Yakety yak

Time for an experiment. Thanks to the diligence of our commenters, the comment count on my post about Rodney Hide’s appalling lapse of judgement on the reality of climate change has rocketed up to over 500. The WordPress blog system isn’t really designed to deal with comment threads that long (though there improvements coming in the next update), and you can’t, as Roger Dewhurst has noted, post images or attachments in-line. I have therefore installed and configured a forum/bulletin board system (phpBB3, for the techies) here. It’s embryonic – I’d like suggestions for forum categories and so on – but the most important thing is to see if it attracts good comment and debate.

Here are the rules:

The Hot Topic forum is intended as a place where climate issues can be discussed freely and without heavy moderation. Using forum software allows many features not (yet) available in Hot Topic’s comment system (including posting pictures and file attachments). Users can create their own topics for discussion, post their own ideas, without waiting for the blog to have a relevant post.

The forum does not replace blog comments – it’s an extension, and a complement. As a rule of thumb, if your comment is directly related to the content of a blog post, post it at the blog, but if it’s off-topic take it to the forum and either join an existing topic, or create a new one.

As with the comment policy at the Hot Topic blog, robust debate is welcomed, but I require all users to be reasonably polite. Anything that might contravene laws of libel will be removed. My decision is final. Consider it a benign dictatorship…

Head on over and give it a try. All feedback gratefully received.

White light/white heat

NZETS.jpg The proposed Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is under intense scrutiny at the moment. Lobbyists, economists and politicians are all pounding their respective beats, and as is usual in these matters, a great deal more heat than light is being shed on the proposed legislation. At the beginning of the week, the government’s climate change leadership forum – the great and the good of the business world – announced that it supported the broad outline of the ETS with some caveats (announcement, Herald), only for Business NZ to promptly withdraw its support. Then the Sustainability Council of NZ published a report [PDF] criticising the way that the ETS transfers revenue from consumers to key industries – especially agriculture – and warned that it wouldn’t do enough to reduce emissions. Not to be outdone, the NZ Institute for Economic Research produced its own report [PDF], warning that the scheme would do little good and cost the economy billions, and advising that we shold do nothing except buy Kyoto compliance on the world market. ACT leader Rodney Hide then announced that “the Government’s ETS is a crock and should be dumped.” There are now rumours that the government is running scared, and might delay implementing the petrol and fuels part of the scheme to avoid frightening consumers in the run up to the election. So, who’s right? Is Rodney’s incisive analysis on the money?

Continue reading “White light/white heat”

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…

Continue reading “Fairytale Of New York”

Being economical with the truth, or lying through her teeth?

homer.jpg 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 truth—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.

Continue reading “Being economical with the truth, or lying through her teeth?”

Bali ha’i, Bali low?

The Bali conference ended with a cliffhanger, but as I was cocooned in a kayak paddling up the coast of the Abel Tasman it passed me by like a fur seal in the night. I did notice a fishy smell, but I don’t think it emanated from Nusa Dua. The big news, of course, was the US climbdown at the last minute, memorably blogged by David Sassoon at Solve Climate. He extensively quotes an eye witness account by Peter Riggs, Director of the Forum on Democracy and Trade:

Continue reading “Bali ha’i, Bali low?”