Bob Carter: untroubled by hobgoblins

It is always a privilege to follow the development of a great man’s thinking, and the Australian public — or at least that portion of it that listens to the ABC’s AM news show (“sets the agenda for the nation’s daily news and current affairs coverage”) — was lucky enough to witness evolution in action last Friday, when the programme chose to “balance” a report on the World Meteorological Organisation’s announcement of record temperatures in 2010 by talking to Bob Carter. Readers with long memories will recall that Carter has been louder than most in insisting that the planet’s been cooling for the last ten years, so the programme had a marvellous opportunity to make the great man squirm. Sadly, they blew it.

Here’s what he had to say in April 2009:

First, there has been no recent global warming in the common meaning of the term, for world average temperature has cooled for the last ten years. Furthermore, since 1940 the earth has warmed for nineteen years and cooled for forty-nine, the overall result being that global average temperature is now about the same as it was in 1940.

So how did he cope with the bad news that warming continues? Here’s the transcript & podcast:

[Reporter]MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Professor Carter says it’s not surprising that last year was one of the warmest, but says that doesn’t mean greenhouse gases are the blame.


Hang on a minute, “not surprising”? But Bob, it’s been cooling, hasn’t it?

BOB CARTER: The question is not whether it causes warming, the question is how much warming? Since 1998 we’ve had three warm years – 1998, 2005 and 2010 – and each of those years is associated with an El Nino event which causes or is related to the warming. Okay, but there’s no trend, 2010 is not significantly warmer in any way than 1998.

Sounds like Bob wants to draw a straight line through the three peaks on the temperature graph and pretend there’s “no trend”. The temperatures for those three years may be “statistically indistinguishable” (pretty much the same, in other words), but that doesn’t mean that there’s no underlying trend. For a kick off, lets have a quick look at the 5-year and 11-year moving average using GISS data (source):


I rather think the trend is obvious, don’t you? But Bob wants to blame it all on El Niño (he’s an “expert” on that, after all). We’ll set aside the fact that the second half of 2010 saw a rapidly intensifying La Niña, and ask an intelligent question. What happens if you take the ENSO cycle out of the global temperature data — is there any trend left? That’s just what Tamino over at Open Mindhas done recently. He adjusted the data to remove ENSO and the effect of volcanoes, producing this graph:


Tamino describes it thus:

This is what global warming really looks like, when we clear our view of as much of the clutter as we can. Any talk of a recent “levelling off” or even “cooling” is nonsense.

In fact, after adjusting for El Niño and La Niña, 2010 was the warmest year in all three temperature series he examined.

But Carter’s not finished…

So we have a warm period over a period of 12 years. Over those same 12 years we have a five per cent increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The carbon dioxide is supposed to cause more warming. Well this data that we’ve just discussed tells you that human carbon dioxide emissions are not causing dangerous global warming, indeed they’re not causing any warming at all at the moment.

Breathtaking chutzpah. Pretend there’s no warming by mangling the data, and then insist that this means CO2 can’t be having much of an effect. It’s a very great pity that the radio interviewer wasn’t sufficiently clued up to challenge Carter on this — but then very few are, and that’s why the likes of Bob can get away with spouting nonsense.

However, that’s not the only “misdirection” Carter attempted in the item. The AM report began with an interview with WMO boss Michel Jarraud, which concluded with Jarraud talking about extreme weather events becoming more likely.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Geologist Bob Carter from James Cook University says Mr Jerraud has no evidence for that.

BOB CARTER: Lots of scientists have been looking for that evidence but to date there is nothing in the scientific literature which says we have more climatic emergency events at the moment than in the past or that these are more frequent or more dangerous. There is no scientific evidence for that.

A straightforward lie. There is an extensive literature on climatic extremes and how they may change as energy accumulates in the system. To say there is “no scientific evidence” is to be grossly misleading, at best (see IPCC AR4, WG1 Chap 3.8). The whole field is a very active area of research, and the results — such as a clear increase in extreme rainfall events (see references at Skeptical Science here) all support what the WMO chief had to say.

But there’s better to come. Here’s how the AM reporter signed off:

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Professor Carter says the last 150 years have been among the coolest in the past 10,000 years of the Earth’s history.

