Climate Change in Australia


#5510

#5511

Lol. I give up… :roll_eyes:

Go Tories!!!


#5512

Its not just a climate change issue but overpopulation. Fresh water may be come scarce in certain regions. eg. parts of India have exhausted their ground water reserves at the very time the population has built to vast numbers.

So, what if we have to deal with 10 million starving refugees from India. ?

Don’t laugh. This might happen. What will we do? Accept them on humanitarian grounds?


#5513

And what worries me is that we allow foreign countries to buy our farmland here. What happens when this said foreign country runs low on food? High likelihood the food produced in australia will be getting shipped there.


#5514

That’s exactly why they are buying the land. Food security is far more important everywhere else but here


#5515

We are so dumb


#5516

I’m actually less worried about food security on a national level than most. Regardless of who nominally owns the land, it still operates on Australian soil under the rule of the Australian govt. If things get REALLY bad, the Australian govt always has the option to say ‘our food supply is no longer secure and therefore we’re putting export restrictions on food’.

But if things get that bad, then frankly that’ll be the least of our problems because there’ll be howling famines and crop failures all over the world, and hunger and desperation bring war.


#5517

Yes. Well done for admitting your deficiencies. I’ll keep trying to educate you.


#5518

Instead of trolling me, why don’t you put some actual effort and intellectual rigour into responding to HM’s posts from the last couple of days? I think you are in way over your head.


#5519

Is it necessary to be so condescending?


#5520

Fixed.


#5521

I’m afraid my ponytail and man-bun days are over, but I do appreciate the offer.


#5522

Ok, part 3. Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more…

There is an old saying in politics, but it usually applies to science as well. For every complex problem, there is a commonsense solution that is simple, straightforward, intuitive, and wrong.

Understanding the earth’s climate and why it behaves the way is does is a very, very complex problem. One thing you’ll see over and over again in the climate change denialist ‘literature’ (if I can call it that) is the tendency to think small. To look at a tiny aspect of the whole, ignoring context and consequence and complication, and try to offer a single simple explanation or refutation, or rhetorical trick, but without exploring the consequences or implications of that.

This is not coincidence, it’s part of a strategy laid down long ago. Exxon is the best-known example. According to their internal documents, they knew and accepted the reality of climate change a long time ago. But they adopted a strategy of confusion and obfuscation that has had long-running consequences. From the Exxon Global Climate Science Communication Team, 1998 (https://insideclimatenews.org/sites/default/files/documents/Global%20Climate%20Science%20Communications%20Plan%20(1998).pdf):

Victory Will Be Achieved When

Average citizens “understand” (recognize) uncertainties in climate science; recognition of uncertainties becomes part of the “conventional wisdom”
Media “understands” (recognizes) uncertainties in climate science
Media coverage reflects balance on climate science and recognition of the validity of viewpoints that challenge the current “conventional wisdom”
Industry senior leadership understands uncertainties in climate science, making them stronger ambassadors to those who shape climate policy
Those promoting the Kyoto treaty on the basis of extent science appears to be out of touch with reality.

The strategy was, as the saying goes, to baffle with bullshit rather than blind with brilliance. Create enough noise, confusion, uncertainty that avoiding action seems like a valid course of action. Exxon these days claims to accept the reality of climate change (while strenuously opposing any effort to do anything about it) but there’s significant evidence they still fund climate denialism on the sly. I strongly suspect other oil/coal companies do similar.

This is NOT to claim that everyone who denies the reality of climate change these days is on Exxon’s payroll. Their strategy succeeded, enormously, and now it’s self-perpetuating. I don’t believe in single big conspiracies running everything, but I DO believe that there’s a whole lot of people out there who don’t know much about science but who can be gulled by this stuff. There is an entire ecosystem of people who sincerely believe (variously) that the earth is not warming, that CO2 doesn’t cause warming, that warming won’t be bad, that there’s nothing we can do about warming, that warming is natural, that warming will be beneficial, that increased atmospheric CO2 will be beneficial, that doing anything about warming is too expensive and/or socialist, or any combination of the above. There’s entire little online ecosystems of them now, all referring to each other, all operating outside the conventions of rigorously reviewed science. If you spend enough time reading this stuff, you’ll start to see the same handful of names over and over and over again. Ian Plimer. Bob Carter. Ole Humlum (remember him?) Lindzen. Marohasy, Harde, Christy, Spencer, anything on wattsupwiththat, Judith Curry, our boy Macrae etc etc etc. They refer to each other because they have to - no-one else will give them the time of day.

