Thursday, 31 October 2013

Cairns Post Letters from the Wingnuts #18: Reality's liberal bias annoys a wingnut

Regular wingnut Bill Schutz had another letter appear in the Cairns Post on Tuesday.
As usual, John Phillips (Weekend Post 26/10) doesn't have his facts straight.
The words pot, kettle and black appeared in my mind, and I found myself chuckling given Mr Schutz's long history of reality challenged letters (see my posts of 21 December 2012, 23 October 2012, and 15 July 2012 for examples).
I never once in my letter of the 25/10 called for selling off the ABC.
I didn't see Mr Schutz's letter on Saturday, so I'll tentatively accept his assertion that he didn't call for the ABC to be sold. Given his track record of getting things wrong, I can't be 100% sure.
What I asked for was unbiased reporting and to stop the global warming alarmism which is rife throughout the ABC in general.
Yes, reality is just one perspective and the other side should get an equal airing. The ABC's current affairs and science shows reflect the overwhelming consensus view of climate scientists and all the relevant major scientific institutions. Wingnuts should get equal time.
The fires were started by juveniles, power lines and army exercises, not global warming. 
Oh for smeg's sake. This isn't hard to understand. Even with climate change, fires will still need ignition sources. With the recent fires, a couple of good growing seasons provided lots of fuel, then an unusually hot (including the hottest September on record) and dry period made conditions perfect for an early start to the season.
Out worst ever fire in 1851, in Victoria, burnt five million hectares, this current NSW fire has burnt perhaps 200,000 hectares.
Shockingly, Schutz gets a claim right! The fires of February 1851 were our most extensive. Alas it's irrelevant. Pointing out an outlier while ignoring the bulk of the data and the trends within is a common denier tactic. Various measures show the increasing risk we face now and into the future. For example, between 1973 and 2010 the Forest Fire Danger Index increased significantly at 16 of 38 weather stations across Australia, mostly in the south east. None of the stations showed a significant decrease.

Hotter temperatures increase bush fire risk. So let's note that 1850s do not appear in the hottest 50 years of the last 150. The last 20 do.


The above graph does not include 2012, which would place in the top ten, or 201,3 which looks set to be top ten as well.
We need facts, not fear mongering. Is that too hard to ask for?
I think he means "too much to ask for", but he is right about needing facts. He also needs understanding. Alas this would not be conducive to his climate change denialism, and so his letters will continue to be a mix of erroneous assertions, poor logic, irrelevant facts, parroted lies and utterly wrong conclusions.

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