Carter’s promoting the “work” of Don Easterbrook! It’s a real pity that the programme didn’t include his actual comments, because they would have been interesting. But it should come as no surprise to followers of Carter’s pronouncements, because he has been equally happy to promote and cite the “work” of the infamous EG Beck, he of the unfeasibly large (wait for it) CO2 swings.

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. (RW Emerson) Without doubt, Bob Carter has a great soul…

88 thoughts on “Bob Carter: untroubled by hobgoblins”

    1. To be (slightly) fair to the ABC, the WMO person did say “The sceptical position, it’s untenable”, so going to a sceptic did make some kind of sense — but they didn’t explicitly identify Bob as a sceptic/crank/denier. Clear case of false balance…

        1. Glad to help John. One of the diagnostic criteria is the inability to say another denier is wrong. You know, like you with EG Beck (beloved by Bob Carter) and Ken Ring (beloved by Bryan Leyland).

          1. So in order to determine, on TV, that someone is a denier or crank, who have to ask them whether they can criticise another denier or crank.

            But your explanation is surely self-referential? In order to determine whether someone is a denier or crank, you have to ask them whether another denier is wrong?

            1. No John, you pick someone who is indisputably a crank (like Ken Ring and EG Beck) and see if the suspected denier can spot it.

            2. OK, so I have read the ETS submission by Bob Carter that you linked to, and I can’t find the reference to E G Beck.
              Does that make me a denier?

              BTW, can you show me where this reference is? thanks

  1. Is this the same Bob Carter who
    believes everything that EG Beck says?

    The same EG Beck that John D, R2D2, Stever Wrathall and all the trolls have such trouble understanding?

    The same EG beck who thinks atmospheric CO2 can change by 39 ppm in ONE year? Do tell Bob.

      1. Warmists have been forecasting catastrophic warming for much more that 10 years:

        “NAIROBI, KENYA,
        A UN meeting on the environment opened Monday with an official forecast that the world faces an ecological disaster as final as nuclear war within a couple of decades unless governments act now.
        Mostafa Tolba, executive director of the UNEP told delegates from more than 100 countries…Lack of such action would bring “by the turn of the century, an environmental catastrophe which will witness devastation as complete, as irreversible as any nuclear holocaust.”
        -Vancouver Sun May 1982,351973&dq=ecological+holocaust&hl=en

        Must act now. Only a couple of decades left. Sound familiar?

        1. It’s a logical fallacy to use an example of an incorrect statement opposing your view, and then to extrapolate that to imply that all opposing views are incorrect.

          But you’re not strong on logic, are you Steve.

          Even so, that prediction isn’t far off, really, given the prospect of irreversible tipping points having already been met, and recent environmental catastrophes. 5 of the 6 recent major floods being the worst in their respective regions, didn’t you know.

          And there are other forecasters which have been right for 30 years.

          1. I don’t think that Steve was implying that all statements are false because a previous one was false. It was, as I read it, an example of similar themes of impending catastrophe that have been said decades ago.Catastrophes that didn’t pan out.

            In fact, wasn’t it Steven Schneider who claimed back in the 70s that England would not exist as a country by 2000? (Actually, he was right, but only from the point of view of a hardened Eurosceptic like me)

            1. Instead of joining the Innumerate Brethren of the Ignorati in these pointless ritualised ‘dialogues’ – Steve’s pathetic effort merely shows how desperate he’s become – I remind you it is possible to simply LRB them away. We’ve been far too patient with these two, to my mind.

              Steve clearly spent all the time he wasn’t identifying precedents for the ‘not unprecedented’ flooding in QLD or Victoria scrounging through wastebaskets to come up with that OT gem.

              He’ll now have to spend a lot of time avoiding confronting the unprecedented conditions in the Arctic – not to mention the new global high-pressure record – so we can only expect more of these dreary gain-saying visitations.

              I’m sure we’d all like to say we did more in the Climate Wars than merely ceaselessly contradicting the unending stream of bad-faith inanities issued by a pair of buffoons…

            2. I’m sure we’d all like to say we did more in the Climate Wars

              Climate wars?
              Who are we at war with?
              Is this like “the war against terror”?

