Guest Post: Bryan Leland

A guest post by Bryan Leland:

The New Zealand Climate Science Coalition have discovered that the of New Zealand cannot support its contention that man-made global warming is real and dangerous.

Various exchanges between NZCSC and RSNZ revealed that the Society: has forgotten its roots; makes statements that it cannot support with evidence; is quite happy for its officers and members of the Society to make public statements that are against its own Code of Ethics; agrees that climate science is contentious but will not support open debate on it; wants to change its Code of Ethics to put cultural beliefs on equal footing with scientific evidence. 

It all started with a statement by the Chief Executive (CE) and two reports that made it clear that RSNZ supported the belief that that man-made global warming was real and dangerous and urgent action was essential. The NZCSC asked RSNZ to provide convincing evidence based on observational data that supported this belief. The Royal Society were unable to do so and passed the query on to Prof James Renwick who has close links with the IPCC. He too was unable to provide the requested evidence. It seems that the evidence does not exist.

The NZCSC then lodged a complaint with the Society on the grounds that statements made by the CE and authors of the report breached RSNZ’s Code of Ethics because, among other things, they had ignored the requirement that statements to the public should make it clear if there were uncertainties in the science and if other scientists held different views. The Ethics panel could have killed our complaint by providing evidence confirming the existence of dangerous global warming. It didn’t. Instead it claimed that the matter was “insufficiently grave” and anyway, they felt that members should be free to say what they liked to the public. Remarkable, to say the least!

The NZCSC responded by pointing out that the motto of the UK Royal Society was “take no man’s word for it” and the UK Royal Society was formed to promote open debate. As RSNZ was based on the UK Society it should be promoting open debate on man-made global warming. RSNZ did not reply.

In March 2018 the President of RSNZ claimed that the data showed that if the Paris agreement was ignored world temperatures would rise by 3° by the end of the century. NZCSC lodged another ethics complaint on the grounds that his claim was based on the output of computer models that had never made accurate predictions instead of observational data. The Panel did not provide any evidence that his claims were supported by observational data. It did claim that he was quoting the consensus view and that the President was acting on behalf of RSNZ so he was not bound by the Society’s Code of Ethics.

It seems of the Panel were unaware that observational evidence rules in science and consensus views are valid in politics. The beliefs of Galileo – and many others – were based on evidence, were against the consensus and were right. It seems that RSNZ has abandoned the UK Society’s ”take no man’s word for it” and substituted “take my word for it”.

Even though it cannot provide convincing evidence that a danger exists or the recommended actions will be effective, RSNZ has published reports that recommend that the government adopt hugely expensive and disruptive policies that, it is claimed, will reduce the risk of climatic disaster. What the Society should be doing is providing the government with scientific evidence that supports rational science-based policies.

The latest is that RSNZ have just released a draft Code of Ethics that puts cultural beliefs on an equal footing with scientific evidence. It ignores the fact that science is about evidence while culture is about beliefs.  Beliefs cannot, for example, stop apples falling!

“Lord how the mighty have fallen!” 

is a power engineer with an active interest in global warming.

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