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.

Raw Hide

rodenymorph.gifAs the general election nears and policies are beginning to emerge, ACT is sticking to its “dump the ETS” line and its leader, Rodney Hide, has confirmed himself as a climate crank. In a speech to a public meeting at the Franklin Centre, Pukekohe on Monday, Hide ran through his now familiar “I know better than the world’s climate scientists” schtick:

There is no evidence that CO2 drives climate or that industrialisation is warming the world. In fact, the evidence is the reverse.

No it isn’t.

Hide is telling lies to try to get elected, and our media should call him on it. But if they won’t, I will. I’m willing to debate climate science and policy with Hide, in public, in the run up to the election at a venue in Canterbury of his choosing, or here on Hot Topic. Will he accept my challenge, or rely on a complacent media to get away with spouting this nonsense? I’m not holding my breath…

The speech also suggests a schism on climate policy in the ranks of the National party:

National MPs have sidled up to us to agree with us – and to complain that Nick Smith as hijacked National’s policy. They agreed with John Key when he said climate change was a hoax. Now he too is backing the ETS.

Hide playing politics, or is the climate sceptic rump in the National caucus stronger than Smith and Key would like us to believe?

I think we should be told…

[Title reference]

Everybody’s somebody’s fool

ListenerSept0815.jpg It’s possible that Bill Ralston believes that his columns in The Listener are amusing. Perhaps he also thinks they’re challenging. It’s plausible that his editor agrees on both counts, or the columns might no longer appear – as is true of so many fine Listener columnists of recent memory. How sad then that Ralston so miserably fails, so often, on both counts. This week (full text available next week), he rails against “scares”, and after chastising Time magazine for herpes, Aids, Y2K and bird flu panics, launches into climate change.

At the risk of being labelled a “climate change denier”, a phrase that deliberately feasts on the resonance of the last word, implying one is the kind of disgraceful person that would also deny the Holocaust, I wonder if we are being fed another massive overreaction to a natural phenomenon.

OK, I’ll bite. If you deny the reality of a problem, then you are a denier. No Holocaust reference implied or intended. A statement of fact – it’s what the word means. And if you’re still wondering about the reality of the problem, you are simply displaying your ignorance. There are few spectacles so unedifying (or unamusing) as an ill-informed would-be curmudgeon interviewing his typewriter on a such a well-documented issue. Ralston even manages apparently approving references to Rodney Hide’s astonishing display of ignorance last week.

Twaddle, Bill. Complete twaddle.

Here come de judge

judge How does an intelligent layman decide between the competing claims of the climate cranks (including Rodney Hide), and the position presented to us by scientific institutions and the IPCC? It’s easy to assume that there are “two sides” to the story, and that both should be heard. This is the idea that Avenues – a glossy freebie magazine in Christchurch – decided to use for a series of articles earlier this year. The editor, Jon Gadsby (who has since left), lined up NZ C”S”C veteran Gerrit van der Lingen to take the crank side, while Professor Bryan Storey, director of the University of Canterbury’s Gateway Antarctica programme took the IPPC position. In his introduction to one of the pieces Gadsby said:

This whole project is a major one, and something Avenues has not entered into lightly. We are though, if one side is to be believed, facing the single greatest threat to life in the history of humankind. If the other side is correct, we are in the midst of the single greatest, stage-managed deception in recorded history.

Nicely put, Jon. The final judgement appeared in the magazine’s August issue, provided by the recently retired High Court judge, Justice John Hansen. His summing up is interesting for the approach he took, even if his finding comes as no surprise.

Continue reading “Here come de judge”

I’m wrong about everything

rodenymorph.gif It’s official. ACT is the party of climate denial. Not only have they been endorsed by the NZ C”S”C for their rejection of the ETS, but Rodney Hide has confirmed his status as a full-blown crank in an astonishing speech to the ACT Upper South Regional Conference in Christchurch on Sunday. The errors he makes and the ignorance he displays are so egregious that the speech amounts to a public suicide note from a politician with aspirations to a role in governing this country.

Continue reading “I’m wrong about everything”