Alarmist bullshit

March 22nd, 2012 at 9:34 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Sea levels will rise up to 22 metres even if the worst scenarios for global warming are avoided, researchers say.

An international team of scientists, which included a New Zealander, found that a 2C increase in global temperature would still cause the world’s oceans to rise between 12m and 22m.

Two degrees is the recommended limit set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. A bigger increase could lead to the melting of the West Antarctic ice sheet, some of the East Antarctic ice sheet and part of Greenland.

A 22m increase in sea level would dramatically transform New Zealand’s coastal boundaries, with low-lying areas like Auckland and Wellington’s harbours swamped by ocean currents.

But lead researcher Ken Miller said: “You don’t need to sell your beach real estate yet, because melting of these large ice sheets will take from centuries to a few thousand years.”

That last paragraph is key, and why this is just alarmist bullshit. Some people doubt temperatures are rising at all, But I do think there is a warming trend, of which greenhouse gas emissions are at least partially responsible. However even the IPCC say that the maximum rise in sea levels by 2100 is 59 cm. This is a 2007 projection. Since then some media have quoted extreme claims beyond that, but I prefer to put credence on the IPCC projections. The IPCC process is far from perfect, but they tend to produce reasonably sane figures.

The actual increase in sea levels is around 3 mm a year currently. This will pose challenges in the future, but the future will also bring more solutions. The hysterical nonsense about increases of 22 metres is forecasting perhaps in 5,000 years time. Anyone who thinks public policy today should be based on a forecast of what the climate might be in 5,000 years is nuts. Look at how the world has changed in just 100 years let alone hundreds or thousands. Hell in 1,000 years we may be living on Mars.

The Herald should be ashamed for saying that the projected increase could “dramatically transform” our coastal boundaries. A change over 1,000 years+ is not dramatic. It’s like saying the separation of Gondwana was dramatic

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Global Warming Dirty Tricks

February 22nd, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

wattsup with that blogs:

Earlier this evening, Peter Gleick, a prominent figure in the global warming movement, confessed to stealing electronic documents from The Heartland Institute in an attempt to discredit and embarrass a group that disagrees with his views.

Gleick’s crime was a serious one. The documents he admits stealing contained personal information about Heartland staff members, donors, and allies, the release of which has violated their privacy and endangered their personal safety.

An additional document Gleick represented as coming from The Heartland Institute, a forged memo purporting to set out our strategies on global warming, has been extensively cited by newspapers and in news releases and articles posted on Web sites and blogs around the world. It has caused major and permanent damage to the reputations of The Heartland Institute and many of the scientists,  policy experts, and organizations we work with.

A mere apology is not enough to undo the damage.

In his statement, Gleick claims he committed this crime because he believed The Heartland Institute was preventing a “rational debate” from taking place over global warming. This is unbelievable. Heartland has repeatedly asked for real debate on this important topic. Gleick himself was specifically invited to attend a Heartland event to debate global warming just days before he stole the documents. He turned down the invitation.

Gleick also claims he did not write the forged memo, but only stole the documents to confirm the content of the memo he received from an anonymous source. This too is unbelievable. Many independent commentators already have concluded the memo was most likely written by Gleick.

What is it with the left in the US and forged memos.  You think they would have learnt from the forged documents about Bush during the Vietnam War. It is not hard to detect forgeries, and often to work out who the author is.

Both software and other language experts have said that the forged memo resembles strongly Gleick’s normal writing style. Add on motive and the fact he is the only person who claims to have been sent a copy of it, and you do not need to be Sherlock Holmes to work it out.

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NZ temperatures in 2011

January 12th, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

NIWA have released:

The nation-wide average temperature for 2011 was 12.8°C, 0.3°C above the 1971–2000 annual average, using NIWA’s seven-station temperature series which begins in 1909.  2011 was the 17th warmest year since 1909, based on this 7-station series.

17th warmest. Some extremes though:

The highest recorded extreme temperature of the year (41.3°C) occurred at Timaru on 6 February (a new all-time high temperature record in the area).

Ouch. Also of interest is how each month compared to the norm for that month:

  • Jan +0.3
  • Feb +0.7
  • Mar +0.0
  • Apr -0.4
  • May +2.2
  • Jun +1.5
  • Jul +0.1
  • Aug -0.5
  • Sep -0.7
  • Oct +0.3
  • Nov -0.2
  • Dec +0.2

May was a scorcher.

The highest mean temp was 16.7 in Leigh and lowest was 7.6 at the Chateau, Mt Ruapehu.

Most rainfall was 9.49m at Cropp River and least was 0.39m at Clyde.

Nelson had the most sunshine with 2487 hours (6.8 hours a day) and Franz Josef the least at 1598 hours (4.4 hours a day).

 

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Leyland on global warming

January 6th, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Bryan Leland writes in the Dom Post on global warming:

Although the world did warm by about 0.7C between 1975 and 1988, there has been no significant warming since then. All the major temperature records show that global warming has flattened off.

I think Bryan means 1998. In 1975 the average temperature was 0.17c below the norm. In 1988 it was 0.18c above the norm and in 1998 it was 0.55c above the norm – the highest year on record.

I wouldn’t quite say there has been no significant warming since then. 1998 was an exceptional high. A significant warming trend did continue until the early 2000s. However as one can see it has tapered off in recent years.

There is a divergence of views about the leveling off. Many factors affect the global temperature. I think it is premature to conclude it disproves global warming, but certainly the longer the “flat” period continues the more the prediction models will come under scrutiny.

Regarding sea levels, the highly accurate sea-level gauges installed around Australia and on the Pacific Islands (including Tuvalu) in the early 1990s showed that sea level rise is small – less than 3mm a year – and that, in recent years, it has levelled off. The 3mm a year is consistent with the sea-level rise that we have experienced since the end of the Little Ice Age. So the only strange thing that is happening is that we cannot explain why the sea level is no longer rising.

The increase is only around 3 mm a year, but this is up from 1.8 mm a year for the previous century. It is not dramatic end of the world Al Gore type hysteria rises, but it is an increase. The graph shows:

On the basis of that data, I wouldn’t say the sea level is no longer rising. It is. An increase of 3 mm a year is not the end of the world, but if it acclerates, then it does post significant challenges.

