Thursday, December 22, 2011

Deniers, At It Again

ON TUESDAY, Paul  Biegler informed Age readers that those not entirely sold on the idea of imminent climatic catastrophe suffer from a mental disorder, a sort of advanced immaturity, if you will. Being an ARC bioethicist at Monash, he was able to dismiss deniers with an anecdote of toddlers and marshmellows which left no doubt whatsoever that polar bears will drown. Obvious, really.

In any case,  Biegler is so very enthusiastic about "the science" and general trustworthiness of AGW advocates he just cannot imagine how anyone could harbour the slightest doubt, except if they had been misled. "In the climate realm," he explains, "fabrication is also rife. Enthralled by their emotional biases, sceptics mouth desperate appeals to the corruptibility of scientists, or to the fallibility of climate prediction models." So there!

Yesterday and also in the Age, which cannot go 24 hours without delivering a catastropharian sermon, Sydney University's Professor of Public Health, psychologist Simon Chapman endorsed the glories of wind power, to wqhich he attributes 20% of South Australia's electricity supply. As that is a remarkably high figure it seemed worth a little googling to establish if Chapman had been misled by the sort of "fabrication" which some cynics say is "also rife" amongst advocates of the anti-carbon cause.

Well, it turns out there are a lot of available figures about electricity production, many of them very confusing. But there is also this, a learned, peer-reviewed analysis of wind power's utility by Andrew Miskelly and Tom Quirk.  As they conclude that wind power makes no practical contribution to the certainty of power supplies, Biegler and Chapman would no doubt dismiss Miskelly and Quirk's paper as the handiwork of vile deceivers. Still, it does boast those many pages of graphs and charts, and they do seem firmly rooted in the real world. At the end of it all the paper makes this observation:
The general conclusion from this analysis is that wind farms in South East Australia are not likely to supply any significant base load power that can be relied upon, and thus system operators will have to schedule generators as if there were no wind power at all. Wind farms will load the distribution system with variations in power that are certainly not predictable at the present time and are as significant as the random variations of user demand.
The analysis was published some two years ago and immediately decried by people like, well, Biegler and Chapman. Indeed, the Age's tabloid dopelganger, Green Left Weekly, was quick to pounce on what it saw as the researcher's great ruse. When the authors say wind energy cannot contribute to baseload supplies, GLW noted, they neglect to factor in new technology and capital investments that would allow energy to be stored for those many periods when the wind  refuses to blow. If water is pumped to dams, for example, it could  be released to spin hydro plants during still spells.

Trouble is, South Australia does not have those dams and, if it did,  no less an authority than Tim Flannery swears there will be no rain to fill them. Flannery is a dedicated warmist, hence incapable of telling a fib,so Beigler, Chapman and the rest have no choice but to believe him.

After all, it is not as there is any fabricatin' going on amongst the settled scientists.


  1. I am very disturbed by bioethicist (forgorsake !) Mr Biegler's first paragraph:

    "If you are down a blind alley searching for that perfect Christmas gift for your climate sceptic friend, you could do worse than slinging them a book on Emotional Intelligence. Why? Research is mounting that your friend is the victim of one of the brain's many computing glitches. More particularly, he has been derailed by an emotional response that is at best unhelpful and at worst catastrophic. He has capitulated to the pleasure of the here and now."

    Assuming that climate sceptics are male doesn't seem very bioethical to me.

  2. Whereas the male population among catastropharians is so extensive that even the women are blokes! (viz the Good Professor's recent post on the Eureka Prize).

  3. But professor you forget how brilliant the Greens are in transforming South Australia into a throbbing energy hub with a click of their magic fingers;

    GREENS senator Sarah Hanson-Young believes the South Australian steel town of Whyalla can transform itself into a hub of wind energy if Julia Gillard's carbon tax forced manufacturer OneSteel to close its operations.

    Just like that. The problem with scientists and politicians these days is that common sense is missing in action, non existent or sadly misplaced.

  4. Why are so many scientists so adamant the science is settled? I thought doubt was the start point of rigourous scientific investigation. I suppose money is involved.

  5. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.December 22, 2011 at 9:03 AM

    No indeedy GeorgeL. Some of us are very female. And deeply insulted to be left out of the emotional intelligence derailment, which is after all our female birthright. Because everyone knows that we featherbrained femmes are the prime movers in giving way to the pleasures of the here and now, as opposed to clever men who are never wrong about anything, and who can so clearly crystal ball the climatic future, especially if they are bioethicists. Isn't it lucky none of we little ladies are thinking scientists?

  6. I am amazed that a psychologist can be a professor of public health.

    Psycholgy is NOT a science it is a belief system. It can neither measure, interpolate nor extrapolate, so does not meet Kelvin's classic definition of a science.

  7. Thanks for my cynical morning laugh, Prof. Have a very happy Christmas, I am sure there will be many readymade targets for your withering satirical contempt in the new year!

  8. It's nice to see Simon being so positive about something for a change even though he's on the wrong tram.His enthusiasm for wind turbines is underpinned by his having lived and holidayed in France where he tells us "wind turbines can be seen in many parts of the country". No doubt during his French sojourn he would have become aware that 75% of their electricity is generated by nuclear reactors and that reactors can also be seen in many parts of the country. I now look forward to another positive piece from Simon extolling the superior virtues of nuclear power generation.

  9. Biegler's comments can be turned back on himself.
    Instant gratification can come from things other than eating a marshmellow now. It can come from wanting to be on the side righteousness in various forms. History is full delusional beliefs that led to poverty, hardship and even death.
    His closing para 'To err is human...' is something that doesn't seem to crose his mind about himself. Or for that matter about the the motives of the climate scare proponents.
    Science history is full of all manner of shocking behaviour because scientists are human first with all the frailties that entails.
    I have grandchildren and I am worried about their future because of what is the largest mass delusion in history.

  10. Prof
    The author of the Green Left article ,"Dr" Renfrey Clark , deserves your attention.His expertise is "activism"
    No scientific credentials!!!!
    PS did you leave a donation ?

  11. The Green Loon Daily crowd don't have the brains to work out that pump storage adds even more to the already exorbitant cost of renewable energy. And every time the energy is converted (Electron to hydro, hydro back to electric) energy is lost. They are economic and scientific illiterates.

  12. Quite right, Annabelle. But do be careful -- traditional illiterates might sue for defamation at being equated with Greens.

  13. They're not even going to use the bird killers for desalination by all accounts-
    The money quote-
    'SA Water chief executive John Ringham said it had abandoned the commitment to make the desalination plant carbon-neutral because there was "no clear, agreed definition of what carbon neutrality was".'

    Obviously just another denier.


  14. Simon Chapman is the enabler for the gun banning mob as well, using the Universities imprimature to pump out propaganda. He has publicly attacking criminologist Don Wedderburn for publishing statistics that show the Howard gun laws had no effect on gun crime either way.
    His 'associate professor' is a former journo named Alpers from NZ. Alpers only academic background was dropping out of university after doing drugs. But he hates guns, so he's now a professor of Public Health. Whatever that is.
    I guess guns are a form of internal combustion engine, which probably explains the religious loathing on the part of the greens. I just object to public funds being used to promote anyones religion.