  2. Gareth says “There is an extensive literature on climatic extremes and how they may change as energy accumulates in the system. To say there is ‘no scientific evidence’ is to be grossly misleading….”
    Because you say something ‘may change’ hardly makes it scientific evidence.
    Gareth – I think you have a problem with what science is. A good example is you alarmist buddy George Monbiot, another non-scientist who in 2002 pedicted that within “within as little as 10 years, the world will be faced with a choice: arable farming either continues to feed the world’s animals or it continues to feed the world’s people. It cannot do both.The impending crisis will be accelerated by the depletion of both phosphate fertiliser and the water used to grow crops. ………………Aquifers are beginning the run dry all over the world, largely because of abstraction by farmers.”

    Alarmist nonsense which he thinks no one will call him on. But by george his 10 years is nearly up and what does he say now? flooding in Australia is a sign of global warming! Gareth – what about you – didn’t you say Australia could expect famine and droughts a few years back?? Or do you still agree with GM?…. are you just another “may’ person?

  3. Carter says there have been three particularly warm years,1998, 2005 and 2010, all strongly impacted by El Nino conditions. As CO2 increased by 5% over the 12-year period, one would expect that they should have become progressively warmer. But this didn’t happen. In fact, HadCRUT says they became progressively cooler. WMO seems to say they remained the same.

    So what is the explanation?

    1. How warm any El Nino year is will be strongly affected by the strength of the El Nino, 1998 was by far the strongest. The fact that 2010 was indistinguishable from 1998, despite a weaker El Nino and being at the bottom of the solar cycle is actually evidence for C02 induced warming.

  4. Below is the letter that I have sent to the producers of the show and to Media Watch.

    It is embarrassing that AM, “Australia’s most informative morning current affairs program”, would choose to provide a platform for discredited climate change denier Bob Carter to comment on the WMO finding that 2010 was one of the three hottest years on record.

    It is even worse that the reporter, Meredith Griffiths, allowed Carter’s mis-information to go unchallenged. Presumably she herself lacks the competence to be able to question Carter’s outright lies. So why interview Carter at all? Every time there is a story on astronomy is it necessary to interview ‘an expert’ who believes the moon is made of green cheese? Or if there is a story on evolution, do we have to suffer idiotic denial from a fanatical creationist? If this happened, the ABC would rapidly lose all credibility as a source of reliable news and information.

    This interview was a disgrace to AM, the ABC and Australia. There needs to be a prompt follow-up interview with a real climate scientist (we have plenty, including many who are respected globally) to counter the outright nonsense that went to air last Friday.

    1. Well done Steve Meacher
      Well don’t want any views of “deniers” shown on TV do we? Might “confuse” the public.

      Maybe we should just lock down the whole media. Form a one-sided state-controlled media “Ministry of Truth”. In fact the BBC and ABC are already almost there.

      The staggering thing is that you cretins, happy to remove any vestige of democracy and freedom in our countries, seem oblivious to the fact that once you have done this, then the whole system is totally open to corruption and fraud. And guess what, this is exactly what is happening.

      1. Thanks John,

        On the contrary I welcome the opportunity for deniers to air their views, as is their right.

        What I object to is the misrepresentation of a denier’s views as expert opinion, which the unwary listener would assume to be based on evidence. Carter is not a climate scientist and his views on climate change are no more than that, his personal views. When broadcast, they should be clearly badged as non-expert opinion in the same way that advertising is required to be labelled, so as not to confuse the public. And when Carter lies to the public, his lies should be exposed and refuted.

        Of course, it might appear strange to introduce the subject of an interview as a non-expert on the topic. Which brings me back to the point I made earlier – why interview Carter at all, outside his realm of expertise?

        1. From Wikipedia
          Robert M. “Bob” Carter is an adjunct research professor in the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University, Queensland[1] and the University of Adelaide South Australia, Australia.[2] He is a geologist specializing in palaeontology, stratigraphy, marine geology, and environmental science

          So by the same rules that you apply, Steve, Doug Mackie, and Keith Hunter are also not climate scientists and their views should also be marked as “non-expert”.

