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Climate Hustle

ABC documentary demonstrates the how and why of climate denial

Posted on 26 April 2012 by John Cook

Tonight, the Australian TV channel ABC will air the documentary I Can Change Your Mind about Climate. The show features climate activist Anna Rose and retired Liberal senator Nick Minchin attempting to change each others' minds about climate change, by introducing each other to a number of leading voices on climate change. Some have argued, with a fair amount of justification, that its unwise to give the small minority of those who reject climate science an equal voice with the overwhelming majority of climate scientists who agree that humans are causing global warming. However, in an article published today at ABC Environment, I argue (in a valiant effort to take a glass-half-full approach) that this documentary can instruct us on the how and why of climate denial. Here's an excerpt:

What do you do if all the world's experts disagree with you? A decades old technique perfected by the tobacco industry is to manufacture the appearance of a continued debate through fake experts. Climate change is a complicated, multi-disciplinary science and yet many of the leading voices who purport to know better than the experts have never published a single piece of climate research. Of Nick's four voices against the scientific consensus, we have a blogger, an engineer and a political lobbyist. Nick turns to only one actual climate scientist, whose research has been thoroughly refuted in the peer-reviewed literature.

Alternatively, when the world's leading experts disagree with you, another popular approach is to don a tinfoil hat and cry conspiracy. A small minority seem to believe that tens of thousands of climate scientists across the globe are all engaged in a conspiracy. Of course there is no evidence for this (which to the paranoid is further proof of a conspiracy), even when scientists' emails are stolen and pored over with a fine-tooth comb. Fortunately very little tin-foil-hattery is in evidence throughout the documentary, apart from a throwaway line from David Evans that scientists are 'concealing the evidence'.

How does one deny the consensus of evidence? One straightforward approach is to simply ignore it! Jo Nova ignores satellite observations that directly measure an increased greenhouse effect when she claims the warming effect from carbon dioxide (CO2) is immeasurable. Richard Lindzen claims negative feedbacks will cancel out CO2 warming, citing the Earth's past. But it's precisely the Earth's past that provides many independent lines of evidence for reinforcing feedbacks that are an integral part of our climate system.

Marc Morano delivers a breathtaking torrent of misinformation (although I'm not sure he did take a breath) that ignores entire swathes of evidence. He overlooks the fact that Arctic sea ice has dramatically thinned with the total amount of ice hitting record low levels in 2011. He ignores that global warming is still happening, with our planet currently absorbing heat at a rate of two Hiroshima bombs per second. Genuine scepticism requires considering the full body of evidence in order to properly understand what's happening to our climate. What we witness from Nick Minchin's witnesses is not genuine scepticism but rejection of any inconvenient evidence.

Read full article...

Observing the misinformation of David Evans, Jo Nova, Marc Morano and Richard Lindzen is an examination into the how of climate denial, exposing the techniques common to all movements that deny a scientific consensus. To explain the why, I leave it to Naomi Oreskes who deconstructs Nick Minchin's rejection of climate science in some powerful footage that tragically didn't make it into the final cut. Thanks to the magic of the interweb, here it is in all its YouTube glory (many thanks to the producers for granting permission for me to upload the video):

The documentary airs on Thursday 8.30pm Australian EST. During the documentary and following Q&A panel (featuring Anna and Nick), there'll be a live blog featuring scientists across Australia commenting on the documentary in real time. A number of scientists will also be tweeting at the same time with the hashtag #qandascientists (I'll be tweeting away from @skepticscience and anticipate posting short URLs to SkS rebuttals as the inevitable climate myths appear).

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Comments 1 to 48:

  1. It annoys me intensely that footage such as this failed to make it to air. What other gems have been edited out so that the media could maintain an illusion of fairness?
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  2. I disagree with Stevo - I don't think it is profitable to waste time impugning Minchin's motives - it is much more important to include as much as possible of the evidence for global warming.

    My complaint is that the the ABC is forever pitting seasoned political campaigners on the right against young relatively inexperienced idealists from the left. In Q and A it is often a representative of a conservative think tank versus a celebrity of some type.

    Anyhow most Australian's surely know that Minchin is famous for apologising to the John Nicholls Society for the fact that Work Choices didn't go far enough and that the coalition would do better in the future.
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  3. I agree with Stevo that this footage should have been aired.

    Having said that, I can see why it was dropped.

    With this programme, ABC are doing exactly what she says the denial industry are setting out to do. They're shifting the debate to be about the science, in order to delay doing something about the problem.

