How credible is Andrew Bolt?

We desperately need to reduce the amount of fossil fuels that we use to generate our power for the sake of the planet's future. Apart from climate change, ocean acidification and sea level rise, the World Health Organisation tells us that air pollution from burning coal is killing millions of people each year.

Andrew Bolt is an Australian columnist who has long been vocal in attempting to discredit the reality of anthropogenic climate change (ACC: climate change caused by Mankind) and in supporting the dying coal industry.

Many of the things that Bolt writes and says are easily shown to be false. In a sane and well informed world no one would take notice of him, but in twenty-first century Australia there seem to be quite a few people who are very willing to believe lies if the lies match those peoples' preconceptions.

I have written this page in the hope that some of Bolt's readers and listeners might be willing to listen to truth and reason.

Written 2014/12/20, last edited 2021/09/18
Contact: David K. Clarke – ©


"You name any type of nasty, dishonest, cruel claim; chances are Mr Bolt has used it at some point."

"...He'd know all about catching out journalists for being dishonest, misleading, grossly careless, or picking them up for having factual errors or selective misrepresentation, or distorting the truth or lacking care and diligence, or being gratuitous, cynical, disrespectful, intimidatory, inflammatory, derisive, and not acting in objective good faith, because Andrew Bolt has been found by the courts to have done all those things himself in his own journalism."
Shaun Micallef, quoted from Rational Wiki

In July 2019 Bolt stooped to a new low in his attack on 16-year-old Norwegian girl Greta Thunberg, an advocate of urgent action on climate change. Luke Henriques-Gomes, writing for The Guaridan said that "Andrew Bolt's mocking of Greta Thunberg leaves autism advocates 'disgusted'".

No doubt Mr Bolt is well paid and he certainly has become well known, but at what cost to himself? How could he have any self respect. No honest, decent, well informed person could hold any respect for him. He will be despised for his lies about climate change in the future, more than he is already.

Later on will he look back on his life and think it was well spent?

Can Andrew himself believe what he writes?

In Shakespeare's Hamlet Polonius says:
"This above all: to thine own self be true And it must follow, as the night the day Thou canst not then be false to any man"
I wonder if Mr Bolt despises himself for his way of life?

Peterborough 4.9 MW Solar Farm
Peterborough Solar Farm
Photo taken using my drone, 2018/05/12.
Peterborough township in the background. The solar farm had not long been completed at the time of the photo.
Renewable power such as this solar farm is the future, whatever Mr Bolt believes or writes.
Andrew has written in 2016 that the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) are involved in some elaborate fraud aimed at deceiving the Australian public about climate change. Of course, if there was such a fraud, not only would it have to involve the CSIRO and BoM in Australia, but also the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Organisation (NOAO) and NASA in the USA, the Japan Meteorological Agency, the UK Meteorological Office and many other highly respected organisations around the world. How could anyone in their right minds believe such twaddle? No fiction writer would put such a conspiracy in a novel, because it is a perfectly laughable proposition.

How could organisations such as these, with long traditions of scientific accuracy and academic independence make all their scientific staff take part in the lies? Can you imagine it: the boss gets all the scientists together and tells them, "in the past you have followed the evidence wherever it lead you, but in the future you are going to have to put aside all your scientific training, all your professional ethics, and the proud tradition of centuries of scientific advance that you have previously been a part of, and take part in a hoax the like of which the world has never before seen."


Obscuring the truth

Newspapers have been used for centuries to inform people; their intentional use to spread disinformation probably goes back almost as far.

The willingness to use any media to mislead and spread lies requires a frightening contempt for ethical standards.

You might ask, why would Andrew Bold write this if he didn't believe it to be true? The answer seems to be, because he believes it to be good for his career. His boss, Rupert Murdoch is a notorious climate science denier, so it would keep Andrew in Rupert's good books. Sensational stories that much of the readership of a newspaper like to read, because it suits their own preconceptions, irrespective of the credibility of those stories, helps to sell newspapers. Being sensational and controversial is what Andrew does to keep himself in the public eye.

To believe that all the scientists in the CSIRO, BoM and many other scientific organisations around the world are colluding in a conspiracy, and that not one of them is willing to speak out and expose the conspiracy, would require monumental stupidity (or gullibility); Mr Bolt is far from stupid, so the only logical conclusion is that he has taken this stance dishonestly to misinform those more foolish and gullible (but perhaps also more honest) than himself.