A couple of red flags to be aware of:

First, any argument that sources heavily from the above names. Climate denialism is incestuous. There are so few scientists willing to prostitute themselves to it that climate denialists will refer to the same handful of names over and over and over again. A real climate science paper will reference extremely widely - there’s been a hude amount of research on climate over the past 30 years or so, and so the international worlds-best expert on any given facet of it is likely to be someone you’ve never heard of.

Second, beware of people who claim to know EVERYTHING. Climate science is enormously complicated. In fact, it’s so complicated that it’s pretty much beyond any single person to be an expert on every single aspect of it. Real scientists specialise, they become masters of their own narrow fields. Frauds claim to know everything. So in this article, we’ve got Macrae claiming to be an expert on (among other things…) energy policy, co2 feedback cycles, mathematical modelling, volcanoes, plant growth, coldsnap mortality statistics, El Nino, paleoclimatology, the internal workings of the sun, energy storage technology, etc etc etc. This doesn’t happen. Real scientists specialise. Frauds claim to know everything.

So, how does one tell the deliberate bulldust from the real thing?

Again, look for oversimplification. Look for the unwillingness to confront the logical consequences of one’s arguments. Looks for the tendency to ignore masses data that is inconvenient. And above all else, look for the unwillingness to learn or engage with genuine scientific criticism.

Which brings us neatly back to Mr Macrae. I mentioned last episode that his choice to start his analysis with rates of chance of co2 and temperature, rather that actual AMOUNTS of co2 and temperature, was … questionable. Here’s why. Consider the two graphs below.

They’re almost the same, right? Well, yes they are. However, if these two graphs are graphs of rate of change, then the raw values they’re measuring the change of can be represented by the graph below (blue in the first graph represents the rate of change of blue in the second, etc…)

Fair bit of difference, hey? Yep, because the underlying upward trend in the blue data looks deceptively small when you’re only looking at the rate of change - and when you’re looking at messy, real-world data, it’s very easy for the trend component of the rate of change to be almost impossible to spot. It is, for anyone who’s been unfortunate enough to have to delve deep into statistics in their professional careers, extremely well-known that if you look only at the rate of change, then the short-term fluctuations often drown out more significant long-term trends. Macrae ignores this. Without any explanation he chooses to base his analysis on rate of chance, therefore wilfully ignoring the possibility of neglecting a long-term trend. And worse, he can’t pretend he didn’t know about this. Our old friend Humlum is a long-time proponent of the same trick. He propensity for doing so was neatly shredded in this 2017 paper

Humlum et al. (2013; HSS13) argued that changes in CO2 follow changes
in the temperature, and that this implies that the increases seen in the Keeling
curve are not man-made. Their claims implicitly support the CO2-curve
presented by Beck (2008), and the thesis that the increase in the CO2
concentrations seen in the Keeling curve is not due to the burning of fossil
fuels, has long been an aspect of agnotology surrounding the global warming
issue. The analysis on which HSS13 based their conclusions filtered out the
long-term signal through a correlation between the annual time differences in
CO2 and temperature. This procedure removes the long time scales, and
emphasises the short-term variations. Hence, HSS13 found the well-known link
between El Niño Southern Oscillation and CO2. They then incorrectly assumed
that this link excludes the effect of anthropogenic emissions.

