Posts Tagged ‘climate change’

Hide: global warming is good for you!

September 8, 2008

Continuing on from the last post, yet another right-wing nutbar…

Rodney Hide. Following on from his insane accusations that the EPMU is racist (true), Hide goes beyond climate change denial in a speech to the ACT Upper South Regional Conference (hat-tip: Hot Topic, where Gareth Renowden dissects the wilful ignorance):

“A warmer climate with more CO2 in the atmosphere is an unambiguous benefit to New Zealand and to the world. I don’t know what we are scared of. A New Zealand that was one or two degrees warmer would be a better place to live and better environment for agriculture. The same is true for CO2. We pump the stuff into our greenhouses to stimulate plant growth. It’s the number one nutrient with carbon through photosynthesis being the source of all life.”

Um, Rodney, it’s not being one or two degrees warmer in New Zealand that concerns so many scientists. It’s the effects on the global climate, ecological systems, and other places. You know, stuff like permafrost melting, unprecedented Arctic sea ice melts, the acidification of oceans…


Heather Roy green, as in naive

September 4, 2008

Heather Roy asks in her weekly diary:

“The real issue should have been: do we need an Emission Trading Scheme at all? Science and commonsense seem to have been placed on the back burner but they should certainly have been the basis of sensible decision-making.”

She then proceeds to give us a little lesson about climate change, and why there’s really nothing to worry about. Gareth Renowden pinpoints the loopiness in his post at Hot Topic.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, things are getting worse in the Arctic, and a new study published in the Proceedings of National Academy Of Sciences (pdf 765KB) shows that:

“… hemispheric-scale warmth of the past decade for the [northern hemisphere] is likely anomalous in the context of not just the past 1,000 years, as suggested in previous work, but longer. This conclusion appears to hold for at least the past 1,300 years…” (Hat-tip: Hot Topic.)

Yep, it finds that the last decade was the warmest for at least 1,300 years. That’s including the Medieval Warm Period.

Still, nothing to worry about, says our Heather, who states:

” I do not fully subscribe to the mainstream view, for which the science is inconclusive … “

Update: Gareth has also posted on Hide’s ignorance about climate change science.

Listen up climate sceptics — it’s Boris talking

August 31, 2008

London’s new Mayor and hero of the kiwiblog right has issued a stern warning to Londoners. Launching London’s Climate Change Adaptation Strategy he says that in the future…

“Londoners will face an increased risk of floods, droughts and heatwaves that will endanger the prosperity of the city and the quality of life for all.”

Yup, even Boris Johnson has recognised the terrible consequences of climate change, and the need to take action now, before it’s too late.

Listen to Boris!

Listen to Boris!

Green in every way

August 22, 2008

I see Chris Trotter’s beaten me too it, but “What the hell are the Greens on about?”

Having failed to get the emissions trading scheme they wanted in their talks with National, they are asking the public to tell them what to do. By Tuesday morning. All right then…

The Herald’s report offers a few possibilities for this extraordinary move:

“Theories around Parliament about why the Greens held the press conference ranged from it being a publicity stunt through to a belief the party was trying to strengthen its hand at the negotiating table by threatening to bring down the legislation. It is possible, however, that the Greens are genuinely conflicted about which way to vote.”

Whatever, it defies belief. Sure, the ETS on offer is a dog’s breakfast, and doesn’t go nearly far enough. But it’s better than nothing, which is what we’ll get from National.

National “outlined” its climate change policy last Wednesday, but it got little coverage. Why? Here are the main points:

  • National has set an achievable emissions reduction target … a 50% reduction in New Zealand’s carbon-equivalent net emissions, as compared to 1990 levels, by 2050.

But they have no hard policy on offer to achieve this.

  • National “will ensure New Zealand works on the world stage to support international efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions”

They’ll be at the table. But what will they be doing at the table? Why, they’ll be working “with fellow countries on finding a pragmatic way to include large emitters like China, the United States, India, and Brazil.”

  • An emissions trading scheme for NZ.

Their scheme will be “robust”, and able to “stand the test of time.” Government won’t “profit” from it, we’ll know how much it will reduce emissions, we’ll know what the economic effects will be, and it won’t be introduced in a rush. It will, “strike a balance between New Zealand’s environmental and economic interests”, be compatible with Australia’s, and “will encourage the use of technologies that improve efficiency and reduce emissions intensity, rather than encourage an exodus of industries and their skilled staff to other countries.”

At last, some detail you say. Nope. I’m prepared to bet National’s understanding of where to strike the balance between environmental and economic interests is very different from the Green’s, for one thing.

Greenpeace can see the stark realities of the situation. Take the bird in the hand, they say.

Better still, the Greens should listen to Big Biz. They are keen to kick the ETS into touch, until their vassals are safely installed in power and we can be served up some toothless wonder of an ETS scheme that won’t achieve cost anything.

It may be difficult to swallow, but it’s not really such a difficult choice to make.