    My mum wouldn't understand either side of the'argument', but she'd watch this and think there was one.
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  4. Naomi Oreskes did quite a good job in highlighting the weakest point of the conservative climate policy. The longer we wait the more invasive will be Government intervention, one thing not many will welcome. What they're trying to do is really short-sighted, delaying mitigation measures may be profitable in the short term but it will leave the world in an undesirable situation in the longer term.
    This is exactly what ConservAmerica (former Republicans for Environmental Protection) is trying to avoid, making it clear that environmental protection is not a partisan issue per se, while the solutions are or might be. It's only the distorted views of right wing fringes (fundamentalists?) that gives this impression to (presumably) gain political benefits. In the meanwhile, we're still waiting for a conservative climate policy other than attack the science, ignore the problem and keep going.

    To moderators: although my intention is to show that environmental protection is a non-partisan goal, I understand that I may have crossed the line of "no politics". Please delete if appropiate.
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  5. Sceptical Wombat, you said @2:

    I don't think it is profitable to waste time impugning Minchin's motives - it is much more important to include as much as possible of the evidence for global warming.

    This clip maybe not profitable for us - who understand science - but it surely is profitable for people like Dibble's mum. Or just look at the comments in John's ABC Env article: many people don't understand (for whatever reasons) basic concepts of physics of climate science. Therefore, basic arguments that Naomi puts forward in this censored clip (about GHG being major driver of AGW) must be repeated until large audience understands that there is no legitimate debate left at scientific level.

    I understand that listening to this deja vu basics is waste of time for you but it's not for the audience the program is directed at. So, like others, I'm disappointed that ABC censored it, giving false impression that Naomi & Minchin are having equal stance here and thus reaffirming denial in very large part of public.
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  6. The concern I have about this program is that is once again lets the media portray a non-existent balance.

    The ordinary viewer is left with the impression that for every climate scientist, there is a climate science denier with valid arguments.

    That is just not the case, and it is a pity they have prevented Naomi Oreskes pointing out that Nick Minchin is (metaphorically!) naked of any scientific case for his views.
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  7. That was a pretty uninspiring two hours. I doubt anyone had their mind changed.
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  8. Thanks, Excellent video clip. Should have been aired IMO.
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  9. Having such a young person stand for the side of anthropogenic warming not be in the field of climate science was appalling. She could not state a single fact about anything. She must have known who she was going to have to visit, and if she did not know the ABC has made it impossible for her to debate anything, she is just there to look good.

    The show was a complete waste of time that really gave no hard hit home on either side. When at Hawaii the fundamental facts of CO2 being increased by man and the measured amount of extra infrared radiation hitting the Earth should have been stated by her!.

    With Lindzen she should have asked him what climate sensitivity value he gives the doubling of CO2, and she should have explained that his value is small to all the others.

    The young girl plays the part of an emotional undergrad that is sticking to her guns because her lecturer told her so.

    The ABC has played this issues off as a joke, the only time that there was real facts been pointed out was during the Q&A show by the Oceanographer in the audience.

    And the CSIRO CEO on the Q&A show was ridicules, she completely thinks we should do nothing to stop the emission of CO2 and only focus on making solar cheaper, in the hope it will be as cost effective as coal. She does not even want government help regarding this, just let industry do it??
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  10. It might have been uninspiring, but it wasn't quite as awful as I feared. I confess I didn't watch all of it, but I was really, genuinely surprised that Nick M. trotted out the Nova-Evans duo and Marc Morano! of all people. Perhaps it wasn't just Oreskes that was cut, maybe some halfway reasonable people chosen by Minchin were also omitted.

    I did think Minchin was a bit taken aback by the suggestion that the whole idea of the program was ill-advised for Rose (Goldacre's rather vivid remarks). It seems not to have occurred to him before that anyone relying on scientific evidence was at a disadvantage in dealing with people who dished up "bad science" in 'debate'.
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  11. "and it is a pity they have prevented Naomi Oreskes pointing out that Nick Minchin is (metaphorically!) naked of any scientific case for his views."

    Seemed pretty obvious to me from the program content that his position is based entirely on an economic / political perspective and the science is pretty much not an issue for him. Much surprisement here given his background.

    That said, the linked vid in the op here is well worth watching and i thought quite insightful.

