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Earth Australia

Top Advisor To Australian Gov't Says Climate Change is a UN Conspiracy 525

An anonymous reader writes: Maurice Newman, the top business advisor to conservative Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, today published an opinion piece (paywalled) in which he claims, "It's a well-kept secret, but 95 per cent of the climate models ... have been found ... to be in error." He goes on to write "This is not about facts or logic. It's about a new world order under the control of the UN." While Newman's 'skeptical' views have long been on record, it's unclear when he came to believe in this vast global conspiracy. Last year, the Abbott government removed Australia's Emissions Trading Scheme, and recently gave $4 million in funding to contrarian Bjorn Lomberg, while cutting hundreds of millions of dollars from science across the country.
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Top Advisor To Australian Gov't Says Climate Change is a UN Conspiracy

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  • Deniers (Score:3, Interesting)

    by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Friday May 08, 2015 @10:22AM (#49646641) Homepage Journal

    Deniers will apparently just claim that "95%" of science is bogus if it disagrees with their pre-determined world view, causing cognitive dissonance.

    How much you want to bet this lunatic is also a rabid fundamentalist following some ancient texts?

    • He's Right (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 08, 2015 @10:35AM (#49646779)

      The UN is a menace, and before long you will have to take your Mark on the forehead! Read your Bible!

      -proud AR-15 owner.

      • by TWX ( 665546 )
        If society collapses the way it may if climate change worsens, you might end up with the mark on your forehead, reading "POOR IMPULSE CONTROL"...
    • Re:Deniers (Score:5, Informative)

      by jandersen ( 462034 ) on Friday May 08, 2015 @10:37AM (#49646805)

      Deniers will apparently just claim that "95%" of science is bogus if it disagrees with their pre-determined world view, causing cognitive dissonance.

      95% is the number they always 'quote', for some reason - presumably because they know it sounds daft to say 'I don't know how much, but I'm sure it's a lot'. Nice, round numbers like 95 don't often turn up as the result of a genuine investigation; real, statistical results are much more awkward, of course - for probabilitic reasons, actually: if you could potentially get any number between 0 and 100 as a result, with 2 decimals (which is quite common), then there are about 10000 possible outcomes, and any number would, on the outset, have a probability of just 10E-4 (this is where those who actually understand probability will come and correct me, no doubt).

      Apart from that, he is actually right, although he underestimates the number: it should be 100%. All climate models are wrong, we know that. This is because we are dealing with science, where we make observations, construct a model to explain them, make predictions, find that we are not quite right, change the model, and so on. You can even make a joke about this: Scientists know their theories are not The Truth, and what do you call people that tell something that they know isn't true? Yes! All scientists are liars!! (OK, I didn't say it was a GOOD joke)

    • There is no indication that Maurice Newman has any strong Christian views: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M... [wikipedia.org]

      Small government and free market conservatives frequently are not socially conservative. For example, Grover Norquist is on the board of GOProud (LGBT Republicans) and David Koch signed an amicus brief to SCOTUS supporting gay marriage (something he has supported for a long time).

      As for "science", Newman's primary points are that the climate change policies proposed by the UN and national governments

      • Re:Deniers (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Barsteward ( 969998 ) on Friday May 08, 2015 @11:47AM (#49647549)
        Newmans points is :- let Australia keep digging up coal and selling it to China, As with all idiots like this, they are aligned with the fossil industry in some way.
      • by cusco ( 717999 )

        They're generally not actual conservatives, either. Most of the time they're extreme radicals. Grover Norquist's web site used to have a position paper where he proposed to run the US government debt so high that there would be no budget left for anything but the military and debt servicing. The effect would be to reduce the US government to the size where he "could drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the tub."

    • by miltonw ( 892065 )

      "Deniers will apparently just claim that "95%" of science is bogus"

      They will? What's your source on that?
      Or is that just a "prediction" based on a computer model?

    • by Andrio ( 2580551 )

      If they were smart they would use a more specific percentage. Something like 96.3%

      If you're going to pull a number out of your ass, may as well make it sound authentic.

  • by sls1j ( 580823 ) on Friday May 08, 2015 @10:22AM (#49646645) Homepage
    There is no doubt that politicians love to use this a leverage to gain more power and control over the lives of the people.
  • on the fucking barby.
  • by Gaxx ( 76064 ) on Friday May 08, 2015 @10:24AM (#49646659)

    I've worked in a university and I know full well that getting 3 academics in a room generally means having at least 4 opinions on any given topic. Getting academics to agree on anything is like herding cats. I would almost like there to be a grand conspiracy of thousands of academics. It would be the proof I require that they _can_ be induced to agree on a topic ;p

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by OzPeter ( 195038 )

      Getting academics to agree on anything is like herding cats.

      The key to herding cats is to simply move their food-bowl.

