Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Warmist answer to climate skeptic Senator Roberts

The Warmist just misrepresented what was at issue.  Showing that there was a slight temperature rise in the last century is not in dispute.  Nor is it in dispute that CO2 levels rose in the last century. What is in dispute is that the two are correlated.  They are not.  During a major period of CO2 rise - 1945-1975, the temperatures were static. So one did not cause the other.  There has been a similar disjunction in the 21st century.

And the graphs were presented as great leaping lines -- but that is pure chartmansip:  Exaggerating tiny differences.

The report below is presented as a defeat for Senator Roberts but that is just the usual media bias.  Fortunately, people can listen for themselves and may conclude that the Warmist failed.  See here

The celebrity physicist Brian Cox came prepared to the ABC’s Q&A on Monday night with graphs, ready to counter claims by his co-panellist, the climate denier and Australian senator-elect Malcolm Roberts.

Roberts, one of four senators elected from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party, took the first opportunity to espouse long-refuted climate-denialist claims, including that warming stopped more than 20 years ago, starting the so-called “hiatus” or “pause”.

But Cox produced a graph of global surface temperatures of the past century and immediately debunked the myth, pointing out it is a misunderstanding caused by looking at a small sample, starting from an unusually warm year two decades ago.

Cox didn’t stop there. “Also, secondly, I’ve brought another graph. It is correlated with that, which is the graph that shows the CO2 emissions parts per million in.”

Viewers on Twitter joined in. When Roberts argued that sea level rises had been “entirely natural and normal”, a number of people posted graphs showing the steep rises.

Roberts repeatedly said he wanted to see “the empirical data”. But when the data appeared to refute what he said, he argued that scientists had conspired to manipulate it.

“The data has been corrupted,” he said at one point, arguing that Nasa and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology had manipulated data to make warming look unusual. That led to questioning about whether he was sceptical that Nasa landed people on the moon, which Roberts denied.

Greg Hunt, the former environment minister and current minister for industry, innovation and science was also on the panel and was asked about the CSIRO’s move to climate research cutbacks.

Hunt said the CSIRO had made that decision but that he had reversed it: “I made the decision that under our watch it would be given priority.”

But the host, Tony Jones, pushed Hunt on how many climate scientists would be lost from the CSIRO after the changes were complete: “Very briefly, give us some numbers. How many were sacked, climate scientists and how much did you re-employ?”

Hunt refused to answer, saying: “I’ll let others go over the history of that.”

As the Guardian has previously reported, the CSIRO will sack 35 climate scientists but there will be 15 new hires. The organisation will therefore lose 20 of its roughly 110 climate scientists.


Australia’s multicultural face is changing

By Bernard Salt, demographer.  His claim that the Chinese make up only 2% of the population seems low to me.  He is probably not counting Han Chinese who come from the Chinese diaspora -- Malaya, Indonesia etc.  ABS figures are much different from Salt's figures. They show that in the 2011 census, the proportion of the Australian population of Chinese origin was 4%.

There are 24 million people living in Australia including about seven million who were born overseas, which equates to about 30 per cent of the population. This is high by international standards. At the last census, 42 per cent of Sydney’s population was born overseas. This proportion for Paris is 22 per cent; for New York it is 29 per cent and for Tokyo it is 2 per cent.

But immigrants aren’t the only contributor to Australia’s extraordinarily cosmopolitan demo­graphy; at any point in time there are international students and visitors based here even if only for a short period. And then there is the Australian penchant for travel overseas. We are a prosperous nation with a rising appetite for travel. Who is coming to Australia and where are Australians heading overseas?

The immigration debate over the past decade has been framed by the Big Australia issue. In the 1990s and earlier the average annual level of net overseas migration to Australia was about 100,000.

This escalated early this century peaking at 300,000 in the year to June 2009, well above the number required (240,000) to deliver the Big Australia projection at 2051 of 38 million. Net immigration for the year ending June 2015 was 186,000; currently we are headed for a Moderate Australia.

