Former ACT MP Muriel Newman — an extreme right-winger and no stranger to the wilder shores of climate denial — has waded into the debate about sea level rise and coastal hazards in Christchurch in a long-winded and unhelpful article at her NZ “Centre for Policy Research” web site. In many respects, her piece is par for the Hidebound course — full of misdirection, misrepresentation and schoolgirl errors of fact, motivated by a weird world view:
The reality is that unfortunately, carbon dioxide is being used as a political football. When radicals embraced the environmental movement in the seventies, driving out people like Dr Patrick Moore the founder of Greenpeace, they used the climate debate to conceal their real agenda – the global redistribution of wealth.
Newman takes as the text for her sermon a piece by Mike Kelly, a New Zealander who is a professor at the University of Cambridge in the UK. His offering is just as ill-informed as Newman’s — can it really be the case that a professor of technology, whose main expertise is in “advanced electronic devices for very high speed operation”, doesn’t understand the difference between weather forecasting and climate modelling? Perhaps Kelly should read a few introductory texts on climate modelling before pontificating so publicly — and so erroneously.
But what makes Newman and Kelly’s articles so unhelpful to coastal residents in Christchurch and elsewhere is not the parroting of climate denialist tropes, but the conclusion she reaches:
The Christchurch Council – and all other councils around New Zealand for that matter – should base their coastal hazard projections, on what has happened in the past. There is no perfect predictor of the future, but looking at what has actually happened in the past is better than seizing on unreliable models developed by those driving a political agenda.
Let’s do what Newman wants, and forget modelling future sea level rise. Let’s look at the past.
Continue reading “The advice of fools: Newman and Kelly risible on rising seas”
At long last: John Cook from Skeptical Science rejoins the Climate Show team for the first show of 2013. He hooks up with Glenn and Gareth to review Australia’s big heatwave, and stays around to dig into the new Greenpeace report on dirty energy, discuss Obama’s inauguration speech and Boris Johnson’s climate blunder, the latest scary news on sea level rise and the implications for the future. Plus much much more…
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Continue reading “The Climate Show #32: a Cook’s tour of the Aussie heat”
Here’s Jim Yong Kim, head honcho at the World Bank, writing in the Guardian to mark the launch of a new report on climate change commissioned by the bank:
The question about climate change is no longer whether it is real. The question is what the world is going to look like for our children as they grow up. I have a three-year-old son, and, when he is my age, he could be living in a world that is completely different from ours, largely because of climate change.
Thanks for that wisdom, Mr Jim. I have a 25-year-old son, and I am certain that when he is my age, he will be living in a world that is hugely different to ours because of rampant climate change. If it’s a world that still has the luxury of world bankers, we (or at least bankers) will be doing well. For most, however, that will not be the case.
Continue reading “Turn down the heat: even bankers know a bad thing when they see it (sometimes)”
Sir Peter Gluckman, scientific adviser to NZ prime minister John Key, recently published a discussion paper entitled Towards better use of evidence in policy formation (pdf). It’s an interesting read for anyone who has ever noted the sometimes large discrepancy between political dogma and policy outcomes. Sciblogger Peter Griffin went so far as to describe it as “possibly one of the most important [papers] he has released thus far”.
Over in the land of the Climate Clueless™ however, Richard “Climate Conversation” Treadgold has taken Gluckman’s paper as a cue to demand evidence of climate change. Treadgold appears to have forgotten that one of Sir Peter’s first acts following his appointment was to review the evidence and issue a statement on the subject, and is perhaps still smarting from Gluckman’s comments on climate denial last year. He therefore issues this stern challenge:
I would remind Sir Peter that evidence is required to establish the following key factors in the global warming debate — evidence that has not surfaced so far. We have been looking for evidence to show:
- The existence of a current unprecedented global warming trend.
- That the greenhouse effect is powerful enough to endanger the environment.
- A causal link between human activities and dangerously high global temperatures.
- That climate models have a high level of skill in predicting the climate.
- A causal link between atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide and global temperatures.
- A causal link between global warming and the gentle rise in sea level.
Time to play some whack-a-mole…
Continue reading “Return of the Climate Clueless™: there’s none so blind…”
This is what 6 metres of sea level rise (see today’s Eemian post) would look like in central London — iconic buildings abandoned to the encroaching sea. It’s one image from a thought-provoking series: Wish You Were Here? Postcards From The Future, part of the London Futures project, which will be on show at the Museum of London until March. The images are striking — beautiful and unsettling, sometimes humorous — like the camels replacing the horses at Horse Guards Parade, the dust and pink light looking like a Victorian watercolour of Egypt, or wind turbines as flag poles down The Mall, and the palm oil plantation in Hyde Park.
The Telegraph has a gallery, or you can view them all at the London Futures web site.