New Zealand’s climate cranks have been out in force in recent weeks. I’ve got a number of posts I’d like to make discussing what they have to say, but those got pushed down the queue by a column by Garth George in today’s Herald, helpfully headlined “Climate change warriors, throw down your weapons”. Garth devotes himself to a discussion of the “Manhattan Declaration“, the statement issued by the Heartland Institute‘s crank conference in New York last month, and then wonders:
Now why this forthright declaration did not receive prominent coverage in the press anywhere in New Zealand, including this newspaper’s vaunted Green Pages, I have no idea. It was, after all, a Kiwi initiative.
Perhaps, Garth, it’s because the “declaration” is nonsense, and the involvement of New Zealanders more a matter for national shame than pride? Let’s have a look at this declaration in a little more detail…
First, for those who like a little entertainment, listen to the first draft of the declaration being read by prominent British crank Viscount Monckton at the conference (mp3 here). Drafted by Terry Dunleavy, secretary of the NZ C”S”C, and founding chairman of the International C”S”C, with Canadian PR man Tom Harris (recently appointed executive director of the ICSC), it was then given a once-over by Monckton to put it into what he calls “UN-speak”. It appears that his revisions were an extensive over-write, because the final version is much shorter and a great deal less flowery. So let’s have a look at the declaration in detail:
International Conference on Climate Change
New York City, 2-4 March, 2008
Manhattan Declaration on Climate Change
â€œGlobal warmingâ€ is not a global crisis
We, the scientists and researchers in climate and related fields, economists, policymakers, and business leaders, assembled at Times Square, New York City, participating in the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change,
Resolving that scientific questions should be evaluated solely by the scientific method;
Some chutzpah here, as sceptic attempts to derail modern climate science generally fall at the first hurdle – getting into the peer-reviewed literature. I’ll be looking at some crank “science” in future posts.
Affirming that global climate has always changed and always will, independent of the actions of humans, and that carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a pollutant but rather a necessity for all life;
Too much of a good thing does not always do you good…
Recognising that the causes and extent of recently-observed climatic change are the subject of intense debates in the climate science community and that oft-repeated assertions of a supposed â€˜consensusâ€™ among climate experts are false;
Amongst working climate scientists there is a consensus, and it is expressed (in a conservative manner) in the IPCC’s fourth report – a comprehensive review of the scientific literature. There is a consensus that the world is round, but that doesn’t stop there being a Flat Earth Society.
Affirming that attempts by governments to legislate costly regulations on industry and individual citizens to encourage CO2 emission reduction will slow development while having no appreciable impact on the future trajectory of global climate change. Such policies will markedly diminish future prosperity and so reduce the ability of societies to adapt to inevitable climate change, thereby increasing, not decreasing human suffering;
The Lomborg straw man, and the nub of the issue. This has nothing to do with science, and everything to do with avoiding action.
Noting that warmer weather is generally less harmful to life on Earth than colder:
Thus ignoring all the evidence of current impacts, and minimising the potential damage.
That current plans to restrict anthropogenic CO2 emissions are a dangerous misallocation of intellectual capital and resources that should be dedicated to solving humanityâ€™s real and serious problems.
Back to Lomborg – back to the nub of the issue
That there is no convincing evidence that CO2 emissions from modern industrial activity has in the past, is now, or will in the future cause catastrophic climate change.
The “la la la la, we can’t hear you” approach to the evidence.
That attempts by governments to inflict taxes and costly regulations on industry and individual citizens with the aim of reducing emissions of CO2 will pointlessly curtail the prosperity of the West and progress of developing nations without affecting climate.
Back to the lobbying on policy.
That adaptation as needed is massively more cost-effective than any attempted mitigation, and that a focus on such mitigation will divert the attention and resources of governments away from addressing the real problems of their peoples.
Adaptation is certainly necessary – and will be very important – but to ignore mitigation is to sentence future generations to chaos.
That human-caused climate change is not a global crisis.
One more time: “la la la la, we can’t hear you”
Now, therefore, we recommend â€“
That world leaders reject the views expressed by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as well as popular, but misguided works such as â€œAn Inconvenient Truthâ€.
An application of Gore’s Law in public discourse.
That all taxes, regulations, and other interventions intended to reduce emissions of CO2 be abandoned forthwith.
And at last, what it’s all about. This is why the Heartland Institute put this conference together, and funded sceptics from around the world to fly to New York. This has nothing to do with the reality of the science, and everything to do with the lobbying of special interests – those who fund the Heartland Institute. It’s a calculated PR effort to poison the debate – principally in the US, but with worldwide effects – as Garth George demonstrates:
It seems that so-called global warming has created an international hysteria, encouraged by scientists and politicians who are talking through their pockets, and that no amount of common sense will divert the doom-sayers from their misguided and deeply dangerous path. You would think that in pragmatic New Zealand at least, the Manhattan Declaration, and others like it, would be greeted with great relief and joy.
Wouldn’t it be nice if, for once, Garth did his own thinking, instead of buying into the thoughts of a US PR machine?