Climate cranks claim a scalp

Listener.jpg This post removed at the request of The Listener and their friends at Bell Gully.

88 thoughts on “Climate cranks claim a scalp”

  1. I had a similar run in with Leyland last year. He had a piece in the Independent Business Review. Amongst other laughable idiocies it held up the “work” of EG Beck (see realclimate) as showing climate change was not of anthropogenic making.

    I asked the editor if he’d be interested in running a response. He said send it in and he’d read it. I did and at first he pointed out that his readers didn’t want the carefully qualified language of science.

    I had been leery of the denialists – watch hot topic for a pdf of a long story about the time they contacted my boss about comments I made as a private citizen – so I’d run the article past the Dean.

    I rewrote it and it was published.

    Leyland went bananas and demanded I supply him with references proving everything I had said. I said I would if he did the same for me. (He also apparently gave the editor a hard time). Leyland also wrote to the VC at Otago University to complain about me. Since the article had already been approved by the Dean they didn’t care.

    I pushed Leyland about Beck. He dithered and reckoned all he had said was that *if* Beck was right then AGW was over.

    I told him if he didn’t have sufficient science to see Beck was bullshit then he had no business writing about climate change. I challenged him to ask Chris de Freitas what he thought of Beck. I wrote to de Freitas and challenged him to tell Leyland what he thought of Beck.

    Initially Leyland said he’d ask Beck about my criticisms. I followed it up a week later and this time Leyland refused to discuss Beck until I gave him all the refs he asked for.

    [edit: Sorry Doug, just trying to avoid the obvious problem – GR]

    The problem is that Beck has been “published” in Energy and Environment. For de Freitas to criticise Beck might reopen old wounds about how the peer review process can be subverted. Anyone remember the Soon and Baliunas affair when de Freitas was an editor at Climate Reserach? Or when de Freitas’ brother was editor at Bull. Canadian Petrol. Geol. and they published his “is CO2 dangerous?” article.

  2. For that link to work, I needed to click on ‘all 3 versions’ and click on the ‘’ paper at the bottom of the three links, the others don’t work!

  3. Hi Gareth,

    I can only endorse everything you have said here & the rest of your posts on the Climate Science Coalition. For a year now I have been alarmed and appalled at the widespread coverage that Bryan Leyland gets in the New Zealand media, especially the business pages of the Dominion Post and (as I now read in your blog) the NZ Herald. Three cheers to Dave Hansford for taking the media to task and what has now happened at the Listener is response is frankly unbelievable. I guess I don’t have a high opinion of the NZ media in the first place when it comes to depth or quality of coverage, but I would never have thought it could have come to this.

    To make matter worse, Leyland is regarded by the media as a respectable commentator on energy matters and seems to be their first port of call. (First example, on the front page of the Dominion 2 days ago, he got about 5 column inches about the terrible threat of power shortages this winter, while the official advice to government (that the risk of shortages is 1-3%) got a single line.) In my view his denialist stance on climate change discredits him as a energy commentator – he is always going on about what a mistake the moratorium on new thermal power stations is, because global warming is a myth.

    The media have to stand by the credibility of their sources. They would not give equal space or “right of reply” to creationists or 9/11 conspiracy theorists. I suspect that some of the editors (for example James Weir at the Domionion) are in fact sympathetic to denialist views.

    The question is, how to get the CSC out of the media? The approach that most people I ask recommend is to take them to task on every single error. Pretty time-consuming, but it looks like Gareth is giving it a go – although probably the details are not getting into the media or getting to the editors. You also mentioned the Press Council (threats of which seem to be used effectively by Leyland himself). Would there be scope for a wide-ranging complaint of systematic inaccuracy and imbalance in the sum total of their climate change reporting, along the lines that Hansford describes? I read a bunch of Press Council cases and they all dealt with unbelievably minor matters, such as editing of letters to the Editor which the complainant said misrepresented their views.

    The CSC even managed to get a “right of reply” in the email newsletter of the Royal Society itself!

    The whole denial machinery is well documented by now. We have even seen here how effective their organization is, with letters to the editor rushing in from professors in Townsville and the US (and from Bast). But I still remain puzzled by their motivation. Wouldn’t someone favoring a libertarian, pro-high-technology and high-energy use society be just as likely to be alarmed by global warming as anyone else, since such a society is clearly threatened? But that doesn’t seem to be the case. Instead anything linked with any green ideology is tarred. We see that even in New Zealand where the Green Party seems to be widely viewed as lefty tree-hugging nutters which has stopped them rising in the polls.

    Keep up the good work Gareth

    Robert McLachlan

  4. Thanks Robert.

    I’m not sure that it’s possible to bring such a wide-ranging Press Council complaint – but a much more specific complaint against the current Leyland/de Freitas article would be much simpler.

  5. The libertarian-technology slant you mention also includes the ‘faith’ in free markets to cope with whatever comes its way, simplistically and theoretically ‘bad’ climate can be mitigated by buying the cheapest/most effective protection measures that the market can offer.

  6. Joanne Black, the Features editor of the Listener, while too cautious to deny global warming, is scornful in her columns of those who take it seriously and last year had a signed editorial along those lines. I don’t know how far up the editorial tree her attitudes extend but there was recently an unsigned editorial scolding the government for treating carbon neutrality as an objective. I wrote letters against both editorials. My letters were admittedly published, but I was taken aback to think I needed to write them. The dismissal of Dave Hansford, which I learned of here, is dismaying and looks like a further straw in the wind, as does the space given to Leyland and de Freitas.

    Gareth, do you sometimes wonder whether you are too gentle in your description of the CSC as cranks? It has a harmless ring to it. They are highly organised with a strongly combative political agenda. They have ready entry to the media no matter how repetitive and shallow (let alone plain wrong) their statements are. I can only explain this ease of access as being because they are fronting, whether wittingly or not, for groups of wealth and influence in the economy. Why people of wealth and influence should want to delay response to global warming is another mystery, of course. Their grandchildren will be as trapped by it as everyone else’s. I see Robert and Stephen have addressed this mystery since I started on my comment.

  7. The print media in New Zealand are owned by two media groups, Fairfax and APN, who both have clear allegiances to and sympathy with what one could credibly refer to as the global conservative agenda. The Fairfax papers and the NZ Herald openly editorialise in favour of the National Party and aren’t at all afraid to blur the line between reporting and editoralising, using loaded and / emotive terms in reportage as well as in opinion pieces. This isn’t unique to New Zealand. If anything, this trend in the English-language media worldwide has been late to arrive. A small number of people and companies with a common view of the world own almost all print media and much broadcast media in that sphere. Only our state-owned media stand apart and the media moguls hate that and work to undermine our faith in those alternative media and portray them as biased and corrupt….if they can.

