Colin Boyce, the wiggler: Part 1

At the Glasgow climate conference, then Prime Minister Scott Morrison [that still engenders relief] said Australia will reach net zero emissions by 2050. However, in the lead up to the federal election the Liberal National Party candidate for Flynn, Colin Boyce said: “Zero net carbon emissions by 2050, Morrison’s document, is a flexible plan that leaves us wiggle room as we proceed into the future”1. So, we probably have to thank Boyce for helping get some Teal Independents and Greens elected in some inner city seats at the recent federal election.

A few days ago, Boyce delivered his maiden speech to parliament. He thanked the usual suspects: family, friends, volunteers, donors, political party people, complete strangers and, of course, the voting public2

In his speech, he states that his earliest memory is hearing a voice on radio saying that the “President of the United States of America, John F. Kennedy, is dead”2. Kennedy was assassinated on 22nd of November, 1963 and Boyce was born on the 30th of October 1962. While I can remember hearing this on the television news when I was 9 years old, psychological research has demonstrated that children’s earliest memories date back to when they were about two and a half years old. Boyce is talking equine ordure when he says he can remember it, let alone understand it, as he was just under 13 months old at the time3,4.

Like many climate change deniers in this country, he repeats the old denialist refrain

“Australia is a land of extremes” and things were much worse in the 1800s. He even resorts to parroting Dorothea Mackellar as so many deniers do. Then he repeats another denialist refrain that the “climate is changing, as it always has, for billions of years since the dawn of time.” He also mentions that modern man evolved from “creatures in the Rift Valley” [in east Africa]2. This would upset the likes of Scott Morrison, Alex Hawke and Andrew Hastie who don’t believe that humans evolved, but were created by their god.

After waxing lyrical about all the coal-fired power stations, coalmines, smelters and other industries in and around Gladstone, he noted that “the industries of Flynn are heavy carbon [dioxide and methane] emitters and are vulnerable to the economic effects of any emissions target proposals, and it is these arguments that pose the biggest threat to our jobs, our livelihoods and our future prosperity, both as a region and as a nation”2. This is a third denialist refrain, that if we stop producing coal and gas it will destroy the economy. This is the same sort of whining I suspect candle makers, buggy makers, saddle makers, whalers and sundry other industries of the distant past made as their business either faded from view or declined significantly.

After all this spade work, he gets to his personal denialism: “The argument that global warming has been caused by human emissions and there is a need for drastic action is based entirely on computer modelling”2. This is a simple lie. We have over one hundred years of temperature measurements and other climate data and you can see the relatively rapid increase in the measured temperatures over the last three decades or so. There is no climate modelling involved here. These are measurements. The planet’s average temperature has risen 1.1 degrees Celsius since 1880. Most of that has occurred since 1975, at a rate of roughly 0.2 degrees per decade5.

While this may not sound startling, it is worse for Australia where, since records began in 1910, the average temperature has risen by 1.4 degrees Celsius. With climate change, Australia will be one of the countries that suffers the most. Already the frequency of extreme heat events is increasing. Up until 1980, it was rare for the number of extreme heat days to be over 5 per year. Now it is rare for the number of extreme heat days to be below 10 per year. In 2019, there were 33 days that exceeded 39 degrees C, which is more than the number observed from 1960 to 2018 combined6.

Boyce continues: “Climate, atmospheric and ocean temperature models over the last few decades have all been checked with actual measurements, and all of the predictions have been wrong”2. This is another lie. In 2020, researchers at the University of California conducted a systematic evaluation of the performance of past climate models. Seventeen increasingly sophisticated model projections of global average temperature developed between 1970 and 2007, were compared with measured changes in global temperature observed through to the end of 2017. The results showed that of these models, fourteen of them showed no evidence that the climate models systematically overestimated or underestimated global warming over the period of their projections7.