    I thought the comment from one of the QANDA panelists about the ABC's online survey being worthy of lining a kitty litter tray was pretty apt. But how did Clive Palmer wind up there??
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  12. I concur with Sceptical Wombat that Q&A does not geniunely balance the denialist pseudo-evidence with real scientific discourse.

    On the episode tonight Clive Palmer trotted out trope after trope with nary a correction. As an example the "humans are responsible for only 3% of the increase" canard was repeated by Palmer a number of times, with almost no attempt to discuss the effect of compound interest - which surely warms the cockles of Palmer's heart when he's contemplating his bank balance... Even Matthew England didn't corner this rat, although time constraints might explain why.

    Too often I find myself wondering how an obvious error of science, or a fallacy of logic, or a plain old untruth, is simply allowed to stand and contribute to the overall impression of "debate", especially on the public broadcaster.

    Better than having the clip of Naomi Oreskes would have been to have her as a panel member, even if by satelite. She would have sunk Palmer quicker than would have a pair of cement shoes.

    On the matter of denialism itsef, as embodied by Minchin, Palmer and so many others, it's like this...

    ...There's a corspe, formerly known as Ms Ecosystem, lying on the ground, and the corpse has a CO2 bullet in its head - a bullet fired at point-blank range from a Coalington-Oilchester rifle.

    There's a medico autopsying the corpse, a Dr Climatologist, and she concludes that the cause of death was an AGW brain injury resulting from the impact of the dissected CO2 bullet, now lying in the bloody kidney bowl.

    Watching the autopsy is a member of the NRA, a Mr W.A.S.P. Warming-Denier Snr, who (although he has no experience in medicine) variously asserts that:

    1) there is still a scientific debate about the capacity of CO2 bullets to inflict serious damage to brains

    2) well, OK, bullets might cause small bumps, but something else caused the corpse to actually die even though the autopsy showed no other plausible factors

    3) that the corpse isn't really dead anyway

    4) that CO2 bullets are good for the brain

    5) alright, so maybe the bullet did kill Ms AGW, but if you control firearms, my life will fall apart, it just will.

    Nothing that Mr W.A.S.P. Warming-Denier Snr asserts has any objective relationship to the science that determined the cause of death. Several are ideological knee-jerks in response to the implications of the investigation, but these knee-jerks do not alter the fact of cause and effect.

    The debate isn't about the cause of death, no matter how strenuously Mr W.A.S.P. Warming-Denier Snr attempts to make it so. The debate is simply about Mr W.A.S.P. Warming-Denier Snr's unfettered ability to continue to do what he's always done, no matter that control of this activity would result in less harm in the future.

    If Mr W.A.S.P. Warming-Denier Snr wanted a genuinely honest discussion, he'd openly admit that CO2 bullets will kill most, if not all, of Ms AGW's family if they are all thusly shot, and he would argue that his right to shoot those CO2 bullets at these folk outweighs the rights of Ms AGW's family not to be shot at.

    Of course, that is a much harder argument to win, so Mr W.A.S.P. Warming-Denier Snr is going to avoid it at all costs, even if he can never admit it even to himself...
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  13. If anyone can find, if it's available, the Admiral Titley clip that was also cut, I'm sure that would be also most interesting.

    I suggested to QandA/ABC that it should put it's hand to curing cancer as well. No oncologists or anyone of a medical background, what would they know. A panel of miners and politicians should be able to nut it.

    Catalyst, the science show before this documentary on balance fallacy was good.
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  14. Definitely should be aired. All guns firing I say...
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  15. Dagnabbit.

    "Ms AGW" in the penultimate paragraph of my last post should have been "Ms Ecology"

    Cooee nice mods?
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  16. catamon #11.

    Seemed pretty obvious to me from the program content that [Minchin's] position is based entirely on an economic / political perspective and the science is pretty much not an issue for him.

    Well, if he was allowed get away with such an incoherent position, then the programme was an uter farce. Clearly, Oreskes was not letting him off that lightly. Again, it looks like the editor's strove for a "balance" that is completely not there in the science.

    It would have been much more honest and productive to have started with "Look, global warming is happening. What is your solution on how to handle it?" If Minchin wanted to argue for a "Do Nothing" position, well and good, but it looks as if the programme did not even get to that in the interests of giving airtime to a complete charlatan like Morano.
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  17. Bernard @12: BEST exposition of the issues, using humor and pointed facts! TEN thumbs up!

