Please keep Malcolm Roberts, Australia

The last flaming nutter to emerge out of Queensland, Ken Ham, emigrated to the US and is busily exploiting the rubes here, so you get to keep Roberts. We don’t want him. His latest bit of raging stupidity is a speech in which he said:

It is basic. The sun warms the earth’s surface. The surface, by contact, warms the moving, circulating atmosphere. That means the atmosphere cools the surface. How then can the atmosphere warm it? It cannot. That is why their computer models are wrong.

That…that…is shockingly idiotic. I have one question: was Roberts naked when he said that? After all, using his logic, clothes are not a heat source. The only sources of heat are your own body, and external sources like the sun, or a nearby radiator. Therefore, that means that clothes can only cool your body. How can they warm it?

It’s good to know. Winter is coming to Minnesota; last night the temperature dropped below 4°C, and I actually felt a little chilly. I made the mistake of putting on a light jacket, and when I went to bed, snuggling up under the blankets. As the cold season arrives, I think all the climate change deniers ought to follow Malcolm Roberts’ basic logic and strip themselves starkers when we hit -20°C and go play golf. It’s usually sunny and clear when it gets that cold, so they’ll be able to absorb all the energy of the sun unimpeded.

There’s a much more thorough debunking of all of Malcolm Roberts’ lies here.


  1. pipefighter says

    You’re probably the first american I know who uses Celsius. See,, it;s not hard. Come to the dark side PZ, now give in and embrace the metric system.

  2. wzrd1 says

    As Pauli said, “That is not only not right, it is not even wrong”.

    Well, it was a bit cool here last night, around 23°C, going up to 34 – 35°C today. With high humidity, as usual. Such is NW Louisiana.

  3. wzrd1 says

    I use both, a side effect of being former military and living abroad, where we’re the only one to use such an arbitrary measurement system.

  4. quotetheunquote says

    Like, wow. Weapons-grade stupid. Can someone just lend Roberts a grade 9 physics textbook?

  5. Lofty says


    Can someone just lend Roberts a grade 9 physics textbook?

    He’d drive a stake through its heart and consign it to the furnace.

  6. F.O. says

    The difference between Roberts (who’s only a Senator) and Tony “coal is good for humanity” Abbot (who is the former fucking Prime Minister) is that Abbot made less noise about his climate denial, but gutted the Renewable Energy Target, opened a commission to investigate “health effects” of wind turbines.

    And Roberts’ mate Pauline Hanson just called for an immigration ban.

  7. pipefighter says

    We were trained in both systems in school. Now I work in construction and depending on who is the engineer we switch between them.

  8. laurian says

    Oh Dear. I think I felt brain cells committing suicide as I read that weapons-grade stupid. So bad it’s not even wrong.

  9. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    As the cold season arrives, I think all the climate change deniers ought to follow Malcolm Roberts’ basic logic…
    preferring instead Imhoff’s [sic] logic that winter PROVES climate change is HOAX. (remember when he tried to throw a snowball in Congress to make his point?)

    Once again a fudder [sic] who confuses weather and climate.

  10. chrislawson says

    Believe me, we don’t want him here in Australia either. I never tire of pointing out that Roberts got elected to the Senate by a weird quirk of our electoral system and with a mere 77 votes to him personally (and that’s not a margin of 77 votes, that means only 77 people ticked his name on the ballot).

  11. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    errata in OP:
    using his logic, clothes are not a heat source.
    true, Insulators and Reflectors are not a Source. Roberts is still mistaken to disregard the effects of insulation and reflection to concentrate the radiation coming from that ball in the sky. And that the sun heats the air as well as the ground. gosh. That single quote of him has too much wrong to list.

  12. ashley says

    It is true that at night in winter when it is clear and calm there can be a temperature inversion as the surface loses a net amount of heat to the nearby atmosphere and frost and/or radiation fog may form (in hilly areas cool air sinks into valleys and the peaks may be less cold than the valleys).

    I guess this falsifies man-caused global warming, and there is no such thing as greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (there naturally or added by human activity), and that it is also false that without its atmosphere Earth would be much colder (because there would be no atmosphere to ‘cool’ the Earth if that was the case).

  13. brucegee1962 says

    Also, greenhouses are the same temperature as the world outside, of course. We call this the “greenhouses are just as warm as everywhere else” effect.

  14. blf says

    As a reminder, Macolm Roberts is the One Nation (Ozland nazi) senator who dismissed all evidence supporting AGW when debating Dr Brian Cox (and claims “[the money trails (of AGW supporters)] could be traced back to a few families who are making trillions of dollars” (somehow involving the UN)), and wants Ozland to leave the UN, in part since he is an Agenda 21 conspiracy kook. As others have pointed out, many of his claims boil down to “the joos”. This loonie is an extremely bigoted racist nutter.

