Politicians are skilled at manipulating facts to convey any impression they desire. It’s called spin, and in its worst cases truthiness – nicely defined by the man who invented the term, Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report: “We’re not talking about truth, we’re talking about something that seems like truthâ€”the truth we want to exist.” Out in wingnut land, they want to believe that global warming is not real. So Muriel Newman at her NZ Centre for Political Research web site starts spinning the facts and, in the middle of a rambling attempt to justify a recent climate crank call for a joint Australia-NZ Royal Commission on climate change manages to come out with the following:
Anyone who claims that the science on global warming is settled is wrong. There is now growing evidence that that the earth is not warming but cooling: since the 1970s the glaciers of the Arctic, Greenland, and the Antarctic have been growing, and since 1998 average world temperatures have been falling with 2006 cooler than 2005 and 2007 cooler still.
This may be what Muriel fervently believes, but it is also completely untrue. So untrue, in fact, that saying it in an attempt to influence public policy amounts to lying. Sadly, in the echo chamber of truthiness around her web site, she gets taken at face value. Out in the wider world, it simply leaves her credibility in tatters.
Dr Newman seems to get all her climate “science” from the NZ C”S”C, and lent her name to a recent call for a Royal Commission – along with usual suspects and “prominent scientists” Owen McShane and Brian Leyland, as well as Bob Carter and a bunch of Aussies from the “Carbon Sense Coalition”. Their clarion call for carbon sense has been roundly ignored, and it’s not hard to see why. Their press release asserts:
â€œWe are all of the view that CO2 in the atmosphere is a benefit not a threat to humans, and there is no need to launch a massive assault on our lifestyle, industry and prosperity to solve a non problem.”
Denial. Of the four recommendations they make, the last explains everything:
4. That until such an inquiry has reported, no steps be taken to institute an emissions reduction programme of any kind in Australia or New Zealand.
Deny and delay.
It’s rewarding, this obfuscation and Nelsonian turnings of blind eyes. Most of the NZ CSC is being flown to New York by the Heartland Institute to give a talk at a sceptics “conference” over the first weekend in March. The confirmed speakers include Vincent Gray, Bryan Leyland, Owen McShane, Bob Carter and everybody’s favourite noble lord, Viscount Monckton, last seen wearing a white coat in Bali. What fun denial can be. (RealScientists are suitably unimpressed).
Meanwhile, bewhiskered denier David Bellamy makes a guest appearance at Muriel’s place, and demonstrates his tenuous connection with reality. After trotting out the usual sceptic tripe, he asks a rhetorical question:
New Zealanderâ€™s, in the light of this information are you still sitting comfortably in your second real cool summer on the trot…
Which proves he hasn’t noticed we’re having a really warm summer, and that Muriel doesn’t read the columns she posts – or she might have done him the favour of correcting his error (and the grocers’ apostrophe).