          If not, then please enlighten me.

          1. John,

            To check the area of expertise of any scientist, I suggest you check the research they have published in the peer-reviewed literature. Then draw your own conclusions.

            1. But Steve, you use the perjorative and offensive term “denier”.

              Your opinions are worthless to me, for that reason.

              Your answer, btw, was a non-answer and not worth responding to.

            2. I can think of no more accurate (polite) term than denier for somebody who denies the existence of a phenomenon in spite of extensive evidence and not because of it. If you find that level of honest discourse pejorative and offensive, that’s your problem.

              Having read your earlier posts, John, I wasn’t expecting you to value my opinions.

            3. Steve
              Believe it or not, I was voted Green (in NZ)

              You are clearly scientifically illiterate. No one is denying that the world has been warming over the last 100 years. No one is denying that CO2 is a GHG. What we question is the scale of the problem, and whether we can do anything about it without shuting down our entire economies.

              Green policies have resulted in deaths over the years, including Australia, something that you will never acknowledge, because you are, like all politicians, fundamentally a dishonest and morally bankrupt person.

            4. It is not the job of the media to promote the GW controversy, it is the job of the media to promote the scientific GW consensus regardless of whether or not you or the media happen to like said consensus, you are not the experts the climate scientists are.

  5. On page 3 of the submission (labelled as p62 of the conference proceedings) Bob Carter

    More support for decadal fluctuations of carbon dioxide comes from the compilation and summary of 90 000 historical atmospheric analyses back to the mid-19th century by Beck (2007).

    In EG Beck’s ‘paper’ itself:

    I am especially indepted to…Prof. Dr. Bob Carter for helpful discussions, …and Prof. Dr.Bob Carter for their linguistic support.

    . So there is no way Bob Carter can claim to not know exactly what is in the ‘paper’.

      1. Ahh, I had forgtotten he made submissions to 2 of the 3 Select Committees. Try this . Bit of a Dashiell Hammett in the submissions and supplements.

        How is your analysis of EG Beck and Ken Ring going John?

  6. John,

    If you, or Carter, are serious about questioning the scale of the problem, form a hypothisis, test your hypothesis through research and publish your results in the peer-reviewed literature. That is how science progresses.

    Your ‘ad hominem’ attacks don’t add to your credibility.

      1. John, you wouldn’t want us to think you are avoiding the question asked of you about EG Beck and Ken Ring would you? Sheesh, I’m going to try write a bot that will do this for me each and every post of yours.

        1. I think the people of Queensland will take matters into their own hands, when questions are asked about the Wivenhoe dam- why there was no release before the floods.

          The small matter of the lack of fire breaks around houses (policy) that can be attributed to deaths in the bush fires.

          A recent mines expert visiting NZ said the Pike River tragedy would not have happened if the mine had been open-cast – govt policy again.

          Then, of course, there is the small matter of the millions being pushed into fuel poverty by soaring energy costs – govt policy again.

          I don’t expect any kind of argument here. The science is settled, and 100% of the suffering and deaths can be attributed to Green policy. I will be as myopic and dogmatic as you are about AGW.

          Now scuttle off and press the red button you revolting little cockroaches.

          [OK. That’s quite enough. You are henceforward on permanent moderation. I will only publish comments that are on-topic and substantive – not mindless name-calling.

          Note to others. Please don’t vote this into obscurity. I’d like to leave this post visible to show exaclty why John D has brought moderation on his own head. GR]

          1. Some inconvenient facts for you John D.

            1) Dam releases from Wivenhoe are determined by Govt regulation.
            2) There were releases in October/November 2010 (closing Colleges Crossing!).
            3) Nobody died due to flooding in the Brisbane River. The floods in Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley were unconnected with any dam.
            4) Open casting was technically and economically unfeasible in Pike River (due to the coal field being under rather large mountains), quite apart from being under a National Park.
            5) The capitalist-based commodity system drives increasing energy prices.

          2. “…when questions are asked about the Wivenhoe dam- why there was no release before the floods.”

            Substantial releases started in mid October, well before the floods.