    Last year, I was the Media Co-ordinator for the “Vote for MMP” campaign in Ontario, Canada. We had 90 brnaches around the province, thousands of members and raised over $500,000 dollars. The “No MMP” campaign, all four of them (3 men and a woman – who raised a total of $10,000 last I heard) had access to media that our Pro-MMP campaign could only dream of. TV, print, radio. You name it, they were on it. The points they made in stories were rarely, if ever challenged and were often printed with no balancing points or printed with balancing points that weren’t related to and did not refute the points the NO people had made. In TV debates, I would have to sit through 5 minutes of segments from the NO people, then, when it was my turn, respond to an entirely different question that did not address any of their points. You can see some of these clips on my channel on YouTube.

    Yet the points we made in stories always contained “balancing” counter-arguments that were usually divorced from verifiable reality.

    For example, straight reportage typically referred to list candidates as being “appointed”. This term was a media invention as all the official literature produced by the Citizens Assembly that recommended the change to MMP described this as “candidate selection” and did not distinguish between local or list candidates. The effect over time of continuously using loaded terms to misrepresent the facts was corrosive. These terms were echoes in opinion pieces and editorials in case anyone wasn’t clear on “appointment” being a terrible, terrible thing. Never mind that it wasn’t true.

    As far as I can see, the only way out of this is to break up the highly concentrated ownership of media generally and also require that owners of NZ media who carry news and opinion be exclusively NZ-owned.

    Let the “foreign investors” have Trade and Exchange and make money and be silent on local affairs.

    The conversion of the Listener into the ListeNBR has been sad to watch over the time since Finlay McDonald left as editor. But that it would happen was inevitable once that
    publication was bought by Fairfax. I expected it to happen and it did happen.

    Sometimes you have to look at the evidence and acknowledge there really is a problem. It’s true of both climate change and the consequences of highly concentrated media ownership in foreign hands and hands that all share the same agenda. Freedom of speech, but no diversity of opinion.

    Unfortunately, we won’t win the “debate” on climate change or anything else while the deniers own the media and use it to manipulate public opinion to suit their agenda.

  8. Two relevant quotes to explain the rationale of the climate sceptics:

    “Voters believe that there is no consensus about global warming within the scientific community. Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate.”

    – Frank Luntz, 2001 memo to Republican party, repeated in 2003 in a memo by Republican party press office on the Hill.

    The second, and I’m paraphrasing here because it was in a power point presentation:

    “These people are perfectly justified in their political beliefs. But they do not make their political argument on political grounds – they … camouflage a political debate as a scientific one.”

    Naomi Oreskes (Gareth has already blogged on her lecture which is well worth watching)

    Bryan Leyland and the Heartland Institute’s political views are of the free market, anti-regulation kind. The sooner the media realise it’s politics, not science, the better.

  9. BryanW: I’d say Joanne Black is being positioned to replace Pamela Stirling if Ms. Stirling finds herself unwilling to write what the publishers expect to read in the Listener.

    From memory, Black’s writing for the DomPost prior to joining the Listener was rarely, (if ever) out of line with the broad conservative agenda. The mode of expression usually employed was to disparage opposing points of view through disparaging loaded language and rarely, if ever, conduct anything resembling a balanced rational assessment of any issue based on evidence.

    Gut feeling and popular pre/misconceptions guiding the views presented are the rule where core agenda items are concerned, with rare exception.

    Her move to the Listener was the most obvious initial sign to me that Fairfax was going to make it over into a weekly voice for the conservative agenda.

  10. Another media outlet I’ve been concerned about for some time is Jim Mora’s afternoons show on National Radio.

    Mora rarely – though subtly – lets an opportunity pass to cast doubt on climate science, and routinely states that the jury is still out.

    With Augie Auer gone, I notice he’s inviting the likes of Black onto his panel sessions, to substitute as his sounding board for denial statements.

    Apparently, on casual enquiry, his afternoon slot is not deemed strictly editorial, therefore does not have to comply with normal journalistic standards.

  11. Perhaps it’s worth spending our efforts writing articles/letters for/to the local community newspapers. Although mostly owned by Fairfax/APN, they definitely don’t have the same strongly conservative agenda as the dompost/listener/herald.

    People need to focus on getting information out to everyday New Zealanders – I get frustrated at how often it appears that all the effort goes into talking to people who are already aware of the issues.

    Let’s reach out.

  12. letters correcting the sceptic science have pretty much the same outcome: the public thinks there’s still a debate. [Gareth this is NOT a criticism of the great work you do – it’s necessary!].

    This is why we set up – to show that it wasn’t about science, it was about politics.

    One of the main outcomes of that site was that media publications like the NY Times now usually state “industry-funded” when quoting a sceptic, so as to ensure the public understands that this is where they’re coming from, rather than see them as “scientists” per se.

    Whilst de Freitas isn’t industry-funded, Leyland certainly is – his entire income is from the energy industry. And the majority of Vincent Gray’s work has been on COAL.

  13. While aware of the climate change deniers’ financial and “intellectual” backing from the US, I’ve been guilty in the past of writing them of as little more than a nuisance. But the Listener incident shows that they’re more than that.

    With the confluence between an increasingly conservative media and a possible incoming conservative government, I agree with Robert McLachlan’s comment above: it’s time to take them on.

  14. I am constantly amazed at the childish actions of people who constantly recommend swallowing wholesale the anthropomorphic climate change argument. If people could just conduct this debate without such bickering and name-calling, perhaps both sides could remain credible.

    I find it rare to come across an anti-skeptic argument that even understands the IPCC model. Professor Dave Kelly’s response – while I can’t see the whole article – looks to be quite a straw man rebuttal, and wholly worthless.

    These fundamentalists flying the environmentalist banner have made an indelible link between use of carbon-stored energy and environmental catastrophe, when the link is quite indirect and even questionable. This line states that carbon emissions are the most important environmental concern, and not simply a distraction to other global catastrophes – those of pollution, despeciation, habitat destruction, and third world poverty.

    Or perhaps I should invent a new term – Climate Science Refusalists – those that deny that science should be conducted with an open mind and the idea to examine all evidence, and investigate any challenges to accepted models. For without that process, the science is abandoned and the group-think becomes entrenched.

  15. You should not be at all surprised at the position taken by The Listener on the subject of climate change. I imagine I’m not alone in having even a short letter on the subject rejected – I had dared to point out that the respected business commentator, Rod Oram (in the Sunday Star Times) had taken an opposite view to that of David Skilling of the New Zealand Institute which The Listener supported. Since the departure of Finlay Macdonald from the editorial chair the tenor of the magazine’s content has changed markedly – all in the conservative direction. Pamela Stirling and Joanne Black appear to ride in tandem over a range of issues, nearly always in a reactionary direction. What a shame it is that a publication with such an admirable history has come to this.

  16. Sam, I don’t know why they chose Dave Kelly, but I would rather that ecologists did not claim to be the last word on climate science a la the architect Owen McShane, intelligent as he may be. Kelly provided links to New Scientists climate change page and to the IPCC, as well as his own take on the broad political issues – I don’t see the feature as being a point by point rebuttal to either side, more as viewpoints from two parties.

  17. I gave up subscribing to the Listener a while back, when the rot was starting to show. This incident (whether it’s due to editorial bias or lack of backbone) is just another step in its transformation into something regrettable.

