Recent comments by: nico

Agribuzz with David Leyonhjelm

Bill, please be more generous to the neanderthals.
14/01/15 10:30 PM
Science is never "settled", wtf. You are quite correct. And where massive vested interests are concerned, saying that "the science is well and truly settled" shows a naive failure to understand the nature of science.
16/06/14 05:25 AM
Em and argis, you are reasonable in your views, but you must have noticed that the Senator-elect has a regular column, and his photo on every (web) page. Should other Senators-elect should get the same? In other media they take their chance as equals seeking media coverage. If they have something to say they will be reported. I merely think that after he has taken his seat, he - like the others - should receive no further special treatment. Paid media coverage should be identified as such. And if he's an agribusiness consultant, I don't want to know his political views as well.
05/06/14 06:36 AM
Hi argis. You have a point. What I object to is not minority opinions, but that a major rural media outlet gives continual media exposure (articles, blogs, pictures, all day and every day) to an individual with such extreme views, thus seeming to endorse the views. When he takes his place in the Senate, it would be reasonable for The Land to discontinue giving him such enthusiastic coverage. He will have plenty of opportunity to air his views, without having a privileged media outlet.
04/06/14 10:37 PM
It is to be hoped that when Leyonhjelm takes his (accidental) place in the Senate, The Land will terminate his column. Leyonhjelm's extreme libertarianism does not reflect anything but a tiny minority of rural opinion.
04/06/14 06:01 AM
"We need scientific innovation if we are to feed everyone in future" says libertarian fundamentalist Leyonhjelm. I hope this means that he is not going to support the anti-science elements in the current Budget. He might also consider supporting the appointment of a Science Minister, regarded as an essential member of government by most developed countries. Australia, apparently run by corporate lawyers and economists, has become an international embarrassment.
01/06/14 11:48 PM
A limited and primitive view of science. I make no comment on the economics of DL's argument, but his notion that rural R&D is for the benefit of scientists is perverse, as is his argument that bus drivers and bricklayers pay for but receive no benefit from rural science. A very great part of rural research is concerned with rectifying past errors and trying to restore Australia's rural health to what it was before the introduction of pest species, weeds, soil and water quality destruction, salinisation, and of course climate change. Rural research is vital to the future of all of us.
12/05/14 12:53 AM

A matter of opinion

Matti, you offer no evidence for your wild assertions. A little abuse, an out-of-context quotation, and a misunderstanding of Feynman. Not very convincing. If you are going to refute scientific evidence, you have to do it with better scientific evidence. See: http://www.planetseed.com/related article/temperature-change-histor y
05/01/15 01:24 AM
You assert, Gumtree, that the evidence I present is not correct. What I have cited is research results published in reputable scientific journals and fully referenced with further supporting evidence. That's how science works. On the other hand, your assertion is backed by nothing. It is possible that the science is wrong, and if so, it is corrected by further research. That's also how science works. I do not believe that you are able to respond in a rational manner.
02/01/15 10:29 PM
Invey, you say that you could go on and on. I'm sure you could. But like others on this topic, you have failed to produce anything like evidence for your assertions. (Tabloid journalists from the UK Daily Mail don't count as evidence.) Why should we accept anything you say as true, when it is in flat contradiction to evidence-based scientific statements by (for example) the BoM or NOAA? See: http://www.bom.gov.au/state-of-th e-climate/ and http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/glo bal/2014/9
02/01/15 03:26 AM
Gumtree, your assertions are merely assertions until you provide some evidence.
You haven't been paying attention, daw. I have asked Gumtree to respond to papers including Quintero & Wiens (rate of climate change), Steenworth et al (Agriculture and Food Security), and Svoboda, (Uprooting the ‘Carbon Dioxide Is Plant Food’ Argument).
Contrararian? I just report on mainstream science. Please give me references, daw, but to reputable scientific publications, not to ideological blogs or tabloid journalists. (And have a good New Year).
01/01/15 10:15 PM
Do you refuse to read the several papers which I have cited, Gumtree? My imagination has nothing to do with the climate research to which I referred. And do you have any evidence to back your assertions?
31/12/14 03:32 AM
Gumtree, you are muddling two facts together. Yes, of course the climate has changed, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly. But human history, a short 10,000 years, has happened in a relatively stable climatic era, the Holocene. The changes which we are now causing are not unique in global history - but they are unique in human history, and happening very quickly. For a scientific explanation, see: http://wienslab.com/Publications_ files/Quintero%26Wiens_Ecol_Lett_ 2013.pd
31/12/14 01:29 AM

