Fairytale Of New York

homer.jpg New Zealand’s climate cranks have been out in force in recent weeks. I’ve got a number of posts I’d like to make discussing what they have to say, but those got pushed down the queue by a column by Garth George in today’s Herald, helpfully headlined “Climate change warriors, throw down your weapons”. Garth devotes himself to a discussion of the “Manhattan Declaration“, the statement issued by the Heartland Institute‘s crank conference in New York last month, and then wonders:

Now why this forthright declaration did not receive prominent coverage in the press anywhere in New Zealand, including this newspaper’s vaunted Green Pages, I have no idea. It was, after all, a Kiwi initiative.

Perhaps, Garth, it’s because the “declaration” is nonsense, and the involvement of New Zealanders more a matter for national shame than pride? Let’s have a look at this declaration in a little more detail…

First, for those who like a little entertainment, listen to the first draft of the declaration being read by prominent British crank Viscount Monckton at the conference (mp3 here). Drafted by Terry Dunleavy, secretary of the NZ C”S”C, and founding chairman of the International C”S”C, with Canadian PR man Tom Harris (recently appointed executive director of the ICSC), it was then given a once-over by Monckton to put it into what he calls “UN-speak”. It appears that his revisions were an extensive over-write, because the final version is much shorter and a great deal less flowery. So let’s have a look at the declaration in detail:

International Conference on Climate Change

New York City, 2-4 March, 2008

Manhattan Declaration on Climate Change

“Global warming” is not a global crisis

We, the scientists and researchers in climate and related fields, economists, policymakers, and business leaders, assembled at Times Square, New York City, participating in the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change,

Resolving that scientific questions should be evaluated solely by the scientific method;

Some chutzpah here, as sceptic attempts to derail modern climate science generally fall at the first hurdle – getting into the peer-reviewed literature. I’ll be looking at some crank “science” in future posts.

Affirming that global climate has always changed and always will, independent of the actions of humans, and that carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a pollutant but rather a necessity for all life;

Too much of a good thing does not always do you good…

Recognising that the causes and extent of recently-observed climatic change are the subject of intense debates in the climate science community and that oft-repeated assertions of a supposed ‘consensus’ among climate experts are false;

Amongst working climate scientists there is a consensus, and it is expressed (in a conservative manner) in the IPCC’s fourth report – a comprehensive review of the scientific literature. There is a consensus that the world is round, but that doesn’t stop there being a Flat Earth Society.

Affirming that attempts by governments to legislate costly regulations on industry and individual citizens to encourage CO2 emission reduction will slow development while having no appreciable impact on the future trajectory of global climate change. Such policies will markedly diminish future prosperity and so reduce the ability of societies to adapt to inevitable climate change, thereby increasing, not decreasing human suffering;

The Lomborg straw man, and the nub of the issue. This has nothing to do with science, and everything to do with avoiding action.

Noting that warmer weather is generally less harmful to life on Earth than colder:

Thus ignoring all the evidence of current impacts, and minimising the potential damage.

Hereby declare:

That current plans to restrict anthropogenic CO2 emissions are a dangerous misallocation of intellectual capital and resources that should be dedicated to solving humanity’s real and serious problems.

Back to Lomborg – back to the nub of the issue

That there is no convincing evidence that CO2 emissions from modern industrial activity has in the past, is now, or will in the future cause catastrophic climate change.

The “la la la la, we can’t hear you” approach to the evidence.

That attempts by governments to inflict taxes and costly regulations on industry and individual citizens with the aim of reducing emissions of CO2 will pointlessly curtail the prosperity of the West and progress of developing nations without affecting climate.

Back to the lobbying on policy.

That adaptation as needed is massively more cost-effective than any attempted mitigation, and that a focus on such mitigation will divert the attention and resources of governments away from addressing the real problems of their peoples.

Adaptation is certainly necessary – and will be very important – but to ignore mitigation is to sentence future generations to chaos.

That human-caused climate change is not a global crisis.

One more time: “la la la la, we can’t hear you”

Now, therefore, we recommend –

That world leaders reject the views expressed by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as well as popular, but misguided works such as “An Inconvenient Truth”.

An application of Gore’s Law in public discourse.

That all taxes, regulations, and other interventions intended to reduce emissions of CO2 be abandoned forthwith.