The climate models predict that an increase in carbon dioxide causes dangerous global warming purely because they have been programmed to do just that. The science tells us that if we double carbon dioxide from the present level it might cause a warming of about 1C. The climate modellers escalate this 1-to-3C, with little supporting evidence, and then, quite predictably, the models show a much higher rate of warming. But if you talk to the modellers, they will tell you that the big unknown is the effect of clouds because they cannot model them with any accuracy. There is more and more evidence that an increase in temperature brings an increase in clouds and this has a cooling effect.

This is the area of most uncertainty, as I see it. As Bryan says there is no dispute about the direct impact of increased greenhouses gases being around 1 to 1.5 degrees (off memory). What is disputed is whether the indirect effects will magnify that warming, reduce it, or not affect it. Most climate scientists say it will magnify it, but this is based on models. I bow towards the majority view, but with the caution that if the data does not fit the models, then the models need to be re-evaluated.

One good thing about the decision to try and have a post-Kyoto agreement be completed by 2015, to start in 2020, is that several more years of data should help us understand how significant a problem the level of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere is. It definitely is a problem, but the magnitude of the problem will ultimately depend on the data of the next few years, and beyond.

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A step forward

December 23rd, 2011 at 8:18 am by David Farrar

Last week the Herald reported:

A marathon UN climate conference yesterday approved a roadmap towards an accord that for the first time will bring all major greenhouse-gas emitters under a single legal roof.

If approved as scheduled in 2015, the pact will be operational from 2020 and become the prime weapon in the fight against climate change.

This is the first useful step forward in some time. Any agreement that does not include the major emitters has next to no environmental value. It is significant that China, US and India have all agreed in principle.

Actually gaining agreement on the details of post 2020 reductions will be incredibly challenging. As there is  an economic cost to reducing emissions, there will be resistance from vested interests.

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World’s worst emitters?

December 11th, 2011 at 4:11 pm by David Farrar

Kennedy Graham blogs:

In Durban, the Kyoto Protocol is kept on life support.

Kyoto is, of course, the only binding climate instrument with specific emission targets. It compels the world’s worst emitters to reduce emissions. But it has always been inadequate in itself – a first step to greater things. And it terminates within 12 months.

Kyoto does not compel the world’s worst emitters to reduce emissions. It compels only 37 countries to reduce emissions. Now let us look at the top 10 emitters in 2005″

  1. China 16.4%
  2. US 15.8%
  3. EU 12.1%
  4. Brazil 6.5%
  5. Indonesia 4.6%
  6. Russia 4.6%
  7. India 4.3%
  8. Japan 3.1%
  9. Canada 1.8%
  10. Mexico 1.6%

Those countries bolded are not required under Kyoto to reduce or even hold emissions.

There is a simple way to test if someone talking climate change is seriously concerned about the environmental impact, or they are just a politician or pseudo-politician wanting to score points.

The test is do they mention China (and preferably India). Any agreement that exempts China is a disaster for the environment, based on climate change science. Only a moron would promote an agreement where China can continue to increase emissions at 10% per annum.  Because if China is not part of the agreement, then by 2020 their emissions will be greater than the rest of the world in 2005. So even if every other country went carbon neutral at a cost of trillions of dollars, it would be of not benefit to the planet as China’s increase in emissions will be greater than everyone else’s reductions.

Dr Graham in his entire blog post doesn’t mention China once. That is conclusive proof that his concern is the politics, not the environment.

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Carbon Emission Changes

November 12th, 2011 at 3:26 pm by David Farrar

The graph is from Whale. No source, so can’t vouch for 100% accuracy but the major emitters look right to me.

The key thing is the change in the last three years. What it shows is that any international agreement must include China, or it is a farce. There is absolutely no environmental or economic gain from the rest of the world flagellating itself, while China won’t commit to any cap.

This is not to say, we should do nothing at all. We need to be credible to our trading partners. But what we mustn’t do is sign up to another Kyoto where China (and India) have no caps at all.

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National’s ETS changes

November 9th, 2011 at 3:16 pm by David Farrar

National has released its policy on climate change and the environment. The policy has a long list of achievements, but I want to focus on the ETS changes:

The 2011 ETS Review Panel recommended moving to full obligation in three equal steps between I January 2013 and 1 January 2015. It is National’s intention to implement this recommendation.

This is nothing major, and seems sensible to phase in the full obligations.

National believes it is important to maintain land-use flexibility for pre-1990 forest land. We will introduce offsetting on 1 January 2013 regardless of the lack of international agreement.

This is very sensible. It basically says you can offset new forests against cutting down existing ones. Allows a landowner to use the land most suited to forestry for forestry and the land most suited to (say) dairy for dairy.

The agriculture sector is liable to surrender units for agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from 1 January 2015.
National will review this in 2014. We will not impose a liability unless there are practical technologies to reduce emissions, and our trading partners have made further progress with their climate change policies to reduce emissions.

I actually disagree with National on this one. The ETS review panel chaired by David Caygill did a very good job I thought, and made the case that the industry has shown the ability to reduce emissions. Sure, there is no silver bullet, but I don’t think delaying the start date endlessly is a good idea. The industry moves into the ETS at a very slow rate, and a preferable strategy would have been to have it come in, and maybe then cap the level it moves to if technology has not found ways to reduce emissions.

Advocate for an international agreement that requires all major emitters to reduce their emission levels over time.

National sees no point in any future international agreement that does not include a commitment from major emitting countries to reduce their business-as-usual emissions levels. We’ve made our 2020 target conditional on this.

This is vital. If China is not part of any agreement to at a minimum hold, if not reduce, emissions then the efforts of the rest of the world will count for nothing.

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The ETS Review

September 15th, 2011 at 3:56 pm by David Farrar

The ETS Review Panel reported back today. It’s a fair read at 98 pages.

The panel was chaired by David Caygill, who was Labour Party Deputy Leader to Helen Clark. Another members was David Russell, the former head of the Consumer’s Institute. Their mandate was to look at the ETS, to look at what has been happening globally, and to recommend changes to it. And no before you ask, their mandate wasn’t to look at the science.

The ETS was passed into law by Labour in 2008 and it was amended by National in 2009. The major event since then was the collapse of the Copenhagen talks and the growing probability that there will be no binding post-2012 Kyoto type agreement.

