Joanne Nova (birth name Joanne Codling) appeared on the three stooges’ (Rowan Dean, Rita Panahi, James Morrow) show on Sky News after dark1. Nova is a hard-core climate change denier from the idiot end of the denialism spectrum (i.e., it isn’t happening or it’s going to be great). The other end of the denialism spectrum is: ‘it is happening, but Australia is such a minor contributor that we shouldn’t worry or cannot do anything about it’. This is what transpired between stooge number 2 and Nova:
Panahi: “…Labor and certainly the Greens who say the cost of not acting [on climate change] is so great that we cannot worry about costing the actual policy because the cost of not acting, we’re gunna [sic] have more bushfires, we’re gunna have [sic] this catastrophic, ah, events. What do you, what’s your response to that?”1
Nova: “I mean, that’s supposed to be a conversation destroyer. It’s like ‘Hello, let’s do life with no numbers’. Because how do you do a cost-benefit analysis, because an asteroid is going to smack into earth one day, let’s pay everything, lets hock our lives and sacrifice our kids’ futures because one’s coming. Well, you know, we need some odds, we need some stats. What are things gunna cost? Actually, the truth is, warming’s mostly beneficial, and especially in Australia, extra CO2 is a wonderful thing. It feeds plants which are more likely to be drought-prone [sic], so a plant that is suffering from a deficiency of water does so much better with extra CO2. So, Australia’s going to benefit from that and crops are up in the last hundred years, more, you know, record kind of yields of most of the grains. We’re feeding the world. So, burn oil feed the poor.” [Laughter from the stooges].1
Nova has a B.Sc. (Hons) in microbiology and molecular biology, and went into science communication, obtaining a graduate certificate in that field. She subsequently hosted a children’s science television program, and later, appropriately, worked on a science fiction program2. Nova has published a couple of denialist books in which she stated that global warming is not caused by greenhouse gases (This was a lie, and she now admits that if the drivel above is anything to go by). There is a graphic from Bloomberg which will show you why it is a lie3. In her books, Nova also stated that the world has not warmed since 2001. This is also a lie4. She also stated that any global warming is a natural process (it isn’t; it is caused mostly by burning of fossil fuels for energy)3.
It is funny that the credentials and qualifications of many of the climate change deniers never seem to be in climatology5. In addition, they often also seem to obtain funding from climate change denial organisations, such as the Heartland Institute in the US, or in Australia, from the Institute of Public Affairs, both of which in turn are funded in part by the fossil fuel industry, here and in the US. Maybe that tells you something. As and aside, Nova doesn’t seem to understand the difference between drought-prone and drought-resistant. Her statement that crop yields are up over the last hundred years is true, but it is not because of increases in CO2, but because of improvements in crop rotation practices, farming techniques and more recently from research in various fields of science, such as crop and pasture science and genetics6. Indeed, cereal yields seem to have stagnated over the last two decades7, and it does make you wonder if climate change could be a factor in that stagnation, when you consider that in the two decades prior to that, they nearly doubled.
One thing which makes me laugh is the inability of the three stooges to distinguish between pseudoscience and real science. I know this is a common problem on Sky News and in the Murdoch media in general, but these three are probably the least capable on almost any Murdoch platform you care to choose. This was made exceptionally clear when they had a person on their show who maintained he could predict the weather 1,000 years in advance8. They seemed to swallow this hook, line and sinker, much as they did with Nova’s rubbish.
The first report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) came out almost 30 years ago and the predictions it made have largely come true9. It is only liars like Nova and cretins like those on Sky News who have prevented us acting to avert the catastrophe it implies for the future. They will eventually be made to pay.