    Given that the DomPost, Herald and now the Listener are singing from the same hymn book, sites like this are essential. Keep up the good work!

  18. Re Sam:

    anthropomorphic climate change scares me even more that anthropogenic climate change. I guess it might be like the Pillsbury dough boy in Ghostbusters or maybe Godzilla’s Hedorah.

  19. […] childish actions […]

    […] conduct this debate without such bickering and name-calling […]

    Such perfectly pitched satire. Wild applause!

  20. Just a comment on the whole thread. Listener is not owned by Fairfax but by APN which is Tony O’Reilly owned. Which is how they can swap stories between Listener and NZ Herald
    Second The Listener title if my memory servers me correctly is still owned by the old Broadcasting Corporation which has been inherited by TVNZ. presumably it was licensed to APN when they purchased the Listener. If I am correct it would be good if the people of New Zealand could take back the title and let The Listener continue on under whatever name it chooses. Maybe ‘The Sun’ would be a good name?
    The NZ Listener is a sad copy of what used to be a fine magazine. Monty Holcroft would be horrified at what they have done to his magazine.
    But I think we get what we deserve. Recently the Licence’s for Radio/Television frequencies came up for renewal. It seemed to me that NZ Radio which has ended up being owned by either Tony O’Reilly’s company or overseas investment companies serve NZ very badly. We have no real choice of content as the two companies network the same format driven content. Why was there no demand of government to address the lack of choice and maybe change rules so that a company could not own more than one format in each city.
    That could have opened up the airwaves to a variety of smaller stations with varied content. However as far as I can tell the licences were rolled over with no comment or change.
    It drives me crazy that all we get in Auckland is Top40/Golden Oldies/Talk Back when we could have Classical/Music/Country/Jazz/ and an host of smaller stations catering to interest groups. Why not a Celtic station for instance.

  21. In defense of the media (someone has to do it) not every magazine is owned by Fairfax, APN or ACP. Nor is every media outlet so idoiotic about science. AUT Media, the new university press of AUT, publishes Idealog magazine which has consistently argued for an urgent shift to a low-carbon, sustainable economy. AUT Media has also published Hot Topic, and partly owns this website.

    Our sister company, HB Media is soon to launch Good magazine, NZ’s Guide to Sustainable Living. Gareth will be contributing, as will Rod Oram, who has been a vocal and rational commentator about climate change. Journalists at Good include Fran Price (former Listener Eco columnist), Denis Welch (former Listener writer) and Annabel McAleer (former Unlimited magazine sub-editor).

    As of June this year HB Media will be NZ’s first carbon neutral publisher.

    There are other great magazines too: NZ Geo did a long excerpt from Hot Topic and has run many other useful pieces. Celsias webiste is a top class NZ web effort.

    Forgive my rave. But I object to being lobbed a hand granade because some of my colleagues make (stupid) mistakes. I also deny that media in general is getting worse. It’s always been fairly ordinary in NZ – a fucntion of many factors including the unwillingness of peole to pay for subscriptions!

    Raving now, but you get my point, there is good work being done by journalists who give a damn about the science.

  22. First of all, I would like to say that I stand by everything that I have written. My letter to the Listener is now on Anyone who actually reads it will see that I am able to produce hard evidence to support my claims. Much of it comes from IPCC sources.

    Doug Mackie made a number of claims when trying to refute what I wrote. I simply asked him to provide evidence backing them up. He has failed to do so. His excuse for not doing so is that I refused to do something in return. I had no obligation to do so. He had made the claims so it was up to him to provide the supporting evidence. I can only conclude that he has none.

    Regarding the Listener articles, Dave Kelly’s article is full of claims for which no support has been provided. But he does admit that uncertainty exists. He also claims “Everything is pointing the same way”. How can he say this when, for the last 10 years, the world has not warmed as predicted by the climate models and there are several very credible theories that the cooling will continue. He calls us “climate change deniers” and uses the word “denier” four more times. In my draft letter to the Press Council that I sent on to the Listener — as I am obliged to do — I pointed out that we do not deny that the climate changes — we simply believe that the climate changes naturally. I also pointed out that calling us “deniers” is deliberately intended to link us with “Holocaust deniers”. This is offensive. I could equally call those who choose to believe in man-made global warming “gullible” — which is the opposite of “sceptical”. But I don’t.

    What all this shows, more than ever, is that we need a balanced and open debate on climate change. It seems that Mackie, Kelly, and others do not want this to happen. Hence their hostile reaction to anyone who suggests that “the science is not settled”. This is supposed to be a land of free speech. What has happened to ” I disagree with what you say but I defend your right to say it”?

    Surely it is in everyone’s interests — no matter what side of the argument they are on – that this debate is held. It is particularly important for New Zealand because, the emissions trading scheme, if implemented, will rapidly double the price of electricity and result in frequent shortages of the type that we are now faced with. It will also have a disastrous effect on our agricultural sector. In a world that is now short of food because so much agricultural effort is devoted to subsidised biofuels, it is not rational for us to further reduce our agricultural production.

    I, and my friends have, on many occasions, tried to persuade the Royal Society, Victoria University and other organisations to organise an open debate. They have always refused to do so. In all their conferences they flatly refuse to invite scientists who hold a contrary view. I think this is very sad.

    As Augie Auer always said: “Good science will win in the end”. Perhaps this the “warmer’s” greatest fear.

  23. BrainW states:
    “Why people of wealth and influence should want to delay response to global warming is another mystery, of course.”

    That’s no mystery: there is well-documented profit to be made in chaos and disaster. The more you neglect, the more profit there is to be made when it all falls apart.
    I’m all for profit but not the kind where you help create the problem you then fix. I believe it’s called disaster capitalism.

    And as for the relentless barrage from the right, UC TV did an excellent expose of the unbalanced views presented by scientist recruited for the task here:

    it seems that the numbers on each side are wildly disproportionate to the media coverage given.

    Good work Dave, sorry you lost your job reporting the truth.

  24. Yup, Bryan, your strategy is clear: keep the debate going – that’s what will stop the public wanting action because they will remain confused.

    That’s exactly the strategy that Frank Luntz recommended to the Republicans as I mentioned in a post above(funnily enough, he’s now changed his view on global warming). It comes as no surprise that you are demanding debates and even less surprise that people ignore you . I don’t claim to be a climate scientist – I leave that to the climate scientists. Which I don’t think you are are you?

    Science is usually debated with rigour, by scientists who conduct peer reviewed research to prove/disprove questions. This is not the type of debate you seek.

    As Michael Oppenheimer told the Washington Post in its coverage of the Heartland Institute:

    “…On a more serious note, Oppenheimer questioned why the conference attendees were not addressing the genuinely muddier aspects of climate science, such as what level of sea rise the world faces and whether methane released from the tundra would exacerbate warming in the years to come.

    “There are huge uncertainties that are still attributed to this problem,” he said. He added that he welcomes conferences on unsettled questions such as the rate of ice-sheet melt, but “the core of the science on climate change is settled, and nothing these people do is going to change that.”