Boyce then uses another denialist claim that the catastrophic effects of climate change simply have not happened: He lists them: “The icecaps will melt. There will be catastrophic sea level rises. The polar bears will die. There will be tens of millions of climate refugees. We’ve got 90 days to save the planet”2. Here he is lying again. Nobody said the icecaps would melt immediately; nobody said there will be catastrophic sea level rises within the timeframe he seems to indicate. Nobody has suggested that polar bears would die out before the next federal election. Nobody has suggested there would be millions of climate refugees before Boyce loses his seat. 

Despite Boyce’s drivel, the ice sheets (their correct name) are melting, with the Antarctic ice sheet losing an average of about 135 billion tonnes per year, while Greenland is losing about 255 billion tonnes per year8. Similarly, sea levels are rising and the rate at which they are rising is increasing. During most of the 20thcentury sea level was rising at about 1.4 millimetres per year. In the interval from 2006 to 2015 it rose about 3.6 millimetres per year9, and its rate is still increasing. As for polar bears, there are 19 subpopulations of them all around the Arctic and since 1980 sea ice has been decreasing in all the areas occupied by all these subpopulations. The Arctic Summer sea ice extent is decreasing by about 13% every decade. Back in the mid-1980s the Summer sea ice covered about 7 million square kilometres, now it is about 4.5 million square kilometres10. Loss of sea ice is the biggest threat to polar bear numbers and they have been listed as vulnerable to extinction in the wild because of this11.

Lastly, at least for this part, Boyce makes one of the few statements which I can more or less endorse: “If there is one universal truth, it is this: if the theory does not agree with practice, the theory is wrong every time, no exceptions.” Although Boyce’s phraseology is awkward, he means that a theory can be overturned by an awkward fact that it cannot explain. Boyce spouts this, but he doesn’t follow it himself. How does Boyce deal with the huge amount of data showing that climate change is happening and that it is caused mostly by the burning of fossil fuels injecting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere? He simply sticks his fingers in his ears and refuses to hear all those myriad facts that don’t fit his ‘theory’ of denial. In this way, Boyce is from the idiot end of denialism spectrum; the same segment occupied by the likes of Craig Kelly12-14, Barnaby Joyce15,16, Ian Plimer17, Chris Kenny18, Rowan Dean19,20, Terry McCrann21, and Alan Jones22. They never learn.




  • Russell says:

    Time and time again we have to repeat to the above-named peddlers of phoney climate change falderal:
    There’s overwhelming consensus among the world’s most highly-awarded, wise scientists in glaciology, paleo-ecology, oceanology and atmospheric studies. The conclusion of these very intelligent people, who together have presented thousands of careful studies and peer reviews of complex papers in their fields, is that we are now undergoing a constant rise in global temperature radically different from well before humans made written records; being the past 125,000 years. Anecdotal observation and scientific data indicate that the melt of glaciers and ice sheets, upsets in once-predictable micro-climates and increased sea levels over the globe, are consistent with even more intense warming since about 1970. The strong explanation for such very fast changes is a rapid rise in the greenhouse effect; higher CO2 and methane levels in the atmosphere due to ongoing industrial activity, animal farming and fossil fuel energy use. The present rate of warming is ten times faster than when Earth began to exit the last major ice age.

    Now! To Crapping Colin, Ranter Rowan, Cretinous Craig, Ignominious Ian, Barmy Barnaby, Clod Chris, Two-bit Terry and Powder Puff Parrot, I say you are liars, because most of you do know that the above science is reliable. Not only liars, but insidious stirrers of the media-watching public. You should be punishable under laws which instantly prohibit shows featuring your sleazy deception. You should be made in a court of science to prove your views are true, not utter rubbish that is politically motivated. Thinking folk care to investigate facts, they don’t take some layman’s opinion for science. JUDGE: “The climatic crisis deepens fast, therefore I sentence you to life with intense atmospheric heat.
    Move the prisoners about monthly, to the then hottest place on earth and chain them in the open for 24 hours of re-education.”

    • admin says:

      These bastards know that they are lying, but it doesn’t stop them. They are beneath contempt, and deserve to pay for their crime.

