Thursday, August 27, 2009

Australian Scientists and Alarmism - Professor Matthew England


Professor Matthew England (PhD, Director, Climate and Environmental Dynamics Laboratory (CEDL), University of New South Wales). (Pictured above) is, like many of his fellow scientists from the believer's camp, adamant that the debate is over and that sceptics need to be treated with scorn. He seems to have blinded himself to any other possibilities and seems very obsessed with funding for his cause, as can be seen in comments below:

He has some strong opinions on Al Gore’s Movie:

Gore captivates his audience with a compelling presentation. He shows graphics that climate scientists and their students might have seen a thousand times, yet he articulates their content with clarity. And he gets it all right. I watched the show waiting for him to slip up, to get something wrong, it doesn't happen.

Conservative commentators and the so- called "climate change sceptics" are up in arms: what does a politician know about climate change? Well, it turns out he knows a lot more about it than the sceptics.

Gore takes his audience on a tour of the changing planet, interspersed with graphs drawn out of any climate textbook. The result is compelling viewing.

….Now Gore brings the real stuff to the box office. Don't be fooled by self-anointed experts telling you he has got it wrong. He hasn't. You get to see what you might see in any university climate lecture, but on the big screen and told by a man once touted as the next president of the US.

Climate change sceptics are now so few in number that they are almost household names, regularly paraded by the media under the false guise that there is unrest and controversy about climate change and whether it's real.

The more fervent among the sceptics clan claim this is just a scientific conspiracy to misinform in the hope of securing more funding, presumably to do yet more misinforming and perpetrate a bizarre cycle of mistruths.

The irony is that the emergence of consensus views on climate change should ultimately mean an increase in funding to address the problem, not study it. One thing is certain: scientists are an ambitious bunch and nobody gets a prize for fraudulent science. They get struck off the payroll.

Everybody has an opinion on climate change. Do they read the scientific literature? Have they studied the textbooks? Gore has, so he deserves his soapbox.

Checking his glowing and supportive assessment of Al Gore's movie in this link, we find that it is in fact full of major errors. Thirty five to be precise. Nine of which were ruled on by Justice Burton in a British court of law. Others think there may be even more errors in Gore's film. All of which Professor England was ignorant of or more likely chose to ignore, when he made statements like: ...he gets it all right. I watched the show waiting for him to slip up, to get something wrong, it doesn't happen. And these ones: ….Now Gore brings the real stuff to the box office. Don't be fooled by self-anointed experts telling you he has got it wrong. He hasn't.
As they did not support either Gore's or his position and thus were deemed to be "Inconvenient truths". It lends support to the old saying that: "None are so blind as those that will not see!"

When Professor England says things like Climate change sceptics are now so few in number that they are almost household names he must have be unaware of all of these scientists, that are too numerous to be mere household names. Or even these ones who are also too numerous to be considered few in number or mere household names. However, it is true that many notable scientists that have graced our televisions in the past such as David Bellamy are indeed sceptics of climate change. So perhaps that was what he was referring too instead?

It is also interesting when Professor England says this in an attempt to slur those that are presenting counter views to his own as nothing more that money hungry liars, who are prepared to peddle any non-sense just to achieve a pay cheque: The more fervent among the sceptics clan claim this is just a scientific conspiracy to misinform in the hope of securing more funding, presumably to do yet more misinforming and perpetrate a bizarre cycle of mistruths. Yet in reality we find that many of the scientists and advocates that are presenting alarmist views are most often the ones making large sums of money as they hype the scares. Money from both government sources and private. Yet many are freely admitting that they exaggerate in order to capture attention and as a result funding for their cause. Yet he says it is exclusively the domain of the sceptics to do this.

Also when Professor England says: Everybody has an opinion on climate change. Do they read the scientific literature? Have they studied the textbooks? Gore has, so he deserves his soapbox. Are we to assume that he is saying that Al Gore having read some texts that he (Professor England) approves of that he is indeed more knowledgeable than these learned people of The American Physical Society? No doubt they too are some of the sceptics who are so few in number.

Next, we will have a look at something that is near and dear to many climate scientists hearts now that they have captured the attention of government bodies worldwide, Professor England's repeated calls for funding for his cause (already mentioned above):

FUNDING for the Australian climate science research effort needs doubling,”

federal and state governments needed to rethink their approach to climate science research funding. The focus has been recently skewed to adaptation, "but they need also need to remember to resource the science that informs climate adaptation policies, such as the next generation climate models.''

