Posted 24 June 2010
This timely op-ed was offered first to the New Zealand Herald and then to the Dominion Post in Wellington. Both of these mainstream metro newspapers declined to pubish it.
Behind all the handwringing and tut-tutting about the comparative nickels and dimes involved in ministerial and mayoral credit card spending lies a huge bill for at least $1.6 billion for unjustified spending that will be presented to New Zealand taxpayers in a few days time on 1 July. And it seems no none in authority cares: not the news media (apart from Leighton Smith and NewstalkZB), certainly no one in politics (apart from the ACT Party), and most certainly not the latest propagandist for dangerous man-made global warming, the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Adviser, Professor Sir Peter Gluckman KNZM FRSNZ FMedSci FRS.
The rationale for the credit card furore has two bases: abuse of process /personal responsibility, and unjustified expenditure.
Exactly the same rationale applies to the claims of dangerous anthropogenic (man-made) global warming (AGW), which, lest we forget, is the excuse for the New Zealand Government lumbering us all with extra costs of living in the form of the emissions trading scheme (ETS) that comes into force on 1 July. Contrary to repeated claims that there is a so-called “consensus” of scientists, and the misrepresentation of what has been said in the past by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), there is no valid scientific evidence to support the hypothesis that any emissions of so-called ‘greenhouse’ gases, let alone just those of human or animal origin will cause any changes in global climate beyond those that have occurred during the billions of years of Earth’s history.
Contrary to repeatedly fostered misrepresentation, the IPCC does not make predictions of future global warming, but suggests a range of projections based on computer modelling that the organisation itself describes as “scenarios”. And, contrary to the expenditure of billions of dollars of taxpayer funds around the world in recent years, no valid evidence has been found.
The only significant response of Professor Gluckman to criticism by the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition of his recent speeches supporting claims of a warming world is that there is an “overwhelming international consensus” that the world is warming. His resort to such sweeping generalisation makes it obvious that Prof Gluckman has no idea what the evidence is. He has never mentioned one paper, or even one sentence, of evidence in support of human-caused global warming. Somebody has told him that evidence exists somewhere, and is "overwhelming", so he parrots this line instead of trying to understand and explain the science.
Worse, if he is the scientist he claims to be he should know that science is not, and never has been, based on consensus, as Galileo, Newton, Einstein and, in his own medical field, Joseph Lister and Ignaz Semmelweis have significantly demonstrated. Under his terms of reference, Professor Gluckman has to clear all speeches with the Prime Minister, which then brings into question the wisdom of John Key in ever allowing a medical doctor to present himself as an expert on the climate.
Even worse still, not only has Professor Gluckman declared unwillingness to debate those with contrary scientific positions, but he labels those challengers with terms such as ‘deniers’ and ‘denialists’ which anyone of Jewish ancestry would know have despicable connotations. He should also know that such language breaches the code of ethics of the Royal Society of New Zealand:
But, if consensus did have any scientific merit, is there one in the field of AGW? There is no more influential scientific figure in the climate debate in recent years than Professor Mike Hulme, Professor of Climate Change in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia – the university of Climategate fame — the founding director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and one of the UK’s most prominent climate scientists. Among his many roles in the climate change establishment, Hulme was the IPCC’s co-ordinating lead author for its chapter on ‘Climate scenario development’ for its Third Assessment Report and a contributing author of several other chapters. Professor Hulme has just co-authored a report in which he says the actual number of scientists who backed that claim was “only a few dozen experts.” He added: “Claims such as ‘2,500 of the world’s leading scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate’ are disingenuous.”
This confirms an earlier report by Melbourne climate analyst, John McLean that the definitive section on temperature of the 2007 IPCC Fourth Assessment Report was the work of 51 people - 33 drafting authors (including New Zealand’s Dr David Wratt, of NIWA) and 18 draft contributing authors.
So, consensus is neither scientifically robust, nor factually correct.
If Professor Gluckman had done any research at all in the climate field, these two examples should have tempered his unproven claim about continued warming:
• In the ‘Climategate” emails, AGW supporter Kevin Trenberth, an expatriate Kiwi, wrote last November to Michael Mann (of “hockey stick” notoriety): “Where did the heat go?.... The fact that we can not account for what is happening in the climate system makes any consideration of geo-engineering quite hopeless as we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not! It is a travesty!”
• In February this year, as part of the investigation into the leakage of ‘Climategate” emails from the Climatic Research Centre of the University of East Anglia, its temporarily stood-down leader, Professor Phil Jones is reported as conceding the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now – suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon. And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming.
Professor Gluckman should either correct his misrepresentations of the science, and apologise to the many eminent skeptic scientists he has chosen to revile; or he should resign his appointment as Chief Scientific Adviser. And if he won’t resign, Prime Minister Key should dismiss him.
If Mr Key has any doubts about continuing to try to fool all of the people some of the time on the justification for an ETS, he should look across the Tasman, and note how quickly the sanctimonious Kevin Rudd has fallen from political and electoral grace. He can avoid the possibility of a Rudd fate by deferring the ETS until the science becomes clearer, and until the rest of the world catches up to us.
And Mr Key should reflect: it is not him or the government who will pay the $1.6 billion to foresters (55% of them overseas owners), it will be us, the ordinary Kiwi taxpayers through the direct and unjustifiable ETS charges on our fuels and power, plus the flow-on price increases that commercial emitters will pass on to us, plus whatever the government has to top up out of our taxes.
Terry Dunleavy MBE, JP, a Takapuna journalist, is honorary secretary of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition.*
Terry Dunleavy: 0274836688 – [email protected]
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