Burrs under my saddle

I am not able, daw, to find your quote from Prof Malcolm Hughes (a most meticulous researcher) and one of the authors of the original "hockey stick" paper. The "basic science" of which you are surprisingly unaware is freely available. More recently Hughes said: "Back in 1999 we (Mann et al) made the best available choices with the information and data we had. Now, more than 15 years later, with a ... record that extends back 5000 years, the original results hold up remarkably well.” See: http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen /2014/12/17/new-research-on-tree- rings-as-indicators-of-past-clima te/
12/03/15 01:28 AM
Your preconceptions muddy the waters, daw. We seem to agree that climate science is not a political matter. However, you apparently reject evidence that human activity has an effect on climate. This allows you to claim "catastrophic disruption around the world caused by political meddling" (where? when?). There is multitudinous evidence for the effects on climate of radically increased levels of CO2, starting with basic physics - the familiar "greenhouse effect" - and going on to abstruse matters like the cooling stratosphere. And like all science, it is "highly probable".
09/03/15 05:07 AM
You are (deliberately?) misrepresenting my view, daw. Climate science is not a political issue, and is like all science subject to empirical evidence. The response, however, is a political and economic matter, which I have never discussed. ( I don't think "que sera sera" is an adequate response, however.)
05/03/15 11:53 PM
Only half the story again, Sandman. The global pause so loved by denialists is not real. There is no pause. Some normal, natural, variations in surface temperatures, combined with rising absorbtion of heat by the oceans, have given the anti-scientiific journalists, and their readers, a non-story. The globe as a whole continues to warm as energy is trapped by "greenhouse" gases, which is why we have had a succession of record warm years in the past decade (as reported by NASA.) See:http://www.nature.com/nclimat e/journal/v4/n3/full/nclimate2106 .html
05/03/15 06:17 AM
Sorry, but I don't see how science can provide an answer to political or economic questions about governance, resource usage etc. Science can provide observation, but not the societal pathway. That's not hypocritical, daw, it's just common sense. It's not contemptuous joy, either. It's concern, and especially concern about the refusal by most "leaders" to seriously address the problems.
05/03/15 12:14 AM
Once again, Max, you produce a stream of increasingly absurd assumptions. I refer you to the same NASA page as I cited for daw. If you can't distinguish between scientific research and denialist fantasy, conversation is impossible. Note: scientific research admits the possibility or error, and seeks to correct it through observation and measurement. Denialism does not.
04/03/15 11:16 PM
Max, your question is merely silly, as it is based on a series of false assumptions.
04/03/15 03:07 AM
Interesting hypothetical questions, daw, which I have certainly considered. But in this forum I have always stuck to evidence-based science. It's up to the politicians to decide how to deal with the matter. (A question for you: do you think our present expanding population and expanding resource usage are sustainable?) Of course , there are many individuals and organisations who have attempted to provide the answers. The specific reference to the NASA quote is quite easy: http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/
04/03/15 01:50 AM
Sandman, your first point is simply wrong. If it were a matter of slight warming, a nice day at the beach, ripening fruit, you might be correct. But the increase in energy - warming - brings changing weather patterns, droughts, fires, floods, and "brutal winters". And yes, Sandman, a very small amount of CO2 has a marked effect. Look up and try to understand the greenhouse effect. And if you make assertions, provide evidence to back them. See: http://www.csiro.au/Outcomes/Clim ate/Climate-Change-Book/Chapter-4 -Climate-change-impacts.aspx
03/03/15 09:35 PM
Que sera sera. says daw. Can you. daw, refute the statement which I quoted from NASA? It's not about what will be, but about what has just been. The visible trend.
03/03/15 04:44 AM

