat about what? Your misinformation? That has already been documented.

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    1. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to George Covas

      "The global temperature rise from 1885 to 1940 is estimated to be about 1.1ºC, then falling back by about 0.6ºC by about 1970."

      No George - they are Northern Hemisphere temperatures. Here is the global surface temperature record from 1880:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NOAA_Land_Ocean.svg
      from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surface_temperature_record

      And in case you missed it the first time:

      Sea levels still rising
      http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

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    2. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      Gary wrote "Here is the global surface temperature record from 1880: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NOAA_Land_Ocean.svg "

      Looking at the graph, the warming period from 1910 to 1940 looks identical to the warming period from 1970 to 1998.

      There appears to be a common cause, and I'm pretty sure it ain't "evil" trace gas plant food CO2!

      Solar driven cloud cover variations anyone?
      A far. far more powerful effect.

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    3. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to George Covas

      "the warming period from 1910 to 1940"

      "There appears to be a common cause, and I'm pretty sure it ain't "evil" trace gas plant food CO2"

      CO2 increased before 1940. How do you know it's not a common cause?

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    4. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris wrote "CO2 increased before 1940. How do you know it's not a common cause?"

      So you're saying that much lower levels of CO2 pre 1940 caused exactly the same warming, in rate and magnitude, from 1910 to 1940 as for the 1970 to 1998 periods?

      You can't be saying that with a straight face!

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    5. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to George Covas

      "So you're saying that much lower levels of CO2 pre 1940"

      Law dome CO2 level was 310 ppm or 0.15 of a doubling since pre-industrial. This was capable of producing 0.45 deg C of warming as long as there was little interference from sulphate aerosols, which there was. The warming at that time was approaching this, so it was completely explainable by CO2 rise and other GHGs.

      Since 1940, CO2 level has increased by 0.33 of a doubling, enough to produce another 1 deg C of warming in the absence of any other forcings. Of course there are other forcings so we've only had half of that.

      "caused exactly the same warming, in rate and magnitude, from 1910 to 1940 as for the 1970 to 1998 periods?"

      No, it's not exactly the same warming, in rate OR magnitude. But what do I expect from a pathological liar?

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    6. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris wrote "No, it's not exactly the same warming, in rate OR magnitude."

      Sorry, but, eyeballing the graph supplied, I make the warming from 1910 to 1940 to be about 0.65ºC, which is about the same as that from 1970 to 1998, and WITH MUCH LOWER co2 LEVELS

      Take another look.

      The bit about aerosols appears to be another warmist fudge to explain the cooling from 1940 to about 1970.

      The IPCC agenda is to make everything appear to be manmade.

      How "convenient" for the aerosols to appear then eh?

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    7. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to George Covas

      "about the same as"

      So it's not exactly the same anymore? Bang go those goalposts.

      "eyeballing the graph supplied"

      Sorry, but the last thing I would do would be to trust the eyes of a denialist. I prefer actual numbers: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1910/to:1941/trend/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1970/to:1999/trend/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1964/trend

      This shows 0.138 deg C/decade trend and 0.43 deg C trend rise from 1910 to end 1940, 0.170 deg C/decade trend and 0.49 deg C trend rise from 1970 to end 1998.

      But if we want to use a standard denialist technique and go for a shameless cherry-pick then from 1964 until now, the trend was 0.151 deg C/decade and the rise on the trend was 0.74 deg C.

      "The bit about aerosols appears to be another warmist"

      This is called denial of science.

      So how do you explain the warming from 1910 to 1940?

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  28. William Hughes-Games

    Garden weed puller

    Solar panels have already reached the oft quoted price of $1US per nominal watt required for economical competition with fossil fuel. Smart grids and smart devices are limping along but will eventually deliver what we expect of them. Storage devices are not yet economical so the only feasible option if you want an electrified life is to be grid-connected so what is the problem. We should all be installing solar systems. The problem is the lack of a reasonable legislative framework defining the relationship between the home installer, the power company and the government. It must be fair, economically, to both the small generator and the power company. At present it is a mess and the much admired German FIT system is a scam.
    http://mtkass.blogspot.co.nz/2008/04/double-metering-its-insidious.html

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  29. Alex Cannara

    logged in via Facebook

    "warmed by firewood" -- right there is a problem, just as my VT relatives know they create, which can't be replicated across even 1 billion folks.