The dominant migrant segment is, and has been every year since European settlement, from Britain and New Zealand. They comprise 8 per cent of the Australian population or about 1.8 million residents. The Chinese are third with 2 per cent and the Indians are fourth with 1.8 per cent. Australian-born residents of British, Kiwi, Asian and Indian extraction make up a far greater pro­portion of the population.

Over the past decade there has been a shift in the migrant mix as post-war immigrants die off and as the source of our intake reorientates towards Asia. Italian-born Australians dropped 23,000 between 2005 and 2015 whereas the number of Australians born in India increased by 284,000 and the number born in China increased by 254,000.

The inflow of Kiwis has slowed dramatically as their economy continues to surge. If the Kiwi economy remains strong it is not inconceivable that China will overtake New Zealand as Australia’s second largest immigrant group at some stage in the 2020s.

There has also been a shift in tourist and visitor flows both into and out of Australia. Traditionally more overseas visitors have come here than we have visited destinations overseas. But this changed in 2008 as our prosperity soared and the dollar strengthened against the US dollar. A decade ago Aussies took five million trips overseas for business or pleasure; today it is closer to nine million trips.

The number of overseas visitors on the other hand has jumped from five million to seven million over the decade to 2015. Visitors today are most likely to come from New Zealand, China and Britain. Overseas visitor numbers are largely tied to Australia’s immigration mix: most tourists come to visit friends and family and perhaps to bolt on a holiday.

If this is the case then there should be a rise in visitors from India and The Philippines in the 2020s because these ethnicities are significant and rising forces in the population.

New Zealanders make up the largest international visitor market to Australia with 1.3 million ­arrivals over the year to February 2016 followed by the Chinese with 1.1 million arrivals. Tourism spending data suggests that Chinese visitors outspend Kiwi visitors by a factor of 2:1. There will be more direct flights between China’s second-tier cities and Australia’s capital cities and lifestyle destinations in coming years. Over the decade to 2015 the number of Kiwi visitors jumped 11 per cent or 121,000 visitors. Over the same period the number of Chinese visitors jumped 258 per cent or 718,000.

By my reckoning China will be Australia’s largest international visitor market by 2020. China probably already is Australia’s most important international visitor market by overall spending power having evolved to this position earlier this decade.

Let’s look at the our market for international students. One way to measure this is via the number of student visas held. International student visa numbers peaked in 2009 at about the time of the Big-Australia peak migration. Resident numbers then were distorted by student populations remaining in Australia for more than 12 months. And indeed some student courses were being used to gain permanent access to Australia.

Corrections to the way in which students are counted in the population, better regulation of student courses, a strengthening in the dollar as well as some ugly racism incidents in the late 2000s all resulted in a contraction in the market. However, the number of international student visas has steadily increased since June 2013.

There were 375,000 student visas at June 2015, up from 209,000 a decade earlier. Most are held by Chinese (83,000), Indians (49,000), Vietnamese (21,000) and South Koreans (17,000).

Over the decade to 2015 the Chinese student market increased by 35,000, the Indian market increased by 24,000, the Vietnamese market increased by 17,000. And whole new markets are now opening up with international students now also coming from Brazil (10,000 visas held in 2015) and Nepal (16,000 visas held).

China replaced Japan as this nation’s leading trading partner at about the time of the global financial crisis in terms of both imports and exports. The extraordinary boom that carried prosperity in the years following the GFC was not effected by Australia’s superior economic management. It was effected by the rise of China and the consequential demand for Australian resources, commodities, education and lifestyle.

China is now the third most important contributor to the Australian population mix and may well replace the Kiwis within a decade to claim second spot. China will probably replace New Zealand as this nation’s leading source of international visitors by 2020 and is already our most important market by spending value.

