Climate Change in Australia


Eat my shorts!

Bart Simpson, 1991


I skimmed it. There was nothing new there for someone like me who’s heard ALL the climate denialist lines by now, but I can see how, if you’re not used to reading this sort of thing, or aren’t particularly familiar with the standard tactics etc used by the denialist set, it might seem plausible.

If you’re legit interested, I could do a dissection of the article. It regurgitates a lot of the standard talking points and tropes one sees in this sort of propagandistic quasi-analysis, and it’s useful to be able to recognise them, so when someone uses them again, you know they’re speaking with a forked tongue.

@wimmera1 is right about why I’m so dismissive of the original poster though. He’s proven over months and months to not be arguing in good faith, he repeatedly trawls up garbage articles from the septic depths of online conspiracy theorydom and if anyone puts any effort into analysing or refuting these articles he learns nothing, discusses nothing, listens to nothing, and then comes back a while later with another garbage link to a garbage website.

But everyone gets the benefit of the doubt until they demonstrate they don’t deserve it. If you’re legit interested in why I’m dismissive of the article itself, let me know and I’ll talk you through it. As I said, there’s really not a lot there.


If you don’t mind, I am legit interested in your dissection of the article. I think you have dodged Hambo’s question, but that is cool. Please answer at your leisure. I’m not coming from any angle, but am keen to read your analysis. Cheers in advance.


No probs, I’ll have a look at it over the next day or two.

The reason I come across as dodging hambo’s question may be that I kinda am. There’s a lot more time & effort involved in reading and analysing this sort of article than there is in spamming a link to it, it’s going to take me hours of my time, and multiple timesin the past I’ve done long breakdowns of stuff like this to find the original poster never bothers to read or engage with what I’ve written, but rather goes back to the internet looney bin and repeats the process.

But at the end of the day, this stuff is IMPORTANT, more important than basically any other scientific/political/economic issue in the world and it isn’t even close. I have no problems whatsoever spending some time if I can help answer sincere questions about it.


Answer a question or ■■■■ off for good, troll.


Okay, for @hambo and @JohnRain, I’ll start to have a piece by piece look at the article posted above. Bear in mind if I’m going to critique this as it deserves it’ll take a long time, and it certainly won’t be done in a single post. So bear with me, we might be a week or so.

Also, there will inevitably be maths. It probably won’t go much above a year 9 level or so, partly because I hate that sort of thing and partly because this guy hasn’t given me enough detail to work with most of the time, but his schtick is the gross misuse of mathematical techniques to support his arguments, so we’re going to have to get our hands dirty at some point.

I’m going to start with a quick look at how this guy presents himself and his paper. He’s clearly aiming for the appearance of an academic journal article, with abstract, high density of graphs, section for hypothesis and conclusions, etc etc.

Here is a sample of the introduction, headers, etc of a legit academic paper on African dinosaurs - one would hope a less politically charged subject!

And here’s the abstract…


And here’s the mandatory disclosure statement…


So, that’s the sort of standard of detail and transparency I’m looking for here. The author makes some extraordinary claims about the significance of his paper (in the hypothesis/conclusions section, we’ll get to that…) so I’d expect to see him behave with utmost scientific rigor in order to ensure his results are seen as credibly as possible by the wider scientific community.

Not so, alas.

First red light is that he insists on writing his name with as many letters as possible after it. This is not done in science - everyone has a damn degree, so there’s no point bragging about it. And besides, listing your BACHELOR’S degree? You might as well list your VCE grade, or the fact you got a gold star in kinder for being the first kid to go a whole day without pooping yourself.

Second red light - Mr Macrae’s list of qualifications raises more questions than answers. B.A.Sc is presumably Bachelor of Applied Science - a very unusual degree for someone doing climate research, but not completely impossible, so we’ll move on. M.Eng is a mystery to me, though it’s obviously engineering related. Engineers do not, as a rule, do climate science. P.Eng, however, is Professional Engineer, which is basically a qualification that you’re a senior enough engineer to give final sign off on safety plans etc. Again, relevance to climate science? This is not to say that people without advanced science degrees can’t contribute to science (though i’d argue these days it’s very rare that they do), but why list this at all? To me, it looks like he’s just trying to put as many letters after his name as possible to make his qualifications appear imposing.