Like the ones that Professor England produces. So doing a quick examination of Professor England’s listed funding from his own website in the section of funding arrangements shows an interesting story:

From what I could gather these were his non-climate science specific related grants:

CSIRO Flagship Fellowship, 2005: Southern Ocean teleconnections to Australian climate, $72,000.
Australian Antarctic Science Grant, 2004: Variability and stability of Antarctic Bottom Water, $56,100.
UNSW Goldstar Award, 2004: $30,000.
UNSW Faculty Research Grant, 2003: $15,000.
UNSW UPRS, 2002: Southern Ocean water-masses: stability, variability and long-term change, $15,000.
ARC Small Grant, 2000: A Southern Ocean Model Intercomparison Project, $11,000.
ARC Small Grant, 1999: A Global Ocean Model Intercomparison Project, $9,000.
Australian Academy of Science, 1997: Formation and stability of Antarctic Bottom Water.
ARC Small Grant, 1997: Circulation, dynamics and water-mass formation in the Southern Ocean, $20,000.
ARC Small Grant, 1996: Topographic effects in ocean circulation models, $12,000.
UNSW VC's Research Fellowship, 1995-1997: $163,000 (Salary + on-costs + $15,000 project costs).


And these were his climate science related grants as the Chief Investigator :


Australian Research Council (ARC) Grants:
ARC Federation Fellowship, 2006-2010: Genesis of Australian climate extremes in the Southern Hemisphere extratropical ocean-atmosphere. FF0561734 Total funding over 5 years: $1,500,000 + matching support from UNSW.
ARC-Discovery DP0881798 (England, M.H., W. Sijp), 2008-2010: Coupled ocean-carbon-atmosphere feedbacks in the global climate system, $415,000.
ARC-Discovery DP0667075 (England, M.H., A. Muller), 2006-2008: Abrupt Southern Hemisphere climate change: the role of the Southern Ocean thermohaline circulation, $270,000.
ARC-Discovery (England, M.H., S.B. Power, and D.J. Karoly), 2005-2007: Australian climate extremes and predictability in a changing CO2 world: the unique role of the Southern Hemisphere extratropical ocean-atmosphere, $225,000.
ARC-Networks (Pitman, A.J., J. Beringer, N. Bindoff, M.H. England and 46 others), 2004-2008: The ARC Earth Systems Science Network, $1,950,000 over 5 years
ARC-CSIRO Linkage, (APF: B. McNeil, PI: R. Matear), 2003-2005: Southern Ocean anthropogenic CO2 uptake, $193,035.
ARC QEII Fellowship, 1998-2002: Circulation and variability in the Southern Ocean and its influence on Australian climate, $407,902 (Salary + 26% on-costs + $52,500 project costs).
ARC Large Grant (England, M.H., and C.J.C. Reason), 2001-2003: Midlatitude variability in the Southern Ocean and its role in Australian climate, $164,200.


So one must conclude that his unremitting calls for more research funding was successful. As the smallest ‘Government grant’ amount in the second list is larger than the largest amount in the first list. Comparatively climate science pays very handsomely in terms of attracting research funds from government sources. No wonder some in the alarmist or climate believer's ranks are loathed to acknowledge anything that might threaten that source of funding.

As is attested to by Dr. David Evans in his article I Was On the Global Warming Gravy Train, where he explains why he went from being a beleiver to being a climate sceptic and how good the money was as a climate modeller.

So what sort predictions does Professor England make about climate change?

"People shouldn't be talking about anything less than a 50 per cent reduction by 2050. Because the science tells us we will almost certainly warm the planet over the two degrees Celsius that equates to dangerous climate change,"

And here he displays his feelings about those that dare challenge his view point on climate change:

…Yet the upcoming decades will relegate the climate change sceptics to a status akin to that of paid-up members of the flat earth society.

When discussing the Martin Durkin Documentary “The Great Global Warming Swindle” he was able to find the following faults. Yet when viewing "An Inconvenient Truth" he found none:

“When … the graphs are purposefully missing data, you can’t really call that a documentary,”

However, when Ofcom was asked to rule on the documentary was misleading and broke any broadcast rules, it replied:

“Ofcom concluded that these parts of the programme were not matters of political or industrial controversy or matters relating to public policy and therefore the rules on due impartiality did not apply,” it said.

The media regulator also said that while it had concerns about “aspects of the presentation (and omission) of fact and views within the programme, it did not believe, given the nature of the programme, that this led to the audience being materially misled”.

Professor England is also not afraid to use completely contradictory sentences in the one statement:

"This has less to do with global warming and more to do with the natural kinks and dips you see in weather patterns each year,”

“…The extremes of heat are an example of the sort of weather we can expect to see a lot more often in the next 50 years, because the evidence is indisputable that the weather is getting warmer."

Professor England remains one of the Australian ABC's favourite "go to" people when it needs someone to talk about climate change or to provide a taped opinion on a sceptic that may be attending that nights session on programs such as "Lateline". Taped opinions that the person being interviewed has no right of reply to.

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