A popgun broadside

Dick Hubbard and Bob Harvey, mayors of Auckland and Waitakere City, recently popped over the Tasman to attend a conference on climate change in Melbourne. Invigorated by the event, they issued a press release – Climate Change –€“ The Monster In The Living Room. Hubbard was particularly forthright:

Carbon pricing is imminent, like it or not, and once there is a price on carbon the need for all of us to move quickly and effectively will sharply increase. We must be prepared. Not only must we measure our own emissions as councils but also know what each sector emits. Then we can act collaboratively on reduction.

Rear Admiral Jack Welch, chairman of the NZ €œClimate Science Coalition, took exception, and issued his own press release:

€œThe Auckland and Waitakere mayors have fallen into the carbon trap laid by the likes of the Green Party and Greenpeace, in adding their voices to the unproven myth that emissions of carbon dioxide will threaten the survival of the planet

Unproven myth?

The really monstrous reality is that leaders such as the two mayors are rushing to get on a global warming bandwagon for which there is no valid verifiable scientific proof. The first thing they should check is New Zealand’s official temperature and sea level records, where they will find that the country has been cooling since the El Nino of 1998, and the levels of the Waitemata Harbour have remained about the same for the past 100 years.

No valid scientific proof?

The Rear Admiral is, of course, correct on all counts. The survival of the planet is not threatened by puny humans and their emissions of carbon dioxide. The surface will get a little warmer, enough to cause problems for their civilisation, but the Earth itself will carry on in its orbit until the sun turns into a red giant in about 5 billion years time and swallows it whole.

Nor is there any “valid verifiable scientific proof” of the existence of a global warming bandwagon. There’s plenty of evidence for global warming, and what’s causing it, but no-one has found a wagon with a band playing – what, The Sun Has Got His Hat On? As for New Zealand temperatures and the sea level measured in Waitemata Harbour, these are well-known proxies for the global average, not just a couple of figures from a small corner of the South Pacific without much influence on the numbers for the whole world.

Bob and Dick, I hope you are feeling suitably chastised. The rest of us can sleep easy in our beds, secure in the knowledge that a fine old sea-dog is steering the ship of state towards…

Oh, bugger.

4 thoughts on “A popgun broadside”

  1. Great post. I especially love the snarky tone about the sea temp in Waitemata Harbour. Sometimes with these people, I just want to hurl expletives their way. A little mild sarcasm is positively genteel by comparison.

    I’m in the middle of a long and frustrating debate with Falafulu Fisi at Adolph Fiinkenstein’s. (Yeah, my drinking buddies cancelled…). (If you haven’t heard of Falafulu, you’re in for a treat.)

    Incidentally, Welch is being incredibly disingenuous — 1997 was the hottest year on record thanks to an El Nino, so of course the world is cooler by comparison. Guess what, the trend is still upwards.

    Also, New Zealand is surrounded by water, which heats up slowly, so it’s not surprising Waitemata Harbour is “about the same” as it was in the near past. Check out this interesting BBC distributed computing experiment (like in the SETI screensaver) for further:


    The graph is here:


  2. Hi eddie, Falafulu Fisi used the name Sione in the discussions at NZ CSC, the best way to refute him is to ask for the scientific basis of his AGW denialism, he has admitted that he doesn’t like greenie tree huggers, and I’ve been able to deal with him in the past by arguing that his denialism is based on politics rather than science, more recently we’ve had fun on kiwiblog, perhaps this will give you some ideas:




  3. Ah, Falafulu. I love the guy. When he’s cornered he just puffs out his chest, bragging on how he’s smarter than 99% of the IPCC scientists, and trying to confuse the rubes with his technical mumbo-jumbo.

    Mostly I try to avoid tackling him on his specialty, but once at Adolph Fiinkenstein’s he tried to say you could interpolate missing data in a time series to help draw a better graph. Of course, you can, but he was talking about gap 100 years wide in a time series only 400 years long. Ripper!

    Thanks for those links, Andrew. I look forward to enjoying them later on.

    Gareth, I was at a talk given by David Wratt, from NIWA, who IIRC said that the sceptics were just plain wrong about Waitemata Harbour. Have you heard that? I’ll try to pin down a link ifI can.

Leave a Reply