    As an earth scientist, I'm always striving to explain this extremely complex science to laypersons, and I will utilize your concise statement..with proper attribution, natch...;)
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  18. Minchin's regurgitation of a meme (and incorrectly too) "No warming for past 15 years" was not pounced on by anyone. Amazing.

    I point out to people that deniers regularly abuse the intent and meaning of scientific statements.
    Probability and appropriate time scales in science are difficult for laypeople to understand.

    I ask them to consider the calculated odds of a football team (2/3rds through a season) placed 2nd on the ladder (representing a pretend 90% confidence level) playing a team on the bottom of the ladder. The football expert predicts that based upon past form and current injury levels, home ground advantage, weather etc that the top team is expected to win by 6 goals.
    Now 1/4 into the match, imagine that after a bit of scoring from both sides that the scores are such that the predicted winning team is only winning by 1 goal. The deniers would be screaming that "The prediction is wrong. The expert should be sacked."
    This serves to illustrate a number of points (pun intended):
    (1) Even the best predictions of a football game and climate science are never certainties.
    (2) It is respectful and appropriate to not dismiss a prediction until an appropriate time period is reached (Waiting till the fat lady sings is ok)
    (3) Scores go up and down throughout a game and you cannot gauge a teams performance from watching a short time interval.
    (4) Unforeseen things can occur (a major injury to a key player) which can change the outcome but does not dismiss the basis for prediction.
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    Moderator Response: TC: All caps modified to comply with the comments policy. Please read it and comply. Failure to comply with the comments policy can result in text simply being snipped, or posts simply being deleted.
  19. It was disappointing that the ABC gave sceptics greater freedom (in the subsequent QandA the scientists were in the audience) but for most people the important issue is that there exists a debate and they are free to participate. The fact that the debate is over a known, like the earth is round not flat, appears to be irrelevant.

    I wouldn't mind seeing the Admiral Titley clip too, why they cut that while leaving in Marc Morano is odd. But no less odd than Minchins position, which he is still standing by, that he is unconvinced etc
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  20. Minchin failed to acknowledge the CSIRO position relying on standard evasive cliches bordering on lies. From the audience Matt England comprehensvely refuted Minchins comments on warming in the last decade, the IPCC models and UEA. Within minutes Minchin bounced back all smiles as if nothing had happened. I think the general public switches off technical issues and looks for certainty.
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  21. A suggestion re the debate between both positions on climate science. Sceptics normally want to have the two positions defended with equal numbers and of course they argue that the 97% of climate scientists believe in ACC is flawed. So why not suggest that a panel of 20 climatologists debate it. The participants could be chosen at random. This would surely show that the vast majority of climate scientists do indeed support the IPCC position. The point should be apparent that the reason 2 v 2 in a debate is inappropriate is that it would be unrepresentative!
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  22. It appears that Nick has not learned a thing from the encounter, considering this commentary on The Age site. He even trots out the old "no warming since 1998" rubber duckie. And while his bias is so entrenched, he has the gall to accuse the ABC of being "not renowned for its balance on this subject". How very boring this is getting; I'm off to battle the Expanding Earthers.
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  23. Q&A show was disappointing, considering the panel participants.

    I'm especially disappointed with the attitude of Dr Megan Clark from CSIRO. With many myths fying around, she did not even try to correct any of them. For example, one question from the audience directed at her stipulated: "How do we know our CO2 emmitions are the largest? There are other CO2 emmission sources, i.e. volcanoes...". Megan knows for sure how misleading the last sentence is, so she should be able to debunk it with scientific facts and some hard numbers. But instead she's choosen not to give any facts but to repeat her cliche statement: "we are here to provide the research and not engage in policy discutions", as if she was told not to engage in any controversy because she must "stay neutral". However by staying neutral she kept silent when both panel members and an audience made incorrect claims. IMO, that's not responsible attitude of a sicentist, the only scientist in that panel.
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  24. The deniers won this debate the moment it was announced. There's a debate - so; there's a debate! Then all of the above.

    Can we please stop being so bloody naive about this?

    When you come from a political campaign background watching folks - no matter how earnest or charming - taking careful aim at their own feet gets very frustrating...

    Consider some truths of the world of campaigning. If you don't have the numbers - don't hold a rally! Do something creative and eye-catching instead. 20 people who know what they're doing can be far more effective than 2000 standing around with placards. If you do have a rally and you're likely to get 2000 people along - don't ever say you'll get 5000! Say 1500 and be thrilled that 'turn out was higher than expected'. Deploy the high estimate and News Limited will announce 'organiser's were disappointed with the low turnout'.