    There’s plenty of debate to be had – but the scientific community has moved on from the “is it happening or isn’t it” topic. As one climate scientist once said, the scientific community debates what’s uncertain – once something has been proven, they move on.

    Not so Heartland or, sadly, the CSC.

  25. “This is supposed to be a land of free speech. What has happened to ‘I disagree with what you say but I defend your right to say it’?” writes Bryan Leyland in an above post.

    If you crave free speech and open debate, you have an odd way of defending it.

  26. To add to the above;

    I was very close to complaining to the Press Council because I thought it was wrong for the Listener to have presented my article alongside the one from Dave Kelly rather than making it clear it was a response to Dave Hansford’s article. I was also very upset because the Listener did not include the diagrams I had sent that demonstrated that the weight of evidence was on my site. I thought that this was not balanced reporting.

    These disgraceful attacks on free speech and the right of the public to be informed, and the need for balance, mean that there is no need for me to complain! If both sides of the argument are displeased with the way the Listener handled, it, the chances are that balance was proper.

    I uphold the Listener’s right to let its readers see both sides of the argument. People who challenge that should be ashamed of themselves. Soon I will be Iran and see the society that, it appears, these people want to emulate.

  27. Brian: why would anybody debate you? You don’t see geographers debating flat earthers, physicists debating free energy loons, or historians debating holocaust deniers. Debating cranks just lends them credibility – and no real scientist wants to do that.

  28. For Idiot/Savant

    Argumentum ad hominen  argument to the man  avoid the issue by criticising the speaker. It is a fallacy even if it is true.

  29. Come on Bryan.
    Say it here:
    What is your opinion of Becks paper that you have on your website. I do not mean say what it means if Beck were right. I mean say what is your opinion of it.

    To remind you: you said you were going to ask Beck for his response. Did you ever do this?

    Since we are on the topic: After Auer died I sent a comment to the Stuff website under my own name as a private citizen (no affiliation listed – just signed “Doug Mackie” – same as here) in my own time from my own computer using my private ISP. What do you think of those members of NZCSC who wrote (with sigs that said they were members of NZCSC) to my employer demanding that “something be done about me”?

    Because I dared to say: I regret I will not be able to say “I told you so” when all the sceptics have admitted they were wrong”.

  30. The assumption appears to be Hansford lost his column because of a pressure campaign?

    Any evidence for that? I note he says he was dropped with no ‘valid explanation’. As everyone is seeing conspiracies shouldn;t we know what that explanation was?

    Could it instead be linked to the range of columnists who have been dumped in the last month or two?

    Funny no-one has bothered to mention that fairly important bit of context.

    Or might it be his column just wasn’t considered as interesting enough (declaration of interest – I didn’t like it)and wasn’t doing well in surveys so he got the bullet? It does happen.

    As for Leyland being “industry funded”, well really. Of course he is. He’s a professional engineer and even gets paid by the Govt for that expertise. I think he even owns his own hydro dam. His opinion should no more be dismissed for his career choice than cindy’s should for hers especially if it is cindy from Greenpeace (apologies in advance if it is not).

  31. Bryan,

    I’d also like to hear you comment on the robustness of Ernst Becks findings.

    Especially, do you think that measuring CO2 conc from the middle of traffic intersections around europe is a valid way to understand global CO2 concentrations?

    How experienced do you think Beck is in the field of climate science, given that he has not published many papers, and that he doesn’t have much time to spend on climate research due to the commitments of his day job as a school teacher.

    Do you think that Beck provides enough data to back his conclusions that the moon affects CO2 conc?

    Please respond, if you have any factual information about this.


  32. Keep it clean chaps. No ad homs, please.

    Bryan L: I will say it. You have every right to hold whatever opinion you choose, and I will defend your right to express that opinion, provided that in so doing you do not distort or misrepresent the truth. As an American politician once said: you are entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts.

  33. Bryan, if it makes you happy to go through life imagining that I’m likening you to Holocaust deniers have fun doing so, but in fact I call you and your brethren AGW deniers because I see your condition as similar to that of people who are in denial about having an addiction problem, in your case it’s carbon.
    Like other addiction deniers you work hard convincing yourselves that the rest of the world is out to get you and to destroy you by taking your precious from you, if I was aiming to be pejorative I’d use “crank” but I don’t because I find it too … pejorative.

    However, I’m an accommodating fellow so, if it makes you happy I’ll abandon the term “denier” and instead liken you to a well known addict driven mad by his addiction, and instead refer to you as “Gollum’s”

  34. For Bryce Wilkinson,

    Here’s the text from the beck paper where he mentions the phases of the moon:
    “… that the composite historical CO2 curve is globally meaningful, comes from the correspondence between the curve and other global phenomena, including both sunspot cycles and the moon phases, the latter presented here probably first time in
    literature and the average global temperature statistic.”

    Energy and Environment Vol 18. No 2. 2007 pg 276

    Given that you must have read the paper, what are your thoughts on it’s accuracy?

    Do you think he provides enough evidence to back up his moon phase “correspondence”?

  35. On Page 267, Figure 5 he provides a graph titled “CO2 1939–1941, Kreutz, at Giessen (D)”.

    Kreutz in this case is the German word for intersection – interesting that he did not bother to translate it into English.

  36. I’m going to put aside the verbal abuse of these posts and ask if the Climate Science Coalition might not be correct.

    Here’s the current state of play as I understand it.

    Human activity has significantly influenced climate – NO EVIDENCE, last 10 years of woeful correlation between carbon dioxide and temperature suggest the claim is wrong.

    Temperatures are continuing to increase – FALSE. Temperatures were flat from 2002 to 2007 and decreased sharply in Jan and Feb 2008, only to rise in March due to pressure cells distributing Middle-east heat into Southern Russian, Western China and Siberia.

    New Zealand’s temperatures are rising – FALSE. They’ve been flat for at least 30 years.

    Hundreds of IPCC authors supported the claim
    – NO EVIDENCE. Neither the authors of chapters prior to chapter 9 of the WG I report nor the authors of any chapter after (including the two other reports) were requested to comment.

    Widespread support from IPCC reviewers – FALSE. Only 62 reviewers commented on chapter 9 (just 55 were impartial) and only 5 gave broad support to the notion. Only one of those was impartial but this was his one comment for all 11 chapters of WG I.

    Near ground temperature records are accurate – HIGHLY UNLIKELY. Just recently GISS has been shown to adjust temperatures from years ago and it is easily proved that there are serious inconsistencies in the HadCRUT3v dataset that the IPCC uses.

    The physics of CO2 demonstrates that warming should occur – TRUE BUT… that’s not in the real world where climate feedbacks and counter-feedbacks can do all kinds of things.

    Recent events (eg. Wilkins Ice Shelf partial collapse) can be attributed to man-made warming – NO EVIDENCE.

