Stuff and nonsense

This would have been better published promptly, but even tardy (sorry!) is better than never.  — RT

This extraordinary recent headline is still visible online, published by Stuff over the name of one Charlie Mitchell, journalist:

Charlie Mitchell

By asking for evidence of climate change, a council is neglecting its duty

An outrageous response to a reasonable question. First the scientists, now the journalists have put these well-meaning, diligent councillors on the defensive. And for what? To defend the mainstream line on climate change.

But he’s forgotten the fundamental question of journalism, the one that defines his job: “Why?” A good journalist lives to ask why.

The council is asking “why?” just as a journalist does. In criticising the council, there’s no sign in Charlie of his own internal question about the evidence of dangerous man-made global warming. This is extraordinary, for it means he accepts other people’s word that “the science is settled” without the slightest curiosity—which condemns his practise of the craft of journalism.

“Neglect of duty” is in many situations, public and personal, a breach of the law. So Charlie seems to be saying that asking for evidence before spending public funds skirts criminality, which is obvious nonsense.

Charlie knows that local body councillors have a duty to their ratepayers, but when anyone asks a polite question, it’s plain courtesy to give them the best answer you can. As a journalist, Charlie should treat the councillors politely.

You can only say requesting evidence is neglect of duty if you believe that global warming is settled now and forever and must never be questioned. But that would make it a religious topic, because in the practical world there is always the unexpected. The council are also explaining (if anyone’s listening) that climate matters have simply not been explained to them very well.

The most common practical reason a man refuses to give evidence is that he has no evidence. But Charlie says the evidence is overwhelming, so that’s a hopeful sign. In the article, he puts it elegantly:

Scientists aren’t prosecuting a criminal case, which they stop once a jury has made its decision; they continue to think, experiment, and test their hypotheses, resulting in a scientific record that swells like a balloon expanding infinitely, from which policymakers draw conclusions based on the body of evidence. Decades of this process has led to overwhelming evidence that the climate is warming as the direct result of human activity.

Overwhelming? This makes it simple, Charlie: what is it? Just tell us the evidence—everybody wants to know. Then I’ll go away.

9 Thoughts on “Stuff and nonsense

  1. Brett Keane on March 12, 2019 at 4:47 pm said:

    Not holding my breath….
    See our mate Simon spreading his poison elsewhere in the blogosphere. Empty of originality or science as usual. Wish it or the trollmeister could reasonably discuss quantum oscillators and such. Eg Maxwell’s work. I need better access to it. That would be productive. Currently putting questions to Roy Spencer again. Answers will come, from there. My little IR reader gun finds no discernible Downwelling radiative effect, but I await correction….

    C’mon Charlie, lets hear it. Your evidence please! Brett Keane

  2. Simon on March 18, 2019 at 4:06 pm said:
    418,000 papers and counting…
    Alternatively, you could always read the IPCC assessment reports. The purpose of these is to distill the scientific literature into conclusions that a lay-person can understand.

  3. Actinic Marvel on March 18, 2019 at 5:41 pm said:

    Simon, Please remember that science is not a popularity contest. As Einstein said: “One paper will prove me wrong.” There have been many false ideas in the past – look at the “The Ice Age is coming” of the 1970s, and the Biogenic Rays of the 1930s. There are many more.

    Science is about careful measurements, not models. Of the 23 or so models used in climate science none have been accurate or even anywhere near accurate in their predictions. The only one that comes near to reality is the Russian model. And if you remember your maths, interpolation is fraught with difficulty and extrapolation can be disastrous.

    Can you look at NOAA’s data? You might get a shock. No evidence of an increase in the rate of sea level rises – only a very poor correlation with atmospheric carbon dioxide content!

    Then look at the temperature records from balloons and satellites. No change in temperature, in fact, evidence of a 0.3 deg C drop in temperature in the last few years in the all-important mid-atmosphere. (We in NZ have only had a 0.8 to 1.0 increase in average temperature since recordings began – and that could be due to the urban island effect and the shifting of the recording stations).

    Now have a look at the prices and yields of food items easily available on the web. Prices are going down and yields up – both the result of increased CO2 nutrient in the atmosphere. The wretched poverty of people earning less than than $1 per day has halved in the last few years, a wonderful outcome due to a number of favourable factors (“drivers?”), which include the green revolution, GE cropping and increased atmospheric CO2.

    Finally, reverse your search and look on Google for evidence against anthropogenic global warming – you might be surprised.

  4. Simon on March 19, 2019 at 9:50 am said:

    Impressive Gish Gallop where everything you stated was false.
    Where is this one paper? The author would surely earn a Nobel and save the world a lot of trouble if it were true. An alternative hypothesis would need to explain the observed warming.
    ’70’s ice age hypothesis and Biogenic Rays were never mainstream.
    CMIP models are tracking well. Models can not predict volcanic eruptions and natural variability (ENSO etc) in advance. Model track very well when hind-cast.
    Sea levels are rising at about 3.2mm/yr with evidence of acceleration.
    Tropospheric temperatures are rising but are much more sensitive to ENSO.
    Temperature homogenisation accounts for stations shift and UHI.
    Yield increases are primarily due to genetic improvement and intensification. The CO2 nutrient effect thus far has been minimal. It is amusing how the people who claim that CO2 concentration is insufficient to affect the climate are the same who extol the virtues of CO2 fertilisation. Yield increases will only occur if carbon accessibility is the limiting factor. Water, solar radiation, and nutrients are usually the biggest limitation.
    There is a 97% consensus among papers that the cause of global warming is anthropogenic. This has been confirmed by multiple studies and the percentage has been steadily increasing over time.
    Read the scientific literature, not crank websites.

  5. Brett Keane on March 19, 2019 at 4:24 pm said:

    Ah yes Simon, I know the mendacious troll you got the Gish insult from. “Navy Skipper who didn’t know steam from smoke – give us a break from it please”. Caught out like a hooked tiddler. Like the rest, you rise to a crescendo of panic, precisely like rats in a barrel. We present sound Papers all the time which you ignore. Scientists and clear-minded others can understand them but never trolls.
    Meanwhile even current Nasa Starmen are writing Papers with the Doom of the scam in them. Seen here even. Brett

  6. Barry Brill on April 2, 2019 at 9:09 pm said:

    “An alternative hypothesis would need to explain the observed warming.”

    The earth has been remarkably stable at 14.1 ± 2°C for endless millennia. And so it remains.
    The null hypothesis is that long history will continue.

    But you say “it’s different this time!” When asked for evidence, you riposte by demanding evidence that you are wrong.

    The IPCC assessment report – Chap 10 of WG1 of AR5 “Detection & Attribution” – sets out to put the case. But then it chokes! The sole evidence mentioned is Jones et al (2012), which is a paper about the output of a climate model!

  7. Simon on April 3, 2019 at 10:15 am said:

    Have you actually read Chapter 10? It’s pretty heavy going. References stretch to 13 pages, not the one paper as you claim. You might find this more readable.

  8. Richard Treadgold on April 3, 2019 at 10:39 am said:


    References stretch to 13 pages, not the one paper as you claim.

    Barry did not say “the sole reference”, he said “the sole evidence”. He describes it clearly in this earlier comment to you and explains it more fully in Unpacking climate alarm. You’ve read that post, since you left comments on it, but a refresher might be in order.

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