This morning’s NASA Earth Observatory image of the day shows the impact of last week’s heavy rain in Christchurch and Banks Peninsula on the sea around. The light blue colours show sediment washed off the land. If you visit the EO page, they provide a helpful reference image: the region snapped from space in late February, when there’s no sign of any sediment at all.
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The Wise Response group, set up a year ago to build public and political awareness of the need for a serious review of New Zealand’s future policy directions on climate change, economics and sustainability, has launched a petition to persuade parliament that a “national risk assessment” is urgently required. From the Avaaz petition page:
This petition therefore calls on Parliament as a whole to see funds allocated for an assessment of NZ’s critical risks in 5 key areas:
- Economic / Financial Security: the risk of a sudden, deepening, or prolonged financial crisis.
- Energy and Climate Security: the risk of continuing our heavy dependence on fossil fuels.
- Business Continuity: the risk exposure of all New Zealand business, including farming, to a lower carbon economy.
- Ecological / Environmental Security: the risks in failing to genuinely protect both land-based and marine ecosystems and their natural processes.
- Genuine Well-Being: the risk of persisting with a subsidised, debt-based inequitable economy, preoccupied with maximising consumption and GDP.
For more information on the petition — which is to be delivered to parliament in early April — see the Avaaz.org petition page, and for background on Wise Response see their web site, or this post at Southern Energy and Resilience.
I’ll support anything that forces the powers that be to revisit their attitudes to planning for climate change, building a resilient and sustainable economy and increasing the health and well-being of New Zealanders. I’ve signed. I hope you will too.
This year really has started with a bang. An unusual concatenation of weather extremes — Britain’s stormy and wet winter – the wettest since records began, 250 years ago – the warm winter in Russia and Alaska, drought in California and Australian heatwaves — has caused many people to consider the role that climate change might have played in driving those weather events. For once, public debate has moved away from the tired old is it/isn’t it happening frame and into concern about what living in a warming world might actually mean for us all. This makes Jim Salinger’s latest book, Living In A Warmer World – How a changing climate will affect our lives (Bateman NZ, 2013) especially welcome.
Salinger has drawn on all the relationships he has built up over a 40 year career as a climate scientist, including a spell as president of the WMO Commission for Agricultural Meteorology, to bring together some of the world’s leading experts on climate impacts. Each is given a chapter to look at what might be coming down the road, and it makes for essential, if sobering reading.
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In my post this week at The Daily Blog — Investigating climate change deniers and their spin against global warming — I take a look at the PR campaign being run against action on climate change and one of their most important tactics, creating a smokescreen to hide the reality of climate change:
The resulting exchanges provide an object lesson in life through the looking-glass, that alternative world where warming isn’t happening, climate scientists are colluding in a giant hoax, and the poor old free market is being threatened by gangs of rampant watermelons — great wagon loads of fruit against freedom, leeks against liberty, and carrots against capitalism.
As seen on blogs everywhere, all the time, produced by the willing foot soldiers of climate denial.
Stuff Nation was introduced a couple of years ago as the reader-led section of Fairfax Digital’s NZ news site Stuff.co.nz, home to quiz groups and news submitted by readers. Sadly for them, one or two of their readers have been taking them for a ride, to judge by one of this weekend’s lead stories — a “reader report” by one Tom Harris titled We must adapt to climate change. Harris is highly unlikely to be a regular reader of Stuff Nation, being based in Ottawa, but he is executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition, a spin-off from the NZ Climate Science Coalition established with money from US extreme right-wing lobby group the Heartland Institute.
The ICSC lists Bryan Leyland and Terry Dunleavy — two of the trustees of the NZ Climate Science Education Trust that are trying to avoid paying the costs they incurred in taking an idiotic court case against NIWA and the NZ temperature record — as key players, and it is probably safe to assume that Leyland, who has in the past boasted about his ability to “twist arms” in Fairfax newsrooms, is responsible for placing Harris’s piece with Stuff. It’s an op-ed riffing off John Kerry’s comments about climate change during his recent Indonesia visit, so compelling and well-argued that it’s been featured in high profile outlets around the world including The Bahamas Weekly, and — well, that’s about it.
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John O’Sullivan — the pseudosceptic who is serially and persistently wrong about almost everything he chooses to write about, and who has made a career out of misrepresenting his own abilities and qualifications — is at it again. In a “review” of a new book by Canadian denier Tim Ball (left), O’Sullivan writes:
The courage and forthrightness Tim Ball has shown with this book, and in the British Columbia Supreme Court defending himself against the now failed libel suit of Michael Mann, is about to be vindicated by the judiciary. As the scientific community awaits Ball’s impeding legal triumph, we may edify ourselves not just with the black and white evidence presented in this extraordinary publication, but in the certain knowledge that Mann and his co-conspirators have spectacularly failed in their bid to silence dissent against their fraudulent science.
Mann’s abortive attempt to sue Ball in the British Columbia Supreme Court ultimately back-fired because Mann refused to show his metadata, his calculations for his junk science, in open court. Now Mann faces possible bankruptcy on top of professional suicide, as the price for his misdeeds.
What purple prose! What hyperbole! What utter crap.
Mann’s lawyer, Roger McConchie writes:
Their assertion that Dr. Mann faces possible bankruptcy is nonsense. Dr. Mann’s lawsuit against Dr. Ball and other defendants is proceeding through the normal stages prescribed by the BC Supreme Court Civil Rules and Dr. Mann looks forward to judicial vindication at the conclusion of this process.
In other words: O’Sullivan’s wrong again. The court case is very much on, and Tim Ball is in deep trouble. Ball’s book, teasingly titled The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science is another matter. A cursory glance at the sample available via Amazon suggests that it’s yet another in a long line of conspiracist nonsense about the climate issue — eerily reminiscent of Ian Wishart’s Air Con in its suggestions of cabals at the UN, environmentalism as a religion, and Maurice Strong and Prince Philip as some sort of evil overlords. Mr McConchie is undoubtedly looking over the text with considerable interest…