The dates sectors have or will enter the ETS is currently:

  • Jan 2008 – forestry
  • Jul 2010 – liquid fossil fuels, stationary energy, industrial processes
  • Jan 2013 – waste, synthetic greenhouse gas sectors
  • Jan 2015 – agriculture

At present there is a 2:1 subsidy so that a business can buy two carbon credits for the price of one. This was a temporary measure to reduce the immediate impact on petrol prices and power prices. The panel recommends that this phase out by 2015. This would mean petrol would rise over four years by around 3c/litre and power would go up around 3% over the next four years (beyond any other price increases), Note that AFAIK Labour’s policy is to stop the subsidy immediately which would have those price increases occur all at once next year.

There is also a price cap carbon credits of $25. The price cap gives price certainty to businesses and consumers but if set too low doesn’t provide enough of an incentive to reduce emissions. They recommend the cap increase by $5/year. That does not mean the market price will be that high. I think the current price is around NZ$19.

I thought the panel might advise that agriculture not enter in as scheduled in 2015, however they say it should still enter. Their reports says:

For agriculture, the Panel has noted submitters’ concerns that the sector lacks abatement options. However, based on evidence it has heard from stakeholders, the Panel believes the options available to the sector are sufficient to enable surrender obligations to begin in 2015, as currently legislated. Under the current allocation regime, the obligation on agriculture’s biological emissions will essentially be intensity based (emissions per unit of product), and the sector has shown an ability to decrease emissions intensity year‐on‐year. The ETS will increase incentives for emissions‐intensity improvements.

However they do recommend two changes for the agricultural sector:

The Panel strongly believes the point of obligation for agriculture should be at the farmer level, rather than the processor level as currently legislated, as this will ensure those who are best able to reduce their emissions are motivated to do so. The Panel supports the work of the Agricultural ETS Advisory Committee as it explores the practicality of doing this.

Makes sense to have the costs and incentives apply to individual farms, but very hard to manage in a practical sense.

Given that agriculture’s entry into the ETS will mean it will not be able to benefit from the one-for‐two obligation as it phases out, the Panel recommends the sector benefits from a one‐for-two obligation for the first two years after it enters the ETS (i.e. 2015 and 2016). This surrender obligation should then be phased out over the subsequent three years, consistent with those sectors already in the ETS.

This will give the agriculture sector more time to adjust to a carbon price and to take up abatement options. The Panel notes that, combined with free allocation of NZUs, the agriculture sector would face an obligation equivalent to only 5 per cent of biological emissions for the first two years after entering the ETS.

So basically soften the impact for the first five years.

I predict Labour and the Greens will decry the report as watering down the ETS and how we will be seen as evil polluters if we adopt the review’s recommendations.

And likewise I am sure ACT will campaign against agriculture even entering the ETS. There is some potential for ACT to gain votes with Don Nicolson campaigning on this issue.

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First casualties of climate change

August 18th, 2011 at 3:36 pm by David Farrar

Gavin Atkins writes:

Tim Blair recently posted this list of things that the media have trumpeted as being the “first casualties of climate change”.

I thought it would be an interesting exercise to check the veracity of each story – but what I was not expecting is that every story up until 2010 (after which some of the claims are too recent to verify one way or another) has either been completely debunked, or has since had some serious doubts placed on it.

So the following examples have not been cherry picked – it’s a quick analysis of every claim made about “the first casualty of global warming” up until 2010.

Here are the stories that Tim gathered together, followed by the latest information about them:

The claim:

The golden toad was the first casualty of global warming

The reality:

“There is no evidence of a trend associated with global warming. Rather, the extinction of the Monteverde golden toad (Bufo periglenes) appears to have coincided with an exceptionally dry interval caused by the 1986–1987 El Niño event.”

The claim:

Tuvalu: Global Warming’s first casualty. Ten thousand people, Tuvalu’s entire population, are packing their bags as their homes among nine low level atolls are being swallowed by the rising sea.

The reality:

The last census shows that Tuvalu’s population continues to grow.

The claim:

Polar bears are set to become the first casualty of global warming.

The reality:

The total number of the world’s polar bear population is still thought to be between 20,000 and 25,000.

The claim:

The first casualty of global warming is India’s mangrove island on the Bay of Bengal, Lochachara ~ it is now gone.

The reality:

The loss of the island was almost certainly caused as part of the natural erosion of an island in a delta.

The claim:

The Maldives are the likely first casualty in any serious increase in global warming.

The reality:

The Maldives population continues to increase.

The claim:

Water could be the first casualty of global warming.

The reality:

Not in Australia it ain’t. Also, the argument that smaller glaciers means less water is pure illogical claptrap as explained eloquently by Jennifer Marohasy.

The claim:

Australia Could Become First Major Casualty Due To Global Warming.

The reality:

People in Sydney and Melbourne have wasted millions on desalination plants because of false predictions about water shortages.

The claim:

Losing winter: as climate change takes hold, North America’s coldest season is the first casualty.

The reality:

North America has experienced some of its biggest snow seasons on record.

The claim:

First Casualty of Global Warming? Rare breed of possum may be extinct.

The reality:

Live possums were discovered four months later.

The claim:

The Alaskan village of Newtok is the first casualty of climate change.

The reality:

The town of Newtok is still exactly where it always has been.

The claim:

UNEP had also recently declared that coral reefs, which support the majority of marine life, will be the first casualty of climate change.

The reality:

The reefs are doing fine.

The claim:

Brunt of climate change perceived in India; small Himalayan glaciers first casualty.

The reality:

UN climate chief admits mistake on Himalayan glaciers warning

The claim:

In India … agriculture is the first casualty of climate change.

The reality:

India produces record wheat and pulses crop.

This sums up for me the reason so many people disbelieve climate change as a result of greenhouse gas emissions. The media, many politicians and even some crusading scientists have published so many scare stories that have not eventuated, people naturally turn to disbelief.

As I have said many times before, the basis science is very sound that the more greenhouse gas emission there are, the warmer it will be. There is less certainty over what the extent of any warming will be. Some say only a couple of degrees, while many say the indirect impacts through water vapour will magnify the direct effects.

But as I have said many times, the assorted hysteria about 10 metre sea level rises, blaming all unusual climate events on greenhouse gas emissions, and assorted doomsday predictions are what have turned so many people from concerned to sceptical.

Hat Tip: Whale Oil

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No debate for Monckton

August 4th, 2011 at 8:41 am by David Farrar

Isaac Davison at NZ Herald reports:

Prominent climate sceptic Christopher Monckton has arrived in New Zealand for a series of public talks, but his hosts are struggling to find a platform for his views.

Scientists approached to challenge the hereditary peer say debating well-established facts about climate change is a backward step which is bound to mislead the public.