    Don't let the work-experience kid near a microphone, and establish a media policy that ensures only people who've been briefed on what to say speak to the media. Your media people are getting a message to the public and should dress and speak accordingly - that is, in a professional manner. Don't give the 'hostile' media cameras an opportunity to just hone in on the 'ferals' in order to represent the group.

    These are all things people I've worked with over the years will tell you they've learned from bitter experience.

    (Who knows, maybe some day our side will realise that sitting at home being right isn't going to be enough, and then these tips may be useful!)

    After the string of fiascos, such as 'debating' Monckton - kudos to Peter Hadfield for being the only antagonist to have worked out how to clearly demonstrate that he's all mouth and no trousers - here's some other suggestions:

    Send only your heavy-hitters to deal with the other side. Give them PR training just as every other public performer has to get. Don't set yourself up to be in a defensive position responding to a Gish Gallop welter of claims. Don't let vital points - such as 'it hasn't warmed for 15 years' or 'it's the volcanoes' - go unchallenged; this was so obviously going to come up, how could it possibly have got through? Don't let your position be represented by someone who's chief interest may well be a political defence of their institution, not the science. Make sure the 'live science' response blog will work! :-)

    And, most of all:

    Don't allow a scientific debate to be miscast as a rhetorical debate in the arena of infotainment.
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  25. bill @ 24: I wholeheartedly agree. The whole call for "debates" is only ever going to result in a win for the deniers. Just like scientists no longer 'debate' creationists because it's like playing chess with pigeons, or mud wrestling a pig - however it goes, the other camp will always declare themselves the winners.
    Plus, the British style of debating is one of the most vile inventions I have ever had the misfortune to come across; purely antagonistic, noting is ever resolved, and in the end it all comes down to charisma, not facts - in other words the domain of demagogues.
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  26. Bill's point at #24 is pretty much the fact of the matter.

    As much as I admire Anna Rose's enthusiasm, the fundamental premise of the program was to use evidence to convince the opposing party of the error of their interpretation - to wit, "I can change your mind about climate". However, the actual exchange largely did not involve a critical analysis and subsequent discarding of the invalid material cherished by the denialists, and I (unsurprisingly) saw no consensus science refuted by the denialists, nor any acknowledgement of this fact.

    There were moments where refutation of denialist points did occur, but they were rare (when they should in fact have been the meat of the venture). Instead, Minchin and his agents were allowed to replay their fouls after a few minutes in the sin bin.

    If there had in fact been an impartial, objective analysis of the truth and the myth of climate science, each lie and inaccuracy would have been sequentially identified, examined, shown for its invalidity, and then not be permitted to be used again. Where such were raised after refutation, there should have been a red cross superimposed on the scene, with a reference to the refutation... heck, Skeptical Science's numbered points could have been used as a resource here...

    One of the most serious injustices of the show was that Anna and the producers allowed Minchin to frame the putative correct position to lie in the middle between two 'extremes'. There is no half-pregnant truth about scientific fact, and the IPCC summary that most use as a basis for discussion is a very conservative summary of the evidence. Further, the results of warming are not a single point in time and space: the longer and the more than humans continue to pollute the atmosphere with excess CO2, the closer we drive the final condition to the 'extremes' that (real) science unavoidably indicates will occur.

    As a follow-on from the previous paragraph, it's interesting to note that Minchin denies that he is denying science - he refers to himself as a sceptic (when he is in fact denying rather than exercising genuine scepticism) - whist simultaneously referring to scientists as "warmists". The term "warmists" is a propaganda-based one, calculated to convey the impression of people who are ideologically attached to the idea of human-caused warming of the magnitutde predicted by science. However the fact is that the conclusion simply emerges from the scientific evidence: it is not an emergence of ideology or of political inclination.

    Minchin is simultaneously trying to have his semantic cake and eat it.

    Changing the subject, vrooomie, be my guest! Just remember to account for the late-night mislabelling that I corrected at #15.
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  27. bill @24 - indeed, the entire premise of the show was a bad idea. Minchin was quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday as saying that the documentary was a “terrific opportunity to convey to an ABC audience that there remains a significant debate." So he flat-out admits that just by ABC airing the show he wins because it creates the impression of a "debate" where one does not exist. Apparently the program showed 5 'experts' from Minchin's side and 3 from Anna Rose's. If it were realistic, Anna Rose should have had 33 experts to Minchin's 1. Though Minchin's "experts" were a pretty sorry bunch.

