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« BBC metropolitan elite, moi? | Main | DECCline and fall? »
Friday
May082015

Lomborg axed

The Australian media reports:

The University of Western Australia has cancelled the contract for a policy centre that was to be headed up by controversial academic Bjorn Lomborg after a "passionate emotional reaction" to the plan.

The Federal Government had pledged to contribute $4 million to the Consensus Centre, a think tank that was to use methods similar to those used by Dr Lomberg's Copenhagen Centre.

If you are an academic, dissent on climate change or climate change policy will lead to a loss of your livelihood.

You have been warned.

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Reader Comments (65)

McCarthyism is alive and well in the University of Western Australia, this basically sums up climate "science" and its Witchfinder Generals!

May 8, 2015 at 10:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

Like I said, a closed shop.

May 8, 2015 at 10:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Unbelievable!!

Supine, spineless doesn't even come close to describing this decision.

May 8, 2015 at 10:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&Twisted

From the A Good Day to Bury Bad Science thread:


golf charlie

Why on earth do you think it would be "financial and professional suicide" to criticise this (or any other) paper? If you seriously think the lead author has influence over climate scientists' careers, he'd be right to describe this as "conspiracy ideation"…. ;)

May 7, 2015 at 10:42 PM | Registered Commenter Richard Betts


4 million Aussie dollars say you're wrong, Dr Betts.

Stick to the party line or face the dole - that's the new scientific method.

May 8, 2015 at 10:52 AM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

I thought I had lost the ability to be flabberghasted by the antics of Academia in the world of climate science.

But I have not.

May 8, 2015 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

Australia..is..doomed..
M Courtney beat me to it.
Wolfgang Pauli`s comment comes to mind "Die Grippenpest"...The Group Pestilence
Professor Clive Spash was sacked for not toeing the line on "carbon trading".
http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2010/s2829301.htm

May 8, 2015 at 10:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterDrapetomania

Is Dr Betts sincere when he makes these comments?

I think that he is.

Therefore, my conclusion is that he is completely deluded. One day, the penny may drop. Far into the future.

May 8, 2015 at 11:04 AM | Unregistered Commenterjolly farmer

Is Betts deluded? He knows what to do to maintain his high salary, his prestigious position and his super pension. To hell with integrity.

May 8, 2015 at 11:25 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

M Courtney, Thank you! Actions speak louder than words.

I did not know anything about this development when I posted yesterday.

I think that the Met Office could save tax payers rather more than $4m Aus, simply by flushing away the green crap. Recycling it, has proved to be a bad financial mistake in the past.

May 8, 2015 at 11:25 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Go somewhere else in Oz and get the bucks?

May 8, 2015 at 11:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterEx-expat Colin

Academia has now invoked mob rule.

Not their cleverest day.

Time will tell, whether their celebrations are deemed "inappropriate behaviour".
Is that a sackable offence in Australia?

May 8, 2015 at 11:45 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Its OK, Christopher Pyne said he would seek another university for Mr Lomborg's services.

May 8, 2015 at 12:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterel gordo

Is it just coincidence, but Figueras had just been in Australia?

May 8, 2015 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterilma

The word 'academic' is starting to equate with 'STUPID' in my mind. come to think of it, attp comes to mind....

May 8, 2015 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterOtter (ClimateOtter on Twitter)

Because "passionate emotional reactions" beats rational investigation, at UWA

May 8, 2015 at 12:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterAsmilwho

You have been warmed.

May 8, 2015 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterGamecock

Wouldn't it be fairer for the fossil fuel industry to pay for their own propaganda?

I thought you guys were against public subsidies to the energy industry.

May 8, 2015 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterGubulgaria

4 million Aussie dollars say you're wrong, Dr Betts.

Stick to the party line or face the dole - that's the new scientific method.

M Courtney

Betts knows that. That's why he sticks very closely to the political line.

May 8, 2015 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richardsrds

Gubulgaria, would you trust research paid for by the energy industry?

Either you do and hope they are unbiased (and seen to be unbiased by everyone, hmm).
Or you don't and guess what the truth is by faith because you don't believe in research (theocracy).
Or you get someone else to fund the research on behalf of the public interest (a ha!).

The last option is why we have academia and why he should be funded.

May 8, 2015 at 12:46 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

To be fair it was a waste of money. All they had to do was buy his book.

May 8, 2015 at 12:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Gubulgaria, now you mention it, you are so right. Lets cut all subsidies to the energy industries, and get them all to pay for their propaganda.

Slash Met Office budget
Slash DECC
Slash Health Authority and Local Authority budgets
Slash EU budgets
Slash tax payer extortion to fund it all.

You are a genius. Womble up the rubbish, and burn it.

May 8, 2015 at 12:55 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

M Courtney, I think the issue with the UWA was that not only would Lomborg's 'research' not be credible, ever, but their association with him would damage the credibility of all of the university's work.

Remember, the funding isn't an issue here - Lomborg still has his 4 million from Abbott - it's just that unis wil need a bigger bribe to agree to have their name linked to his.

May 8, 2015 at 12:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterGubulgaria

This is big news.

May 8, 2015 at 1:03 PM | Registered Commentershub

Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.