      And unfortunately that is also pretty well the basic counter as to why all the science agrees - it's because the scientist's food-bowl ($$$) was moved.

      • by gtall ( 79522 )

        Most scientists do not get grant funding. There goes your theory.

    • Get 4 academics/researchers in a room and each will have numerous, and maybe half a dozen "math models" each. Then they pick one they think might be "right." What is not discussed is that models are inherently modeling chaotic systems.

      Chaotic systems can flip their path (trajectory or outcome if you will) based on things that occur in the 9th, 12th or 20th decimal point. This is well known to mathematicians.

      So, are we to alter society and effectively drain its resources to try to accomplish something tha

  • by surfdaddy ( 930829 ) on Friday May 08, 2015 @10:24AM (#49646661)
    See, there are batshit crazy politicians elsewhere as well!
  • by Chris Katko ( 2923353 ) on Friday May 08, 2015 @10:31AM (#49646735)
    ...even if it was all wrong. What's the side-effect of reducing pollute? We're all less likely to die of cancer?

    Woe is me--such a terrible world! Why did not we do the rational thing and spend all of that money on bombs?! Hindsight, I stab at thee!
    • Money. Less money for industries that rely on fossil fuels (and since they have the most money right now, they're kind of powerful) and higher costs for individuals, which drives people to believe some awfully unbelievable things.
    • You are asking the key question.
      That is the question that gets ignored, on purpose, the 800 pound gorilla.

      Why not just reduce pollution?

      Anytime I get into a debate with anyone about "climate change" or how much carbon is getting pumped into the atmosphere, I ALWAYS use the argument of reducing pollution. We know for a fact that air pollution contributes to increased rates of heart disease, of asthma in children, to increasing rates of dementia, the list goes on and on, yet the douchebags continue w
      • You are asking the key question.
        That is the question that gets ignored, on purpose, the 800 pound gorilla.
        Why not just reduce pollution?
        Anytime I get into a debate with anyone about "climate change" or how much carbon is getting pumped into the atmosphere, I ALWAYS use the argument of reducing pollution. We know for a fact that air pollution contributes to increased rates of heart disease, of asthma in children, to increasing rates of dementia, the list goes on and on, yet the douchebags continue with this "The Planet is Warming Naturally, Its a Cycle"

        F#$k you and your cycle.

        The general argument against "why not just reduce pollution?" is that some people don't consider carbon dioxide a pollutant. They argue that money shouldn't be "wasted" trying to reduce something that isn't a pollutant when there are actual dangerous pollutants that could be reduced if everyone weren't so focused on carbon dioxide. I'm not saying that I agree with this point of view, I'm just trying to explain it.

        • by shilly ( 142940 )

          But the production of CO2 is pretty much coterminous with the production of [other] pollutants. Reduce those, and you reduce CO2 as well. What the British supermarkets refer to as a BOGOF.

    • 'When people learn no tools of judgment and merely follow their hopes, the seeds of political manipulation are sown.'

  • by Archtech ( 159117 ) on Friday May 08, 2015 @10:31AM (#49646739)

    "It's a well-kept secret, but 95 per cent of the climate models ... have been found ... to be in error."

    Ha ha ha. He used the notorious passive voice: "have been found". I wonder why?

    Clues:

    1. Does not specify who did the finding.
    2. Provides no link to any actual information.

  • Actions vs Words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by areusche ( 1297613 ) on Friday May 08, 2015 @10:32AM (#49646751)

    I'm all for more sustainable industry and living, but what annoys me greatly is when some rich oligarch tells us that we should start living more sustainably. Yet he flew from his third house in the south of France, in his private jet, to said conference to give the speech. Those scientists, politicians, and their associated cronies are never subject to the brunt of their legislative powers.

    You'll especially never see a fortune 500 C-level exec taking the sustainable route when it comes to their living.

    I'd be more inclined to take a lot of their positions if they actually practiced what the preached. A lot of what I actually see from these people is, "austerity for you and not for me." Why should I live like a pauper so my neo-feudal Lord can consume more nice things for less?.

  • by BCGlorfindel ( 256775 ) <klassenk@brando n u . ca> on Friday May 08, 2015 @10:34AM (#49646773) Journal

    Can I make an appeal that the comments NOT become dominated by the crazies from both sides? Everytime an article like this comes to Slashdot, the prophets of doom come on decrying how anyone not sufficiently panicked and desperate is an insane denier like the bonafide loonie in the article.

    After that it devolves into 'proving' the other side is wrong by pointing at the false claims made by the nuts on the opposite 'side'.

    sigh, I know it's naive, but it needs saying.

  • Model errors (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Friday May 08, 2015 @10:36AM (#49646795)

    ...It's a well-kept secret, but 95 per cent of the climate models ... have been found ... to be in error....