    But the bottom line is that the audience comes away thinking there's a debate on the subject, so Minchin is right that he (meaning his agenda of sewing doubt and delaying action) automatically wins.
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  28. Well I am not the first to say it, but democracy is incapable of dealing with climate change. And the ABC removed any lingering doubts.
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  29. People looking for the missing Admiral Titley or Naomi Oreskes segments could have a look at their "web extras" page

    I assume they will work outside of Australia...
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  30. It's difficult to comment because, being in the UK, I've not seen the show. However it seems to me that if, as Dana says, only 3 from Anna Rose's side got to speak against 5 from Minchin's, then the whole balance basis for the show was blatantly skewed. Also, from this clip, it seems like only the 'expert guests' did much speaking, so -- given that your average 'don't know' viewer doesn't really know what the 'experts' are talking about, then it seems that the whole take home message must be that there's a big disagreement about whether climate change is real.

    The lesson for all climate scientists must be: don't agree to appear on any programme unless you know for certain that the producers are -- at the very least -- neutral; or that it's a debate being transmitted live. Giving a 'Martin Durkin'-type 'sceptic' producer permission to make fast and loose with the scissors on your interview is a recipe for disaster.
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  31. Anna Rose penned a brief rebuttal article.

    Climate change isn't a plot, it's science”, Sydney Morning Herald, Apr 27, 2012
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  32. Anna's knowledge of the topic was pretty mediocre and she fluffed it every time it got serious. Megan Clarke was using well rehearsed lines after her media training. CSIRO avoiding the stasis in warming by going to a decadal mean meme. But it all probably rated well as it was only entertainment.

    Jo Nova and David Evans should have been let go much longer and some back room lads and lassies from CSIRO and BoM let loose to talk REAL science.

    Could have done some serious analysis of alternative energy including nuclear with Prof Barry Brooks.

    But instead another unconvincing bit of info-tainment paff with celebrities. Clive Palmer didn't give a rats - it was all just profile. All rubbish really.
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  33. The ABC is government owned and considered left wing. At times left politicians have been recruited from the ABC. The media doesn't get any better than the ABC, the other stations are commercial and without doubt worse.

    This is a good as it gets under democracy. It will be 2 decades when we are surrounded by an irreversible and unstoppable climatic disaster before democracy is capable of action.

    The australian government can take immediate action today - it can prohibit coal exports increasing, instead the government has been expanding coal export wharves. Yet there was not one protestor when the ports were expanding. The quantity of coal exported from Australia is mind boggling.

    Democracy is the problem.
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  34. The object of the show was not to investigate the evidence, but to expose the reasons why people adhere to their points of view and to show how difficult it is to get people to change their minds. Anna showed Nick the science, because she agrees with it; Nick showed Anna the spin, because that is what he agrees with. Nick is not interested in the science and Anna is not interested in the spin. This clearly shows the cognitive divide between deniers and accepters and, to that extent, it met the objectives of the producers.

    The subsequent QandA session was just another example of how to muddy the waters of scientific research by making it appear that the topic can fairly be debated by non-scientists. The one scientist on the panel was not trying to debate the science, but was trying to move the discussion to the theme of responses to climate change and that is a topic which can fairly be debated by the body politic. Billionaire Clive Palmer was there to represent the fossil fuels industry, so his reliance on discredited memes was unsurprising.

    Altogether, the two programmes did not advance the science one iota and almost certainly did not change anybody's mind about AGW, but that was not what they were trying to achieve: they were all about exposing entrenched positions and they succeeded in doing so.
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  35. Doug
    Yes there was some interesting information that would not be available through other forums, and in particular the person who for 10 years had researched and analysed the public psych snd views on climate change.
    The interesting point I found was that denialists tend to distrust information from experts, no matter what the topic, while warmists do trust experts. This is the psychological makeup of people that will not be changed from arguing or shouting. It's the makeup of people who when they don't like a doctors diagnosis, they get a second opinion from an unrelated doctor on the other side it town.
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  36. So for these people, the argument "why don't you believe the scientists?", falls of deaf ears. Its not a meaningful question. It's not in their makeup. These people need to see the evidence first hand.
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  37. I watched the whole session. I learned nothing new either way. For the record, I do not need to be convinced that AGW is what is going on in the climate.