            1. Yeah, but that’s a rational point derived from the real world! As is pointing out that after 10 years of drought and high-level water restrictions in SE QLD, and not being in possession of full psychic powers, the relevant authorities were in a rather invidious position.

              His position on fire-breaks is so tangential to reality it’s ‘not even wrong’. And as for his comment on Pike River – well, he’d have to struggle hard to achieve the level of the sub-human…

              NOTE FOLKS – as Gareth requested we’re NOT voting ‘John’s’ toxic little missive away, as it’s a great testament not only to his own ‘thought process’, but the mentality of the entire Troll genus. One can hardly blame people for reacting instinctively to such drivel, but it might even be necessary to ‘thumb it up’ occasionally to stop it falling over the edge (only one vote each, so this means you, dear reader!)

          3. Consider the thumbs down button pushed, JohnD.

            It occurs to me that John, Steve and others might have some kind of side-bet going as to who can collect the most thumbs down. Maybe this is all a game to them?

          4. This guy calls us “revolting little cockroaches” and then has the gall to email me (via a website) in foul-mouthed terms, objecting to being called subhuman afterwards! Hypocritical tosser.

            1. Interesting. I’ve had a few bizarre, personally abusive, and genuinely creepy posts submitted on my blog recently that I at first put down to anti-greens/mining proponents (not something I’d ever experienced previously), and then I realised they were coinciding with ‘fraught’ discussions here. I did wonder…

      1. Another great moment in Bathos!

        Should we all look forward to some fruitless run-around centred around some sad little cut-and-paste from Jo Nova, Delingpole, or WUWT? I think not; not when we have the little red button to hand!

        To paraphrase John’s hero – ‘There just aren’t enough Little Red Buttons’.

  7. I have been thinking about Tamino’s post for a couple of days and I have to say that there is a compelling logic behind it. It is quite logical to subtract the confounding factors that affect temperature records and I am pleased that he has done this. I can only say that I would like to see Tamino’s analysis subjected to peer review which I am confident it would survive very well. In the meantime I will continue to analyze what he has done.

    As far as the other comments here are concerned, I have decided to no longer FTT.

    Best wishes, Keith

    1. Prof Hunter,
      On a related note, you might be interested in these articles by Judith Curry

      Overconfidence in IPCC’s detection and attribution: Part I

      This is part I of 3.

      it deals with a lot of the issues of trying to extract an anthropogenic signal from the background.

      I also found the article on mid 20th Century warming interesting

    1. Yes sime. I saw that shewonk post. At last an analysis of that jc phenomenon that makes sense. I could never understand how jc’s posts could be so woolly and waffly (or incomprehensible if you want to get technical).

      When looked at in this slightly different light it’s understandable. Clarity and rigour of thought would put off those she thinks she’s bringing to the table, because they’d find it unacceptable.

  8. Could someone please invite Bob Carter here to defend his BS (Bad science and , well you know…).

    Not up for it Carter? Happy to let some groupies do it for you? Come on, it is one thing to pull the wool over the eyes of a radio host– try selling your BS to some scientists and informed citizens.

    Carter, are you out there?

  9. Gareth,

    Excellent post. But shouldn’t the title be:

    “Bob Carter: Untroubled by Lies”?

    Really, enough s enough already. Someone ought to rite to the radio station and request that they have an opportunity to set the record straight. And at the same time they can inform the station of Carter’s, umm, intriguing history in his wanderings into the field of climate science.

  10. As far as Bob Carter goes his comments are blatant ignorance surely. He knows better. Nothing wrong with good scepticism but his comments are ridiculous.

    The sceptics have put a lot of eggs in the basket “its been cooling since 1998 / 2002 / 2005 etc” which is nonsense anyway. But given 2010 Its impossible to maintain the cooling fantasy and the public will see it.

    Its all coming undone for them. Sit back watch and laugh and keep up the good website and good refutations of the sceptics.