Belief in man-made global warming has plummeted in recent years for a number of reasons. One of them is the arrogance of the scientists who say things like debating the science is a backward step, and refuse to do so.

Green Party MP and climate change spokesman Kennedy Graham, who was invited to challenge the Englishman, said there was no longer a debate about greenhouse gases.

Yes there is.

I actually accept the science that the more greenhouse gas emissions you have, the warmer it will get. I also think a price on carbon is a sensible thing to do. But my God I despair of the likes of Dr Graham who declare there is no longer a debate, when a massive proportion of the population do not accept the linkages.

You win people over by debating. If Monckton uses cherry picked facts, then you point that out. Why should anyone listen to people unwilling to debate?

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Scare-mongering

December 1st, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Charles Chauvel at Red Alert blogged:

I’m in Cancun, Mexico, at the 16th UN Climate Change Conference. Like last year at the 15th Conference in Copenhagen, I am representing Labour as its climate spokesperson; I paid my own way to get here; I am part of the delegation from the International Trade Union Confederation (thanks to Helen Kelly and Sharan Burrow).

I wonder what would be the reaction if a National MP turned up at an international forum as part of a business lobby group?

I’m here to support efforts to get an ambitious, binding, global deal to limit the problems that we are all likely to face as a result of human-induced climate change, and to support a just transition to the different world we are all to shortly going to find ourselves living in.

There will be no binding deal at Cancun. Cancun will make progress in a number of areas but no one expects a binding deal.

So why am I here? Well, just because the media isn’t talking about it so much doesn’t mean that the issue isn’t just as serious as it was last year. My aunts’ home in Tahiti, 6m from the high tide line, is no less likely to be washed away by rising sea levels than it was last year.

This is th part which I think is ridicolous scare-mongering – I expect it from ill informed people, but not from the official Labour Spokesperson on climate change.

The IPCC 4th report had a number of scenarios. In the most optimistic the mean sea level rise by 2100 would be 18 cm and the most pessimistic would be 59 cm.

So the IPCC have said the worst case scenario is that by 2100 the sea level may have risen 10% of the 6 metres above high tide.

If that rate kept up, Charles’ auntie’s place will get swept away in the year 3000. Now regardless of sea level change, Tahiti is also sinking or subsiding at around 25 cm every 100 years. So in fact around 2700 or so it might get hairy.

Of course by then it will be 18 generations or so on from Charles and his aunt.

I’ve often said politicians who scare-monger like Charles are in fact very damaging to their own cause. Such ridicolous statements (which strongly implied that a six metre rise could happen in his aunt’s lifetime) just provide ammunition to sceptics.

[UPDATE: Several commenters have pointed out that a more likely meaning is that the house is 6 metres along the beach from the high tide mark. If that is the case, then it all depends on the angle of the beach. If the angle is more than 9 degrees, then it still isn't until 2100 that you get problems.

The projected rate of sea level rise is not dramatic (it is undesirable though). The increase per decade last century has been 1.8 cm/decade. From 1993 it has been 3 cm/decade and the IPCC projects the worst case scenario is 6 cm/decade up until 2100.]

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Lomborg on Climate Change

November 19th, 2010 at 6:51 am by David Farrar

An interesting interview with Bjorn Lomborg at the Daily Beast. First his profile:

Bjorn Lomborg is one of the best-known (and most controversial) participants in the global debate on climate change. A professor at the Copenhagen Business School, he founded the Copenhagen Consensus Center, an organization that brings together many of the world’s leading economists to ponder the great environmental and material questions of our time—in particular, the question of whether we are getting our priorities wrong in focusing as obsessively (and expensively) as we do on manmade global warming, instead of on other problems such as clean drinking water, or malaria.

Lomborg is well known as the author of The Skeptical Environmentalist. But note he is not sceptical on climate change itself – just the response to it.

Gore got our attention and pointed out that global warming is real, but he also scared the pants off people, and hysteria makes for pretty poor political judgment. So, this film acknowledges Gore’s fundamental point: Global warming is real, manmade and important. But it does two important things: It rolls back the fear by pointing out that global warming is not the end of the world, and it shows us lots of ways in which we can start tackling climate change smartly and efficiently.

The reason there is a backlash against whether climate change is even real is because of all those who exaggerated its impact and painted Armageddon as imminent.

That is a very good question. I think part of it is due to the nature of the debate: It is easier for the people who predict the worst-case outcomes to be heard, and similarly it is easier for the people who entirely reject those propositions to be printed in response. However, it is entirely crucial for our ability to tackle global warming that we enable ourselves to have a more nuanced debate, a place where we can find a middle, or third road, where we can recognize the reality of global warming while not having to subscribe to the poor, ineffective Kyoto-style policies.

The Armageddon extremists on one side of the debate have given rise to the outright denialists and sceptics on the other. And really the debate should be on what is the most effective response.

I hope that the film will make a connection with the vast majority of Americans who indeed are in the middle of this conversation, tentatively subscribing to global warming, but unwilling to commit vast resources to amazingly poor policies.

Allow me just to give you one example: The European Union’s “20-20” policy, which will reduce emissions by 20 percent below 1990 levels in 2020, will cost $250 billion per year for the rest of the century. Yet after spending $20 trillion, it will only have reduced temperatures by a minuscule 0.1°F. This simply is not smart.

Mitigation can be very expensive. There can be costs to not mitigating also of course.

The overwhelming evidence points to the reality of anthropogenic global warming. Even very skeptical scientists such as Richard Lindzen at MIT and Patrick Michaels point out that more CO2 in the atmosphere means higher temperatures. This is really rather simple physics.

Again, the debate is over the extent of the indirect effects of greater CO2.

Fundamentally, we should be asking for governments to spend 0.2 percent of GDP on research and development into green energy. This is 50 times as much as we spend today, yet it is much less than what is typically being proposed to spend on inefficient Kyoto-style policies. Since it is so comparatively cheap, it is much more likely that we could get every nation on board (and developing countries would be paying proportionally less). But even if not everyone were on board, it would still make sense to move forward. In that sense, some countries could move ahead, fund the R&D and take us much closer to tackling global warming, without everyone participating.

NZ is spending a fair bit on R&D on reducing agricultural emissions, and in fact created a global alliance of other countries working towards this goal.

But 0.2% would be around $300 million a year. Sounds a lot. But it’s less than the subsidies in the ETS!

