A greater certainty …

After a period of selective leaking, very reminiscent of the way governments dribble out the bad news before a budget, the IPCC’s AR5 WGI Summary for Policymakers has seen the light of day. The big news is that where that august body was only 90% sure it was our fault that the earth was warming they our now 95% sure.

Quite what they are more certain of is however much less certain.

What is also not certain is where the 90% certainty came from in AR4 (buried in a footnote in the Summary for Policymakers is the fact that the reported 90% confidence interval was simply based on “expert judgment” i.e. conjecture) and as to the new 95% well …

The 95% is basically expert judgment, it is a negotiated figure among the authors.  The increase from 90-95% means that they are more certain.  How they can justify this is beyond me. Judith Curry. (Well worth a read).

None the less it is a propaganda device that works fairly well in moving attention to an immeasurable certainty from the more obvious certainty that observations are well out of step with the models that are supposed to predict our fate.


Observations that show no statistically significant warming for a decade and a half despite increasing carbon dioxide …


Or as AR5 puts it …

“Models do not generally reproduce the observed reduction in surface warming trend over the last 10–15 years.”

Climate changes, has done forever, will do for ever. Carbon dioxide is one of the factors at work, we’ve known that since the 1890’s when Arrhenius developed the theory of greenhouse gases. What is still uncertain is what other factors are in play and the relative sensitivities of climate to them. And on climate sensitivity AR5 …

No best estimate for equilibrium climate sensitivity can now be given because of a lack of agreement on values across assessed lines of evidence and studies.

Fairfax and the ABC will no doubt concentrate on the increased certainty of impending doom. They made up their collective minds long ago.


A phishy tale …

T’other day I received an email telling me that my Westpac account was locked because of an attempt at unauthorised access. It could be unlocked by clicking the link and following the appropriate steps.

Since I am a real whiz at spotting a phishing trip, aided perhaps by the fact that I don’t have a Westpac account, the link went unclicked.

To be a good citizen I visited the Westpac web site westpac.com.au. Near the top right on the page under the Customer Service heading is a link labelled Hoax or scam emails. Follow the link and you will be asked to report the scam and be given the address to do so hoax@westpac.com.au. You are then advised to delete the email. So far so good. I forwarded the scam message then deleted it. And since another incarnation of it would then be in my Sent mailbox I went there and deleted that.

Shortly afterwards I received an automatic reply … with the offending email within it.


Silver linings …

And while we’re talking about the ABC consider this …

Final figures show last year’s budget deficit $543m lower than expected

I heard the ABC take on this in the car. In their determination to find a silver lining in every Labor cloud they were selling the notion that after years of promising a surplus a budget deficit of $18.8 billion was cool because the forecast of five months ago was half a billion larger. (Another way to think of it is as a train of thirty eight carriages costing half a billion dollars each, isn’t it great that only thirty seven were destroyed in the train wreck.) They thought a net debt of $153 billion was fine too because it was predicted to be 5.6% bigger five months ago.

On the other hand, thunder clouds were in evidence when Mr Hockey declined to say when he would deliver a surplus … after all he’s been in the job for two whole weeks now.

I can think of one place he could save $1.18 billion.

Flummery …

The ABC were kind enough to tell us that …

Three former members of the Climate Commission, including its former head Tim Flannery, launched the new body this morning after the Abbott Government axed the commission last week.

Professor Flannery says community donations will fund the Climate Council so that it can continue to provide information to the public about climate change.

He says he’s been blown away by the number of donations he’s already received.

and that in my view is a very good thing. Passionate people putting their money behind their convictions, getting their voice out into the market square, taking their chances in the contest of ideas. I hope they do it well.

It is so much better than using tax payer funds to swamp the market place and skew the conversation.

The good professor has had a lot to say about climate change, if you wish you can review his predictions <HERE>. One of my favorites is this from 2007…

… the soil is warmer because of global warming and the plants are under more stress and therefore using more moisture. So even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and our river systems, and that’s a real worry for the people in the bush.

His crystal ball hasn’t been too accurate. Indeed the obnoxious James Delingpole of the UK Telegraph celebrates Tim Flannery’s sacking thus …

It is utterly inconceivable that anyone in the free market would ever pay someone so effectively useless so much money to do so little work for a job so utterly pointless as the one Flannery had as A$180,000 a year (for a three day week) Climate Commissioner.

It does look as though the most accurate prediction is Tony Abbott’s, that we would continue to have the benefit of Professor Flannery’s opinion without needing to pay for it. I wonder if we could do the same for the ABC.

Wyperfeld …

Spent a few days at Wyperfeld National Park in north-west Victoria.

It is the eastern fringe of the Big Desert and ranges from dune scrub to mallee with Black Box woodland in the parts that flood (on very rare occasions). There are two main camping areas, Wonga in the south and White Plains in the north. On this occasion I stayed in the south although I had a run up to White Plains to test out the recently acquired short wheelbase Prado on the desert track. It performed beautifully.

Also working as well as expected was the recently acquired Kwik Kampa.


The Pod Trailer is a delight to tow, I had a previous version that went all the way to the Gulf of Carpentaria with us but the first tent design was nowhere near as elegant as the trailer it was mounted on. This version is quick, simple, light and efficient. And Stockman Products are a delight to deal with.

The country was a riot of flower, the mallee sections especially …



The weather was kind and some of the locals were making good use of it …



Highlights of the bird list included good views of Mallee Fowl in the south and Orange Chat and Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo in the north.