  11. Here is my letter to the ABC:

    I am disappointed that AM would decide to use the frequently discredited Bob Carter as an alternative voice for a recent story on climate concerning the WMO announcement of 2010 as one of the equal three warmest years on record. Carter made numerous comments that were misleading, irrelevant or outright false without being challenged (for a brief summary of some of his mistakes, see here:

    Why was he invited in the first place, given the current state of the scientific discussion and Carter’s frequently noted poor track record on this subject?
    (Here is but one example:

    If there is a credible debate amongst climate scientists about the prospects of future warming, it is not between those who deny that warming is happening and those who note the ever-increasing mountain of evidence that this is so. Nor is it between those who think this warming is of little threat and those who think it highly dangerous. The real debate (which could have been reflected in your choice of interviewees) is between those who think the warming is likely to be disastrous and those who fear it may well be catastrophic for human society and much of the rest of life on earth.

    Why didn’t the interviewer challenge Carter’s lies and misrepresentations? The interview was very disappointing for many reasons and I hope the ABC reviews its commitment to science journalism in order to remain a credible source of information.

    Byron Smith
    Australian citizen who still listens to AM for Australian news

    1. Here is the reply I received today from the ABC:

      Dear Mr Smith

      Thank you for your email of January 27 concerning an AM story, which included an interview with Professor Bob Carter.

      As your correspondence raised concerns in relation to accuracy, your email was referred to Audience and Consumer Affairs for consideration and response. The unit is separate and independent from ABC program areas and is responsible for investigating complaints alleging a broadcast or publication was in contravention of the ABC’s editorial standards. In light of your concerns, we have reviewed the broadcast and assessed it against the ABC’s editorial requirements for accuracy and balance in news and current affairs content, as outlined in section 5.2.2 (c) of the ABC’s Editorial Policies: In the interests of procedural fairness, we have also sought and considered material from ABC News.

      The genesis of the story was the announcement by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) that 2010 was one of the three hottest years globally since records began. Michel Jarraud, the secretary-general of the WMO, went further and claimed that these new statistics should silence those who don’t believe that greenhouse gases are changing the world’s climate. He said “The sceptical position, it’s untenable.”

      While the basic facts about the temperature measurements are not disputed, the conclusion that they put to rest the public debate about anthropogenic global warming is not universally accepted. The ABC reports a significant amount of mainstream climate science across its programs and websites but it also has a responsibility to present all principal relevant positions in what is an important public debate.

      Bob Carter is a prominent Australian believer in the sceptical position. Although his beliefs are controversial, he is a qualified scientist, an adjunct research professor in the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University and the University of Adelaide South Australia and is an influential voice in the public debate. He was a logical person to interview to see whether Michel Jarraud’s conclusions were accepted by sceptics and if not, why not.

      In relation to accuracy, as noted above, the verifiable facts about temperature measurements in 2010 were not disputed by Bob Carter in this report. His contribution was principally one of interpretation, analysis and opinion. The ABC certainly does not accept his analysis and the conclusions he draws from the data are certainly debatable but it is not a breach of the accuracy provisions of the Editorial Policies to report controversial opinions. Under the circumstances of time pressure it was reasonable of the reporter to rely on the basic factual accuracy of Bob Carter’s comments , which were clearly ascribed to him.

      His opinions were well balanced by those of Michel Jarraud.

      Accordingly, while noting your concerns, Audience and Consumer Affairs are satisfied the broadcast was in keeping with the ABC’s editorial standards for accuracy. Nonetheless, please be assured that your comments have been noted and conveyed to ABC News management.

      Thank you for taking the time to write; your feedback is appreciated. For your reference, a copy of the ABC Code of Practice is available at:

      Should you be dissatisfied with this response to your complaint, the avenues of review which may be available to you are outlined at section 7. Please note that the ABC is making changes to its self-regulatory arrangements in 2011 and the Complaints Review Executive and Independent Complaints Review Panel will be discontinued on a date to be announced. Should you wish to pursue your complaint with either of these bodies, please do so within 14 days. Your opportunity to seek review from the Australian Communications and Media Authority will be unaffected by these changes.

      For more information about the changes the ABC is making to its self-regulatory framework, please refer to the report available here –

      Yours sincerely

      Mark Maley

      Audience & Consumer Affairs

      1. I think future generations will see the ABC as being as responsible for the false ‘debate’ over climate change as any of the standard vested-interest media and even Rupert’s dreary empire. (Though there’ll be a special hell of opprobrium reserved for The Australian!)