Bush Matters

It's a fairly simple-minded version of democracy that Sen. O'Sullivan wants us to admire. Real life is different. Very often, the party which forms government has received fewer than 50% of the vote. They may have won the race - but more people voted against them than for them. This is hardly a "mandate". A multi-party system (plus independents) means that issues have to be stated, understood, and debated, and passed by a majority of the votes of the parliament. There is no reason why democracy should be "stable" (that is, inert.). Democracy should be alive, passionate, and well-informed.
23/01/15 06:16 AM

Agribusiness

Too easy, Angry, you have not looked at the references I gave you. The reports, which unlike you I have read, are comprehensive and factual. This is perhaps less significant than your complete failure to understand the nature of science and its relation to the economy and to civil society. Science, you said, "is just another tool". This attitude makes your criticism of science consistent, but it is the attitude of the yahoo.
11/12/15 01:31 AM
Perhaps, Angry, you might learn something if you "trawled through the internet", but I saved you the trouble by supplying some precise (not vague) references on the topic of science investment, such as Deloitte (Aust) , the Imperial College Business School (UK), and the Center for American Progress (USA). Instead of producing factual counter arguments against these sources, which you seem to have ignored, you have merely provided abuse. Your prejudice against education is telling.
10/12/15 09:42 PM
How convenient, Angry, that you brush over the references which I have given you which contain facts and figures supporting the proposition that investment in science brings in good returns. (No-one mentioned 3000%). Your definition of a "consumer product" is clearly very wide, if it includes the science and education on which civil society depends. Your implied views on climate change seem at odds with the scientific evidence. All in all, your professed anger seems to be distorting your perceptions. Perhaps a glass of cold water would help, and a course of wider scientific reading.
10/12/15 01:53 AM
Angry, I have tried to give you simple objective (not obscure) mainstream references, eg Deloitte Access Economics, and the UK Imperial College Business School. And once again you miss the point. Science is not a consumer product, like Holden, it is the underpinning of modern civilisation. Funding science and education is essential to the continuance of modern civilisation - this is not the same as subsidising a manufacturer or a product. Your rejection of science is rejection of our education-based culture, in favour of what? Voodoo?
09/12/15 03:21 AM
Good science needs a well-functioning economy, John C. We disagree about the efficiency of the US economy (space adventures vs failure of medical system) but in principle we are not that far apart. Angry on the other hand seems so threatened by science that he reacts irrationally, refusing to even consider evidence. Ironic that Angry uses a computer, WiFi, Google, modern medicine, perhaps even an aeroplane ... never mind the advancement of human knowledge! For a UK view: http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/newsan deventspggrp/imperialcollege/news summary/news_13-5-2014-12-8-8
08/12/15 11:30 PM
John C, you may be right that big government and innovation are poles apart. However, that doesn't change the fact that investment in science brings good dividends. Public money is not wasted when it is invested in research - it's not big government doing the research, it's the scientific institutions which in turn need the support of public funding, either through philanthropy (the US model) or the Australian/European model, where research institutes and universities are funded by the community - and the community is richly rewarded.
08/12/15 03:57 AM
Angry, I don't know who you think are "your lot", but you totally miss the point when you claim that the scientific community does not "pay its own way". Every analysis by economic professionals like Deloitte says that the return on dollars invested in science is up to 30-1. This is even more true in USA than Australia. You may refuse to "bother" with facts that you don't like, but that doesn't make them less factual. See: https://www.americanprogress.org/ issues/economy/report/2012/12/10/ 47481/the-high-return-on-investme nt-for-publicly-funded-research/
08/12/15 01:58 AM
If you have an ideological objection to publicly funded science, blinkered Australia is probably the place for you. SE Asian countries, the Europeans, and the USA invest far more in science and innovation, and this brings in a very high return. This is well documented. For an Australian perspective, see the recent Deloitte report:
http://www.smartinves tment.unsw.edu.au/sites/default/f iles/documents/Economic%20contrib utions%20of%20UNSW%20-%20Final%20 report%20-%20Deloitte%20Access%20 Economic....pdf
07/12/15 10:01 PM
Thank you, Harquebus. I no longer bother to reply to Max, who is fixated on his silly conspiracy theory, impervious to evidence, and wilfully ignorant about how science actually operates.
21/10/15 01:41 AM
Gumtree, despite your lack of manners, I invite you to tell us in what respect the NOAA State of the Climate Report 2015 is in any way inaccurate. (You will have to read it, and the attached scientific references, to have a valid opinion. Assertions are not enough.)
20/10/15 01:12 AM