Sound familar? So what we’re seeing here is that Humlum and his mates had their arguments surgically deconstructed in 2017 (and given how basic the flaws in the argument are, I imagine they were also stomped on elsewhere long before that too, though I don’t have a link) but that does not stop Macrae regurgitating the same argument in 2019, with not even the slightest mention of the thunderous refutation it had received years earlier! Again, this is not honest scholarship. Good science learns from its mistakes. Propaganda doubles down, because it’s intended to sow doubt in the minds of the general populace, not convince experts with solidly reasoned arguments.

Ok, I’m going to step sideways here for a minute. I’ve talked a lot about what bad climate science looks like, so I’m going to talk for a bit about what good climate science looks like by comparison.

As mentioned earlier, the earth’s climatic system is more complicated than a very complicated thing. The sheer number of inputs is staggering. At a really basic level, measuring global warming is a case of looking at the heat (from the sun) entering the earth’s atmosphere, and comparing it to the heat bouncing back into space. If the two are out of balance, then the earth’s average temperature will change. But there’s a whole army of devils in the detail. We know that CO2 helps trap heat in the atmosphere - but so does water vapour. And the hotter it gets the more water evaporates, so the more water vapour there is in the atmosphere. But the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is affected by a huge number of factors. Hotter water releases more co2. Increased coal burning emits more co2 (but how much? And does the type of coal matter? What about if the furnace is in poor repair? How confident are you that your power plants are measuring emissions properly? And what about wood - can you hazard a guess how many wood fires humanity runs every night and what co2 they emit? And what happens if governments try to cut down on emissions? What happens if some governments do and some don’t?) And then there’s a hundred different feedback loops. Melting icecaps drop cold water into the sea, which means the sea cools (on average) so maybe it can absorb more co2? But cold meltwater sinks, so suddenly warmer water is at the surface again, so what happens with co2 emissions then? And the parts of the earth that used to be covered in white ice are now covered in dark soil or deep blue sea, so they reflect less sunlight to more heat is trapped in the atmosphere. And if some of the melting happened in permafrost regions, then methane is going to be released as the soil thaws and the peat starts to rot again. And all this cold water we’re dumping in the sea - well, back in section 6 Macrae said that water temperature affected co2 emissions… And even more complicated than that is attempting to predict the LOCAL effects of X degrees of warming. What happens to weather patterns? Does changing temperature water affect ocean currents and fish migration? What about rainfall? 2 billion people in asia rely on the annual monsoon and Himalaya meltwater for their drinking water, what happens to that?

Every factor affects every other factor. CO2 and sunlight and water/earth chemical composition and temperature and wind/water currents all interact and affect each other all over the world. Predicting exactly what’s going to happen is appallingly complex, and then there’s the human factor. When global warming starts to become disastrous, what do we do? Do we knuckle down and try to fix it? Or do we get desperate about stuff like food shortages and bulldoze forests to farm more land, therefore emitting more co2? And when do we make these decisions? All this stuff affects climate outcomes. There are Just So Many Variables.

Climate science addresses this by building massive computer simulations. We are, on the whole, pretty across the basic laws of physics and chemistry (there are always surprises, but ther;e’s fewer and fewer as time passes.) Climate scientists will build a huge computer simulation of the earth’s atmosphere, and the oceans, and the land. They can plug in known physical laws, mess with parameters a bit (what happens if we hardly reduce our co2 emissions at all for 10 years, then do a lot the next 5? What happens if the amazon rainforest is cleared? What happens if the antarctic icepack melts 10% faster than we’re currently estimating it will) and then run the simulation to estimate what effects this will have on the climate going forwards. Is it perfect? Hell no - there’s inevitable simplifications in the computer model (to get a perfect model, we’d need to model every molecule on earth and every photon emitted by the sun…) and we do keep running into things we got a little bit wrong. But every model can be run against know past data, and so they should be improving in accuracy all the time. However, because they are real scientists and they know that they don’t know everything, they talk about uncertainties. The IPCC report always couches its climate predictions in terms of multiple scenarios - best case, business as usual, worst case, etc etc. Because they have the humility to admit they don’t know everything, and that not everything (govt environmental policy, technological advances, volcanoes, etc etc) can be predicted using a scientific climate model. Real science admits its uncertainties. Frauds are arrogantly certain - and will in fact often have the brass face to imply that because a real scientist talks about uncertainties in their conclusions, those conclusions are unreliable.

