Wellington City councillor Iona Pannett is concerned a climate change sceptic has been asked to speak to the council, describing his views as “dangerous”.
Councillor Sean Rush has invited University of Cambridge emeritus professor and Royal Academy of Engineering fellow Michael Kelly to address councillors on Thursday.
This is more authoritarian nonsense. First of all he is not a climate change sceptic in terms of the science.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, a Fellow of the Rpyal Academy of Engineering, the former Chief Science Advisor to a UK Govt Department and was in fact appointed by the Royal Society to investigate a scandal involving the Climate Research Unit (he cleared them of wrong-doing).
Rush said Kelly was “incredibly perceptive around the engineering challenges of decarbonisation”. Rush said Wellington needed to balance emissions reductions policies with adaptation measures, and move past “polarising” debate.
Kelly, who was born in Wellington but moved England in the 1970s. He is a trustee of the UK climate sceptics group Global Warming Policy Foundation, a group founded by climate change denier Nigel Lawson that lobbies against policies promoting alternatives to fossil fuels.
He returned to the Wellington temporarily in October to avoid Covid-19 and the Northern Hemisphere winter.
Kelly said he did not deny climate change was occurring, but believed it was futile to invest money in emissions reductions schemes because they would make almost no difference to emissions.
So again he is not a sceptic of the science. He argues that the cost of decarbonising will be greater than forecast and that the we need to do more adaptation as well as emissions reduction. This is an argument about policy and economics. Yet a City Councillor is trying to get him banned from even being able to speak to the Council.
Pannett said there were many ways to reduce emissions, including building cycleways and creating more sustainable homes.
She said Rush had a right to invite Kelly to make a submission, but there was a wider global issue of “how much space you give to climate sceptics and climate deniers”.
Except he is neither.
Seven other councillors – Nicola Young, Fleur Fitzsimons, Rebecca Matthews, Tamatha Paul, Jill Day, Diane Calvert, and Malcolm Sparrow – said they had no problem with Kelly being invited to talk.
Good. Crs not afraid of hearing from different viewpoints.