    Then there;s the nice solar panels -- being "off the grid" is not what solar panels do. They needed "the grid" to be made. They needed the fossil industry to be assembled, transported, maintained...

    What solar panels can indeed do, is take that nice woodsy picture of a home with a 50kW roof and convert it today to a few kW of off-grid juice . with…

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Wiser somethings anyway Alex. Even if wisdom only means not being so smart.

      I must admit to a liking for electricity grids. Not an obsession or a fetish yet but at least a grudging respect for for what they do and how handy it is to be able to move this stuff around. Easier than water - it moves itself.

      Not always the most appropriate approach - runs out of benefits at the margins where the population or demand is too thin - but if you're talking about a city or suburban density or even…

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  30. Kenneth Mazzarol
    Kenneth Mazzarol is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Retired

    I am a confirmed tree hugger from way back, but I have always believed that unless a house is connected to all the Public Utilities it it considered derelict??

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    1. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Kenneth Mazzarol

      "unless a house is connected to all the Public Utilities it it considered derelict"

      Indeed, without connection to the electricity grid, you can't get a normal home loan.

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  31. George Covas

    Brain Surgeon

    HOT OFF THE PRESS!

    No Increase In Frequency Of Natural Hazard Events Since 1950
    The rising toll of natural disasters is due to more people and assets at risk.”

    Professor John McAneney, the director of Risk Frontiers, an independent research group funded mostly by the insurance industry, said that based on a database of natural hazard events in Australia, including some dating from 1803, ”there has been no increase in the frequency of natural hazard events since 1950”…

    “When this data…

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  32. Yoron Hamber

    Thinking

    You're forgetting the nano technology we're developing. I like your ideas but not all will fit in cooperatives. But that also depends on how they are structured as a guess. And I also happen to think that there should be more to life than just work, and sleep :) Same as you apparently. We need to demolish the values we have, or at least radically adjust some, but democracy existed, at least as an idea, long before those three hundred years. We need to learn new things, and Internet is the perfect provider for that, assuming it to be open. then the change will come from each person, instead of being impressed on me from above.

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  33. John McBain

    Consultant at Community Sustainability consultant

    Quite a thought provoking article, altho disappointing to see the comments turn to a slanging match between the 'warmists' and 'nothinghappeningists'.
    Before I comment let me state I am a retired farmer who has no actual scientific experience or qualifications, so feel free to totally denigrate what I have to say if that makes you feel ok.
    My stated occupation as a community sustainability consultant is true, altho I confess no-one employs me.
    I do have many young people from many parts of the…

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John McBain

      Nice comments John.

      I don't have a problem with any of that. Great things to be doing.

      But it would be a mistake to an activist like George here as the problem or in any way representative of it. Our problem is people not understanding what must change and what choices are available. Our problem is that folks think we'll be able to change when we have to, that options and choices will somehow just appear - like a new model car.

      We need solutions for different scales. There's nothing wrong with simple ideas. Most good ideas are simple.

      But our problem isn't delusional old dudes posting nonsense... that's their problem. George is all they've got left.

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    2. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to John McBain

      John wrote "When I plant a Sunflower seed the return in both number of seeds and volume of mass is maybe 200:1. I think we have a lot to learn from nature! "

      Try doing that without, or severely depleted, atmospheric CO2!
      Yes nature loves CO2 and we have a lot to learn from her.!

      John also wrote "we continually and knowingly degrade our own habitat "

      Really?
      We’re Living Longer, Healthier, More Comfortable Lives On A Cleaner Planet
      Giving up fossil fuel energy use and, with that, compromising the real improvements in life expectancy and other indicators of human well-being that have accompanied that energy use, would be like giving up a real bird in hand to avoid being attacked by a monster that may or may not exist in the bush, that is, a monster that may only exist in the virtual world.
      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/03/04/us-life-expectancy-in-an-era-of-death-trains-and-death-factories/

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    3. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to George Covas

      No need to panic George. Leading renewables (and nuclear) are only 5-10 c/kWh more expensive than fossil fuel based energy. And getting cheaper. Renewable energy won't mean the end of civilisation as we know it - it will just mean slightly more expensive energy in the short term.