A part of one of about 11 wind farms or wind farm groups in South Australia at the time of writing
Wind farm
Wattle Point Wind Farm, Yorke Peninsula, South Australia
Renewable power such as this wind farm is the future, whatever Mr Bolt believes or writes.

Why do people believe what Andrew Bolt writes?

'New Age' books in a book shop in Mandurah, Western Australia
New Age books
There were only a half dozen or so books on philosophy (including ethics: moral philosophy) in this section! The fact that book shop managers place philosophy in with this non-evidence-based material is bad enough, but the small proportion devoted to philosophy is an indication of the poor critical thinking interests and abilities of the general public.

Many people in the modern world, in which science has shown us so much, still believe much that is entirely lacking in evidentiary support.

People believe Mr Bolt's nonsense about climate change because they want to believe it; what Andrew Bolt writes is accepted because it suits many people's preconceptions. As Al Gore has said, climate change is an inconvenient truth. If we ignore it, or deny it, perhaps it will go away.

People have always had a strong tendency to believe what they chose to believe rather than what the evidence tells them they should believe; consider religion, the belief that there is a god or gods, in the total absence of any evidence for their existence.

In some hypothetical world in which the majority of people were well informed and critical thinkers very few would be interested in the opinions of people like Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones.

In a world in which philosophy books and books on ethics must be looked for among the superstitious mumbo-jumbo of the "New Age" section of a book shop people like Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt can flourish.

Why should we believe that anthropogenic climate change is a fact? First, the science:

  • About 99% of papers published in peer-reviewed climate journals accept the fact of ACC;
  • The vast majority of climate scientists accept the reality of ACC;
  • I doubt that there any scientific organisation that has any interest in climate, anywhere in the world, that does not accept ACC.
In addition:
  • Almost every national government in the world accepts the reality of ACC;
  • I doubt that there is any respectable university anywhere in the world that teaches that ACC is not true;
  • The world's mainstream churches are pushing for serious action to slow climate change.
A fuller listing of these arguments is given on Why accept climate science?

Bolt writes about the high cost of renewable energy.
Is there any truth in his claim?

This section added 2019/02/05
The prices below were the "average values" of power on the Australian NEM over the period 2018/02/12 to 2019/02/10 as reported on OpenNEM for each region. I have placed the different generation types in the same order that they appear in OpenNEM. All values are Australian dollars per megawatt-hour ($/MWh) rounded to the nearest whole dollar.

$92/MWh equals 9.2¢/kWh. The price of electricity to household consumers in Australia is typically around 35¢/kWh; the extra cost comes from transmission, distribution and retailing.

Western Australia is not on the NEM, it has a separate power grid.

All figures are dollars per gigawatt-hour
RegionAverageSolar (rooftop)Solar (Utility)Wind HydroBatteryGas (Recip.) Gas (OCGT)Gas (CCGT)Gas (Steam) DistillateBiomassBlack Coal Brown Coal
All Regions929097 8399193 7618999 1691,60881 8498
NSW928890 84110   144110  241  89 
Queensland927480 8078  7612081  13081 78 
SA134108144 81 168  247122 1582,765    
Tasmania9488  7074   13376       
Victoria118111166 87188663  222  218   98

Abbreviations used in the table:

  • Recip. – Reciprocating
  • OCGT – Open cycle gas turbine
  • CCGT – Closed cycle gas turbine

The above, as I understand it, were the wholesale prices paid for power on the open market. Note that, contrary to Mr Bolt's claims, the prices paid for rooftop solar and particularly wind energy were below the average in each jurisdiction.

See on another page for several recent contract price agreements on wind power in Australia.

Does Mr Bolt have similar psychological characteristics to internet trolls?


Ad hominem?

This section is ad hominem. I am speculating about the motivations of Mr Bolt; what might drive the man.
I wonder how people like Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones would go on a psychological test for the "Dark Tetrad" of personality traits: narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and sadism? It would be interesting to know. Would they be found to have similar psychologies to internet trolls?

For more information on the psychology of internet trolls see Internet trolls are narcissists, psychopaths and sadists, written by Jennifer Golbeck Ph.D., published in Psychology Today.

Quoting from Dr Golbeck:

"An Internet troll is someone who comes into a discussion and posts comments designed to upset or disrupt the conversation. Often, in fact, it seems like there is no real purpose behind their comments except to upset everyone else involved. Trolls will lie, exaggerate, and offend to get a response."
This sounds to me very much like the behaviour of Bolt and Jones.