Tag Archives: Jo Nova

Jo Nova and the ABC

Jo Nova has just posted for the second time on her interview with ABC. For those unfamiliar with Jo Nova, she is the most well known Australian skeptic, and her website attracts considerable attention. As a result, the Australian ABC chose her, and her husband, to represent the skeptical side of the climate change debate. Having seen other skeptics abused in the editing process, Jo asked for an independent cameraman to film the interview as insurance against bad editing. I forget her exact words, but it was something along the lines of ‘protecting our reputations’. Jo has now published the full copy of the interview, and contrasts it with the way that their views were presented by ABC. Jo gives an account of what was used from 2 hours of interview for herself below:

Jo:                Carbon dioxide.

Jo:                There’s some small immeasurable amount.

Jo:                The data says –

Joanne:      (Laughs)

Jo:                The planet is not going to be destroyed.

Jo summarises how they presented their argument thus:

David and I made it absolutely clear that we held our positions because of the evidence (between us we mentioned the word “evidence” nearly 100 times). But this wouldn’t have fitted with the theme later in the show where Smith and Nasht get psychologists to explain that it’s really all about “ideology”, and skeptics are skeptics because they’re old white males. (Like Jo right?) An honest doco would have taken care to at least let David and I explain our position. David showed four pieces of evidence that showed the models are wrong, yet the editors completely removed any reference to three of the four key pieces of evidence. This is despite the graphs being filmed twice, and referred to repeatedly by both David and myself in preps and in the filming. Indeed, I mentioned “28 million radiosondes” five times (a reference to the missing hot spot).  Later, David pointed out that ignoring the poor siting of thermometers is one way the modelers conceal the failure of their models. The editors jumbled these two aspects together with tricky snipping to suggest that the photos of thermometers were one of our “two” key points of evidence for the failure of the models.

That number is important: we clearly presented four pieces of evidence (1. models overestimated air temperatures from 1990, 2. models overestimated ocean warming since when we started measuring it properly in 2003, 3. models predict a pattern of atmospheric warming — responsible for most of the warming in the models — that is entirely missing from copious weather balloon measurements, and 4. models predict outgoing radiation increases with surface rising surface temperature when satellite measurements show the opposite). But they moved David’s words around (by cutting and pasting) to make it appear he said he presented two pieces (which he never said), and to make it appear as if the dodgy land thermometers were one of those two pieces of evidence. Net result: they actively concealed from the audience, by trickery, the evidence that mattered and that we presented four independent sets of data in support of our position.

In looking at the transcript and video, it is very apparent that they were, in no way, presented fairly in the ABC documentary. Indeed, an emphasis on the evidence by Jo and her husband David was the main theme of their argument. In response, the interviewer instead continually pointed to authority (e.g. the IPCC) instead of actually engaging with the argument based upon the evidence, or turned the subject to smears regarding funding. There were a few exceptions, but these simply highlighted the interviewer’s poor knowledge of the science in question.

Overall it is a very shabby incident. For those who are new to the climate change debate, I would strongly recommend taking a look at the video of the interview. It delves into some technicalities which are difficult if you are unfamiliar with the climate change debate, so parts of the interview may be hard going. However, if you can take the time to watch it, note how the debate plays out; the presentation of observational evidence that contradicts the climate models, the refusal of the interviewer to engage with that evidence (mostly), and the switches to appeals to authority and ad hominem attacks. In the final edit for the documentary, the arguments put forward by Jo and David are distorted, and the result is, by any reasonable standard, an extremely biased presentation. If you have any doubts, the transcript of the broadcast can be found as a link at the bottom of the page here, annotated by David.

I highlight this as it is a good illustration of the problems with the portrayal of the skeptical case. There are no startling revelations in the interview, but a presentation of the skeptical case based upon evidence. To those familiar with the debate, there is nothing new, but for those unfamiliar with the debate, it gives an opportunity to see how a media outlet may be in thrall to alarmist arguments, and seek to hide/distort the skeptic view. It is important for this reason alone; for those unfamiliar with the debate, it shows that much of the media cannot be trusted on this issue.