And at last, what it’s all about. This is why the Heartland Institute put this conference together, and funded sceptics from around the world to fly to New York. This has nothing to do with the reality of the science, and everything to do with the lobbying of special interests – those who fund the Heartland Institute. It’s a calculated PR effort to poison the debate – principally in the US, but with worldwide effects – as Garth George demonstrates:

It seems that so-called global warming has created an international hysteria, encouraged by scientists and politicians who are talking through their pockets, and that no amount of common sense will divert the doom-sayers from their misguided and deeply dangerous path. You would think that in pragmatic New Zealand at least, the Manhattan Declaration, and others like it, would be greeted with great relief and joy.

Wouldn’t it be nice if, for once, Garth did his own thinking, instead of buying into the thoughts of a US PR machine?

16 thoughts on “Fairytale Of New York”

  1. Oddly, I don’t think anyone is arguing that CO2 *IS* a pollutant, any more than another GHG like water vapour – it’s just changing climate. Worth having a link to http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2002/december11/jasperplots-124.html
    on the ‘they call CO2 pollution – we call it LIFE’ perspective there.

    I must say that I do find complaining about costs again and again in a release like this is puzzling when the issue is nominally about the validity of the SCIENCE. Maybe the economists are there to provide the ‘even if is true (which it’s not) it’s not worth doing anything about!’ perspective…

    Would anyone say that

    “no appreciable impact on the future trajectory of global climate change”

    is based on the assumption by some that the small Kyoto reductions are the be-all and end-all of mitigation efforts?

  2. I think that statement allows them to cover two things – the impact of the relatively small Kyoto cuts, and their belief that since it’s not a problem, doing something about it can’t have any impact anyway.

    Climate denial is a broad church when it comes to reason, if not in ideology.

  3. Gareth: I really enjoyed your book:)

    The Garth George piece was a lazy bit of ‘work’. Essentially a ‘Climate Science Coalition’ press release with not a shred of ‘investigative’ journalist questioning of its bizarre and often untrue claims.

  4. Gareth, not a very convincing shredding of the declaration. And I’ve mentioned your hypocrisy here before.

    “Wouldn’t it be nice if, for once, Garth did his own thinking, instead of buying into the thoughts of a US PR machine?”

    Wouldn’t it be nice if, for once, Gareth did his own thinking, instead of buying into the thoughts of a UN (IPCC) PR machine?

    There always has to be a boogeyman to keep the sheeple in fear. Why do you think Al’CIAda was invented after the cold war ended. The US needed another enemy.


    “with not a shred of ‘investigative’ journalist questioning of its bizarre and often untrue claims.”

    That is the trouble these days with MSM, they are ALL too lazy to investigate rather parroting the staus quo. Hey, they still get paid, right.

  5. Hypocrisy, bat? The fact that I prefer to believe the world’s scientists rather than a bunch of ideologically-motivated blowhards? You can believe what you want, but reality takes no hostages.

    Middle East and the CIA are off-topic. Let’s not go there.

  6. I had to snigger at this: http://www.stuff.co.nz/4472519a6160.html ‘Climate change forecasts ‘invalid’ – researcher’.

    After a misspent youth studying climate change at Sydney University, age and the reality of our changing world, has given me a kind of noir-comedy perspective on sceptics who apply the inverse Precautionary Principal: If you can’t prove with 100% certainty that something is damaging the ecology (and remember, no ecology, no economy), then it’s a 100% certainty that it *won’t*. Therefore, toss all science out the window because it might be flawed. Then look outside the window too see for ourselves what’s going on…

    Ah, hang on a sec. Where did that glacier go? It was there a year ago. And waddya mean I can’t use a hose on my garden? How am I gonna water my veggies? Bad enough that I can’t get my crops fertilised because the bee populations have crashed, and bugs are eating my leafy greens because the bat population (that used to eat the bugs) also has crashed. I mean, what with my mortgage, the price of oil and food going ballistic, the insurance premiums on my house….

    Whoa! Waddya mean my home insurance has been cancelled because I live too close to the coast? And would someone please swat that pesky, West Nile Virus-carrying mosquito?

    Sorry, I digress – the nature of writers – now, where were we about the ills of buying into the IPCC’s trope?