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British High Commission on European ETS

October 28th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

I blogged on Tuesday a comparison between the NZ ETS and the European ETS, concluding the NZ ETS is more “pure” as it includes all gases and all sectors.

The British High Commission has sent me this response, articulating the European view:

Same Game – Shared Targets

Many people note that New Zealand generates only a small proportion of global emissions and ask whether it matters if NZ acts or not. It very much does matter. If New Zealand – with its clean, green image – can’t make the move to low carbon, what hope for other countries? The important statistic in terms of global responsibility is greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per person, that puts New Zealand near the top of the global league table.

Accurate figures vary depending on the source but the global average is around 7 tonnes of GHG per person per year. The UK and EU average is about 10 tonnes per year while New Zealand is around 19 tonnes GHG per person per year. To meet our global target of reducing emissions by 50%, everyone in the world needs to be at around 2 tonnes per capita by 2050. This shows the scale of the challenge facing New Zealand and all other countries.

The EU’s Game Plan

The ETS is only part of Europe’s response (more on this below). Commentators can only sensibly critique the European approach if the ETS is viewed in this context. More generally, no comment on European efforts should be made without acknowledging what Member States’ are already committed to. For example, by 2050 the UK is committed in law to having GHG emissions 80% less than those in 1990 (and so move from 10 to 2 tonnes per capita). In the nearer term the EU as a whole is committed to 20% (or possibly 30%) reductions by 2020.

It is misleading to make too much of a direct comparison between the EU and NZ ETSs. The crucial fact is that action to reduce an economy’s greenhouse gases requires a portfolio of policies. This is what we have in the EU. The key issue is to look at the best policy tool for reducing emissions in each sector. For example, the EU has looked at light vehicles (cars and vans) and recognised that they produce 12% of the EU’s emissions and so need to be tackled. So the EU passed legislation on the fuel efficiency of cars. It is now EU law that the fleet average for all cars registered in the EU is 130 grams per kilometre (g/km). This is being phased in over the next few years and there are hefty fines for companies that exceed the limit (up to 95 Euros per extra gramme of CO2 over the limit!). This is a sensible and effective approach to tackling transport emissions. So the fact that it is not in the EU ETS does not mean action is not being taken.

The same argument applies to housing, agriculture and waste. Each country also has a binding renewable energy target and their own range of policies (energy tax, feed-in tariffs etc) to ensure those targets are met. In addition the EU is contributing EUR 7.2 billion to climate finance over the next three years. Ultimately when comparing and contrasting the response to climate change of different economies the most important fact is the overall impact on GHG emissions. This shows that the EU is on the right track – 2009 emissions were around 17% below their 1990 level.

If forced to compare the NZ and EU ETS one key difference is that the EU ETS sets binding caps on emissions. So participants in the scheme will have their allocations gradually reduced to 21% below the 2005 level by 2020. There is currently no similar cap in the New Zealand scheme.

Climate change matters

Every country in the world will face stresses from climate change. Increased frequency and severity of floods, storms I and droughts will have a direct impact on New Zealand’s agriculture sector and infrastructure. The faster we all move to a low carbon economy – and there are a whole range of policies to get us there – the better.

Its great to get a response on what is a complicated and challenging issue.

Our per capita emissions are high, but that is partly because of the large number of cows we have, relative to humans. I have not calculated what it would excluding the cows, but suspect we would then be close to the UK average.

The UK response does impress upon me that doing nothing is not a viable option. Even Tony Abbott is not a proponent of doing nothing – he just proposes direct Government spending on climate change mitigation rather than an ETS.

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This is not a parody – it is a real ad

October 1st, 2010 at 2:38 pm by David Farrar

Oh my God. What sick little fuckers. The 10:10 campaign ha produced this campaign ad. They are campaigning for people to reduce their carbon emissions by 10% in 2010, and by every year thereafter.

Watch the video as the school kids get blown up, for not taking part in the campaign.

What an insight into the mentality of the zealots.

Hat Tip: Act on Campus

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CSC v NIWA

August 16th, 2010 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

NZPA reports:

The country’s state-owned weather and atmospheric research body is being taken to court in a challenge over the accuracy of its data used to calculate global warming.

The New Zealand Climate Science Coalition said it had lodged papers with the High Court asking the court to invalidate the official temperatures record of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa). …

The coalition said the New Zealand Temperature Records (NZTR) were the historical base of NIWA’s advice to the Government on issues relating to climate change.

Coalition spokesman Bryan Leyland said many scientists believed although the earth had been warming for 150 years, it had not heated as much as Government archives claimed.

He said the New Zealand Meteorological Service had shown no warming during the past century but Niwa had adjusted its records to show a warming trend of 1degC. The warming figure was high and almost 50 percent above the global average, said Mr Leyland.

The coalition said the 1degC warming during the 20th century was based on adjustments taken by Niwa from a 1981 student thesis by then student Jim Salinger, a Niwa employee who was later sacked after talking to the media without permission.

The Salinger thesis was subjective and untested and meteorologists more senior to Dr Salinger did not consider the temperature data should be adjusted, it said.

The coalition would ask the court to find Niwa’s New Zealand Temperature Record invalid.

It would also seek a court declaration preventing Niwa from using the NZTR when it advised the Government or any other body on global climate issues. It would also ask the court to order Niwa to produce a full and accurate NZTR.

One doesn’t go to court on a whim, so the CSC obviously feel they have a case. It will be fascinating to hear the details once it reaches court.

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Climategate Inquiry

July 9th, 2010 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Scientists involved in last year’s “climategate” leaked emails controversy, which added to scepticism about the science of global warming, were not open enough with their data and unhelpful with requests for information, an independent review of the affair found yesterday.

They and their institution, the University of East Anglia, did not embrace the “spirit of openness” enshrined in the Freedom of Information Act, according to a long-awaited report.

However, the review found that the researchers concerned, led by the director of UEA’s Climatic Research Unit Professor Phil Jones, could not be faulted for their “rigour and honesty as scientists”, and there was no evidence that they had behaved in a way that might undermine the conclusions of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The review effectively clears those involved of dishonesty and corruption; it absolves them of the allegation made by climate sceptics that they had manipulated both climate data and the scientific peer-review process to serve their predetermined views that climate change is man-made.

This is largely what I expected.

Nevertheless, the review’s condemnation of the lack of openness at UEA amounted to “significant criticisms”, and its practices needed to change. …

* Dr Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a sceptical think-tank, said the Russell report was a “damning indictment of the university’s handling of freedom of information requests”. “I don’t think the university can just claim this is a vindication.”