James Hansen causes a stir….

James Hansen, as reported in the UK’s Independent newspaper has suggested that the sceptic position on global warming is gaining ground and I really love this quote from the story:

In a briefing at the Royal Society , Dr Hansen, pictured, was frank about the success with public opinion of what he termed “the climate contrarians”, in effectively lessening public concern about global warming. He said: “They have been winning the argument for several years, even though the science has become clearer.

“There’s been a very strong campaign by those who want to continue fossil fuel ‘business as usual’, and the scientific story has not been powerful enough to offset that push.”

Part of the problem, he said, was that the climate sceptic lobby employed communications professionals, whereas “scientists are just barely competent at communicating with the public and don’t have the wherewithal to do it.”

The result was, he said, that in recent years “a gap has opened between what is understood about global warming by the relevant scientific community, and what’s known by the people who need to know – and that’s the public. However there’s nothing that has happened to reduce our scientific conclusion that we are pushing the system into very dangerous territory, in fact that conclusion has become stronger over that same time period.”

Why do I love this quote? It is because it flies so blatantly in the face of reality. For example, a particular bugbear of this blog is the New Zealand Herald, which offers particularly biased coverage of the debate. A quick site search of the Herald produced the following:

1. An editorial titled ‘Gillard Shows Courage on Climate Bill’, in which, you guessed it, coverage of Hansen’s comments is included. In addition to this we have commentary such as:

Either way, the country’s first step towards a cleaner economy sends a clear message to the world’s developing nations. Finally, one of the most notable climate change loafers has acted. The excuses for inaction are dwindling. The tax also delivers a strong verdict on the perils of global warming to the public. In so doing, it heightens the prospect of informed debate.

2. A more balanced article on the carbon dioxide tax in Australia

3. An article on…..yep, Jim Hansen’s comments on the climate change debate.

4. An article on Gillard’s wider political position which includes discussion of her position and debate on the carbon dioxide tax.

5. A couple of other articles also briefly touch on climate change, but are not addressing the subject….

I could go on, but the point is that Hansen’s comments only serve to refute Hansen’s comments. He claims that the debate is being lost due to lack of communication of the non-sceptic side of the debate, but Hansen’s comments are themselves widely reported, alongside some highly dubious ‘evidence’ he presents for the anthropogenic global warming thesis. Where are all these communications professionals on the sceptic side of the debate?

They are nowhere to be seen in most of the mainstream media.The Herald just serves to make the point with extensive coverage of Hansen’s views and comments, alongside endorsement of Gillard’s position on the carbon dioxide tax. These communication professionals should be looking for new jobs, as they do not seem to be having any impact.

The real point of interest here is the miracle of growing scepticism in the face of the ‘warming’ bias of the vast majority of the mainstream media. This bias is in turn supported by a huge ‘industry’ of NGOs with communications professionals, all of whom are seeking to promote the global warming scare. Two sociologists promoted the myth of the power of the sceptic camp with the following diagram:

However, in a rather brilliant response, Jo Nova presents the following:

It is really rather comical that the non-sceptic side bleats about communication professionals on the sceptic side when most of the mainstream media is supportive of their cause. For example, the lack of coverage of the scientific fraud of NIWA over the New Zealand temperature record in the press is a disgrace (see previous post here). If you would like to evaluate which of the above diagrams is closer to the truth, the New Zealand mainstream media tells the story; Jo Nova’s diagram paints the accurate picture.

As I have said, the real story is that, despite so much positive coverage in the media for the non-sceptic side of the debate, the sceptic debate is winning. Perhaps that just reflects the growing strength of the arguments of the sceptic side of the debate? Now, there is a novel explanation of why the sceptic argument is winning, and one which does not seem to occur to the non-sceptics.

Note: This is the second version of the post, due to initial technical problem. Among many problems, all links disappeared in the first version, so I hope all of this is reproduced accurately as per the original post.