Neil Stockley: Clever frames, shame about the policy

August 22, 2008

A Neil Stockley guest post looks at McCain’s success in framing an issue on which he’s weak (the economy) in a favourable way. The problem is, it’s pure deceipt. For more on framing, policy and the US elections, see this recent post of Neil’s.

Politics isn’t just about getting the frames; it’s about moving them too. If you can’t win on the issues being talked about, change the subject, and fast.

Framing Science explains this week how John McCain’s campaign has successfully framed “the economy” as being about “energy”. They quote one pollster as saying:

“The Republicans’ biggest problem in this election is that they are viewed as lessable to fix the economy. When the economy is defined as job loss, mortgage foreclosures, high health care costs, that’s Democratic territory. Obama wants to play on that field.

“McCain wants to define it as being about energy, because his being in favor of drilling is on the right side of the [opinion poll] numbers.”

That’s an impressive bit of framing. But the policy is bad. Climate Progress and Tom Friedman (to name but two) have demolished the notion that allowing more offshore drilling will solve America’s energy problems.

Nats — Come on baby, light my fire(s)

August 17, 2008

I’ve been asked why I haven’t posted on the Nats’ energy policy. In short, I used to know a huge amount about electricity industry policy (I’m not being immodest — I was paid to by the Ministry of Energy). But not having kept up, I’m painfully aware of how little I now know.

Fortunately, Jordan Carter has a brilliant guest blog that is clearly written by someone who is right up with the play. Everybody should read it.

On the face of it, National’s energy policy is yet another attempt to allay fears of radical change by adopting some of Labour’s clothes, whilst avoiding critical detail that would allow proper analysis of what’s being suggested. (more…)

Around the blogs

August 14, 2008

Bryce Edwards at Liberation posts on the Independent Financial Review’s pre-election survey of business opinion.

Apparently the business community is really down on Labour (surprise!) and doesn’t give it a show of winning (who cares, apart from Labour’s fundraisers, who must be finding it tough going). On the other hand, they’re not convinced that National will do their bidding, which is kind of reassuring.


No arctic summer ice by 2013?

August 11, 2008

Gareth Renowden on Hot Topic writes about the news that the North Pole ice is melting at an unprecedented rate and by 2013 the Arctic could be ice-free in summer.

As regular readers of Renowden’s excellent blog will know, the Arctic ice is of particular interest because (1) it’s going to be one of the first major effects of climate change, and (2) there’s a lot of it.

This summer could see less ice in the Arctic than ever before. However:

“‘It does not really matter whether 2007 or 2008 is the worst year on record for Arctic ice,’ [US Navy researcher] Maslowski said. ‘The crucial point is that ice is clearly not building up enough over winter to restore cover and that when you combine current estimates of ice thickness with the extent of the ice cap, you get a very clear indication that the Arctic is going to be ice-free in summer in five years. And when that happens, there will be consequences.'”

“Major meteorological, environmental and ecological implications.”

For more background on the arctic ice story, read Gareth’s earlier posts here and here. Lots of good links. Renowden has a bet about the amount of arctic sea ice this summer with William “Stoat” Connelley, but it’s one of those bets that you’d want to lose. Sadly for us, it’s looking like he might win it.

The earth is cooling! And it’s flat!

July 16, 2008

Last Thursday NZ’s premier scientific body, the Royal Society of New Zealand, made a very clear statement warning:

“The globe is warming because of increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Measurements show that greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are well above levels seen for many thousands of years. Further global climate changes are predicted, with impacts expected to become more costly as time progresses. Reducing future impacts of climate change will require substantial reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.”

We now have the response of the NZ Climate ‘Science’ Coalition. (Hat-tip: Hot Topic.)

Some of the points made by the ‘sceptics’:

  • “Six of the seven members of the expert committee carry the conflict of interest that they work for institutions that garner research funds to investigate the human influence on global warming.”

Interesting. You’d be pretty short of experts in this area if you cut out anyone who worked for a university, NIWA, a crown research institution in the area… Committee membership can be found here. It’s a bit like saying that people who know what they’re talking about should be excluded from debate. But wait…!

  • “On top of which, the committee is unrepresentative: five members are from Wellington and two from Hamilton.”

No, I am not making this up. Go see for yourself (first link above).

  • “…it is by no means certain that the globe has warmed recently at all… looked at over a longer time period, using measurements made by weather balloon radiosondes since 1958, no overall warming is apparent.”

Hot Topic deals to this nonsense. This novel assertion — that Gareth Renowden has never heard it before is telling — appears to come from some British research that shows “that stratospheric temperatures have cooled since 1958 (which we expect), and that over the last 50 years the lower troposphere (where we live) has been warming.”

And so it goes. Hot Topic’s post, including the comments where the sceptics make an appearance, is recommended reading.

All this would be quite funny if it wasn’t that some people take them seriously — and not just the kiwiblog right. Many news media organisations give this bunch of inexpert climate change ‘sceptics’ equal billing with real experts, under the misguided belief that this provides ‘balance’.

Update: It has been brought to my attention that Hot Topic blog has been personally endorsed as the, “very good Hot Topic blog”by none other than David Farrar.