    “Internal variability” cannot account for the warming – FALSE (or at least CONTRADICTORY). The IPCC says that El Nino events are “internal variability” and that these don’t impact temperature in one chapter and yet in another chapter it blame 1998’s higher temperatures on a very strong El Nino.

    If GW cannot be shown to exist then it seems to me the only people who should be called deniers or “flat earthers” are those who either refuse to examine the data or have seen it and are trying very hard to ignore it because it does not support their argument.

  37. Here’s a page from the website of the Merian school. Have a look at the nice picture of the teachers at the bottom of the page, you’ll see Ernst’s name there.

    As recently as 2007 he signed a letter as:
    Ernst Beck
    Merian-Schule Freiburg
    Dep. Biotechnology and Nutrition Science
    79104 Freiburg
    Rheinstr. 3

    So he was still working there when he wrote the paper – assume he still is.

    He must be busy marking all of that homework and writing climate “science” papers.

    That would explain why he hasn’t written many papers in the field of climate science. He doesn’t have any papers in the first five pages of a google scholar search.

    I wish Bryan Leyland would answer us… Tell us what you think of Beck’s paper – is it robust science?

    You are being intellectually dishonest by showing people his graphs if you are not willing to comment on their validity.

    Anyways – I’m enjoying your silence – it just shows everybody who reads this exactly how dishonest you are.

    Good luck in the power station business, pity about that thermal ban eh.


  38. John, it’s the end of a long day, Gareth has a blogroll, on that roll you’ll find links refuting all the claims you’re making, as it’s all standard fair that’s been covered a thousand times before.

    The fact that you are apparently unaware that it’s all been dealt with confirms your observation that Gollums “refuse to examine the data or have seen it and are trying very hard to ignore it because it does not support their argument.”

    nighty nite.

  39. Such busy Global Warming bees! busily repulsing the threat of those nasty climate change deniers!

    My goodness such well-informed people, such passionately felt beliefs! All those facts!

    And all from the comfort of a privileged middle class lifestyle – with internet access and electric lights!

    I know how it feels to believe that you have discovered what you believe for the very first time in human history, that there has never been any greater threat to humanity than what you are concerned about now, and you feel the duty to convince everyone!

    But it’s just not how the world works I’m afraid. You need to read a few books on moral panics, witch hunts, and irrationalism.

    Then when you’re finished, let’s talk about what’s really wrong with world.

  40. I notice that the denialists include a sizable contingent of those who are driven by economic ideology. A recent trend by these folk is to take the tack that “andy” has done and say that there are other “more important problems” to deal with.

    Frankly I am surprised they didn’t stick with this from the first instead of the outright denial of “john”.

    I think of it as the “lets make lots of money until the last minute and lie to my grandkids and say I was a climate change activist”.

    Oh but wait. Wasn’t there a paper a few years ago that said extra CO2 in the atmosphere wasn’t dangerous? hmm who was that? Oh I remember: The same Chris de Freitas who had all his press releases etc removed from the NZCSC website when I began to challenge him about being “grossly misleading”. (His phrase about a MfE website but I told him that it described what he was doing).

    That “dangerous” paper formed the basis of the final position statement on climate change by the Canadian Assoc. Petrol. Geology.

    Chris: you told me that there were several things in that paper you’d do differently now but you weren’t specific. Could you elaborate now?

    And did you run that article I wrote in Chem in NZ past your students? It addressed several of the points on that list of “things they don’t want you to know” that you had so much input into.

  41. For the past 3 years the trend is cooling according to GISStemp. Yes, it has warmed in the past 30 years but CO2 has increased 5% since 1998 but there is no real warming since 2000. Not much following to CO2 here. Also, cosmic rays have stopped temp increases as well.

    Hi Doug M, never got around to emailing you, how R U going? Hope Dunedin is nice and cool this winter.

    Peter Bickle

  42. Andrew W. It’s difficult to argue with someone who fails to cite any solid data to support their assertions. (By data I don’t mean the output of models, nor opinions, nor some appeal to an unproven overwhelming consensus.)

    Show me evidence that
    (a) humans are having a significant influence on climate
    (b) that temperatures rose from 2002 to 2007
    (c) that NZ temperatures are rising
    (d) that hundreds of IPCC authors supported the basic claim (as compared to wrote their chapters on the assumption that it was a valid claim)
    (e) that the IPCC’s claim has widespread support from its reviewers
    (f) that human activity irrefutably caused the partial collapse of the Wilkins Ice Shelf
    (g) that El Nino and La Nina do not have a substantial impact on global temperature.

    Please send copies to the IPCC and NIWA because neither has been able to prove that mankind has any influence on climate. I am sure they will appreciate your work in solving a problem they’ve had for over 20 years.

  43. Re Beck

    In spite of what Mackie says, I have never gone beyond saying that IF Beck is right, the whole CO2 causes dangerous GW hypothesis fall flat on its face. And that, most obviously, is a plain fact.

    I have read Beck’s paper and some of the papers he references. As a result, I keep an open mind. Anyone who reads them may well be inclined to agree. It is a lot of reading.

    I hope that one day, someone will trawl through what he has done, see of they can replicate his results and give a proper assessment of his work.

    Re legal action:
    At no time did I ever threaten or contemplate legal action. Under Press Council rules, anyone with a complaint must first send it to those who published the article and give them the opportunity to make amends. The listener did so and I accepted it.

    Note that my complaint was, in the main, about Hansford’s naming me as “fool of the year” because he did not understand that if the temperature warms and then levels off (or declines a little as it has), the subsequent years will be among the hottest ever. So the complaint is not about climate change, it is about a damaging accusation that is not based on the evidence.

  44. Bryan,

    Please… if you’re going to hold the media to account on grounds of accuracy, at least try for the same standards yourself.

    You were never named fool of the year, so please watch your injudicious use of quote marks. I’m not responsible for whatever subliminal messages your vocabulary might be receiving.

    I awarded you the; “The Planet I’m on Still Works Fine Award,” for trying to cite Hadley Centre support for your global cooling statements.

    The commentary that ran underneath your award said; “British Met. Office said in June 2007 that; “The warm UK spring follows … a run of record breaking years – the last five years are the warmest on record – and this warming trend is consistent with our predictions from the Met Office Hadley Centre.”

  45. Bryan,

    You still have not answered Doug’s original question.

    Do you think that Beck’s paper provides solid information to support his global CO2 conc graph (The graph that you have in your powerpoint slides).

    Still interested to hear your answer,

  46. John: “Human activity has significantly influenced climate – NO EVIDENCE, last 10 years of woeful correlation between carbon dioxide and temperature suggest the claim is wrong.”
    Here’s some background for you, with lots of links:

    John: “Temperatures are continuing to increase – FALSE. Temperatures were flat from 2002 to 2007 and decreased sharply in Jan and Feb 2008, only to rise in March due to pressure cells distributing Middle-east heat into Southern Russian, Western China and Siberia.”

    John: “New Zealand’s temperatures are rising – FALSE. They’ve been flat for at least 30 years.”