Compare and contrast what Macrae did in his paper. Chose a data set (rates of change) that he knew was flawed, chose to only use it from 1982 (ignoring all the data before that). Arbitrarily choose a location to be his co2 emissions lynchpin. Arbitrarily assume that it’s all a sine curve. No error bounds, no variances, no uncertainties. One guy who knows everything about all possible subfields of climate science. Riiight.

And more to the point, he ignores consequences and ignores questions. The obvious ones - the data set that he is using the rate of change of shows a steady warming trend (he chooses a doctored dataset to avoid talking about it). Real climate science has a hypothesis for what is causing this (human emissions). Macrae is just silent on it. He completely neglects to ask what is causing the temperature changes in his pet Nino34 region - is harry potter sitting on a tropical island somewhere in Nino34 with a magic wand, just warming things randomly by lighting palm trees on fire?

And of course, then we get down to the REAL basics. The basic science of greenhouse warming has been known for a long time - I think Svante Arrhenius was the first one to come up with it, back in the 1890s. The basic summary of the situation goes like this:

  1. we know that CO2 (and methane, sulphur dioxide, etc) act to trap heat, and we know what amount of heat they trap. This can be verified in a laboratory, and since physics came up with the atomic theory of matter, we also have a profoundly robust explanation as to why this is the case (the particular electron shells and emission/transmission spectra of co2 etc)
  2. We know that burning fossil fuels releases co2. Again, we can verify this in a lab, and we can also make a pretty good guess at how much CO2 etc is being emitted globally by looking at coal consumption and car efficiency vs fuel consumed, amount of forest cleared etc etc.
  3. We can verify through measurement that the earth right now is steadily getting hotter at a rate that is quite unprecedented - but which is in line with what we would expect to see given 1. and 2. In fact, what we’re seeing now WAS predicted - here’s a projection from 1981 based on some really basic calculations, neglecting a lot of the feedbacks etc that we’re now aware of image and as you can see, when we compare it with measured reality it’s scarily on-point
  4. We can look at all the other possible sources of warming to see if they might also be responsible (the sun? Nope, the sun’s been behaving relatively normally in its usual 11-year cycle for the past decades. Volcanoes? The’re been no particularly big or long-lasting eruptions. Harry Potter setting fire to palm trees? Well, maybe…)

We have a classic scientific construct here. We have observations (1, 2, 3. and 4.) and they combine to allow us to predict. While human emissions continue, global temperatures will rise steeply.

But of course this is a classic scientific construct, so of course it must be disprovable (otherwise it’s not science). This is where Mr Macrae has an opportunity.

Climate science is a four legged stool. Kick out one leg, and the edifice falls. The above four points illustrate how to disprove climate science

Climate science: come ahead if ya think yer hard enough!!

  1. Prove that CO2 doesn’t absorb heat. If you can do this, you basically overturn the entire theoretical basis that modern physics has been built on since the discovery of the atom, so the line for Nobel physics prizes starts to the right.
  2. Disprove that burning fossil fuels emits co2 (see above, except it’ll be a nobel prize for chemistry this time around)
  3. prove that the earth is not warming (looks around at melting glaciers, receding icesheets, record temperatures year after year after year). Yeeeeah, good luck with that.
  4. provide an explanation for the earth’s recent heating other than 1 and 2 (you’ll still need to disprove 1 and 2 though! It IS theoretically possible that there is more than once cause of warming, and here on blitz we CAN walk and chew gum at the same time (yes, really) so we can admit the possibility!)