  • clive pegler says:

    “good evening viewers, tonight we will be discussing a very serious subject & to discuss this topic we have one of the worlds foremost authorities and in the interest of balance to present the other side, we have an idiot”

    • admin says:

      That seems to be about the level of balance considered to be adequate by Australia’s mainstream media. They are basically hopeless. What also annoys me no end is that a buffoon such as Boyce can get up in parliament and lie with impunity. There used to be serious consequences for misleading parliament, but it seems that is no more.

      • Jon says:

        As we know, climate dunces are almost invariably DK candidates but its the next level climate cretin – like our mate Colin – who take it to the next step and wear their ignorance with pride. There needs to be a term invented for this group – a la the historical “Luddite” – so writers can easily refer to this particular category of neo-cretinism (not suggesting Luddites were cretins, far from it). Interestingly (maybe not), the bravado of climate cretins in putting their own ignorance above the combined knowledge and wisdom of thousands of trained experts rarely extends beyond climate science They don’t slag off on medical experts, engineers, agronomists, chemists etc, although it might help the gene pool if they did ignore the first-mentioned before breeding.

        On another previously mentioned topic BA. Have you read Failures of Command yet???? I ask because I’m keen to hear your assessment of our military command, especially in light of Hurley’s involvement in the Morrison secret Ministry scam. I’ve formed my views of the vast majority of our military “leadership” (Angus Houston excepted), interested in your take.

  • JohnB says:

    I have to disagree with the way you phrased things;
    “Nobody said the icecaps would melt immediately”. Your statement is true but misleading. He didn’t say “immediately”, but was predicted the Arctic would be ice free by 2013. You shouldn’t misquote someone and attempt to then use the misquote as proof against the person. The ultimate strawman fallacy.
    “Nobody said there will be catastrophic sea level rises within the timeframe he seems to indicate”. What timeframe was that?
    “Nobody has suggested that polar bears would die out before the next federal election.” Correct, and neither did he so why are you implying otherwise?
    “Nobody has suggested there would be millions of climate refugees before Boyce loses his seat.” Again neither did he. However in 2005, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) predicted climate change would create 50 million climate refugees by 2010. So it was predicted and never happened.

    Trying to prove wrong statements that weren’t made doesn’t help your case.

    BTW I know NASA quotes the GRACE satellites for ice mass, but have you ever seen the error estimates? I haven’t been able to find them. I’d be extremely interested to know how a mass change of several centimetres of ice can be detected against the mass change of several thousand kilometres of molten rock.

      • JohnB says:

        There’s always a problem with using fact checkers, they have a tendency to cherry pick. They “fact checked” a meme on Faceplant. However the person that Gore supposedly quoted did say the words in an interview with the well known denialist paper, the BBC in 2007; “Our projection of 2013 for the removal of ice in summer is not accounting for the last two minima, in 2005 and 2007,” the researcher from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, explained to the BBC. “So given that fact, you can argue that may be our projection of 2013 is already too conservative.”
        So Boyce was correct.

        I’m not sure what your point was with the Graniud link. It states that what Boyce said was correct. Again, he didn’t say it would happen “before he loses his seat”, he said it had been predicted and didn’t happen.

        Thanks for the Springer link but it still doesn’t really cover what I was talking about. The paper references Wahr, J., and M. Molenaar (1998) which does briefly mention the problem; “For the applications discussed in this paper, we assume the ice deglaciation is perfectly known and that the only error in the viscosity model is an incorrect value for the viscosity of the lower mantle (the region of the mantle below 670 km depth). Specifically, we assume the real Earth has an elastic lithosphere of thickness
        120 km, a uniform upper mantle viscosity of 10 exp 21P a s, and a uniform lower mantle viscosity of 10 exp 22P a s. But we assume that the model used to estimate the effects, while having those same values of lithospheric thickness and upper mantle viscosity, has a lower mantle viscosity
        of 5 x 1022 Pa s. We assume that the model uses Ice- 3G and that Ice-3G is correct. Thus we estimate the PGR error as the difference between two model runs: one with a lower mantle viscosity of 10 exp 22P a s and the other with a lower mantle viscosity of 5 x 10 exp22P a s.