      Climate change however - just might mean the end of civilisation as we know it. If we don't start to mitigate the effects now.

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    4. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      Gary wrote "Climate change however - just might mean the end of civilisation as we know it. If we don't start to mitigate the effects now."

      Gary, Gary, Gary, you and yours are panicking over about 0.75ºF warming over 150 years!
      And NO warming over the last 16 years.

      Don't you think you're overreacting a touch?

      The catastrophic warming you're so afraid of exists only in GIGO climate models which are pre programmed to spit this sort of garbage out.

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    5. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      Gary wrote
      "The geological (ice core) record shows temperature variations of nearly 20 degrees Celsius during the past 500,000 years."

      And it also show temperature rises PRECEDING CO2 rises by about 800 years!
      IOW CO2 levels were the RESULT not the cause.

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    6. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to George Covas

      "And it also show temperature rises PRECEDING CO2 rises by about 800 years"

      and it shows temperature rises FOLLOWING CO2 rises for another 5,000 years!!

      No-one is denying that the initial temperature rise was caused by something other than CO2. The only thing that is being denied is that the subsequent CO2 rise caused at least some of the following 5,000 years of temperature rise.

      In fact the ice-core scientists predicted in 1990 (Lorius et al) that the ice-cores they were yet to drill would…

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    1. John McBain

      Consultant at Community Sustainability consultant

      In reply to Jonathan Rutherford

      Jonathon. Thanks for the link to your blog which also led me to a deeper delving of Ted's 'work'. The Simpler Way (2010 I think) is a fantastic collection of resources. If we accept that the local community is the 'right' planning, governance and living level (which I believe makes a lot of sense, and that assumption underlies the SUN project I am developing) we still have a fairly substantial challenge. How do we transition from here to there. Is there a 'vehicle capable of taking everyone for the…

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  34. trevor bunce

    farmer

    you have all heard the saying
    FIDDLING WHILE ROME BURNS

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  35. George Covas

    Brain Surgeon

    A Climate Scientist FINALLY Admits:
    "the stubborn refusal of the planet to warm as had been predicted over the last decade, all makes a high climate sensitivity increasingly untenable"

    Veeery interesting ....

    The climate scientist James Annan sent these thoughts by email:

    ‘Well, the press release is a bit strange, because it sounds like it is talking about the Aldrin et al paper which was published some time ago, to no great fanfare. I don’t know if they have a further update to that…

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  36. George Covas

    Brain Surgeon

    Australia’s Hottest Day Was More Likely In Explorer Sturt’s Time
    iN 1828 at a blistering 53.9 °C

    Back before man-made climate change was frying Australia, when CO2 was around 300ppm, the continent savoured an ideal preindustrial climate, right? (This is the kind of climate we are spending $10bn per annum to get back too?)

    We are told today’s climate has more records and more extremes than times gone by, but the few records we have from the early 1800’s are eye-popping. Things were not just…

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    1. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to George Covas

      Charles Sturt was not alone in recording 129ºF.
      Sir Thomas Mitchell also recorded 129ºF during another expedition at the Bogan river.

      In his words:
      “The thermometer in my tent stood at 117°, and when exposed to the wind rose rapidly to 129°, when I feared the thermometer would break as it only reached to 132°.”
      27th Dec 1845.

      http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/m/mitchell/thomas/tropical/complete.html

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    2. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to George Covas

      In one case the extreme heat had burst the thermometer!

      “At noon I took a thermometer, graduated to 127 degrees, out of my box, and observed that the mercury was up to 125 degrees. Thinking that it had been unduly influenced, I put it in the fork of a tree close to me, sheltered alike from the wind and the sun. In this position I went to examine it about an hour afterwards, when I found that the mercury had risen to the top of the instrument, and that its further expansion had burst the bulb, a circumstance that I believe no traveller has ever before had to record.”

      http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/s/sturt/charles/s93n/chapter12.html

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  37. George Covas

    Brain Surgeon

    GO BACK IN TIME TO FIND THE SUPER SCORCHERS

    NSW hit a high of 48.3ºC on Saturday at Bourke, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, and Sydney hit 42.3ºC last Tuesday.

