Putting the F back in ACT

It’s hardly news that New Zealand’s parliamentary climate deniers — the ACT party — have difficulty understanding climate science, but an astonishing leaflet from the party being stuffed into letterboxes around the country demonstrates that they are now losing touch with reality. The leaflet calls for opponents of the Emissions Trading Scheme to “rise up” and attend a series of public meetings. It gives an alarmist account of the costs of the scheme, and then offers this amazing justification:


That’s right: “scandal after scandal” at the IPCC “has unearthed evidence of a global fraud to create mass hysteria and transfer trillions of dollars from countries like New Zealand to largely corrupt dictatorships.” I wonder why this amazing revelation isn’t making front page news all round the world. Could it be that it’s a figment of the fertile imagination of John Boscawen, whose portrait adorns the leaflet? Let’s see your evidence John. I’m sure you must have plenty, because you wouldn’t publish and distribute something that was untruthful, would you? Just to help you out a little, here’s the truth about those IPCC “scandals”.

[Hat tip to HT reader Le Chat Noir, who received the leaflet this morning and forwarded it to me.]

65 thoughts on “Putting the F back in ACT”

  1. "Scandal after scandal"…."evidence of a global fraud to create mass hysteria".

    Very fine nourishment for one's sense of irony.

    The only question is how much of this nonsense do people like Boscawen and Hide really believe?

  2. I would have thought that the ACT leadership is alienating some of its own voters with this sort of hysterical gibberish. The electors of Epsom surely can't be happy with this kind of attack on mainstream science. It's one thing to oppose the Emissions Trading Scheme. It's quite another to propose a vast conspiracy of fraud on the part of a scientific community. Rodney may be in for a shock next election, though I gather some of the party already want to get rid of him and go for 5% with the general electorate. It'll be a ragbag 5% if it depends on this kind of appeal.

  3. I came across this quote today,

    Sir William Osler (1849-1919)

    The greater the ignorance the greater the dogmatism.

    – Montreal Medical Journal, Sep 1902, p.696

    makes a good tagline for the ACT party.

  4. I checked out the ACT website to see where the local meeting is being held. ACT claims that the ETS is the dopiest tax ever but their advertisement contains, well, the dopiest directions ever. The words tell me that the meeting will be held at the Parenting Place, 300 Great South Road, Greenlane but the map tells me the meeting will be held in the middle of Queen Street in Auckland city. The page is athttp://www.act.org.nz/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&… I have a screen shot if they change it.

    You really get the impression that Act is all over the place on this issue!
    My recent post Mining and the Auckland Transition Authority

  5. This is the hardest claim to fight, despite it's utter absurdity.

    How does one deconstruct such a paranoid world view? The extent to which "the culture of conspiracy" dominates the debate around climate change, mitigation and adaption is distressing.

    The problem is our popular culture is soaked with conspiracy theories: from moon landing hoaxes, vaccine denial and climate change denial itself, large segments of the public ascribe to the view that the "elite" are manipulating events to further enhance their power.

    It's may be easy to scoff at this stuff, however, in my day-to-day life I encounter it all the time. I can name five acquaintances off the top of my head that subscribe to at least one conspiracy theory. And these are educated professionals!

    One of them thinks climate change is happening, and the claims of the deniers "utter rubbish" but they are also convinced the US faked the Apollo moon landings for cold-war prestige.

    I'm not sure the scientific community fully appreciates just how prevalent or powerful this "folk mythologies" are, and how much they inform and distort the debate around climate change.

    This is a world where "facts" are manufactured to further the agenda of the IPCC/New World Order. My site is constantly bombarded by this kind of argument:

    "…When are you pushers of this hoax going to realize that you are being led by a few greedy entities and individuals with their own agenda to make billions out of this gigantic scam ?"

    So how do we fight this? That's what I've been pondering for some time. However, I don't think the media or scientists realize just how *powerful* or prevalent this world view is.

    The "Arab world" is often criticised by commentators for how it's "conspiratorial" world view (i.e the Jews where behind 9/11 and are manipulating world events) hampers political development and modernisation.

    And yet here in the "west" we are beset by exactly the same problem.

        1. I think that is a seriously long bow you draw there Gareth. What evidence do you have that Rodney Hide's views on climate change are reflected in his job as Minister of Local government?

          Following your logic someone could take the fact that the former leader of the NZ Green Party (Ms Fitzsimmons) has serious issues with the official version of what happened on September the 11th 2001 means that all her views are suspect. That is just as silly as your suggestion here.

          1. What Jeanette does or doesn't think about 9/11 is irrelevant to this discussion. Hide and Boscawen essentially discard all rationality when they make these sorts of statements about the climate issue, and that has to make their judgement on other issues questionable.

            1. It is you Gareth who are making an extraneous link which I am pointing out. I agree completely Ms Fitzsimmons views on 9/11 are irrelevant to her other views on this topic, that was my point. Just because she and Rodney Hide may hold one or more views at odds with both logic and the scientific consensus does not suggest at all there other views on politics are equally wrong headed. I suggest you keep on topic and not stray into other irrelevant areas.

            2. Jeanette's views on anything are irrelevant to this discussion, which is about Hide and ACT. Hide and Boscawen are pulling off the intellectual equivalent of telling us that there are faeries at the bottom of the garden, while expecting to be taken seriously. It would be a good trick if it were possible. It isn't.

            3. I personally think that they are way off mark with the "fraud" claims.
              However, I still agree with them that the ETS is a waste of time.