* Andrew Montford, a climate sceptic who is conducting a review of how the three Climategate inquiries were set up and carried out, said the Russell review “has picked up some of our concerns on freedom of information” but had “brushed other issues under the carpet”. He said: “Not to ask Professor Jones if he had deliberately deleted emails so they could not be requested is a pretty extraordinary omission.”

* David Holland, a retired engineer and sceptic, one of the principal seekers of information from the CRU, said: “When it was set up 20 years ago the IPCC rules required climate science to be assessed on ‘a comprehensive, open and transparent basis’. Sir Muir Russell’s inquiry has rightly reported that UEA has not lived up to this.”

More transparency is needed. Even basic stuff such as a schedule of adjustments to recorded temperatures which details when an adjustment was made, and why, is not available from most agencies (including NIWA).

Now this does not mean that there is some global conspiracy to convince the world that temperatures have been increasing, when they have not been. Such a conspiracy would require 1000s of scientists to be colluding over the last 100 years.

I am sure adjustments to recorded temperatures series have been done in good faith, for reasons such as the moving of a recording station. However when decisions that may economies billions of dollars are dependent on the integrity of the data, it it reasonable to insist on total transparency.

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O’Reilly on ETS

May 5th, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

I agree with the sentiments expressed by BusinessNZ CEO Phil O’Reilly:

In business there is a wide range of opinion stretching across the spectrum, from zealous green through to emissions denial. The most common reaction has been concern about increased energy costs just as businesses start to recover from the recession.

Why not delay it, they say – especially since Australia is now pulling back from its earlier commitment to emissions trading. The answer is probably that delay wasn’t a feasible option.

New Zealand’s situation is very different from Australia’s. Australia has never had an emissions trading scheme, so delaying the introduction of one would have been relatively straightforward.

To delay it in New Zealand would mean introducing amending legislation under urgency and ramming it through Parliament without even going to select committee. This would be Labour’s wet dream – National breaking its election promise and doing an u-turn, and even worse forcing it through under urgency to over-turn previous legislation that had been the subject of three years or consultation and debate.

If National did this, they would be suffer much the same fate as Kevin Rudd just has (fallen behind in the polls for the first time ever), but arguably even more.

But New Zealand has been committed to it since the trading legislation passed in 2008 by the previous Labour-Greens Government.

The present Government came into power that same year, on an election promise to improve the scheme passed by Labour and the Greens. Their mandate wasn’t to dismantle or delay it but to improve it.

The failure of Copenhagen has happened since then, and we should respond to that failure. But scrapping the entire scheme is daft and would lead to higher Government debt.

Had the Government sought to dismantle or delay it we would have had a fourth parliamentary/select committee process in as many years, with even more divisive, rancorous debate.

With Labour committed to returning New Zealand to the previous draconian emissions scheme and the Greens unwilling to compromise on their climate change stance, the issue would have become a long-running, festering sore.

Labour’s scheme had less protection for trade exposed industries, and would see greater costs on businesses, despite their competitors not having them.

Taking the longer view, it’s hard to deny the certainty that the world is headed towards a price on carbon. Whether it’s by way of carbon taxes or emissions trading schemes and whether within two years or 20, the clear intent of Governments around the world is to restrain emissions using economic tools.

I agree a price on carbon is almost inevitable. Even if you do not believe the claimed indirect warming effects of carbon emissions (which there is debate about), even the direct warming effects (which there is almost no debate about) makes a price on carbon sensible.

Official figures show New Zealand is on track to meet our 2012 Kyoto target. In 2012 our gross emissions will be 23 per cent higher than in 1990, but this will be more than offset by forests planted since 1989, with many New Zealand foresters actively receiving tradeable carbon credits.

This is key. Forestry is already in the scheme. You can not simply scrap a scheme that has already started. Forest owners are owed hundreds of millions of dollars for their forests under the scheme.

The fact that we already had the legislation as far back as 2008 and the kinds of decisions made by other Governments over the last year have led to the situation where New Zealand is now a leader in taking action on emissions, rather than our desired position of fast follower.

And this is a concern. But the answer is not to scrap a scheme that has been in place since 2008. It is to use the 2011 review to decide whether to amend the rate at which businesses get exposed to the full cost of carbon, and when sectors such as agriculture enter the scheme.

We are scheduled to have a review of the scheme before the end of next year. Business NZ believes this review should be brought forward starting no later than the end of this year.

The review should cover issues like the cost impact on consumers and businesses, competitive disadvantage issues and the position of agriculture and other sectors within the scheme.

Positions need to be developed based on current economic and international considerations.

We should all keep in mind the fact that the world’s consumers are increasingly seeking low-carbon goods and services and our trading scheme is the vehicle for nudging our producers on to a profitable low-carbon path.

And we shouldn’t forget that taking action to reduce emissions and look after our environment is, in the long run, the right thing to do.

I think it would be useful to wait for the Mexico conference, and see if that is as unproductive as Copenhagen. If it is, then the review of the ETS should look towards slowing or delaying the impact of the ETS in trade exposed sectors especially.

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Editorials 3 May 2010

May 3rd, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald is on judicial transparency:

The legal profession, at least in its upper echelons, is so small that there are bound to be close and long-standing relationships between senior lawyers and judges which may create the appearance of conflicts of interest.

The possibilities have been amply demonstrated by the case of Supreme Court Justice Bill Wilson, who finds himself facing the Judicial Complaints Commissioner because, when he was a Court of Appeal judge, he failed to fully disclose the extent of his indebtedness to a lawyer appearing before him.

And that is the problem – the lack of disclosure. The debt, by itself, does not mean the Judge could not sit on the case, and be impartial. In fact Justice Wilson ruled against the lawyer’s clients in a number of cases.

But the matter does not end there because now the Judicial Complaints Commissioner must decide whether the judge’s conduct in failing to promptly and fully disclose the nature of the relationship needs to be referred to either the Chief Justice or the Attorney-General. Unfortunately, either course of action may also raise questions of the kind mentioned by the Supreme Court because Justice Wilson has had close associations with both office holders.

He and Mr Galbraith have been in a racehorse-owning partnership with Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias. On the other side of the equation, Justice Wilson and Attorney-General Chris Finlayson were partners at the law firm Bell Gully and Mr Finlayson is on record as calling him a friend. So whichever way this case may turn, it gives rise to the very kinds of doubts that the courts, quite rightly, are at pains to avoid.