        Their job is to serve the best interests of the people of Australia, not the best interests of their masters – they certainly have the resources and talent to do it – and yet even at this stage we are being served up barely-warmed-over lame excuses for their cowardly perpetuation of false balance. Howard did the ABC a lot of damage, but they seem to lack the will to even try to break back to forthright independence.

      2. Thanks Byron,

        My complaint also received the same unsatisfactory, formulaic response.

        However Media Watch is taking an interest and is researching the AM story. I am hopeful something will come of that.

      3. I see Steve/Byron they skirted round the point that Carter was NOT an expert in this field and that his views were only those of a personal nature. They need to be pressed on this point. At the present time he is obviously a “go to” person when they feel they need to “balance” – but they need to be made well aware that this is NOT expert opinion – despite his academic position. He has no credibility in Climate Science.

        1. My reply to his reply:

          Dear Mr Maley,

          Thank you for your prompt and detailed reply to my email message of 27th January. I am pleased that these matters are taken seriously and do not doubt that much thought and discussion goes into the ABC’s editorial decisions. As a national broadcaster, I appreciate the fact that the ABC takes seriously its chartered duty towards balanced coverage.

          My concern is that in seeking to discharge its “responsibility to present all principal relevant positions in what is an important public debate”, a false balance has been introduced that would not be present in a variety of other matters where mainstream scientific opinion is clear. Professor Carter may be a qualified scientist, but in speaking of climate change attribution I understand that he is speaking outside of his area of expertise. He does not represent a credible alternative scientific voice on this particular topic. I do not see the logic in asking him to reply, except insofar as he is speaking as a private citizen who is well known for his opinions concerning the denial of anthropogenic climate change. However, in that case, balance becomes much less important than accuracy.

          Byron Smith

            1. And an even faster reply this time:

              Dear Mr Smith,

              Thank you for reply. I appreciate the argument you are making. You won’t be surprised to know that you were not alone in your reaction and intelligent feedback is appreciated and taken seriously by News management. As you can imagine, the issue of balance, particularly in relation global warming, has resulted in much debate and hand wringing in all responsible media organisations and different decisions and interpretations are made at different times. My job, in this case, was to assess whether a breach of policy occurred, which I don’t think did.


              Mark Maley

            2. Hmmm They are still skirting round the fact of Carter’s in-expertise and woeful wrongheadedness on Climate Science, and thereby attempting to avoid admitting that they stuffed up! Good work Byron! Hopefully in the future they will think more carefully before using Prof Carter as a “go to” on Climate. One hopes so anyway.

            3. Very good indeed. I complained to Media Watch once after they reported that ‘it’s no surprise people don’t know who to trust’ on AGW – as if the media generally (and the ABC specifically) weren’t a major contributor to this confusion, and had no capacity in themselves to determine who is actually credible! – and also got a pleasingly swift and thoughtful response.

              You seem to have got the form letter first, and the thoughtful reply second.

              And Macro – hopefully so. As long as they don’t call in Ken Ring instead!

            4. Please see below the response that I have sent to Mr Maley at the ABC, copied to Media Watch,

              Dear Mr Maley,

              Thank you for your response to my complaint regarding the lack of balance and accuracy in the AM broadcast on 21st January.

              I do not accept your contention that Carter’s “opinions were well balanced by those of Michel Jarraud”. In fact, M. Jarraud was not given the opportunity to respond to Carter’s inaccurate statements.

              You state that Carter was “a logical person to interview to see whether Michel Jarraud’s conclusions were accepted by sceptics and if not, why not.” The interviewer, Meredith Griffiths, did not ask those questions. The question remains, why interview Carter at all on this issue? If the ABC is reporting a major story on cancer treatment, does it feel obliged to invite comment from a dermatologist or pediatrician rather than an oncologist to provide ‘balanced’ comment? What sort of perverse policy would that be and how would it better inform the Australian public on important issues?