Stand back and take a global view and there can be no other conclusion than the Australian trajectory is shifting mightily towards Asia generally and towards China specifically. We can expect airline linkages to strengthen connectivity with China over the coming decade. We can expect universities to even more aggressively court Chinese students as the middle class seek out education opportunities for their kids. Perhaps it’s time for the education system to respond with an expansion of Mandarin programs?

By any measure Australia is and most certainly has been thus far this century extraordinarily generous in the scale and breath of our immigration program. Our economic interests and the source of our prosperity has shifted towards China to the extent that should China falter or change its relationship with Australia then large swathes of our economy would suffer. The impact would be felt not just across the resources, energy and commodities sectors but also across the education, tourism, aviation and property.

This is a risk that can be managed not so much by limiting trade with China but by broadening and strengthening our ties with other rising forces in the region such as India, Vietnam and even The Philippines. Australia cultivated the Japanese market when Britain joined the EU in the mid-1960s. Perhaps it’s time to up the ante with more targeted trade missions to Asian cities other than China over coming years.


Funding fails to pay off in student results

Jennifer Buckingham 

While there has been some improvement in mean scores in Years 3 and 5 since NAPLAN began in 2008, the latest results show there has been no improvement to speak of in Years 7 and 9 -- and their writing scores have declined since 2011 in several states.

In terms of the proportion of children who failed to achieve even the National Minimum Standard (NMS) -- which is low compared to international benchmarks -- there has been no improvement anywhere.

Billions of dollars of extra funding has gone into schools in recent years, yet there appears to have been little pay-off in what should be the core job of schools -- teaching children to read, write and do maths. This is because extra funding has little impact on student achievement if teachers are not using the most effective teaching methods.

For example, the NSW government Early Action for Success central literacy program, 'L3', was not properly trialled and tested before being implemented to more than 400 schools. It does not meet the criteria for evidence-based reading instruction identified in scientific research, including an absence of systematic phonics instruction.

Funnelling more money into programs that are not truly evidence-based will not help children achieve higher literacy levels.

The NAPLAN reading assessment is a broad measure that flags only that a student is having difficulty, but not why. The Year 1 Phonics Screening Check (PSC) proposed by the Australian government earlier this year will be an early marker of which children are struggling with this fundamental skill and which schools are not teaching it well. Since the Year 1 PSC was introduced in English schools in 2012, the failure rate in Year 2 reading comprehension tests has declined by 30%. We can only hope it will have the same effect here.


Australians face more frustration as Census servers continue to fail despite repeated attempts

FRUSTRATED Australians are still trying, and failing, to use the Census online days after the Australian Bureau of Statistics claimed to have fixed it.

Meanwhile, two Queensland University of Technology students at a student hack-a-thon on the weekend designed their own version of a Census system using an expandable cloud server able to cope with four times the traffic of the IBM-designed Census system and survive a denial of service attack.

The students, Austin Wilshire and Bernd Hartzer, told tech commentator Trevor Long they built their system in 54 hours for a cost of $500 — just $9,606,252 cheaper than the system IBM built that failed on Tuesday night.

In the past 24 hours, a steady stream of people have complained to the ABS Census that repeated attempts to use the site using every connected device in their home has resulted in error messages.

There is also a swag of complaints from people saying a simple email from the ABS requesting that the password for their online application has taken days to arrive.

The advice online from the Census staff has been to turn on JavaScript in your browser options, although several people online say following that advice still does not work.

As for the delayed emails, the advice from the Australian Bureau of Statistics office has been that people write their password down on a piece of paper _ which breaks one of the basic rules of password security.

News Corporation Australia has contacted the ABS asking for clear and simple explanation on what browser and settings Australians should use if they want to be able to complete the census online.

The ABS has not replied to the request, however repeatedly online the response to people unable to access the site is try another device or ring the ABS and get a paper form.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has not updated the number of people who have successfully lodged their Census form although head of the census program told Sky News last night that it was “making up lost ground”.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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