Cropping

Food Producer, your optimism is leading you to jump to conclusions. I suggest you read the Hawkesbury study - not as reported by WUWT, a denialist blog, but in the journal in which it was published. There's research happening around the world into enhanced CO2. This doesn't change the fact that on balance enhanced CO2 has poor consequences for humanity. Note also Prof Medlyn, who carried out the study, says: "Hotter conditions would probably cancel out benefits of higher CO2."
27/10/15 10:29 PM
Food Producer, I have to admire your optimism, but you seem not to have looked very deeply into the the subject. We have little or no control over soil fertility, rainfall, or temperature. Nor are we able to select plant species, broad scale, which react well to enhanced CO2 - many don't. The "greening" you mention is confined to certain arid zone scrub. (See: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/do i/10.1002/grl.50563/a) Human civilisation and food supplies have developed over time to fit *this* world. See also: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubme d/18027765
27/10/15 12:43 AM
Food Producer, the article you cite is very interesting, but not relevant to the world outside a greenhouse. Horticulturalists use added CO2 to achieve extra plant growth in some plants. They add extra nutrients, water, and warmth. I suggest you look up Liebig's Law, which explains in part why this doesn't work in the outside world. There is intense ongoing research into the effects of enhanced atmospheric CO2, with varying results according to the species of plant, sadly more negative than positive. See eg a recent research paper: http://www.nature.com/nature/jour nal/v510/n7503/f
26/10/15 11:06 PM
According to which "science", what the? In principle you are correct. We certainly need to return to a state of equilibrium, such as has characterised the Holocene era until now - stable climate which permitted the rise of human civilisation. Whatever we do today, it's going to take a while to get back to that safe level. The US EPA says: "even if emissions stopped increasing, atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations would continue to increase and remain elevated for hundreds of years." See for example:http://www3.epa.gov/clima techange/science/future.html
26/10/15 04:29 AM
Once again, Pounder, with strong ideological affiliations and zero scientific credentials, cites an "authority": Bob Tisdale, a prolific denier with strong ideological affiliations and zero scientific credentials. A better reference is given by Harquebus in the preceding post.
23/10/15 12:24 AM
John Niven, that's a hard question to answer ("how does the average person distinguish between a scientists and a ranting entertainer?") - but a good start is to ask for evidence. And that evidence must come from a reputable source, such as a report on a research project in a scientific journal. That doesn't mean it's infallible, but at least it's been reviewed by people competent in the field, and it has survived examination and criticism. Ranters are seldom able to meet this scientific criterion.
30/03/15 06:27 AM
Max, you seem quite weirdly obsessed with "gods". I'm not. And I have just one message: we should get our scientific information from a reliable source: from the published science, not from tabloid journalists or denialist blogs. And, Max, try to understand that climate science covers many disciplines: atmospheric science, phenology, geology, biology, oceanography, health, to name a few, and the technologies of energy use, transportation, industrial efficiency, and more. And, Max, nobody accepts science "no questions asked". Science is all about asking questions. You should try it.
16/02/15 04:59 AM
Max, please calm down. Give me one reason why Professor Pachauri, who has a number of doctorates in different fields of energy science, should not be the chair of an international body set up to collate the work of climate scientists. And please find a better source of information than Andrew Bolt!
15/02/15 12:57 AM
Get your information from a reputable source, Gummy, and you won't embarrass yourself. The item you cite from around 2007 is by UK Telegraph journalist Christopher Booker, a writer with no scientific expertise, climate or otherwise, a serial denialist (who also defends tobacco and asbestos.) Not a reputable source. Your accusation of lying is indefensible.
09/02/15 03:07 AM
Qlander, your argument is fairly silly. You predict the destruction of intelligent life by an alien invasion in 90 years. Of course, I can't refute this idea. But neither do you offer any evidence. Whereas the science of climate change has been accruing evidence for the past century, and by using scientific publication, has subjected this evidence to intense and well-informed critique.
And another reminder to one-eyed Max: belief has nothing to do with it. If you refuse to look at the science it's easy to claim, wrongly, there's not much science involved.
08/02/15 11:20 PM