    John: “Hundreds of IPCC authors supported the claim
    – NO EVIDENCE. Neither the authors of chapters prior to chapter 9 of the WG I report nor the authors of any chapter after (including the two other reports) were requested to comment.”

    You’re suggesting they don’t agree with what they themselves wrote?? Evidence please.

    John: “Widespread support from IPCC reviewers – FALSE. Only 62 reviewers commented on chapter 9 (just 55 were impartial) and only 5 gave broad support to the notion. Only one of those was impartial but this was his one comment for all 11 chapters of WG I.”

    As you point out the number of reviews who chose to comment is actually a very small fraction of those people who have the right to comment (the position of “reviewer” is open to just about anyone) this is good evidence that there is little dispute about the IPCC method or conclusions. Scientific reviews don’t usually read like fan mail.

    John: “Near ground temperature records are accurate – HIGHLY UNLIKELY. Just recently GISS has been shown to adjust temperatures from years ago and it is easily proved that there are serious inconsistencies in the HadCRUT3v dataset that the IPCC uses.”

    As you say : “It’s difficult to argue with someone who fails to cite any solid data to support their assertions.”

    John: “The physics of CO2 demonstrates that warming should occur – TRUE BUT… that’s not in the real world where climate feedbacks and counter-feedbacks can do all kinds of things.”

    So provide evidence that the IPCC methodology is faulty.

    John: “Recent events (eg. Wilkins Ice Shelf partial collapse) can be attributed to man-made warming – NO EVIDENCE.”

    I don’t cherry pick such individual events as evidence, when a lot of ice shelfs are all heading north in pieces thats evidence, Oh, they are.

    John: “Internal variability” cannot account for the warming – FALSE (or at least CONTRADICTORY). The IPCC says that El Nino events are “internal variability” and that these don’t impact temperature in one chapter and yet in another chapter it blame 1998’s higher temperatures on a very strong El Nino.”

    You really are at sea on this one.

  47. Bryan,

    *if* Beck is right then you are correct that the whole idea of climate change needs urgent review. However, *if* Beck is right then pretty much every thing we thought we knew about biology and chemistry is also wrong.

    (I’m not going to get dragged into long arguments here but as a for instance we have the isotope ratios – the “Suess effect” – if that doesn’t work then we don’t know anything about atomic masses).

    So, let me see if I have your position correct:
    You don’t personally understand enough science to assess the implications of Becks ideas so you “keep an open mind”. Is that a fair representation?

    How is then that you understand enough science to reject the collected wisdom of so many other scientists? Do you take advice from scientists like Chris de Freitas? He is, after all, the official science advisor for NZCSC.

    So here is an idea – one I have suggested many times before to you and you have been curiously reluctant to try it – ask Chris de Freitas what he thinks of Beck and post the response here.

    I am still interested in your opinion of the NZCSC members who complained to my employer about my actions as a private citizen. Do you consider that appropriate behaviour? Do you think it could be fairly described as bullying or intimidation?

  48. Mr Doug Mackie, oh so sophisticated in your rebuttal – by merely ‘observing’, with eyes closed, what you think are the strategies of your opponents you somehow defeat them on the battlefield of logic. This is also referred to as ‘shadow boxing’.

    Anyone who runs up to me and argues passionately about something but doesn’t know anything about the history of the ideas they think they’ve discovered is dreaming. If you don’t understand the mechanisms by which ideas surface and find resonance in society then you are simply an uncritical mouthpiece for whatever is trendy.

    The growth of our scientific knowledge of earth’s climate is a fasinating process. In the past twenty years our knowledge and infrastructure has blossomed – despite the intellectual and political conservatism of the global warming and environmental lobby.

    No idea is free of social, political and economic history. My eye is fixed firmly on the intensifying conservatism of the current period in history. What concerns me is the ease with which the majority of western public is distracted from the pressing problems actually facing them and oriented towards issues which deliver nothing but more conservatism and accelerated global economic misery.

    I guarantee I could stand you up in front of 3.5 billion people around the world who might listen to you prattle on about global warming for a while, before they’d start wondering which planet you were from, or what your priveleged middle class life was like. Their lives and minds are full of very different problems you clearly have no interest in – because the solution is considerably trickier than blogging and arguing on the internet.

  49. As I recall the complaints to your employer related to your particularly nasty and gutless attack on Augie Auer after his death. You may correct me if my recollection is wrong.

  50. Andy, do you actually have anything to say about AGW?
    You sound like a Bolshevik all keen to overthrow the middle classes and create a workers paradise.

  51. I see John Drinnan has covered this in the Herald today

    “…Listener editor Pamela Stirling is insisting that the two events are unconnected and that she is losing a staffer because of budget cuts.”

    “Stirling says Hansford was only ever hired as a short-term position for two months and the column was now being written by a staffer.”

    is this the not ‘valid explanation’?

  52. Andy,

    I think you’ll find that it is Dr Doug Mackie 😎

    I work as an environmental chemist and even publish occasionally (not in anything as hallowed as Energy and Environment mind you). My most recent paper (out last month in the American Geophysical Union journal “Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems” describes the supply of iron to phytoplankton from aeolian dust and explores implications for primary productivity (i.e CO2 uptake from surface waters and drawdown from the atmosphere).

    My next paper will discuss the analysis of over 10 years records (not my data, I’m just a cruncher) of CO2 measurements in surface waters across the Otago shelf.

    What is your background?

    In what way do your comments address the thread that was: dodgy tactics by denialists lead to the sacking of journalists and that dodgy tactics by denialists included contacting my employer to complain about my actions as a private citizen

  53. Roger,

    My exact words, given above, were,
    “I regret I will not be able to say “I told you so” when all the sceptics have admitted they were wrong” I said no more and no less. In what way was this gutless?

    You will recall that I said much worse about and *to* Auer when he was alive. Why should my opinions have changed with his death?

    In what way was it your business to contact my boss for something I said out of work? Is this something you do often if someone says something you don’t like?

    I say that you were attempting to bully and intimidate me. How dare you try make my boss “do something about me” for having a personal opinion.

    I had laboured under the impression that one was free to think and speak.

  54. Insider: My first reaction?

    She would say that, wouldn’t she…

    If I were in her shoes (and I’ve worked in magazines a lot), I wouldn’t admit anything.

    At the very least, her decision to drop Hansford during this whole “right of reply” episode was – frankly – a stupid thing to do, simply because anyone with half a brain could see that it would look bad.

    But I’ll leave it to Dave to respond (if he wishes to) on Stirling’s response to Drinnan.

  55. I often wonder why I rarely see comments in the climate debate that turn conservative free market tenets back on the skeptics.

    From an econonomic perspective using energy more efficiently reduces costs of production. This provides a competitve edge.
    This translates to a market advantage.
    The flow on effects may then be less carbon emitted, less environmental degradation and a host of other happy results.

    Do skeptics want to hasten the universe’s heat death fate by increasing entropy, are they the ultimate end times banner wavers? I can’t say.

    So irrespective of whether anthropogenic carbon does or does not change climate, using energy efficiently makes economic sense.