    But I believe that the shift in thinking will not come from debate. It will come from cheaper renewable energy sources, from weather events which can no longer be covered by insurance, from other countries refusing to buy Australia's coal and coal-based products (e.g. Aluminium, steel), and by non-coal based imports becoming cheaper. It also depends on generational change, when Anna Rose is in parliament and Nick Minchin and friends are in the grave.

    The lobbyists are fighting a battle they know they will eventually lose, one way of another - they know their science.

    Apart from that, new technologies take about 50 years to reach maturity, which is why we will never see "clean coal technology" except as pilot plants and political mistakes. It will be bypassed by cheaper technologies.

    [Aside: Why 50 years for new technology? It takes that long to do the research, the development, deploy, create infrastructure, drive out excess costs, etc. Examples are oil taking over from coal in transport, gas from oil, solid-state electronics from 1935 (Bell Labs research commenced) to 1981 (IBM PC), etc]

    The 50 year delay cuts both ways of course. We are perhaps 30 years into photo-electric development - we are seeing deployment and the required infrastructure is small - and it seems that in the next few years, the efficiency will double by exploiting thermo-electric effects.

    Nick Minchin is right when he says that it depends on economics and that when it is cheaper to use renewable energy, there will be no argument. Nick's problem is that he cannot imagine a world in which the economics drive out the old way of doing things. So, he cannot see a path to that world.

    So, what does this all mean? Focus on removing subsidies for CO2 producing activities. Tax the economic externalities such as CO2, so that the true cost to society is paid. However, this needs to be done in such a way that the economic system is not so hobbled that new things cannot happen. The current generation need to know that doing nothing may lead to a crippled economy, not just global warming :-).
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  38. Its worrying that big business is manipulating the public to not see the risks of climate change and in turn causing educated people to consider if democracy will be able to combat CO2 reductions. As the saying goes, the pen is mightier than the sword.
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  39. Additional footage
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  40. Peter7723
    Solar has been dropping in price and hopefully should continue as it is not a mature industry. But remember that aluminum exports come back as solar panels!
    I don't see the same ability to reduce the cost of wind, for the reason that wind has a high proportion of its cost going to using existing technology for a new application. Eg the costs are broken as follows;-
    Large concrete base- mature technology
    Large steel pylon - mature technology
    Large blades - blade technology is advanced but this size is not mature
    Planetary gearbox - mature but some volume cost reduction possible
    Generator - mature
    With production being from china, any cost reductions require the yuan to continue to be held low.
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  41. For those who didn't see the ABC's How I Can Change Your Mind on Climate Change, it is available for streaming for 14 days after broadcast on
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  42. Is it true about what Lindzen said, that the models show that there should have been a 3 degree warming. He says it at 22.00 mins in the show which can be seen here

    It sounds like he is simply not taking into account the ocean warming.
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  43. One of the main points made in the show was that developing countries will continue to emit CO2 so there is really nothing we can do. I think it is clear that we are very capable to be able to stop the main exports of Coal and Oil and just give developing nations a rebate on green technology which we will make for them, improving our economics at the same time. Its all so simple if we are prepared to spend a little money.
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  44. Given the amount of time and money poured into business projects it is not surprising that big business moves to protect its investment - and the investment of its shareholders.
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  45. Michael #43
    I would think that if we stopped coal exports we would be dealing with our own financial shortfall and would not have cash to spare for rebates for developing nations.

    Ironically it is a number of the developing nations that presently that are cashed up, while a number of the developed nations are under huge debts.
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  46. #45 Delmar

    Firstly I understand we make money off mining but just like we want to ban live meat exports we are going to have to consider the implications of the coal we export. But in saying that if Australia stopped exporting coal, it would drive up the costs for other countries, but mining company's would just move to other countries.

    What I am saying is that people suggest governments cant stop the CO2 emissions, but we can. If most of the developed world wanted to they could simple get Australia and Brazil to stop exporting coal. This would drive up the cost so much that solar would be more cost affective.
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  47. #45
    Yes stopping coal exports would do it, instead the government that claims to be for climate change action, increased the capacity of the coal export wharves at the request of China.

    But if you stopped coal exports, there would be no need to give rebates to developing nations to encourage a move away from coal, as there would be no coal available.
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  48. It would be grat if you had a db also about ways to discuse reasons for reducing ff directly aand specificlly like arguments for coal reduction or what we shouldn't ship the stuff to china because some one else will etc etc.

    See here ....
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