Sometimes it can be difficult to know if someone is a genuine climate crank, sceptic, one of the GODs*, or just a fly-by-night, johnny-come-lately keen to ride on the soon-to-arrive ice age bandwagon. Well, hereâ€™s the good news. The International Climate Science Coalition has recently published several lists of people who are happy to endorse the Manhattan Declaration. Thatâ€™s right, a list of all (or at least most) of the people who agree with this statement:
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.
No more worries, no need to agonise. If theyâ€™re on the list, theyâ€™re guaranteed to be grade A climate cranks. Please dissect at will. What a remarkable public gesture, no doubt funded by the Heartland Institute in the interest of a better tomorrow. Or possibly not.
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…
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.
Guess who’s gone to Bali? Distinguished scientist and IPPC expert reviewer (aka home-grown climate crank) Vincent Gray. He’s hobnobbing with the upper crust cranks like Christopher, Viscount Monckton. It appears – thanks to digging by Tim Lambert over at Deltoid – that the NZ C”S”C now forms the core of a supposedly international organisation, the International Climate “Science” Coalition, and they’re in Bali, trying to get their message across. It isn’t working though, because US right wing lobby group the Heartland Institute has had to rush out a press release claiming that the UN has been crushing dissent.
One question. Where’s the money coming from? The airfares can’t have been cheap, and the Daily Telegraph (UK) tells some frightening tales about the cost of hotels and food. I wonder if the Heartland Institute has funded the swish website, and did the Science and Public Policy Institute (a Heartland spin-off) dig into its pockets to help out with expenses? Monckton’s an adviser there, as is Bob Carter.
One comment. Looking at the member list, it looks like all the usual suspects – Bellamy, Ball, Carter et al – but they choose to send Vincent to Bali. Folie de grandeur, perhaps? Perhaps being ignored while the world’s diplomats attempt to find a solution to a problem they deny will bring them to their senses. But I doubt it. Meanwhile, our little NZ band of cranks provide a means for the US rabid right to get their climate message out. They should be ashamed of themselves.