  56. R McDonnnell – exactly! I watched with amazement the industry submissions to the ETS select committee complaining about how much carbon trading would cost them.

    A price on carbon will cost them less if they act to cut emissions, but these companies weren’t contemplating actually CUTTING emissions – their cost projections were based on taking no action at all.

  57. __From an econonomic perspective using energy more efficiently reduces costs of production.__

    That doesn’t follow. What if your capital costs increase significantly to pay for new equipment?

    __This provides a competitve edge.__

    Well it may not if the cost of efficiency is higher than the benefit.

  58. Pamela Stirling’s statement in John Drinnan’s column this morning is correct. I took on Ecologic back in November when the incumbent columnist, Francesca Price, took leave to work on another project.

    As such, it was indeed a temporary arrangement. But it was not terminated on the due date, and continued to run as Francesca’s leave extended. The fact that Francesca did not, in the end, return to reclaim her column did not automatically mean it was mine in perpetuity.

    But if my time was simply “up,” it’s baffling that I wasn’t simply told that. I was told instead that negotiations over Francesca’s return were under way. They were not.

    Francesca had already made it clear she was not returning. I was then told that I had been “rationalised” in a response to a shrinking contributors’ budget. That the column would be brought in-house because the magazine could no longer afford a freelancer to write it.

    I accepted that explanation, but it soon transpired that The Listener had, in fact, approached another freelancer to take the column over (They declined, and the column will now indeed be written in-house), placing a question mark over the claim of an ailing contributor’s budget.

    At no time was any suggestion raised that I had made any errors in the climate deniers column, or left the magazine legally exposed.

    I cannot prove that I was rolled because of legal posturing by the Climate Science Coalition, and I have never stated that as fact.

    What I have stated repeatedly is;

    That I was dropped from the Listener column, Ecologic.

    That it came less than a fortnight after my column of March 22 about the Climate Science coalition’s financial and ideological links to the Heartland Institute and, by extension, Exxon Mobil.

    That it came in the wake of a published call for my dismissal by the President of the Heartland Institute.

    That it came in the wake of a threatened complaint to the Press Council and alleged threats of legal action by the Climate Science Coalition.

    That The Listener agreed on a settlement with the Climate Change Coalition that gave the CSC the right of reply published this week.

    That the Listener did not inform me of the bringing of the Press Council complaint.

    That I was not informed of the letter from The Heartland Institute calling for my removal, nor given a right of reply.

    That I was not informed of the Listener’s decision to give the CSC right of reply on behalf of my own column.

    That both reasons I was given for my axing proved to be unsubstantiated.

    That my subsequent request for the truth of the matter was never replied to.

    That I was told that “We stand behind our columnists.”

    Given this concert of circumstances, and the artifice surrounding my axing, it is valid to ask questions of the Listener and of the Climate Science Coalition about the nature and terms of their negotiations.

    The implications for the independence of the media, and for the public interest, are too great not to.

    Perhaps these events were entirely unrelated. But if they were not, they mark a black day for the freedom of the media.

  59. David I have to say that I’m feeling quite misled by what I think are your quite serious omissions over this issue. If you had disclosed up front you were only on temporary assignment and that you’d been told you were being released for budgetary reasons, that would have given a very different slant on this debate.

    Yes it still might have left questions but at least it would have shown there was another legitimate view.

    Nor has there been any effort by you to correct the impression that you were sacked after political pressure was applied. We have had a whole blog post and a significant number of responses – including a number by you – theorising over some grand conspiracy and only now do you reveal you were only ever a short term fill in, and you rather disingenuously say “Perhaps these events were entirely unrelated”.

    Apparantly there was no press council complaint – that can’t happen anyway until the publisher has had a chance to address an issue – just the threat which is likely a weekly occurance for many journalists.

    You are just plain incorrect saying Heartland Institute asked for your removal, unless they wrote another unpublished letter. They said you should be ashamed and apologise, and that particular article should not have been published. I’m surprised given your close interest you don’t realise this and instead repeat a self created myth.

    It seems there is far more spin to this than was originally imagined.

  60. David

    I’m assuming your 3.51pm comment is aimed at me. It appears you think I am Chris de Freitas? Sorry no. It seems you are inventing shadows.

    And I’m not trying to “draw the spotlight away from the Climate Science Coalition” – I have no interest in them. I’m more concerned about media ethics. You’ve made a claim of an issue existing but I think you have been a bit selective with the timing of some of your facts and have questioned why.

    For example, why do you claim the Heritage Foundation called for your removal?

    What is interesting is your sudden selectiveness of engagement when your story is questioned – seems a bit odd when the whole issue of you losing your column was raised by you, has been egged on by you. Now it appears you want to avoid questions.

  61. The elites in the richer nations with bigger populations can afford to pay for really nasty and despicable thugs like the ones I see in the comments to this topic.

    I don’t envy you a bit in New Zealand. It’s reminiscent of the fact that the whole world used CFCs, etc., but NZ is one of the few places that bear the brunt of the consequent ozone depletion.

    I will simply say these people of the lie will never, ever do the right thing. So colloquy with them never results in anything but their rather reflexive predatory behavior.

  62. Soooo getting back to the original thread about bullying:

    Roger: Do you think an employer is responsible for the actions of their employees out of work? In what way is it inaccurate to call what you did bullying and intimidation?

  63. Dear Dr Mackie, title noted,

    from the conduct I have observed in the scientific community around AGW, I attach no significance whatsoever to your credentials, publishing record or those of anyone else.

    Professional scientists have a terrible record in the public sphere and are generally best left to their detailed professional pursuits. But when it comes to the social production of scientific knowledge and non-knowledge, a scientist is not going to be the sort of person I look to for clarity and historical perspective.

    I note that the silly claims made against the listener have been dealt with in some manner.

    I would add that the Listener has a terrible record on this subject – publishing sickening drivvle to the converted, dripping with so much cliche as to make the articles pointless and meaningless. Quite dissapointing.

    My comments stand. By background is in computer science, journalism, politics and history. And this still tells you nothing about me whatsoever. The fact that you are clearly scientifically trained and experienced in a field relevant to climate research doesn’t necessarily equip you to understand the social and historical currents which give rise to this moral panic at this time. If you can’t connect this with the likes of avian flu, Y2k, Ebola, terrorism, anti-communism and so on, then you really have no awareness outside a very narrow sphere of comfortably connected views. I trust that you continue to enjoy success with your research and that you continue to contribute useful material to our understanding of earth’s climate. We live in darkly conservative times, and you would do well to look outside the comfort of NZ life.

  64. Andy: “My eye is fixed firmly on the intensifying conservatism of the current period in history.”

    If there was any recent period of “intensifying conservatism” it was the late 1970s and 1980s. What we are seeing now is the high-water mark of that period, epitomised by the failed neo-liberal dream of ‘nation building’.

    As with the early days of evolutionary theory, AGW theory is being supported most enthusiastically by what we might call the ‘progressive’, ‘liberal’ elements of society, and opposed by the ‘traditional’, ‘conservative’ elements.