    Yes, most, if not all, of the climate are in error. They do not forecast the global climate with 100% accuracy.

    .
    They never will forecast the global climate with 100% accuracy. So they will always be in error.

    However, they currently are accurate enough to forecast a future climate that has problems, and time is running out to prevent those problems from growing so large that they are all but irreversible.

    The question is, do we start to address global warming now? Or do we wait until the models have 100% accuracy, at which time it will be too late to do anything about the problem.

    • Re: Model errors (Score:2, Insightful)

      by cbeaudry ( 706335 )

      How do you know they are accurate enough? Its just wishfull thinking.

      They can't even hindcast properly and they are way off from observed climate. So how the hell can they be accurate enough to forecast future climate trends?

      • by thaylin ( 555395 )

        What is the margin of error of their hindcast and is it within that margin? You do not have to be perfect when predicting this sort of thing, it is kinda like horseshoes, you can get close enough to get the points.

        • What is the margin of error of their hindcast and is it within that margin? You do not have to be perfect when predicting this sort of thing, it is kinda like horseshoes, you can get close enough to get the points.

          The magnitude of the error is unimportant, to a degree. It's the error trend that is the critical issue.

          If my model is wrong by (say) .5 C for any given simulation run but the skew of the error over time is 0 (ie. errors are randomly distributed) then the trend is accurate enough to make some sort of prediction.

          If the skew of the errors is != 0, then there is a problem over time: my errors will not cancel out; rather they will skew the model (and therefore the forecast) in a particular direction.

    • However, they currently are accurate enough to forecast a future climate that has problems,

      Why do you think that? Multiple studies have shown there are problems with the models.

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Friday May 08, 2015 @10:37AM (#49646813) Homepage
    He thinks the UN can run a conspiracy? HA HA HA HA HA. These are the people that can't get anything done, who put major human right criminals on the human rights committee.

    If the President tried to set up something like that, Congress would refuse to fund it, Russia would Veto it, and the French would be against it just because the US was for it.

    But even assuming it was possible for the UN to run a conspiracy, his own statements contradict him. Errors do not equal "Conspiracies", they equal incompetence. Conspiracies would involve intentionally falsified data - such as his personal statement that the UN is running a conspiracy.

  • I'm not surprised that Tony Abbott would have a conspiracy theorist like Maurice Newman as an advisor. He always struck me as being the real life version of Snidely Whiplash from the Dudely Do-Right segments of the "Rocky and Bullwinkle Show".
  • by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Friday May 08, 2015 @10:54AM (#49646999)

    From http://www.smh.com.au/national... [smh.com.au]:

    Newman has long sold himself as an intellectual maverick and independent thinker. "He gets mileage out of his climate scepticism," says a former senior Liberal. "It suits him to sustain it."

    Newman's assertions - climate scientists call them "zombie arguments", because they keep on popping up - have all been comprehensively debunked, repeatedly and in detail, by national academies of science around the world, including the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Geophysical Union, the Royal Society of London and the Australian Academy of Science. Andy Pitman, a climate scientist from the University of NSW, tells me that, "Newman's arguments are so wrong they are inconsistent with some fundamental laws of physics."

  • by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Friday May 08, 2015 @11:04AM (#49647091)

    The secret is so well-kept, that only he knows it.

    Has he _met_the UN?

  • CO2 levels started increasing during the industrial revolution when we started burning coal for fuel instead of wood.
    This was long before the UN or even the League of Nations

  • According to http://www.un.org/en/members/ [un.org] , Australia is part of the UN. I think it would then be more accurate to describe this conspiracy as an Australian Government conspiracy than an UN conspiracy.
  • by archer, the ( 887288 ) on Friday May 08, 2015 @01:30PM (#49648489)
    The pitcher is 100ft away from you. The ball is travelling 100mph (160km/h) and appears to be heading for your head. You have a split second to make a decision. What do you do?

    Are you going to wait until you know your model is 100% accurate? After all, a gust of wind can blow the ball off course. A bird could swoop or a meteorite could fall and deflect the ball. Those possibilities wouldn't be realized (or not) until they happen or the ball hits your head. What do you do?

    Me? I'd dodge. The risk isn't worth the cost of dodging.

    And yes, I am dodging. I've done the stuff that saves me money: efficient appliances and solar panels. I *hope* that everyone tries to do at least that.

    I have starting doing stuff that doesn't save me money: planting trees, conserving forests, changing home heating systems, etc. These help the climate change and health problems, but result in a net loss in my financial account. I *don't* expect everyone to do this, just those that can do it, especially those who have made millions or billions from burning fossil fuels. You would expect people around you to clean up after themselves, right? Not solve their problems by dumping them on your yard?

As of next Tuesday, C will be flushed in favor of COBOL. Please update your programs.

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