General

The science is settled, says entrepreneur Larry Marshall, so no further research is needed. What? Dr Tangney supports the actions of Marshall, but thousands of Australian and international scientists have condemned Marshall for failing to understand the the need for developing research. Australian agriculture and economy are directly affected. Squeezing your eyes shut and being "angry" are a very inadequate response to an existential problem. At the very least, what we can do about it is what we (Turnbull, Bishop) promised to do about it in Paris.
16/02/16 11:28 PM
John, the "science based productivity revolution" which you advocate allows half the world's wealth to be owned by just 1% of the people. Is this sustainabIe? Is this just? I prefer the view of systems scientist Kenneth Boulding: "Anyone who believes that exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist."
26/01/16 10:50 PM
A resounding silence from Senator Smith. Re-reading his puffery, I noticed several other issues which he ignores or glosses over: "burgeoning population" for example, now recognised as simply unsustainable; the whole Green Revolution idea is also now seen as non-viable for the future as global water supplies diminish; climate change, which Smith simply dismisses - perhaps not surprisingly, as an anti-science WA Lib - which will have profound effects on farming. If Smith really supports WA farmers, let him support funding for Australian agricultural research.
24/01/16 10:43 PM
There seem to be three CSIRO-linked reports, Philip. There's the recent Steve Hatfield-Dodds paper in Nature, there's the National Outlook Report, and there's an opinion piece by the lead "scientist" in The Conversation. I put "scientist" in inverted commas because SH-D is a practitioner of the dismal science of economics. His paper has been criticised for its sunny optimism. It claims that Australia can afford to be bigger and better until at least 2050. It ignores a number of problems such as population growth. But that's science: publish and learn from the criticism.
14/12/15 07:06 AM
And please don't say "the science is settled". The fundamental theory of human influence on climate is certainly settled. It's been understood for more than a century. What is not "settled" are the effects, long term and short term, on Australia's agriculture and Australia's economy. Climate science has never been more essential. Sadly the lawyers and financiers who dominate our governments have no understanding of the cumulative processes of science.
12/02/16 03:03 AM
"The science is settled” is misleading. CSIRO’s Larry Marshall (an entrepreneur) says that the question, whether human activities affect global climate, has been answered. The answer is: yes! But ongoing climate research is needed more than ever to underpin our economy and agriculture. LNP Senator Canavan (an economist) fails to understand this. CSIRO’s climate research, especially in the southern hemisphere, is world-leading. The threatened cuts will be recognised around the world as disastrous.
12/02/16 12:55 AM
Speaking of an agenda, Dale Stiller, is the pot calling the kettle black? There is no plot to suppress inconvenient information (though there may be poor media reporting). An international team, including CSIRO's Pep Canadell, described the fluctuating role of Australia's vegetation as a carbon sink, in a paper in Nature (May 2014). This was widely reported, just as the "greening" of semi-arid areas due to increased rainfall was reported. However as the Climate Council observed, emissions have been and are increasing. See: http://www.nature.com/nature/jour nal/v509/n7502/full/nature
29/12/15 04:48 AM
Connecting cause and effect is a strain on the Christensen system. Christensen's embarrassing remarks at the Heartland Institute in June last year in Las Vegas did not do Australia any favours: ignorant, anti-science, and complacent. It's a worry that this dangerous man has any influence over the future of the Great Barrier Reef. Queensland could and should do better.
28/12/15 01:30 AM
And Pounder does it yet again. The denialist website of Monte Hieb does indeed reproduce a graph credited to celebrated geologist Christopher Scotese. However the conclusion drawn by Pounder - that enhanced atmospheric CO2 is somehow a good thing - is a nonsense. Neither we nor our food crops have evolved to return to a Jurassic climate. Have a look at the MDB website which I have cited for a more rational view of the possibilities.
11/11/15 01:17 AM
Senator Back, an advocate of the fossil fuel industry, should think twice before using a cheap trick to associate himself with firefighters. Addressing a climate rally on Sunday, a professional firefighter said: "there are no climate sceptics at the end of a fire-hose." With few exceptions, firefighters accept the science. Sen. Back should either abandon his ill-informed climate views, or remove his yellow firefighter's uniform.
29/11/15 10:06 PM

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