        This simple approach underestimates the number of ways in which the model can be in error. The Ice-3G ice model is almost certainly not correct, and in fact, Peltlet [1994]has recently constructed an improved ice model which he calls Ice-4G. The lithospheric thickness and upper mantle viscosity could well differ from our nominal values. In fact, the assumptions about uniform viscosities through out the upper and lower mantles is probably a gross oversimplification. The Earth’s viscosity and lithospheric thickness could even have significant lateral variability.”

        That’s the problem. We don’t know the viscosity and we don’t know the currents in the mantle. (And as under the crust Earth is essentially a rotating ball of fluid there will be currents.) And the solution to eliminate these variations is generally not discussed.

        And I prefer to get my science from the Journals and not from untrustworthy sites. I say “untrustworthy” because over the years SS has had a nasty habit of editing comments and comment threads without telling anyone. You might try hanging out at Judith Curry’s place for a while.

        • admin says:

          Life is too short to argue with climate change deniers. I suspect you have not read a scientific research paper in your life. This might interest you. It demonstrates how deniers tell porkies and links to assorted instances of how they manage it.

          • JohnB says:

            Right. It sucks when people use actual papers and quotes doesn’t it?

            As for your suspicions I suggest you get your dream engine fixed. I’ve been reading the literature since before AR4. I’ve read the complete IPCC reports, something I find people who use the term “denier” have never done. More than that I’ve read the papers referenced by the IPCC, especially in the “Scientific Basis” part of the reports.

            Honestly, it’s like trying to talk to a creationist at times. Isn’t it interesting that creationists never link to scientific websites and people like SS never link to their opponents? Meanwhile the “denier” sites are more than happy to have people see what the “other side” is saying. One side is afraid of open conversation and one isn’t.

          • admin says:

            Haha! That is funny. Being a palaeontologist, I deal with creationists on a regular basis, and the techniques used by deniers are very similar to those of creationists and just as liudicrous. Try this:

          • JohnB says:

            That’s nice. My area is history. You might have heard of it? Written records, etc of the past? I’m sure you do have to deal with creationists. I just tell them that the same physics that tells us the age of the planet is what makes a mobile phone work. If it was wrong the phone wouldn’t work. TV wouldn’t work. GPS wouldn’t work. That seems to shut them up. Maybe you are unaware but “Little Ice Age”, “Medieval Warm Period”, “Roman Warm Period” are not climate terms, they were coined by historians and archaeologists based on observed facts and written records. And yet there was no input from any historian or archaeologist until AR6. Why is that? It’s a serious question. If we want to know what happened in the past we ask historians and archaeologists, except when climate is concerned. That’s literally the same as discussing animal life 70 million years ago and not asking a palaeontologist.

            What is interesting to me is that although you claim a scientific background you don’t fail to include an attempted insult in every second sentence. Especially since you try to tie others to holocaust “deniers”. Is this your scientific opinion or political one?

          • admin says:

            So where do you publish your climate research? Nature? Science? PNAS? Is your denialism based on your belief that you understand the climate better than all the other climate scientists on the planet, or is it because you believe all those climate scientists are involved in a huge conspiracy?

          • JohnB says:

            And you need to try it again. Boring and unbecoming. Would you care to explain exactly what you think I deny?

            I don’t publish climate science, so we can get that out of the way. Where do you publish your papers on medicine? Both of your alleged reasons are wrong, which simply illustrates that you’re more interested in name calling than discussion, you really need to think outside the box a bit. I disagree with some of the basic, unproven assumptions made by climate science. WRT climate I’m a “catastrophist” not a “gradualist”. Sciences can be mislead by by incorrect basic assumptions or beliefs.

            I assume part of your ecological training included the classic graph of the predator/prey relationship? The relationship between the population of Lynx and Snowshoe hare is Ecology 101. It uses the data from around 300 years of trapping in Canada. And it’s completely false. In the late 1980s a researcher went back to look at the original data and found the Lynx population was from Eastern Canada while the hare numbers were from the Alaskan border. There cannot be a causal relationship between the two populations. (I can dig up the paper if you want.) And yet it’s still in the curriculum.

