Leyland and Carter: the rebuttal that isn’t and the hypocrisy that is

CarterFlatEarth.jpgSciblogs editor Peter Griffin recently gave climate denial activists Bryan Leyland and Bob Carter a “right of reply” to my post pointing out the errors and inconsistencies in a Dominion Post op-ed penned by the pair. Griffin took this action because of vociferous complaints from Leyland, who took offence at my discussion of his expertise (non-existent) and history of campaigning against action on climate. The result is billed as a “rebuttal”, but it isn’t, as I shall demonstrate.

The Sciblogs “rebuttal” is a mishmash of a so-called “fully referenced” version (pdf) of the op-ed that Leyland says was supplied to the Dominion Post, but he and Carter also prepared a very long-winded “response” (pdf) to the debunking of their piece by David Wratt, Andy Reisinger and Jim Renwick in the DP. The latter is a real eye-opener…

Life is too short to do another point-by-point demolition1, so I’ll select a few key issues that demonstrate that although they claim to be discussing science in a scientific manner, what they are actually doing is having the equivalent of an argument in a pub — prepared to say anything if they think it will help them “win”.

Continue reading “Leyland and Carter: the rebuttal that isn’t and the hypocrisy that is”

  1. Leyland & Carter may be retired, with nothing better to do than promote their crank viewpoints, but I have grapes and truffles to nurture through to harvest, and a book to write []

Lip service: it’s all climate action ever gets from Key & Co

As expected, the New Zealand government’s response to the IPCC’s Working Group 3 report on mitigating climate change pays lip service to the science, while maintaining that NZ is doing all that can be expected. Climate change minister Tim Groser’s press release said that the IPCC report’s call for intentional cooperation meant that NZ is “on the right track in pressing for a binding international agreement on emissions beyond 2020” but failed to note the urgency explicit in the report.

Groser also repeated the government’s standard response when challenged on government inaction on climate policy:

“New Zealand is doing its fair share on climate change, taking into account our unique national circumstances, both to restrict our own emissions and support the global efforts needed to make the cuts that will limit warming.”

Groser’s response to the WG2 and WG3 reports so angered Pure Advantage founder Phillip Mills that he announced he would make a $125,000 donation to the Labour and Green parties. Mills, who has been working behind the scenes for the last five years, lobbying cabinet ministers and National MPs to build a business case for climate action and clean, green business growth, told the NZ Herald:

I’ve been trying impartially to deal with National. I’ve met with John Key around this a number of times … and really I held the hope that I and groups that I’ve been involved with would be able to get National to see sense.

Continue reading “Lip service: it’s all climate action ever gets from Key & Co”

Another Antarctic ice shelf at risk of melt

In the last episode of the Climate Show Gareth drew attention (at 13:40)  to two recent papers suggesting that the Weddell Sea area of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet may be more vulnerable to warming than previously realised. One paper, published in Nature Geoscience, recorded that radar mapping has uncovered a deep sub-glacial basin close to the edge of the ice sheet at the head of the Filchner-Ronne ice shelf. The basin measures 100 by 200 km and is well below sea level, nearly 2km deep in places. The ice sheet, currently grounded above the deep basin, may be more unstable than previously thought and could quickly undergo ice loss.

In a related paper, published in Nature, models reveal that the Weddell Sea region may experience warmer ocean conditions at the end of the 21st century, which could provide the trigger for ice sheet change. Professor Martin Siegert of the University of Edinburgh, who led the project, said:

“This is a significant discovery in a region of Antarctica that at present we know little about. The area is on the brink of change, but it is impossible to predict what the impact of this change might be without further work enabling better understanding of how the West Antarctic Ice Sheet behaves.”

I’ve been reading an interesting collection of expert opinion on the second paper, made available by the New Zealand Science Media Centre (SMC) ; it was gathered by the Canadian SMC.  The seven experts who commented all thought the paper worthy of respect, and together provided a sense of the breadth and liveliness of scientific interest in the behaviour of the ice shelves.  I thought Hot Topic readers might be interested to get the flavour of the comments.

Continue reading “Another Antarctic ice shelf at risk of melt”

We can’t rule out catastrophic climate change

A couple of weeks ago I plugged an upcoming talk by Pieter Tans of NOAA’s Earth Systems Research Lab in Boulder — a carbon cycle specialist and winner of the Roger Revelle Medal. The talk has now been and gone (on Wednesday in Wellington), and the Science Media Centre has made an audio recording available. It’s embedded below the fold, and very well worth a listen. After an excellent introduction to climate basics (basic physics and chemistry mean that the climate’s changing), Tans traverses our addiction to fossil fuels, and how we might fix the problem.

Continue reading “We can’t rule out catastrophic climate change”