Don’t Hide your love away: Don Brash, climate and a very particular kind of coup

The most right wing political party in New Zealand that is represented in parliament is the Act Party. This blog post by Bryce Edwards, a political scientist at the University of Otago, is a little long and a little out of date now (November 2009) but it gives a reasonable summary of the state of play in New Zealand. For the impatient the guts is that parties can be positioned on xy axes of left-right and libertarian-authoritarian.

Lib cons

Positions of New Zealand political parties as of 2008. Figure by Doug Mackie, drawn from the mean data at Bryce Edwards’ blog. Scale converted from 0-10 in original to -5 to +5 here. Edwards gives the caveats and all errors and distortions are mine.

Until just after the 2005 General Election the ‘centre right’ National Party was lead by Don Brash, an ex-governor of the Reserve Bank. The arguments will go on but most think Brash lost the election for the National Party as he was too right wing.

National won the 2008 election without Don Brash. But it seems Brash and his mates have ‘unfinished business’. Brash gained infamy in 2004 as leader of the opposition for suggesting to a US Congressional delegation that if he were elected in the 2005 election then New Zealand’s nuclear ship ban would be gone by lunchtime. And as leader of the National Party Brash was vocal about his extreme scepticism of climate change.

Continue reading “Don’t Hide your love away: Don Brash, climate and a very particular kind of coup”

Climate: The Counter Consensus

ClimateThis review of Bob Carter’s latest book, by Dr James Renwick, Principal Scientist at NIWA’s Climate Variability & Change group, was first published in the March newsletter of the Geoscience Society of New Zealand. My thanks to Jim for permission to republish it here.

This book is a curious read, full of misinformation, straw-man arguments, and poorly-documented assertions. To become immersed in it, we must enter the through-the-looking-glass world of the “independent” scientist, where those such as myself are the ones “…who have dissembled, told half-truths, cherry-picked their data, fantastically exaggerated, and suppressed the circulation of better science” (Prefatory Essay, p. 19). Meanwhile, the ideas put forward by Prof. Carter are portrayed as representing a balanced appraisal of the issues. From where I sit, that’s the opposite of reality.

Continue reading “Climate: The Counter Consensus”

Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand

Climate Change Denial: Heads in the SandJohn Cook’s website Skeptical Science is held in high regard for its patient examination of the arguments put up by climate change deniers and its marshalling of the answers mainstream climate science provides. The result is quietly devastating as the scientific inadequacy of the deniers’ arguments becomes apparent.

Cook has now collaborated with environmental scientist Haydn Washington in a book which puts denial in all its forms under the spotlight of reason and challenges readers to recognise it for the delusion it is. Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand not only focuses on the deniers who claim that the science is wrong but also, as the subtitle indicates, conducts a telling examination of the full range of societal denial. Some denial is active and aggressive, but the persistent refusal of society to adequately face up to the reality of climate change is also a form of denial, one which the book addresses with urgency.

Continue reading “Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand”

Adapting to climate change in Vietnam and the Philippines

I stumbled across a documentary programme on BBC World during the weekend, Nature Inc. It visited two Asian regions where the impacts of climate change are being experienced and described the active local measures under way to cope with them. It’s the sort of programme we ought to be seeing a great deal more of as the evidence of climate change effects accumulate around the world. The narrator presumably felt obliged to mention in passing that sceptics dispute the impacts of climate change identified by the local people, but that kind of disputing will surely wither in the face of the realities such populations are facing. Facing with energy and purpose in the two cases covered by the short documentary.

Continue reading “Adapting to climate change in Vietnam and the Philippines”

Four years on…

Today marks the fourth anniversary of the first post at Hot Topic — four years since the blog’s birth, and as my mum would say, hasn’t time flown? This birthday post is number 1,080, and it will be read by many, many more people than those first brief paragraphs announcing the book and blog. I’m not one for tootling my own trumpet (at least, not loudly), so I won’t be making great claims about how far we’ve come and how much we’ve achieved, but I will take this opportunity to muse a little on what I’ve learned. A lot, but not perhaps enough… 😉

Continue reading “Four years on…”