The Attorney-General is friends, I am sure, with a large number of Judges. I think we have to be careful about not having unrealistic expectations that Judges and lawyers have no dealings with each other at all, except in court.

But whatever the outcome of this particular case, the courts should reconsider the old policy of secrecy and remoteness as a means of preserving confidence in the system generally. More openness in the form of a public register of judges’ pecuniary interests – much like that which applies to MPs – would be much more effective.

Compulsory listing of such things as business interests, partnerships, trusts and, importantly, debts would make any possible appearance of conflicts of interest immediately apparent and therefore defuse any controversy such as the one engulfing Justice Wilson before it had a chance to arise.

The idea of a register is worth considering.

The Press suggests the winner of the UK elections will inherit a poisoned chalice:

When the British deliver their electoral verdict on Thursday, the winning party will be presented with a poisoned chalice. The huge cuts the new government will have to make to spending ensure it will be hounded into deep unpopularity and be long branded as the Scrooge that ended a decade of prosperity.

The reality that the golden economy has been dead for two years and has been sustained by massive borrowing will not ease the predicament of the incoming administration. In the cause of weathering the economic storm, spending and borrowing was maintained; only now do the bills have to be paid.

Yet the Lib Dems and Labour keep insisting one should go on borrowing and spending more for a wee bit longer.

The Dominion Post marks World Press Freedom Day:

For most New Zealanders, today is just another working day to be endured before the next long weekend heaves into view. To journalists, however, it means more than that. May 3 is the annual date that Unesco has set aside as World Press Freedom Day, an occasion to celebrate the value of a free media.

It is a prize worth winning, but comes at a price. New Zealand journalists don’t get killed for doing their jobs in this country, but that is not true elsewhere. In 1975, Kiwi Gary Cunningham was one of five journalists murdered by Indonesian forces in East Timor wanting to prevent the world knowing of their invasion. And already this year, at least 12 journalists have been slain for following a vocation with attendant dangers.

Here, the risk normally involves being called a “little creep” by an angry prime minister, being ejected from the team bus by an irate sports coach, or being sued for defamation for – perhaps – wrongly criticising someone with a reputation to defend.

True.

Thus it is harder in a modern democracy to persuade a cynical populace that to do away with a free press is to do enormous damage to the body politic and civic discourse. In the West, it is more common for the public to dismiss the work of reporters as sensationalism, trivia, and “lies”. Sometimes, they are right.

More usually, they are wrong. People often forget that everyone errs and that their errors are rarely exposed for others to judge. Chefs’ mistakes are buried in the rubbish; doctors’ mistakes are in a graveyard.

In the media business, mistakes can be of fact, emphasis or omission – and are usually inadvertent. Unlike the mistakes of others, however, journalists’ errors are published or broadcast for everyone to see, and – in the best of the breed – corrected publicly.

Alas the public correction is all too rare.

The ODT calls for no delay to the ETS:

Having once claimed to be a “follower” of our trading partners in such legislation, New Zealand, the critics claim, now looks likely to be an international leader – out on a limb with a feigned carbon tax that may in time come to be regarded as either innovative or foolish.

Businesses, for one, have not been slow to remind the Government of this risk, arguing that the policy will make it even more difficult to trade successfully with other countries which have yet to implement climate-change responses, or plan to defer them.

They have asked for New Zealand’s policies to be “aligned” with those of our major trading partners – a request that on the surface appears reasonable but is realistically impracticable. …

Yet, if the world has so much to lose from climate change, then it behoves countries to take whatever steps they can to minimise the effects – as a matter of urgency.

A global solution is obviously required and Western nations, including New Zealand, must lead it, since they are in the best possible position to afford the costs and provide the technology and innovation to achieve it.

Here the ODT is wrong. If China is not part of a deal to reduce emissions, then the efforts of the rest of the world will be futile. China by 2020, will be producing more greenhouse gas emissions than the rest of the world does today – even if they live up to their Copenhagen pledge.

For New Zealand to now delay further what has already been a slow, step-by-step procedure, would deny pragmatism in favour of the changing winds of political fortune.

I don’t support a change to the ETS legislation being done under urgency. If however there is no post Kyoto agreement, which includes commitments from China, then the rationale for an ETS is greatly reduced.

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Fran on ETS

April 28th, 2010 at 7:21 am by David Farrar

Fran O’Sullivan writes:

John Key’s refusal to postpone the implementation of the next phase of the emissions trading scheme (ETS) is setting the scene for a ‘winter of discontent’ with New Zealand business.

In just two days the perception of the Key Government as a climate change laggard has morphed into an unwitting climate change leader as our major trading partners, like Australia and the United States, prepare to defer their own schemes leaving this country out in front of the pack instead of the “fast follower” the PM promised.

The decision by Kevin Rudd to delay his ETS until 2013 does place pressure on NZ. It is almost ironic that National is at risk of accidentally achieving Helen Clark’s aim of being a global leader rather than a fast follower in terms of responses to climate change.

Of course the Australian ETS has never been passed into law – it is easy to delay something not yet legislated for.

The NZ ETS was passed into law by Labour in 2008, and them amended by National in 2009. It is already in effect for sectors such as forestry.

The Auckland Regional Chamber of Commerce has been adding fuel to the fire by asking its membership to email Key directly to ask for the July 1 cost hikes to be deferred.

The chamber reckons it will increase electricity prices by 5 per cent and add 4c a litre to the cost of petrol and diesel. Its boss Michael Barnett reckons the cost hikes will jeopardise the profitability of small to medium businesses as they get back on a growth curve after the lengthy domestic recession.

I’ll have to read the ETS legislation to check, but am unsure whether or not the Government can defer the entry of those sectors, without amending or repealing the ETS law. If a law change is needed, it couldn’t realistically be done by 1 July.

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Dunedin to be flooded

April 13th, 2010 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The ODT alarms:

Dunedin could face some stark choices by the end of the century, with sea-level rise expected to force either the retreat from, or complete evacuation of, South Dunedin, St Kilda and St Clair.

Dunedin will just be one giant swimming pool!

A report on climate change and its effect on Dunedin includes a prediction of an upper level for sea-level rise of 1.6m by 2090.

Okay that is 1600 mm over 80 years which is an average rise of 20 mm a year.

