Saturday, August 25, 2012

Jo Nova: More From Down Under

 Manne declares that the “Denialists are Victorious” (in The Monthly, August 2012) but his sole reasoning that the victorious are “deniers” is merely that some chosen experts tell us a disaster is coming and he feels they could not possibly be wrong. Argument from authority is a fallacy known for 2,000 years, and it is a key point, it is the disguise of the witchdoctor — “Trust me, I am the chosen one”. The one defining difference between science and religion is that the devout can argue from authority, but the scientific cannot. In science there are no Gods and there is no Bible — what matters is the evidence. The highest experts may declare the world is headed for catastrophe, but if 3,000 thermometers in ocean buoys disagree (and they do: see “Argo”), the scientist questions the opinions and goes with the observations.
Robert Manne thinks internet surveys of scientists are a valid way to test whether planetary atmospheric dynamics is changing in dangerous and unprecedented ways. It’s an anti-science position. Since the dawn of time tribal witchdoctors have been forecasting storms and asking us to pay tribute to their idols. Discussion of climate science has descended into abject farce.
To understand the danger of quoting surveys of scientists, let’s look at the three Manne names.
Australia’s politics is boiling at the moment, but you’d barely know if you got all your news from the Love Media ABC.
Yesterday in a long press conference our Prime Minister was finally forced to address “questions” that have been burning across through the net.
I heard our Perth ABC drive time presenter Geoff Hutchison discussing this at length yesterday, and in that time I heard all the ad hominem answers the Prime Minister gave, and how well she gave them, and how powerful she sounded. I’m now full bottle on all the names she calls the malicious misogynist nut jobs and how they will not accept any answer or any evidence. I heard that The Australian has apologized. Apologized! And then I heard that again. Twice? It must be significant. I also now know that Larry Pickering is bankrupt (though I can’t quite see what that has to do with running our country).
You may not have heard of the World Federation of Scientists – it certainly isn’t run with a budget of millions or a professional PR team, instead it’s exactly the kind of organization that outstanding scientists would set up. No flash graphics, no spiffy logo, and no inundation of press releases. It’s only got two colours, but the people who meet and talk there range from world leaders in politics to people who changed the modern world with their science.
It’s the opposite of UN “science”, what it lacks in marketing skills, it more than makes up for in sheer heavyweight scientific brainpower and kudos. The Federation has 10,000 scientist members apparently, including T. D. Lee (parity violation, the Lee Model, particle physics, Nobel Prize) and Prof Antonino Zichichi (1000 papers in particle physics, first example of antimatter). Former members (until their deaths) were  Laura Fermi, Eugene Wigner (Nobel in Physics fundamental symmetry principles), Paul Dirac  (Nobel Prize, Dirac Equation, Fermions, theoretical physics, “genius”), and Piotr Kapitza (Soviet scientist, Nobel Prize and superfluidity, “Kapitsa resistance“).
GE — A clean energy revenue machine – GE is so large that its annual revenue ($150 billion) is greater than New Zealand’s gross domestic product ($140.43 billion). But GE stands to profit in solving man-man global warming, whereas New Zealand will just pay.
In 2011 GE generated $21 billion in “clean energy revenue”. (GE Annual Report 2011, p 3).  GE boast that their “technology helps deliver a quarter of the world’s electricity”. “We are one of the largest clean energy companies in the world” (page 18) “GE wind turbines, among the most widely used in the world, will soon power the largest wind farm in the U.S ”
In other words, they are one of the largest companies in the world which makes profits that depend on a climate of fear. How much would their wind turbines be worth if western governments pulled the pins on all the subsidies? (emphasis added by me)
In response to Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, John McLean shows that ENSO is a stronger driving factor than CO2 and that reef warming is mostly natural.
In June this year the UNEP report announced that Global Renewable Energy investment reached $257 Billion in 2011. It’s so large it rivals the $302 billion invested in fossil fuel power. But how much electricity do we get for all that money? When the details are pulled from the fog, a quarter of a trillion dollars appears to produce only about 3% of all our global electricity, and even less of our global energy. All that money, so few gigawatts.

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