Next red flag - his affiliations etc. He carefully doesn’t list ANYTHING about who he works for, who funded the research etc etc, unlike our dinosaur guys. However, a bit of a linkedin search and here he is:

So, he’s an oil industry project manager, consultant, and CEO. His qualifications are in mining tech. He has no climate science qualifications, or atmospheric science qualifications. He has no peer-reviewed scientific articles even in his own field, much less in climate science. Even in his own field it doesn’t look like he focuses on emissions in any way - the biggest achievements he lists for himself are all on the financial/corporate/lobbying side. He works and promotes oil sands exploration - oil sands is one of the highest-emissions and most polluting methods of fossil fuel extraction known to exist. Surely this is something he should have disclosed in his paper, if he was being honest and transparent?

Anyway, that’s enough of the guy personally. Let’s move on.

(Though I will mention in passing that in their article describing a new dinosaur which they found, the dinosaur guys reference no less than 116 publications going back to 1842, all peer-reviewed except one which is an acknowledgement to a piece of analytical software they used. This is perfectly standard in science - in a peer-reviewed publication you want to demonstrate you’ve done your research, anticipated any questions or weaknesses in your conclusions, and given due credit to those giants upon whose shoulders you stand. Mr Macrae, in his article which claims to overturn the fundamentals of the entire field of climate science which have withstood every challenge for over a hundred years, lists … (drumroll) … 30 by my count, of which at least 25 are references to un-peer-reviewed blogs and at least two are references to his own work. This is appallingly shabby and dishonest scholarship, especially as I personally happen to know that many of the sources he lists have been refuted publicly, and he simply refuses to acknowledge the existence of the criticisms or address them A bit like @Bomber1408 in that respect…)

Right, now we get on to his claims of what the article covers and what his research proves. I’m going to quote this in its entirety, because, wow, the hubris of this guy…

Global warming alarmism, which falsely assumes that increasing atmospheric CO2 causes catastrophic global warming, is disproved – essentially, it assumes that the future is causing the past. In reality, atmospheric CO2 changes lag global temperature changes at all measured time scales.
Nino34 Area Sea Surface Temperature changes, then tropical humidity changes, then atmospheric temperature changes, then CO2 changes.
The velocity dCO2/dt changes ~contemporaneously with global temperature changes and CO2 changes occur ~9 months later (MacRae 2008).
The process that causes the ~9-month average lag of CO2 changes after temperature changes is hypothesized and supported by observations.
The ~9-month lag, +/- several months, averages 1/4 of the full-period duration of the variable global temperature cycle, which averages ~3 years.
Based on the above observations, global temperatures drive atmospheric CO2 concentrations much more than CO2 drives temperature.
Climate sensitivity to increasing atmospheric CO2 must be very low, less than ~1C/(2*CO2) and probably much less.
There will be no catastrophic warming and no significant increase in chaotic weather due to increasing CO2 concentrations.
Increasing atmospheric CO2 clearly causes significantly improved crop yields, and may cause minor, beneficial global warming.
Atmospheric CO2 is not alarmingly high, it is too low for optimal plant growth and alarmingly low for the survival of carbon-based terrestrial life.
Other factors such as fossil fuel combustion, deforestation, etc may also increase atmospheric CO2. The increase of CO2 is clearly beneficial.
“Green energy” schemes are not green and produce little useful (dispatchable) energy, primarily because of the fatal flaw of intermittency.
There is no widely-available, cost-effective means of solving the flaw of intermittency in grid-connected wind and solar power generation.
Electric grids have been destabilized, electricity costs have soared and Excess Winter Deaths have increased due to green energy schemes.

Earlier conclusions by the author and others are reviewed that disprove global warming alarmism and the justification for CO2 abatement schemes.
Increasing atmospheric CO2 does NOT cause dangerous global warming. Humanmade global warming / climate change is a false crisis.
Atmospheric CO2 changes lag global temperature changes at all measured time scales.
The process that causes the ~9-month average lag of CO2 changes after temperature changes is hypothesized and supported by observations.
This ~9-month lag, +/- several months, averages 1/4 of the full-period duration of the variable global temperature cycle, which averages ~3 years.