  15. Jake Harban says

    OK, normally when someone makes an absurd claim, I can sort of follow the logic and see where everything went wrong. But this? I got nothing.

  16. Rich Woods says

    @PZ #3:

    I’m hoping that Pokemon Go will train Americans to use kilometers, too.

    I expect v2 will level them up to kilometres.

  17. emergence says

    I think that it’s telling that when dipshits like Roberts try to actually come up with their own scientific arguments instead of just waffling about – undemonstrated – biases in the literature, it’s something so stupid that anyone with a decent understanding of basic physics can tell him why he’s wrong. I’m pretty sure that I’ve heard guys like this insist that solar panels violate the laws of thermodynamics.

  18. says

    @chrislawson He got 77 below the line votes, largely irrelevant, maybe just bumped him up the ticket a bit. He was elected on One Nation above the line votes, which gave them a quota (half quota for a double dissolution, which he didn’t even get as he was the last senator elected for QLD). This is not a weird quirk. It’s how the system works. The only thing weird about it is that Turnbull called a DD in the first place.

    No fan of his btw, I just hate it when people say that he was elected on 77 votes.

  19. Brian E says

    The funny thing is Roberts agrees with Global warming when he thinks he doesn’t.
    If the atmosphere is cooling the surface, there’s heat transfer. Now the atmposhere is warmer. That’s a form of global warming. The heat doesn’t magically disappear.

  20. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    No fan of his btw, I just hate it when people say that he was elected on 77 votes.

    So you are saying he was elected based on proportional representation, not that the was backed by the direct votes of his constituents?

  21. says

    Firstly it means that roughly 500,000 Australians are so stupid that they voted for him. Secondly compared to some of the other denizens of the Australian Parliement including several government members he is comparatively sane and intelligent.

  22. dutchroll says

    Actually we Aussies were so impressed that you took Ken Ham from us and kept him, that we were kinda hoping for a repeat display of the same good old fashioned American hospitality with Malcolm Roberts. Too much to ask?

  23. says

    Correct. One Nation got 9.2% of the vote in QLD where this numb-skull is from. That gave them one senator (Hanson), and this guy won the last senate spot with slightly less than half a full quota. They only need a half quota in a double dissolution election. I think the last spot is the best of the rest who didn’t get their quota (Roberts).

    I could be wrong on the details, but he certainly didn’t get elected on just 77 votes.

  24. says

    The reason we have below-the-line voting and above-the-line voting is illustrated by what happened in Tasmania. Both the Liberal (off the charts right, not liberal at all) and the Labor (center right) parties stacked their ticket with their right wing mates, leaving a left wing nominee last on their tickets (6th). Those nominees ran a below the line campaign asking people to specifically vote for them below the line, resulting in them being elected above the 5th nominee on their respective tickets. If you vote above the line, then the quotas are distributed as the parties have selected their nominees, 1 to 6 down.

  25. bachfiend says

    Malcolm Roberts actually does agree that global warming is happening. He published a ‘paper’ in 2013 attempting to debunk AGW in which he linked to a graph which plotted a 12 month running average of atmospheric CO2 levels at Hawaii (the famous Keeling curve – the 12 month running average to remove the seasonal variation) against the 21 year running average of oceanic surface temperatures (the 21 year running average to remove natural variation due to solar cycles, El Niño/la Niña events and volcanic eruptions), which showed a perfect straight line correlation.

    And since atmospheric CO2 levels are progressively increasing, then surface oceanic temperatures must also be increasing (and ocean temperatures are a better indication of global warming, since the sun heats the oceans which then heat the atmosphere).

    Roberts claims that the warming oceans (due to some unknown cause) are leading to the increasing atmospheric CO2 levels, and as ‘proof’ he claims that the annual variation in the Keeling curve (lower in the northern summer and higher in the northern winter) is due to the southern oceans dissolving more CO2 in the corresponding southern winter and releasing more in the corresponding southern summer.

    He also claims that atmospheric CO2 levels were actually higher in the 19th century.

    Pauline Hanson gave her maiden speech in the Senate yesterday dripping with vitriol directed at Muslims, claiming that they’ll soon swamp Australia introducing sharia law (they actually make up 2.2% of the population). She’s offered to take Muslims to the the airport and happily wave them goodbye ‘if it would be of any help’.

    In the last election, her One Nation Party got 593,000 votes. There are 476,291 Muslims in Australia. Who’s the problem? There’s more danger that Australia will be swamped by delusional xenophobes of her ilk.

  26. wolja says

    Roberts is more dangerous than his dipshit mate Pauline Hanson. He wraps his idiocy in scientific terms which gives the impression to the uneducated that he may have a clue,

  27. bachfiend says


    Pauline Hanson thinks that Malcom Roberts is very well regarded in climate science circles. Well, climate science denial circles…