The final red flag I’ll ask you to keep an eye out for is the lack of a single clear thesis. The basic climate science thesis is relatively simple. CO2 emissions trap heat which warms the earth which has effects like raised sea levels, lower rainfall, more extreme weather events etc etc. The precise predictions as to what happens on a local level, and the pace at which things happen, and the impact on individual species or ecosystems or places etc etc - there’s an appalling amount of complexity in THOSE predictions. But the basic principle holds.

On the other hand, we have Mr Macrae. His thesis gets more and more demented the further you go through this article, but it’s something like ‘I’m not going to talk about whether the earth is warming but warming causes natural co2 emissions in a cycle and co2 doesn’t cause warming but co2 is good and warming is good too and warming is caused by the sun anyway except maybe a little bit which is caused by co2 which is good anyway and greenies are corrupt propagandists who destroy rainforests and who want to kill all of humanity’

And of course it’s worth remembering that Mr Macrae’s article is hosted on wattsupwiththat, which routinely posts articles supporting EVERY possible opinion in the spectrum of climate denial. And among the opinions that are routinely hosted there are many that accuse the IPCC, NASA, the BoM here in Australia and the UK equivalent, and every major research institution or scientific body of faking or deliberately manipulating their data to hoax the existence of global warming. But then Macrae comes along and uses the very same data they say is faked to argue against global warming, and all of a sudden it’s ‘yay scientific data analysis!!’

Macrae and wattsupwiththat can’t have it both ways. Either the data is good or it isn’t, either the earth is warming or it isn’t. If you look back in the wattsupwiththat archives (don’t do this, your brain cells will not thank you!) then you’ll see they’ll make ANY argument, no matter how many of them contradict each other, so long as the upshot is ‘don’t do anything about climate change’. Climate change is good but it’s not happening but the data is fraudulent but the data proves it’s not happening and co2 is good so we should burn more coal but coal is not contributing to atmospheric co2 and also the earth’s climate is cyclical but it’s cooling. No intellectual coherence or integrity whatsoever.

Ok, next episode we put on a hazmat suit and delve gingerly into the urine-stained, pants-on-head crazy of the Discussion section. Tune in to Episode 4 for Dr Strangelove, tree rings, the perils of graphs part II, and drowning puppies FOR SCIENCE…


#5523

HM, this is a massive amount of work. I hope you are not doing this just for this forum?


#5524

When the order in society begins to break down, at dusk 20 people might appear outside your house and say we need somewhere to sleep and do you have any food we can eat. What do you say?
Because once you let them in, they will kill you or kick you and your family out on the street.

The same thing would be repeated if QLD and NSW became uninhabitable, whoever is left would come down south and be knocking at doors in Victoria.

The same thing will happen if/when whole countries with vast numbers of people, with no water and no food, seek to go to temperate zones.

How are we going to respond to this? Because if global warming is severe, the world will have massive populations on the move . Call them environmental refugees if you like.

There are 2 alternatives. Let them in or try to stop them. What will we do?


#5525

War quite basically to thin the herd. Nobody will admit it is for food/water though, it’ll be justified by religion or some such nonsense just as the yanks use democracy as the reason when it’s really about securing oil supply.


#5526

But I was reliably informed by other posters in this thread that climate change was a scare campaign invented by Al Gore so he could get rich.


#5527

Are you a prepper?


#5528

Didn’t Al Gore get rich from inventing the internet?


#5529

They are very good questions and they are questions our pollies do not want us thinking or talking about. Because once people do and they understand what it all means to them, they will begin to pressure pollies. Fortunately for us we live a long way away from where it will be happening before it happens to us, hopefully. We will be able to watch, plan and wait.

One big city in India is about to run out of water. People will be on the move and it is going to be interesting to watch from afar what happens.

In Australia, we need to be starting to think about water and how to preserve it and save it. Composting toilets for starters or long drops. Heavy mulching of our veggie gardens so we maximise our water usage. I am not a prepper but I know people who are. Before moving to where I am I lived open a completely self contained property with solar/wind power and six dams. We grew all our own food. Not now but I could still do some things.

We have as pretty good veggie garden, solar panels and tanks. Its frightening to think about it.