Or maybe Grantham offered them 5 million.

May 8, 2015 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

A comment by Mr.Betts is most appreciated, but I would't bett on it.

May 8, 2015 at 1:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterHoi Polloi

Parents of small children know what happens when you reward "passionate emotional reactions".

May 8, 2015 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterBloke in Central Illinois

Gubulgaria, in your response to MCourteney, you state that Lomberg's research would not be credible. What do you base your prejudice on? Are you content with the value for money demonstrated by Hockey Stick science? For all their billions of £$ , they seem to be particularly unlucky in their guesswork so far. Even if Lomberg is only half right, that seems like excellent value for money, in climate science.

May 8, 2015 at 1:52 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

@GC

"What do you base your prejudice on?"

Good question.

I have developed this slightly odd superstition, where I can't really decide what to think on any complicated issue without first checking what highly qualified experts think.

It's a bit like footballers wearing lucky pants - because I checked what highly qualified experts thought once, and they turned out to be right, I just feel it would be unlucky now to make up my mind without them.

May 8, 2015 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterGubulgaria

because I checked what highly qualified experts thought once, and they turned out to be right, I just feel it would be unlucky now to make up my mind without them.

They were right once? When was that?
And how often have they been wrong?

It's a bit like footballers facing an open goal and hitting row z.

May 8, 2015 at 2:56 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

I will admit that when the barn's on fire, there really isn't room for debate as to whether you should use water from the pond, water from the hydrant, should you hose the right side first or the left side. In a circumstance like that you have to make a decision and go at it. There really is no room for debate.

I can understand taking that position if we were moving into truly unknown territory on a climate scale. But when you know the world has been warmer and you know the carbon dioxide level has been higher, then we are not at the point where "the barn's on fire." We might be at the point where it is bone dry, the wind is blowing from the east where Little Johnny is playing with matches next to the hay stack, but we haven't gotten to the point where he actually has gotten one lit.

There is time, then, to discuss what is the best way to attack the barn should it catch fire, and to determine if it is wise to let Little Johnny keep playing with matches over there next to the haystack. Good, sound logic says that is exactly what we need to do - discuss and plan - but you can't discuss and plan if one side has a loud speaker and the other side is treated like the heads on Easter Island.

When the situation is like that, you know that there is no debate because there can't be any debate if one side has no ground to debate from. If people truly say that climate change isn't a concern for them, they need to actually exercise their opinion daily. Always seek out the company that doesn't push the agenda. Always listen to the candidate that speaks from facts, not the myths of a computer model that can't duplicate climate because the programmers don't understand what climate is in the first place.

There NEVER will BE a climate model that can give anything other than assumptions for output since we will never truly understand every facet of what causes it to change. There will ALWAYS be something about it that we hadn't thought of before. Hell, who knows, it may change if someone living at the right spot on Earth at the exactly right time flushes their toilet twice, to make sure the bowl is clean. We don't know what affects climate, we only guess - intelligent though those guesses might be at times, they are based on assumptions, not necessarily fact.

People that realize that climate change, as it is being used, is only being used to generate the belief that we need world government, need to start being more aggressive in expressing themselves, and in driving out those that are trying to lead us into a world where the privileged will enjoy life, but the rest of us will be packed into rat's warrens of cities, never being allowed to enjoy the world in which we exist. for "living" as we now know it, won't exist for the 99%. Don't buy that paper that gives you garbage news, don't watch those shows that lie to you, don't vote for politicians that don't think like you do - assuming voting matters, of course - and don't allow yourself to be bulldozed by that anal person at work or at the store, or in the neighborhood that BELIEVES in the gospel of Gore or Mann or Jones or Hansen. If we don't actively start taking back this world, we are going to lose the privilege of living in it.

May 8, 2015 at 3:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterTomO

Once upon a time an expert was someone who was right most of the time, not just one time in a hundred.

May 8, 2015 at 3:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

I wonder if there could be a breach of contract claim against UWA? That might sharpen them up a bit - except of course the taxpayer, rather than the "decision makers", still gets stiffed with the costs when they lose .

May 8, 2015 at 3:50 PM | Registered Commenterdavidchappell

I agree with Gubulgaria.
I can't really decide what to think on any complicated issue without first checking what highly qualified experts think, either. The difference between him and me is that I know a snake oil salesman when I see one, regardless of how many dubious "sustificates" he might wave in my face. When he also tries to get me to play "find the lady" I know for certain I'm being conned.
But then wombles are simple-minded souls and prone to fall for that sort of nonsense.

May 8, 2015 at 4:09 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

When academia so clearly won't let you come up with the "wrong" answer, it's amazing that all those studies could only find a 97% consensus. How did 3% manage to sneak past the gatekeepers?

May 8, 2015 at 4:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterHK

<I>I think the issue with the UWA was that not only would Lomborg's 'research' not be credible, ever, but their association with him would damage the credibility of all of the university's work.

to quote the Womble.

... and this guy enhances UWA's reputation?

http://www.uwa.edu.au/people/stephan.lewandowsky

May 8, 2015 at 4:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

Gubulgaria:

I doubt that you are here to do more than troll, but do you understand that Lomborg accepts IPCC science?