Ok, by the conventions of scientific discourse, this is his statement that the article we’re about to read has analysed the current state of knowledge in all the above fields and has thoughtfully addressed them all.

Spoiler alert, this is not true.

I’m not going to address all these rather grandiose statements right now, we’ll cover them one at a time as we progress though the article. Though you may want to compare and contrast the depth of analysis and detail that went into this abstract vs what the dinosaur guys put into theirs…

Anyway, that’s going to do me for the day. Sorry I didn’t get very far on the first installment (and that it sometimes may have looked like a whole lot of ad hominem), but I think it’s important (for those who might not be in the field) to give an idea of what REAL science looks like, the standards it demands, and the level of intellectual rigor that is expected, and how far short this article, despite its pretensions, falls of that.

Tune in tomorrow, as we start to get our hands dirty with Mr Macrae’s actual analysis and arguments, and take a brief tour through feedback loops, statistical misuse, chewing gum and
walking at the same time, Galileo, magic wands, and all the stuff about dy/dx (sin(ax)) that you wished you’d left behind forever in year 11 maths class. Stand by for Episode 2: Stop Waving That Graph Around Before You Poke Your Sister’s Eye Out…



(Also, regarding that abstract, I think anyone who manages to use the word ‘interpostzygapophyseal’ in a scrabble game wins scrabble forever, and everyone else just has to burn their sets cos there’s no topping that, ever.)


I’m not sure how I feel about reading an article posted here that I refused to click because I knew it would be stupid, only to find it’s far stupider than I could ever have imagined.

I’m sure saying that isn’t helpful to constructive debate. I apologise a little for that. A little.

But just the sheer number of claims…some of which are quite tenuously linked, scientifically, unless of course there is a far broader narrative that underlies it all.

And of course there is. The author doesn’t even bother to hide that there is, and I have to assume wouldn’t understand why that’s a problem.


M.Eng is masters of engineering


M.Eng the Merciless

I’ve been mistakenly saying Ming for years.


Sadly HM I don’t think Hambo and John Rain are on the edge of their seats. Werewolf and Bomber1408 aren’t even standing on the hill. Not to suggest you should stop, it’s top notch free uni! Without the mining company contribution to the new wing.


The funny thing about that is that one of my best mates, who routinely embarrasses me with his success in life and business, is now stupidly high up in BigOil/Energy. I know how quickly his group are moving into renewables. I don’t think the big and smart players are deluding themselves. Some of his stories of dealing with smaller US concerns would fit right into the kind of template you would imagine however. I kind of realise that this isn’t really a response to your post so much as it is me bragging about my mate, but I am proud of him.


My general rule in this thread is to assume good faith until there’s definitive evidence to the contrary. Both hambo and John rain hit ‘like’ on my first article breakdown post, so I assume they’re at least reading it.

I don’t care even the tiniest bit what werewolf & b1408 think. They’ve long since forfeited the right to be treated as if they’re arguing in good faith, and I can’t reason them out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into.


Your responses are very much appreciated and valuable. And I agree, its not about convincing irrational ideologues like werewolf - I always imagine there are anonymous, impressionable posters lurking who are vulnerable to this anti / pseudo-science propaganda.


I’m highly impressionable. At least that’s what my horoscope says.

Great work, HM.


Just as a side note of interest regarding nuclear, can we even get the technology? Is it free for any country to have?


We already run a small nuclear reactor in Sydney, for research and for creating radioactive isotopes for use in nuclear medicine. The basic tech of running reactors is fairly well known.


But surely nuclear tech isn’t just buy off the shelf? Aren’t there some sort of international treaties on this as well?


Most nuclear tech is purchaseable on the open market, with appropriate licences etc of course. There’s some materials and equipment that are only used for weapons manufacture, and they’re more tightly restricted. And security agencies etc take a keen interest in anyone who buys any of this stuff (bit like how the cops always keep a eye on who’s buying stuff at the local hydroponic shop…)