              M. Jarraud was interviewed in his role as Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organisation in relation to WMO Press Release No. 906, issued the previous day. The release makes clear that the “statistics are based on data sets maintained by the UK Meteorological Office Hadley Centre/Climatic Research Unit (HadCRU), the U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), and the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).” Clearly Jarraud was speaking on behalf of the WMO and his statement carried considerable scientific weight. In contrast, Carter, a scientist but not a specialist in climate, was expressing a personal non-expert opinion, not as a representative of James Cook University. This distinction was not made clear to the listener. In fact the tone of the interviewer implied that M. Jarraud was speaking for himself – “Mr Jarraud has no evidence for that.”

              You might find interesting the following statement from a letter just (1st February 2011) released by the US National Academy of Sciences, “The assertions of climate deniers therefore should not be given scientific weight equal to the comprehensive, peer-reviewed research presented by the vast majority of climate scientists.”

              So much for balance. What about accuracy?

              In the interview Carter made the following statements,

              “there is nothing in the scientific literature which says we have more climatic emergency events at the moment than in the past or that these are more frequent or more dangerous”

              “Since 1998 we’ve had three warm years”.

              “each of those years is associated with an El Nino event which causes or is related to the warming”

              “there’s no trend”

              In fact Andrew Glikson of Australian National University notes “a 2 to 3 fold increase in the frequency of climate-related events since about 1980.” (Glikson, A Shift in the State of the Atmosphere). The graph he includes in the document shows extreme weather trends highlighted in IPCC evidence provided by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) – source.

              This is supported by Munich Re’s natural catastrophe database, the most comprehensive of its kind in the world, which shows a marked increase in the number of weather-related events. For instance, globally there has been a more than threefold increase in loss-related floods since 1980 and more than double the number of windstorm natural catastrophes, with particularly heavy losses as a result of Atlantic hurricanes. (Munich Re, Press Release 27 September, 2011) Munich Re has concluded, “The high number of weather-related natural catastrophes and record temperatures both globally and in different regions of the world provide further indications of advancing climate change.” (Munich Re, Press Release 3 January, 2011)

              In relation to “three warm years”, the WMO press release makes clear that, “The ten warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998.” This was accurately stated in another ABC story on the same day.

              Carter, and Griffiths, should have been aware that the 2010 “El Nino event” switched to the La Nina phase before mid-year, making the fact that 2010 equalled or exceeded 1998 and 2005 in mean temperature significant.

              The WMO press release makes clear that, “The 2010 data confirm the Earth’s significant long-term warming trend”.

              None of these errors of fact was challenged, or even commented on, by Griffths.

              Carter’s final statement of the interview is one that could not be made by a competent climate scientist and illustrates that he does not understand basic climate science, in particular that fact that there is a lag (delay) period between ghg buildup and rising temperatures. This fact is well known and understood by real climate scientists, although the exact period is not determined.

              Griffiths closed the interview by gratuitously adding another of Carter’s lies, “Professor Carter says the last 150 years have been among the coolest in the past 10,000 years of the Earth’s history.” Again, without comment, explanation or challenge.

              Accuracy was clearly lacking in both Carter’s and Griffiths’ statements.

              If, as you say, this broadcast of “Australia’s most informative morning current affairs program” was in keeping with the ABC’s editorial standards for accuracy, a review of those editorial standards is urgently required.

              Yours sincerely,

              Steve Meacher

            5. Excellent, Steve.

              And here we see a ‘the last 150 years among the coolest’ meme in action – and we all know where that comes from, don’t we boys and girls?

              Disproved, discredited, disingenuous, but sadly all-too-widely dis-tributed; the denial machine has no regard for fact and no respect whatsoever for the public or the future.

            6. Steve – that was excellent! Thanks for your work in pulling it together with far greater detail than I managed.

              Do you have a link for the Glikson piece? I can’t seem to find it easily.

  12. Quite. Just as David Irving would be an appropriate person to interview about Endlösung.

    Dunno why – since your complaint was valid – but the response reminds me of the shock Ian Plimer must have got when he lost his court case against the arkies. I’ve often wondered if that is what made Plimer what he is today.

  13. As a follow up, some may be interested to hear that ABC’s AM did a much better climate story a couple of days ago about a new paper in Nature. Transcript here.

    (Wow – a thumbs down while I’m still in the edit window. Someone’s fast.)

Leave a Reply