Predicting the upper range for sea-level rise was also “problematic”, he said, with the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggesting 0.6m, but more recent research suggesting 1.6m was a more prudent prediction.

I prefer to wait for the IPCC to update their report, rather than have people cherry pick individual more alarmist pieces of research.

The IPCC report said that the likely increase in sex levels was 180 to 590 mm, which is an average rise of 1.8 to 5.9 mm a year – between one tenth and one third of what the ODT story reports.

So how likely is a sea level rise of a massive 20 mm a year?

What has been the rise so far in NZ?

Consequently, sea levels around New Zealand have risen on average 1.8 mm/year over the last 40 years with the total sea level rise over the last century of 0.17 m.

So the rise over the last 100 years has been 1.7 mm a year and last 40 years has been 1.8 mm a year. So that is 10% of the 20 mm Dunedin will be flooded scaremongering.

Now in the last 17 years, sea level rises have been greater – an average 3.1 mm a year. That is consistent with the IPCC 590 mm increase, but still a long way off the 1600 mm talked about in the ODT article.

Also one has to understand that to get an average of 20 mm a year over 80 years, you need quite massive increases in the latter section to make up for the current slower rises.

If you assume a linear increase in the average annual rise, then the amount of annual rise has to increase by 0.45 mm a year. What this means is that by 2020 the rise will be 7 mm/yr, by 2030 12 mm/yr and by 2090 it would be 39 mm/yr.

Is anyone willing to bet money that by 2020 the average sea level rise will be 7 mm/yr?

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Upton on Environment

March 24th, 2010 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Simon Upton writes:

I am shortly to take up a position at the OECD leading its Environment Directorate. …

The OECD was established to help governments with their thinking. While its origins may have been in the reconstruction of Europe after 1945, it has become a genuinely global policy resource with new members (such as Chile) joining as rising living standards dissolve the boundaries of the old “developed” world.

The OECD is one of the more useful global bodies.

As an economics-based institution, the OECD is dedicated to using economic analysis to highlight the tradeoffs its members face. It is easily caricatured (like Treasuries) as an organisation that seeks to reduce everything to dollars and cents. Clearly, not everything can be reduced to monetary values. But many things can be, and to the extent that the costs of alternatives can be placed on a common footing, decision-making should be improved.

To provide one very simple example: work at the OECD has shown that the costs of alternative CO2 reduction policies can vary by several orders of magnitude. Subsidies to biofuels can, in some instances, mean spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars for each ton of CO2 avoided – way above the sorts of carbon taxes that have been discussed and discounted.

And biofuel subsidies or quotas have been shown to have devastating effect on food supply, as land is converted.

Countries may be able offer good reasons for such outcomes. But it is harder to do so when the costs of alternatives are made transparent. This may explain one of the conundrums surrounding much environmental policy analysis. Consistently, the advice is to place a price on scarce resources. If they carry a price, they need to be measured; if they’re measured, they get managed. We don’t tend to waste things we have to pay for.

And this is why I do support putting a price on carbon – either through a carbon tax, or an ETS. It’s the same reason I don’t like tertiary courses which are “free” to the user – you get huge wastage, and the moment people do have to pay for something, you do have an incentive not to waste it.

There is dispute over the indirect warming effects of greenhouse gas emissions, but there is basically no dispute over the direct warming effects. Hence for me the debate isn’t over whether one should have a price on carbon, to cover externalities, but what that price should be.

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UK Govt climate change ads banned

March 17th, 2010 at 12:56 pm by David Farrar

The Daily Mail reports:

Two government advertisements which use nursery rhymes to warn of the dangers of climate change have been banned for exaggerating the threat.

Commissioned by Energy Secretary Ed Miliband, the adverts are based on children’s poems Jack and Jill and Rub-A-Dub-Dub and assert that climate change will cause flooding and drought.

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) ruled the adverts – which attracted 939 complaints – made exaggerated claims which went beyond mainstream scientific consensus.

The proponents of man-made global warming are basically their own worst enemies. If they didn’t feel the need to over-state the position and scare-monger, then there wouldn’t be such a backlash against them.

The news that the UK Government’s own advertisements were so unbalanced, as to be banned, will just drive thousands more people towards the view that it is all a crock of shit – even if it is not.

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Mosal from the Mount

March 3rd, 2010 at 9:08 pm by David Farrar

The latest Blunt.

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Institute of Physics on Climategate

March 3rd, 2010 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

A refrain we often hear is that we should listen to the scientists, when it comes to issues like climate change. And I agree.

Now the Climategate e-mails have been debated at some length. Poneke did an extensive blog post where he advocated that there was real cause for concern about what they unveiled. Some attacked him for this and said it was no big thing.

The UK Parliament is holding hearings on the e-mails, and one notable submission is from the Institute of Physics, representing 36,000 scientists.

Some quotes from their submission:

The CRU e-mails as published on the internet provide prima facie evidence of determined and co-ordinated refusals to comply with honourable scientific traditions and freedom of information law. The principle that scientists should be willing to expose their ideas and results to independent testing and replication by others, which requires the open exchange of data, procedures and materials, is vital.

That was the opening, and then:

There is also reason for concern at the intolerance to challenge displayed in the e-mails. This impedes the process of scientific ‘self correction’, which is vital to the integrity of the scientific process as a whole, and not just to the research itself. In that context, those CRU e-mails relating to the peer-review process suggest a need for a review of its adequacy and objectivity as practised in this field and its potential vulnerability to bias or manipulation.

The whole peer review process for climate science needs reviewing they say.

Fundamentally, we consider it should be inappropriate for the verification of the integrity of the scientific process to depend on appeals to Freedom of Information legislation. Nevertheless, the right to such appeals has been shown to be necessary. The e-mails illustrate the possibility of networks of like-minded researchers effectively excluding newcomers. Requiring data to be electronically accessible to all, at the time of publication, would remove this possibility.

The law sets out the minimum necessary disclosure, but ethical scientists should be disclosing far more than the minimum.

Now the practises disclosed by Climategate do not mean that there is not a link between greenhouse gas emissions and increasing temperatures. Few people argue that.

But what it does mean is that you can’t expect the nations of the world to commit hundreds of billions of dollars on mitigation efforts, when the key scientists involved in climate research have failed to follow good scientific practice with their data, and make it open.

The climate science “industry” needs to not ignore Climategate but adopt a universal policy of full and open access to all data, and to not treat those with different scientific theories as enemies.

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