            Or you could drop into somewhere like and see what’s going on in other, far more specific sciences.

            In the case of climate, it’s quite simple. I have yet to see any evidence that the current warming is outside the bounds of natural variation. For example since about 1850 there have been three warming periods; 1850-1880, 1910-1940 and 1970-2000. The first is said to be purely natural, the second a mix of natural and man forced and the third almost totally man forced. And yet all three have the same rate of warming of .16 degrees per decade. I don’t believe in magic or coincidences. As a Palaeontologist you would be familiar with the graphs of both temperature and CO2 over the last 600 million years and know as well as I do that there is zero correlation. This is usually explained by the “Cold sun” theory. I know that it’s arguing from incredulity, but I really have a hard time believing in the magic that the sun warmed at just the right rate to counteract the effects of the reducing CO2. And did so for millions of years.

            In a similar fashion I know from evidence and reading historical articles and papers that the was a “Medieval Warm Period”, which meant the original “hockeystick” was wrong. Either the entire science of Archaeology, all historians, and the physical evidence was wrong or Mann’s mathematical model was wrong. I’ll go with Feynman on that one. If your model disagrees with physical evidence, it’s wrong.

            BTW, and I’m interested in this. There only appears to one graph, constantly reused, that shows temperature and CO2 over the millions of years. Have you come across other, better information in your work?

          • admin says:

            OK, so you are the genius that understands the climate better than all the climate scientists. You should write your thesis up and submit it to ‘Nature’. I am sure they would be eager to publish it.

  • Mark Dougall says:

    I think that nothing that Boyce says is worth listening to, reading or even discussing. You only have to look at the people he hangs out with to know that. As David Pocock said the other day it is time to stop the bullshit. We just need to ignore people like Boyce, and their idiot supporters, and get on with fixing the mess.

    Hope you are recovering well admin.

    • admin says:

      I agree wholeheartedly. While I think Boyce is just an idiot, it is the people behind the campaign of denialism who deserve to face justice. That denialism is likely to kill many millions. And thanks for the best wishes. My recovery is slow, as it is with all such surgery, but it is going well.

  • Jon says:

    “I have yet to see any evidence that the current warming is outside the bounds of natural variation.”

    The arrogance is breathtaking. The notion that climate scientists haven’t looked at that possibility is typical denier ignorance. It also completely ignores scientific consensus regarding the known and well-accepted effects of greenhouse gases (Man-made or otherwise) on the planet’s climate. As I suggested to another pumped up denier – there’s a Nobel Prize awaiting your dissertation on how and why greenhouse gases have no effect on global climate and warming when you’re ready JohnB.

    So, should we take note of a bloke who doesn’t have qualifications and doesn’t publish on the topic or the thousands of climate and related scientists GLOBALLY who have examined, analysed, modelled, theorised and published their evidence and conclusions for everyone to discuss and pull apart? Indeed that has been what has happened for more than two decades now and it appears from all reliable indicators that the science has consolidated not been weakened.

    That red herrings such as Al Gore’s comment about Arctic ice caps or Tim Flannery’s intentionally misquoted comments about almost perennial drought – neither of which had scientific consensus – somehow invalidates all climate science and scientific consensus about anthropogenic climate change is both ignorant and puerile. Science advances, and maintains integrity and credibility – despite the few cheats, shonks and pseudo-scientists among the ranks – by allowing people and groups to examine data and publish peer-reviewed conclusions. Quite often these will be partly or almost wholly rebutted by other scientists based on their own knowledge and analyses of similar or different datasets. This is apparently a huge surprise for deniers.

    • JohnB says:

      “The arrogance is breath taking”. But is my comment factually incorrect? That’s the salient point you studiously ignore.

      • admin says:

        Of course your drivel is incorrect. It is not based on science. It is a denial of science. You do not know how science works.

        • JohnB says:

          Then it should be easy to prove. Since we are talking science, what is the warming rate of this class of planet by natural forcings? Here’s your chance to show the world how wrong I am. Go for it.

