You may have noticed that New Zealand’s Federated Farmers organisation is capable of military grade climate change denial. I was going to write on the history of farming denial, but while looking for the 2006 and 2007 Federated Farmers presidential addresses from (then president) Charlie Pedersen (can’t find my copies) I found this wee gem (published two weeks ago) by Don Nicolson, the current president.
With deep snow in the USA, parts of Australia awash and mudslides in Brazil, it’s unsurprising we’re seeing professors of climate change pinning this “evidence” on the climate change donkey.
Sticking with mass media (because, as we shall see, Don Nicolson has great faith is them) I recall experts carefully and mildly saying things like:
Professor Karoly stressed individual events could not be attributed to climate change. However, he said the wild extremes being experienced on the continent were in keeping with scientists’ forecasts of more flooding associated with increased heavy rain events and more droughts as a result of high temperatures and more evaporation.
Even The Australian:
Professor Will Steffen, the executive director of the ANU Climate Change Institute, said there was no direct link between global warming and the tragic flash flooding in Toowoomba which has killed at least nine people in southeast Queensland. But he told The Australian Online that climate change would lead to heavier, more frequent rain.
(Thanks to Grist for helping me find the links again. They also link to a few more and have a fabulous commentary).
…only four years ago, newspapers were reporting “few scientists dispute the part played by climate change, which is making Australia hotter and drier”. The drought breaking is now hailed as “evidence” of climate change. Talk about a dollar each way.
Quite. A dollar each way being in one place talking of “professors of climate change” and then switching to newspapers. Don Nicolson has such faith in newspapers that it must warm the cockles of Rupert Murdoch’s heart but — and I hardly know how to break it to him and his members — climate change means, well, change. If I turn to the IPCC AR4 Working Group II report about Australia and NZ I see, in the executive summary (for the hard of understanding) that:
The climate of the 21st century is virtually certain to be warmer, with changes in extreme events. Heatwaves and fires are virtually certain to increase in intensity and frequency (high confidence). Floods, landslides, droughts and storm surges are very likely to become more frequent and intense, and snow and frost are very likely to become less frequent (high confidence). Large areas of mainland Australia and eastern New Zealand are likely to have less soil moisture, although western New Zealand is likely to receive more rain (medium confidence)
Has anyone from Federated Farmers actually read this? More extreme weather events. More floods. More droughts. It seems simple enough but what does Nicolson see that I don’t?
Building a climate of fear is big business, just ask Al Gore, Hollywood producers or those learned professors seeking research grants.
What is the obsession that climate change deniers have with Al Gore? But, oh you learned professors, never fear, it turns out that Federated Farmers are a billion times on your side (scroll to the end if you can’t stand the suspense).
The UK’s Sunday Times revealed this stunning post last year by a UK Met Office employee, “this will be the warmest winter in living memory, the data has already been recorded. For your information, we take the highest 15 readings between November and March and then produce an average. As November was a very seasonally warm month, then all the data will come from those readings”. That logic doesn’t give me confidence.
This traces back to Dominic Lawson saying in his opinion column
that someone saying they were a met service employee posted that on the Times website. While I was finding a link to show how credible Lawson is I read that Lawson is married to the sister of “potty peer” Christopher Monckton. That should help place him on the credibility spectrum. I can but wonder if Lawson actually read the book by Nigella’s husband, John Diamond, that Lawson edited, Snake oil and other preoccupations.
Conveniently, Lawson does not link to the comment but there is a whole heap of difference between someone posting to a newspaper website and saying they work for the Met Office and actually doing so. Don Nicolson’s gullibility does not give me confidence.
In the first place, I know it seems like UK winters last forever but the Met Office, along with the rest of the UK defines winter as Dec-Feb. Does Federated Farmers think that New Zealand winter is between May and September? Does Nicolson really believe that the Met Office had prepared their report for winter by November, before winter had started?
Second, a quick look at the Met Office weather average methods shows just how much data is used to produce the many averages. Lawson and the rest of the denialosphere, including Nicolson, could have checked this in seconds. Why didn’t they? Confirmation bias? But, here is an interesting point to consider: Unseasonably cold weather in Northern Europe. Umm, is that a change in climate? Or is it just weather?
So instead of lining the pockets of largely foreign owned forestry companies, why aren’t we putting the billon dollars earmarked in the Budget for the ETS, into international collaborative research instead?
Whoa Don! Do you mean set aside a billion bucks for “those learned professors seeking research grants”?
It took me just under 2 hours to research and write this piece. That included random link following. Don Nicolson couldn’t or wouldn’t do the 2 minutes research required to show that he was way off beam. That ignorance or intellectual laziness doesn’t give me confidence.
Finally, Don, may I take it that over the next few decades the members Federated Farmers will commit in writing to keeping the frequency of requests to the government for weather-related assistance to the same level as the last few decades?