With friends like these…

Airconcover.jpg Next week sees the publication of Ian Wishart‘s latest book, Air Con — The Seriously Inconvenient Truth About Global Warming. After trying to trash Helen Clark in Absolute Power, proclaiming the end of Western civilisation in Eve’s Bite and arguing a creationist line in The Divinity Code, Wishart has latched on to global warming. And just in case there’s any doubt about his position, here are some quotes from the blurb on the back cover:

The UN, Mikhail Gorbachev, Jacques Chirac, and other world-government wannabes are plotting to establish nothing less than a global, bureaucratic-centralist dictatorship under the pretext that it is necessary to ‘Save The Planet’. Ian Wishart’s book demonstrates that there is not the slightest scientific reason for the new, quasi-religious belief that The Planet needs Saving. The new religion is merely an excuse for world government. World government will not, repeat not, be democratic government. […]

I commend this timely book, which makes the scientific arguments comprehensible to the layman. Those who read it will help to forestall the new Fascists and so to keep us free. – Lord Christopher Monckton, Viscount of Brenchley, former adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

Wishart clearly believes that a recommendation from the potty peer is going to help him sell copies. It may (in certain limited circles) — but it does nothing for his credibility (nor does his mangling of Monckton’s title). And who’s this?

The book is brilliant. The best I have seen which deals with the news item side of it as well as the science. He has done a very thorough job and I have no hesitation in unreserved commendation. It has come along at the time we most need it and I hope it is published and publicized widely.

Back in March, Wishart was touting Air Con in comments to one of Bomber Bradbury’s posts at Tumeke!, and trotted out the above quote to show how esteemed his book was amongst experts — but was coy about identifying the author. And now we know why: the purple prose was penned by none other than Vincent Gray, diligent proofreader of so many IPCC reports. Someone guessed correctly at the time… I wonder who that was? 😉

I will be reviewing Air Con in coming weeks. Something to look forward to, perhaps…

29 thoughts on “With friends like these…”

  1. I doubt any copy I get will be complementary — unless a newspaper or magazine ask me to do a review. I’ll buy it if I have to. After all, he’s a local author and we have to stick together… 😉

  2. Sorry to derail, but I’ve just read that Salinger’s been sacked from NIWA for speaking publicly without getting approval. I’ve read about stuff like that in the US under Bush, but I’m pretty shocked to see that happening here. I hope someone manages to get to the bottom of thiis story.

  3. I am shocked, frankly. Jim’s been very helpful and supportive of my efforts here and in the book. It’s a travesty: story at Stuff and TVNZ. Someone in the NIWA hierarchy has just shot their own foot off… If I can, I’ll have a post about this in due course…

  4. This is a shocking thing to have happened. I attended a lecture from Jim Salinger just three or four weeks ago and was immediately aware of the quality of his science as well as appreciative of his openness to discussion. There are disturbing echoes of NASA attempting to close down James Hansen’s media contacts which Mark Bowen described in Censoring Science , though one hopes there are no political influences hovering in the background here. NIWA is Crown owned. It was good to hear that Jim is going to challenge his dismissal.

  5. I decided I was, by virtue of my citizenship, some kind of distant shareholder in NIWA so have written to the CEO to tell him what I thought of Jim Salinger’s dismissal. I hope many others will do likewise. He is John Morgan and his email address is j.morgan@niwa.co.nz The Shareholding Ministers are the Minister of Finance (50%), and the Minister of Research, Science & Technology (50%). Although NIWA operates independently it is owned by the Crown and presumably Ministers have some kind of function, however removed – I’m going to write to them as well.

  6. The news about Salinger is very bad. If we’re only going to see publicly-funded science after government censors have done their work, we’ve belatedly joined Bush’s war on science.

    What’s next? Creationism in school biology lessons?

  7. Industry Ignored Its Scientists on Climate

    “The role of greenhouse gases in climate change is not well understood,” the coalition said in a scientific “backgrounder” provided to lawmakers and journalists through the early 1990s, adding that “scientists differ” on the issue.
    But a document filed in a federal lawsuit demonstrates that even as the coalition worked to sway opinion, its own scientific and technical experts were advising that the science backing the role of greenhouse gases in global warming could not be refuted.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/24/science/earth/24deny.html?_r=1&ref=science

  8. Echoes, indeed, Bryan, of the Hansen and NASA situation.

    Parallels too with the Bush Administration’s attitude to climate change and our current Government’s stance?

