Thursday, September 1, 2011

Conservative Behaviour

Two articles from The Conversation. The first looks at recent trends in Australian power consumption, admittedly from a small sample of years, suggesting that consumers are using less electricity and exploring some of the likely causes.

The second, is a damming dissection of climate change denial in The Australians ongoing campaign against reality.

Powering down – has Australian electricity consumption hit its peak?
A number of recent reports have documented an unprecedented decline in electricity consumption. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Research Economics, in its 2011 Energy Update, shows a decline of 5.4% in 2008-09, followed by a 1.2% decline in 2009-10.
Event horizon: the black hole in The Australian’s climate change coverage
The problem is that on one side of the debate you have 97% of the world’s published climate scientists and the world’s major scientific organisations, and on the other side you have fools.

Excuse my bluntness, but it is past time to acknowledge that the science underpinning anthropogenic climate change is rock solid. The sceptics have had the time and opportunity to come with up a convincing case, but their best efforts read like arguments that NASA faked the moon landing.

The Australian’s anti-science campaign takes many forms. One is the inflation of the credentials of their fake experts. For example, OpEd writer and member of the Outdoor Recreation Party Jon Jenkins was referred to as an “Adjunct Professor”. Bond University wrote to The Australian informing them that this was not true.

Howard Brady was called a “climate change researcher from Macquarie University”; in fact, Brady is a 70 year-old retiree who has published just seven scientific papers (on Antarctic sediments, not climate), the most recent one in 1983, following which he worked for 17 years in the oil industry. Macquarie University contacted The Australian to set the record straight.

In neither of these cases did The Australian publish a retraction or clarification.

One feature I really like at The Conversation site is the ability to vote down comments as unconstructive. For some trivial childish reason I take great pleasure in voting obvious stooges down - and take heart that all is not lost when others appear to share this sentiment.

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