Don Brash: climate clueless™ to the core

The new leader of New Zealand’s far-right ACT Party — the former National Party leader, Don Brash — has confirmed that he’s a fully paid up member of the climate clueless™, a worthy successor to Rodney Hide, and perfectly on side with major ACT Party backer, millionaire Alan Gibbs (who just happens to be on the policy advisory panel of the International Climate Science Coalition). But Brash hasn’t troubled himself with working on a new script for his climate denial, he’s retreading some of the oldest canards in the denial play book. In a speech this afternoon to the annual conference of Federated Farmers, Brash trotted out this remarkable sequence of untruths, half truths and straightforward lies, annotated below for your reading pleasure…

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No Penguin Café when the ice melts

At Yale Environment 360 Fen Montaigne provides a fascinating, if disturbing, report on the findings of scientists working on the effects of sea ice retreat on the polar marine food chain. Montaigne is the author of the book Fraser’s Penguins which I reviewed earlier this year and of an earlier article at Yale Environment about the melting at the periphery of the Antarctic ice dome discussed here.

This is how it has been in the Antarctic Peninsula for a very long time:

“Marine algae, or phytoplankton, trapped in the ice and floating in the water column have burst into life as the sun catalyzes the photosynthetic process. In addition, melting freshwater from the sea ice formed a buoyant cap atop the heavier salt water, trapping the algae in the upper layer of the ocean, where it was exposed to the sun’s rays and bloomed.

“These seasonal phytoplankton blooms have fed the entire food web around Antarctica: shrimp-like krill and fish ate the phytoplankton, and virtually everything else — from Adélie penguins to humpback whales — ate the krill, which are part of the crustacean family.”

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The Climate Show #15: Michael Ashley and the ineducable Carter

We thought we’d try for a record short show — and failed, because once again there was just to much to talk about. We have more on Eritrean volcanoes, extreme weather over the last 18 months, a new report on the dire state of the oceans, and Stoat’s big bet. Special guest is Professor Michael Ashley from the University of New South Wales, discussing the state of play in Australia, John Cook does a rapid debunk of Bob Carter, and we have electric cars, more flow batteries and the gas we do not want to smell.

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The larrikin lord returns

To welcome the Viscount Monckton of Brenchley (TVMOB, as Joe Romm dubs him, or even His Immaculate and Beneficent Highness, Lord Chris of a Kentish Village) to Australia, here’s Peter Sinclair’s latest Climate Crock — a look at Monckton’s claims to have invented a cure for multiple sclerosis, AIDs and the common cold. Also worth watching for a reminder of James Delingpole’s inability to cope with rational argument.

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last week or so, you’ll know that Monckton made the news recently for calling the Australian government’s climate adviser Ross Garnaut a Nazi. He subsequently apologised, telling the Telegraph:

I have written to Ross Garnaut to withdraw unreservedly and to apologise humbly. What I said about his opinions was unparliamentary and unstatesmanlike.

Amazing. To make “unparliamentary” comments you first have to be a parliamentarian. Monckton is not now, nor has he ever been a member of either house of the British parliament. And to be unstatesmanlike you first have to be a statesman. The man’s self-delusions are clearly powerful, almost as powerful as his panacea.

Expect more coverage as the good Lord makes his stately progress across the lucky continent, but for some background to the organisation of climate denial in Australia and the potty peer’s international denial network, take a look at Graham Readfearn’s latest piece at The Drum. And Aussie academics are not happy that the Notre Dame University in Fremantle should be providing the Laird of anti-science with a platform, AFP reports.

Risky business: insuring against climate change

Thumbing idly through last Friday’s Business Herald lift-out, I clicked to attention at a double page spread headed Climate of Fear reporting on how seriously the insurance industry is taking climate change. Peter Huck’s article didn’t appear on the Herald website for a few days, but it’s there now, I’m glad to report.  It’s a thorough and scientifically aware piece of journalism which it was pleasing to see given prominence in the paper. And no, he didn’t go looking for any obliging deniers to balance the concern of the insurance industry.

How do insurers calculate their exposure, as “hundred year” weather disasters become ever more common in the “new normal”?  Getting a handle on it means taking climate science very seriously. And the news on the science front is not good, as he briefly recounts.

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