    But we haven’t come close to the highest state temperature on record, (BoM records have been kept since 1910) which was 49.7ºC in Menindee on January 10, 1939.

    Or even to the 48.9ºC recorded at Brewarrina on December 9, 1912.

    And in the 19th Century, long before BoM took notice, there were hot days recorded in Sydney…

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  38. George Covas

    Brain Surgeon

    The IPCC's Fatal Founding Flaw

    The media at large and the public that the media influences seem to believe that the IPCC is an international authority on all aspects of climate.

    This is a popular but FALSE notion.

    The IPCC is, in fact, no more than a craftily assembled government-supported lobby group, doing what lobby groups usually do.

    When the average global temperature appeared to be rising in the late 1980's the ICSU, the UNEP and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) pushed…

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    1. John McBain

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to George Covas

      George. I find your commens rather interesting. Unlike many in this conversation, I am not interested in being right or wrong or arguing the point - I find those sorts of conversations boring and uninspiring. I am intrigued that your replies are restricted to comments that have an opposing point of view to yours. The historical anecdotes about early explorers are interesting - exploding thermometers and the like. I note you have not shown interest in my posts - don't panic, I have still slept soundly…

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  39. George Covas

    Brain Surgeon

    Would You Buy A Used Car From These “Scientists”?

    Our gullible alarmist friends have obviously fallen for this climate change scam hook, line, and sinker!

    JUDGE THESE “SCIENTISTS” BY THEIR ACTIONS!

    First we had the IPCC report "The Science of Climate Change 1995", where lead author Benjamin D. Santer removed the following conclusions made by genuine scientists, and without the scientists being made aware of these changes.

    "None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that…

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    1. George Covas

      Brain Surgeon

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      Gary wrote "Radiative forcing by greenhouse gases is well understood and physically quantified."

      But totally misunderstood by the warmists!

      Some Skeptical Questions That Warmists Scrupulously
      Avoid Answering
      Come on warmists give it a go!

      •Isn’t warming from CO2 a diminishing return, such that each 10ppm of CO2 has less warming effect than the last 10 ppm?

      •Isn’t warming from CO2 asymptotic, such that total warming from CO2 is capped?

      •Isn’t 2/3 or more of the future warming…

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    2. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to George Covas

      "Isn’t warming from CO2 a diminishing return, such that each 10ppm of CO2 has less warming effect than the last 10 ppm?"

      The next 10ppm will generate 389/399 of the forcing that the last 10 ppm generated. That makes the problem soooooooooooooooo much smaller, doesn't it?

      "Isn’t warming from CO2 asymptotic, such that total warming from CO2 is capped?"

      Maybe, but then Venus isn't such a nice place to live either.

      That's enough denialist memes for one day. Come back when you can demonstrate that you've understood the above (which won't be anytime soon).

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    3. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to George Covas

      The earth's climate is NOT a stable system. Look at the climate record - it can change quickly and dramatically. Historically as a result of positive feedbacks triggered by changes in the earth's orbit. (Higher temperatures leading to more CO2 release from the oceans leading to more warming).

      By introducing further radiative forcing elements we are risking unbalancing the climatic forces and causing rapid changes which will be extremely difficult for humans (and the natural world) to adapt to. This is extremely dangerous and irresponsible.

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  40. John Dwyer

    logged in via Facebook

    Hi, What I seem to be reading here relates to the present and past behaviour of our social and living attitudes. As time goes, fifty years ago technology is in the dark ages,not doing too well at the moment. Tec. advancements now are leading us into an age we will not be able to grasp. A few acres of Hydroponics will feed hundreds. Synthetic foods will supplement as well. Hydroponics on all roof tops.Nano technology knows no bounds.The technology of our brain already is produced in our electronic…

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    1. John Dwyer

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Dwyer

      As a by the way line I was born in 1930, still trying to see it all, not yet seeing it all!!!

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