          • admin says:

            Your statement clearly demonstrates that you do not understand how science works, so as I said arguing with you is like playing chess with a pigeon. It is pointless because you do not understand science. You need to read books on the philosophy of science. Try Kuhn and Popper for starters.

          • Jon says:

            “this class of planet”.
            Try harder John. As far as science knows the Earth is unique. We have nothing to compare it to. Our knowledge of its climatic, geological and plant and animal “history” is based on scientific knowledge and hypothesis. Interestingly, most amateur (and some “professional”) deniers I’ve encountered appear to accept scientific theory about the Earth’s early history even as they deny modern climate science.

            Natural forcings are constantly assessed and debated. Not everyone agrees on their precise influences on climate change but AGAIN there is general consensus that they are NOT a/the primary driver of warming.

      • Jon says:

        Indeed it is “factually” incorrect according to climate science consensus, as you MIGHT know if you bothered to read any of the IPCC reports and/or delve into the scientific data and analysis from previous warming episodes. Heck even skepticalscience covers that topic (it’s just one of the multitude denier myths covered on that website as you appear to know) in terms simple enough for non-experts to understand. As I said, if you have scientific evidence which contradicts the accepted, fundamental, greenhouse theory, or a credible hypothesis worth further investigation then scientists are very keen to see it, and assess it’s validity/credibility. Atm your notion has next to zero credibility. Time to rectify that surely?

        Informed skepticism, independent thinking, and challenging accepted science is to be encouraged in all scientific fields. That’s how science advanced, particularly in its early (“modern”) days. On the other hand people Ignoring contemporary expert knowledge and putting their own unqualified, inexperienced and clearly amateur opinions above the combined knowledge of thousands of experts is breathtaking arrogance.

    • admin says:

      These muppets have no idea how science works. Their ignorance is so profound, that trying to argue with them assuming they know anything is making a fundamental error. It is much like attempting to play chess with a pigeon under the assumption that said pigeon knows the rules of chess. Mostly, their schtick is about accusing others of the misdemeanours they themselves commit, while regurgitating some drivel they found on a denialist website; something which has either been shown to be a lie or shown to be based on a misunderstanding. The fact that they believe they actually have something to contribute, when there whole game is about contributing nothing, makes them figures of fun.

      • Jon says:

        You know this BA, but for the benefit of some others…..
        I’m not an absolutist on the causes of warming, but neither are the vast majority of climate scientists, despite attempts by some to label them as such. They know the science of climate is extremely complex, and they understand there are limits to our understanding of how things work and behave in different conditions.

        So, as would be expected, they rely on accumulated scientific knowledge, data, observations, calculations, and best estimations to arrive at the most likely explanations for the current warming, rather than esoteric hypotheses which have none or very few of those things. They’ve based their conclusions and advice on the current state of scientific knowledge and data, and correlations with previous warmings (using the limited data available – ice cores etc), even as others are pursuing more esoteric possibilities such as fluid movement in Earth’s core, geothermal influences etc.

        Afaik (admittedly very little), as yet these notions like core fluidity etc are simply ideas without solid foundation. They have little data, no decent hypotheses, and obviously no cogent explanations on how they would cause warming, let alone calculations wrt those effects. In addition, from my admittedly very limited reading these alternative “explanations” (for warming) and their proponents do NOT appear to address the greenhouse question at all, rather they simply dismiss that out of hand without explanation.

        • admin says:

          Although deniers like JohnB attempt to point the finger at climate scientists and call them arrogant, it is they who lack humility in the face of others’ extensive and deep knowledge. They are just like flat-earthers, antivaxxers, creationists, moon-landing deniers and any other bunch of fruitcakes you care to name. They just deny stuff they don’t like. I got into a discussion with a trumpette some time ago and he denied climate science. So, I aksed him if he believed in evolution by natural selection. He said he did because everybody did. I replied that everybody didn’t as some religious people go apoplectic when you mention it. He then eventually had to admit that it was because scientists told him. These people have very little ability for self reflection.

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