His studies are in the area of cost/benefit analysis of the various adaption/mitigation pathways.

May 8, 2015 at 4:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Jay

Gubulgaria, if you keep wearing your lucky pants long enough, and still find yourself alone at parties, it is probably time to wash/change your lucky pants.

Trusting to the luck of their pants, has not done the Hockey Team's science credibility much good, but I would not like to see them, deprived of their pants.

May 8, 2015 at 4:51 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Hopefully the Federal Government has drawn back the money they offered to the University of WA. since they have rejected the contract.

May 8, 2015 at 4:59 PM | Unregistered Commenterivan

golf charlie, or at the very least gubulgaria should stop wearing his lucky pants over his trousers because he's no kind of super hero.

May 8, 2015 at 5:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

I watched Lomborg present and defend the substance of his new book at Harvard last month.
Few attended the largely unpublicized event , held in the auditorium below the university's Center for the Environment.
More economists than scientists appeared to attend, and they sharply criticized his methodology.

May 8, 2015 at 6:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Russell
Since the book has more to do with economics than with "science" that seems reasonable and since "If all the economists were laid end to end, they'd never reach a conclusion.", according to George Bernard Shaw, the fact that they criticised his methodology is hardly surprising.
Around 30 years 365 economists signed a letter arguing that Margaret Thatcher's economic policies were wrong and doomed to failure. Within five years they had been proved wrong.
Just because the climate fanatics like you hate the fact that Lomborg is a believer in the disease but disputes the cure is no reason to sneer. Though it does seem to be what you're best at.

May 8, 2015 at 6:38 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Russell, I saw Mann on national T.V present his Hockey Stick. It was really well received by everyone apparently.

May 8, 2015 at 7:32 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

TomO, I think your barn on fire analogy makes a very useful point, but perhaps over eggs the end point.

What we have in climate change is a slowly evolving development in time where the incremental risk is low. There are claims of tipping points but the probabilities attached to them in centurial time scales are no greater than for other catastrophic events. So we don't have a barn bursting into flames at the end of it all and, returning to your point, it is all happening in very slow motion.

From a risk management perspective the cumulative global seismic risks are more intractable. We know the high risk areas, but exact location is unknown and the incremental consequences extreme.

A better understanding of risk management and the role of time on both the costs and benefits is essential to this calculus. Unfortunately environmental/climate science seems to generally skip that chapter.

PS on the question of bias in the science I'm all for acknowledging this is inevitable if we leave it to humans. I even don't worry too much about entrenched ideas dominating for a decade or two (what would we have to teach our grandchildren to put a human dimension on the sciences). And a few more wars being lost is no harm. In the case of climate change (like Y2K), the proof of the pudding will be in the eating.

Bringing this discursion back to the burning barn, it's much more important to get the adaption (good risk management) vs mitigation thing right, and for that one can happily accept everything IPCC AR5 WG1 said. It's the other WGs on needs to watch.

May 8, 2015 at 9:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterHAS

Groupenpest. Grippenpest is more or less the grippe. However if you want to read about the Groupenpest, Wigner has an interesting take, esp. since he was the one with the original infection

May 8, 2015 at 10:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterEli Rabett

Since the only criticisms of Lomborg are ad hom, we can thank Gubulgaria for so quickly clarifying that he has no argument to offer except to support academic bigotry and cowardice.

May 8, 2015 at 10:30 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

@May 8, 2015 at 12:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterGubulgaria

…..but their association with him would damage the credibility of all of the university's work.

What credibility is that Gubulgaria?

May 8, 2015 at 11:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterDouglas

Let's, for argument's sake, accept that 97% of scientists are in "the consensus". Would it not be reasonable that 3% of research funding should go to contrarians? I'd be very surprised if $4m over 4 years is anything like 3% of what Australia sinks into climate change research.

May 8, 2015 at 11:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Swan

They've started to assassinate their own.

It's always the same with extremists.

Like I said before, the only possible outcome for these people is self-destruction. The only question is how many of the rest of us they exterminate in the process. History says a great deal more than many.

May 9, 2015 at 1:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

Mike seems unusually delusional today. I've been defending Lomborg ever since the Danish Star Chamber lit into him a decade ago.

Odd the Bish never noticed that the judge in that case ( later dismissed ) was ;

1. A Swedish prison warden whose area of expertise is Balkan traditional law.

2. Subsequently given an ad litem sinecure at the Hague by none other than Kofi Annan.

May 9, 2015 at 2:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Further to above mention of Figueres in Australia, here is a video from last night on ABC TV.
http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2015/s4232634.htm

Notice the evasion of essentially all detailed questions by generic answers that are sometimes wrong and which often place straw man comments in the mouths of those mentioned.. Example, for what to replace Aust coal, it is windmills and solar all the way down, no mention whatsoever of nuclear.

This woman is a menace to enlightenment and verges on blackmail tactics at times. A nasty piece of work, go home Christiana and continue to wreck other places like Europe.
......................
Stay tuned for Lomberg developments if they occur.
Geoff.

May 9, 2015 at 2:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

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