    There is a very nasty smell around this whole affair – to sack Jim for not getting permission to talk with the very media that he’s been dealing with for years just seems a bit odd. A convenient excuse, perhaps?

  9. Cindy, I’ve invited Wayne Mapp and Bill English, as the two shareholding ministers, to assure me that there has been no government attempt to restrain the communication of climate science to the public as was the case with Jim Hansen (and others) during the Bush administration. I’ve urged them further to express their own grave dismay at the dismissal to NIWA. I would like to think that the present government accepts the science, but if they do they’re certainly not very forward in telling us, which in itself leaves room to wonder whether have been any nudges involved. I hope the media will be alert enough to question the Minister closely.

  10. OIA requests are certainly needed to get to the bottom of this.

    This is going to harm NIWA’s international reputation significantly. Dr Salinger is apparently well respected, and thus far I’ve only heard good things about NIWA. This is going to be seen for what it is – the organisation firing a scientist for speaking openly and honesty about a serious scientific issue.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the dirty hand of the New Zealand Government was involved here.

  11. Bryan – great – let’s see what happens there.

    and Laurence, thank you for posting the GCC revelations in the NYT. FYI Revkin has posted an update on his Dot Earth blog:
    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/23/a-climate-of-doubt/

    None of this surprises me -we have the GCC and its paying of sceptics like Lindzen, Singer and Michaels in the early 1990’s to thank for some of the crank arguments still being aired daily on this very blog.

    Interesting to see Exxon’s involvement way back then with Lenny Bernstein. Exxon’s then CEO Lee Raymond was chairing the American Petroleum Institute’s climate change committee during this time, working closely with William O’Keefe quoted by Revkin. O’Keefe also worked at the API.

    The relationship continued for another decade – O’Keefe now heads the Marshall Institute (which received Exxon funding over the years and has hosted many a Fred Singer rant). From 2001 -2005/6, he was paid by Exxon to lobby the White House on climate change.

  12. Thanks for that, Laurence.

    Just as point of clarification, Counterpoint is an important voicing space for people with “alternative” (wacky?) opinions on Australian radio. If you listen carefully and long enough the guests usually give themselves enough rope to be hung (that is of course assuming you haven’t thrown something heavy at your radio prior to this point).

    The host, Michael Duffy, I really can’t decide on. Is he wacky too, or just a devils advocate?

  13. Great interview thanks Laurence.

    Notice how he made sure he put everything really really simply? Must be used to people’s eyes glassing over every time they here non AGW points of view.

  14. I’ve no problem with the airing of alternative views, but this came across as more like cash for comment rather than an interview. It may have been better placed on Ramona Kovals show. I would have thought that at least a couple of hard questions would have been in order. What’s interesting though is that there has been a fair bit of wailing in the press here recently claiming the skeptics are being shut down on any public airing of their views. Interesting in light of the Sound of silence post and this.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/apr/24/strathclyde-police-plane-stupid-recru.it-spy

  15. I’ve finished the first 7 chapters of Air Con. Resisting the urge to throw it into the fire has been the hard part, and pacifying SWMBO who’s irritated by all the harrumphing and expostulation.

  16. Yeah I heard about that (Lauremce article on Plane Stupid protester), pretty disgusting.

    I disagree with what what they were saying (Plane Stupid), but stand by there right to say it.

    Police should only investigate where a crime has been committed (of course), and not profile those who they EXPECT to commit crimes (as has been done here and abroad).

    And its even worse when they investigate protesters, protesting is a basic human right.

    Whats even worse than this is the reports of police provocateurs at the G20 summit in London (ie Police want to break up a peaceful protest so they send in provocateurs to start pushing causing havoc, creating enough of a scene so that on TV it looks as if the protesters are the bad ones and the police are only breaking up a violent scene)

  17. Noted: Wishart relies on Ken Ring as a credible source.

    Heh. However I would guess that amongst that there are plenty of credible sources (like the Douglass et al paper) which are interpreted in all manner of ways…

  18. R2D2, I totally agree on the freedom of speech issue and ones right to protest but you do have to wonder what’s going on with this infiltration malarkey.

  19. There, fixed that for you…

    Much obliged. I expect he makes much of the fact that there are x number of footnotes, and I also expect that this will resonate with a few – doesn’t have to ‘win’, but creating doubt is enough. I don’t expect he has a financial interest to defend though…

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