    For obvious reasons, that line-up says nothing about the truth or otherwise of global warming, but the notion that global warming and environmental lobbyists are conservative is bizarre.

    Sure, there’s going to be a lot of jockeying for position and trade-offs between various interests, at both the international and national levels. But the fact that western economies and some business sectors might see commercial opportunities in combating global warming, or that some conservative politicians are jumping on the bandwagon, says nothing about the science.

  65. Stephen.
    “to be the last word on climate science a la the architect Owen McShane,”

    I worked in an architectural office while I was getting my degree but have never done so since. To define me as “an architect” is a bit like defining Einstein as a patent official rather than a mathematician – or to describe Ed Hillary as a beekeeper. (I am not claiming to have reached their giddy heights – they are just useful metaphors.)
    After I got my BArch in 1965 I went on to get a Diploma in Town and Country Planning, then to Berkeley to get a Masters degree in City and regional planning (where my thesis was in urban development economics) and since then have spent many years in managing High technology programmes in the DFC and managing venture capital funds. I only returned to the Urban issues when Simon Upton asked me to write a review of aspects of the RMA and then Don BRash asked to report on inflationary impacts on the housing and construction sector. The papers I present to conferences here and overseas are not about climate science per se but about the impact of climate science policies on urban planning and transport etc.
    I am sure you are aware of this. For many years it was illegal for me to call myself an architect because the term was protected by stature and I have never been registered.
    So I presume it is intended to imply that I am working outside my field. Actually I am not and that is why people ask to me to present papers on “sustainability” in its many guises.
    I have been reporting on scientific matters of all kinds for about thirty years or more because of my experience in the commercial end of high tech. In that job you have to develop the ability to translate scientific matters into board room papers and indeed for the general public.

  66. Owen, welcome to Hot Topic. Now, as we will obviously disagree about climate (I will be posting on your amazing NBR article when I have time), perhaps we could discuss truffles?

  67. Not sure I have much to discuss on truffles because my knowledge is mostly theory and little experience.
    I first wrote about truffles as a possible crop for Metro back in the early nineties and apparently the essay did encourage Hall and others to do more work – but recollections are vague.
    Anyhow, when I approached the Halls about three years ago they were cautious until they realised I lived on the shores of the Kaipara Harbour because their rough survey suggested this was the best likely place for efficient truffle cultivation.
    And I did get tierre broulee within six months which is a good sign and the burnt patches appeared after one of our tropical storms (downpours) in the late autumn. (We don ‘t have to irrigate here – the storms come naturally.
    We have no crops yet.
    My mine concern is that the poor infertile soil (the product of Kauri forestation) is also rock hard for most of the year and the poor dog may not be able to dig down to get them and that hoeing the top layers might destroy the “fruit”.
    Our olives on the other hand have cropped several times and produced wonderful oil and 15% yield.

  68. RE: The NBR reporting.
    Please recognise that this essay is a report on two papers presented at two conferences and attempts to fairly report what two teams of scientists have concluded from the first rounds of Acqua Data.
    I have had several responses from physicists and meteorologists round the world who congratulate me on an excellent reporting of the science in the two papers (I had reported more fully on the Balli paper earlier with diagrams etc). Some did not agree with the conclusions or felt it was premature to draw conclusions but valued the reporting given that these papers had received so little coverage in spite of their importance.
    So while you may disagree with Spencer’s et al conclusions if you going to criticise me you need to stick to faulting the reporting – not their research. They are different topics.
    I tend to agree with many of the modelling experts that the Aqua data is making all previous modelling obsolete. It would be strange if it did not, given that we can now plug in real data on the effect of cloud formation and rainfall.
    So let’s see what happens when they all run updated models.

  69. Interesting, Owen, thanks. Ian Hall planted his first trees in Otago in ’88, and his brother Alan was one of the first wave of commercial plantings, in ’89 – so that is perhaps what caught your attention.

    If I remember my geological map of Northland, there’s some good limestone in the southern Kaipara harbour.

    With soil that hard, you need to do lots of cultivation in spring, while your trees are young (ie before the roots get too well established). You can be pretty vigourous in the early days.

    If you were to join the NZTA, you would learn a lot – and meet up with some of the other local growers. One of them would be right up your street, from a CSC perspective 😉

    And I’m happy to let you have a copy of my truffle book at NZTA rates ($10 off).

    But really, any more truffle stuff should go off-line. You have my email.


  70. Andy,

    what my experience does give me is the ability to say with 100% assurance that Beck, so beloved by Leyland is utter and total bullshit.

    I find it fascinating that Leyland still refuses to say what he thinks of Beck. He says he doesn’t know. Yet he does apparently know enough about real scientific papers to say they are wrong. Curious.

    What do you make of this situation, Andy?

    Also still waiting for Roger to comment on the ethics of complaining to an employer about an employee’s out of work writing.

  71. Owen, apologies for getting that wrong, I was under the impression that you had made a sort of natural progression to working on urban issues from your early work as an architect, so didn’t necessarily think you were going round designing people’s houses or anything.

  72. I wonder what Mr.Leyland might have to say about recent scientists’ observations about the receding and potential disappearance of Tasman Glacier, or about the waters around the Antarctic becoming fresher – or even about Stern’s latest comments about the effects of global warming being even worse than he thought. I presume he will have his usual ‘everyone is out of step but me’ explanations.

  73. Reminds me,

    Bryan: Your opinion of Beck? “Don’t know” is not good enough. If you don’t have enough science to say one way or the other then how is it you understand enough to dismiss so much real climate science? (see what I did there?)

    Why not ask a real scientist about Beck and post their response?

  74. Incidentally, who are the leading climate change activists in New Zealand? Do we have anyone with the public profile (relative to NZ, of course) of Gore, Monbiot, or even Lovelock making sure that this issue is constantly in front of the public? In the TED video of Al Gore he mentioned 250 people taking a roadshow (I presume his one) around Australia before their election. Is anyone planning anything like that here?


  75. Robert

    “keeping the issue in front of the public” unfortunately relies on our esteemed media, most of which (print) is largely owned by two companies. The editors of at least one of those esteemed publications recently published a full page of rubbish science… you know who she is!

    In most of the publications, the environment round is handed to the latest cadet, and few, if any, have a dedicated science reporter. This is in stark contrast to media organisations elsewhere in the world.

    I was at the climate negotiations in Bali and of the 2500 journalists there, NOT ONE of them was from a New Zealand media outlet.

    There is a coalition called the Climate Defence Network which works mostly on policy. There are a number of individuals, but not the Al Gore type.

    Probably the most prominent person in the whole climate movement here is Jeanette Fitzsimmons.

  76. Here’s a quote mine from Bryan Leyland (this just seemed like a good place to put it)

    From the Dom Post on 28 May

    “They [the government]are ignoring the risk and praying it won’t happen, which is irresponsible”.

    Of course he is talking about serious risks here (like having your water heating turned off at peak electricity times).

    But you have to appreciate the irony…..

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