  7. I think Heartland’s letter inviting Real Climate scientists to their conference said it all:

    “The purpose of the conference is to generate international media attention to the fact that many scientists believe forecasts of rapid warming and catastrophic events are not supported by sound science, and that expensive campaigns to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are not necessary or cost-effective.”

    Nice of Garth to help them out.

    Certainly the conference’s outcomes were decided before Vincent, Owen et al were flown to New York, put up in a plush hotel and paid $1000 of dirty oil money. Not sure why they bothered!

    But some of the coverage was very interesting – even the sceptics there didn’t agree. See Andy Revkin in the NY Times…

    Note his last para – that when there was a call in the packed hall for the scientists to go to the front for a photo, only 19 men stood up.

  8. Here’s a quote from the Heartland Institute’s Environment Newsletter article covering the conference:

    This [..] confirmed an expected theme of the conference, that there is no consensus on the extent or causes of global warming. The “skeptics” not only disagree with the so-called “consensus,” but they also disagree among themselves, showing a healthy scientific habit of attempting to disprove all hypotheses, including one’s own.

    Says a lot, I think…

  9. “The “la la la la, we can’t hear you” approach to the evidence.”

    I love this – the best single line descriptor I’ve yet read to describe the denialist approach to science.

  10. Call it what you will, climate change, global warming,excess CO2 emissions we all know that it has been with us since man started lighting fires and volcanoes
    Remember the days before GW, fogs, flooding,holes in the sky risky sun bathing,disappearing atols,South
    Island droughts.
    In those good old days of course the
    brain child of GW was not conceived and climatic diversity was accepted as part of the natural world.

    Sure the ice is melting but why not indeed, we visit the poles in increasing numbers with the help of huge icebreakers and build habitats and pipelines on the teritory of penguins and polar bears.
    Wow! is it true world average temperature has risen by .4 of a degree?

    God help the silent majority already some are begining to go hungry in the name of GW correctness yes its fuel instead of corn folks the flash cars need to run clean.
    Whats next I wonder?

    Yes as Spike Milligan would say folks we no longer wage war we have GW instead and similarly will be manipulated to benefit the few.
    Govenments, NZ included, quick to see
    the huge wealth potential are backing all manner of charges and signing protocols.
    Hey look forward to carbon taxes,new codes for emissions,new building codes,huge increases in the family basics,
    the list and charges will go on now till doomsday.

  11. Wasn’t it the corn growers and the ‘energy independence from the A-rab’ folks who wanted massive biofuel subsidies…

    If you have specific questions, maybe browse the informative site you’ve chosen to (picked at random?) post on.

    Or go there

    look at some fun line graphs…

    Or go there http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-positives-negatives.htm

  12. Thanks for the site referrals,
    interesting,particularly the positives
    and negatives of global warming.
    Its encouraging to see expected higher rice
    yields in N China and fewer deaths from
    cold not to mention the subsidies paid to
    corn growers and persons with athletes foot.

    Is there an actual authorative figure for
    the increase in global temperature?

    Really folks is GW a misnomer the
    real nub being that of the huge
    emerging populations together with the
    belief that progress must be the building
    of more cities, skyscrapers and manufacturing more & more plastic buckets.
    It would be nice to think our politicians
    and young brains could help solve the
    problem of global overpopulation.
    Help us Jim, spare the NZ worker all these
    bizarre chages in the name of GW!
    See Population facts
    html – 25k – Cached – Similar pages

  13. So we tell them all that the world is
    warming up.
    But what if they ask by how much Major?
    Tut tut Neddy they wont ask that laddie
    they are just peasants,besides no one knows.
    You may recall Neddy and Eccles’ futile attempts to extinguish the sun by chucking buckets of water on it, a good episode of the 1960s.
    A parallel here with the zero difference NZ can make to GW while China and India with huge and increasing populations just carry on pouring crap out regardless.
    The latest episode folks stars Minnie Clark who travells a lot and becomes good chums with the big rich polluters.
    When back home however in green green goody land she stops smiling and flogs poor old Henry to death for breaking wind.
    Any rate its begining to sink in Jim, the NZ worker is going to star as the cannon fodder in a very imaginative (lucrative for the chosen $6B) episode of the Goon Show.
    Perhaps MrJackson can get going on this one.

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