            4. Once again Gareth they might be completely off the planet with their views on this topic however that has little bearing in relation to their policies on other topics like Local Government reform. To try and imply as you did there is a link is silly. If you want people here to keep on topic then you should really do the same.

  6. Meanwhile, in conspiracy theory land…(sorry, The Guardian)

    The diplomatic moves came as Gordon Brown met billionaire financier George Soros; Obama's economic adviser Larry Summers; economist Lord Nicholas Stern and other finance ministers to find ways to raise $30bn (£20bn) a year immediately and $100bn a year by 2020 to enable developing countries to adapt to climate change.

    The high-level advisory group on climate change financing, convened by UN general secretary Ban Ki-moon and chaired by Brown and Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi, will consider at least six ways of raising up to $1trillion dollars for climate change adaptation. These include:

    • a small levy on all international aviation and shipping

    • enlarging existing carbon cap-and-trade markets

    • imposing a small "Robin Hood"-type tax on all financial transactions

    Oh, did I mention the Worlds Biggest coal power station to be built in SA? Financed by the World Bank.

    You can't make this stuff up.

  7. “Trillions”… worth a look for in anybody’s money.. heh!

    And there, just above my added comment is AlexB with his “$1 trillion” clip… yet wait a minute wasn’t this by way of “six” ways and means to that singular end. Globally. But the clip.. wasn’t that a pesky media item.. a reportage..

    On a file.. so what kind of cuckoo keeps stuff on the guy from Ethiopia… (I really don’t know whether to put a question mark or an exclamation here).

    As someone else said earlier… wow! speechless.. save to say Bosca—get back to cando better! We know you’ve gotta guilty conscience over Roger’s big miss(yep, mess will substitute), but this is no way to show it.

  8. Oh and BTW the Medupi power plant in SA was not unexpected.. tho I suspect “AlexB” by inadvertantly channeling corporate cronydom will find the consequences somewhat fraught..

    To hand an update on that situation..

    But the bank’s approval for the Medupi station, though expected, was overshadowed by dissatisfaction from American and European donors, as well as a groundswell of protests.

    America, Britain, the Netherlands, Italy and Norway registered their opposition to the loan by abstaining from the vote, the traditional method of dissent on the board which operates by consensus.

  9. But according to Pielke Jr:

    "According to Reuters, the US, UK and the Netherlands all abstained from lending their support for the new power plant. Hand any of these countries explicitly opposed the decision, it would not have gone forward. So an abstention in the context of no other opposition works out as a "yes" vote in practice."

    So much for "consensus.

    Let's put this in perspective. This one power station will emit the equivalent, over term, of three times the annual UK output, thereby nagating any attempts to decarbonise the UK.

    India has six of these beasts planned.

    So much for us helping the developing world "tackle" climate change. We are helping them create it.

  10. Rodney Hide describing Al Gore as a phoney and a fraud is so stupid that it ought to be unbelievable. Gore has put years of diligent work into understanding climate change and communicating its reality. He works hard on the question of solutions. He is a person of considerable intellectual depth, as his books demonstrate.

    Hide appears to have picked up his understanding of climate change from a quick scan of denialist journalism. I doubt whether he's put diligent work into anything for years. Yet he stands up in parliament and dismisses Gore in these terms. Contemptible.

  11. Mr Hide might have just used Google. After all, if you start typing Al Gore, the second search suggestion is "Al Gore Fraud" and the fourth is "Al Gore lies"

    Just an impartial observation as to the state of the internet

    1. Yep and you missed out “Gore suf­fers from Nar­cis­sis­tic Per­son­al­ity Dis­or­der,” says Henry I. Miller, a physi­cian and mol­e­c­u­lar biol­o­gist, a fel­low at Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity’s Hoover Insti­tu­tion who was for­merly an offi­cial at the NIH and FDA.
      The cri­te­ria for this diag­no­sis, as described in the psychiatrist’s bible, the Diag­nos­tic and Sta­tis­ti­cal Man­ual of Men­tal Dis­or­ders, include a “per­va­sive pat­tern of grandios­ity (in fan­tasy or behav­ior), need for admi­ra­tion and lack of empa­thy, begin­ning by early adult­hood and present in a vari­ety of con­texts,”

      1. That sort of thing which is so widespread in the denialosphere is probably just what gave Hide the nerve to describe Gore as he did. He obviously consults the same websites as you do. The multiplicity of them doesn't turn their loathsome attacks on Gore's integrity into anything other than the nasty fictions that they are.

  12. Slightly off-topic, but are carbon taxes really going to save us?

    In the UK, public sector debt is increasing a rate of 500million pounds A DAY

    The interest alone on that increasing loan is costing the average UK household around $150NZD a week.

    Britain is currently on a suicide mission to decarbonise its economy, increasing power prices dramatically.

    it doesn't take a great deal of imagination to see that we are heading for the mother of all economic collapses in Europe, which will have a profound effect on our economy

    Now is not the time to be frittering away money on "feel-good" emissions schemes.

  13. You guys seem to think you're fooling people by using abuse and mockery as a substitute for facts.

    Your link just alerts us to the depth of the fraud. Many of the rebuttals just contained reassurances from the widely-discredited UN, and statements from scientists that the underlying science is fine.

    Why should people believe that when there's so much evidence (which you generously highlight) that the scientists who did the underlying science were lying.

    Unfortunately as a result of the various climate scandals (and they are) most people just don't believe scientists any more. That's a shame, for which the scientific community can thank a few crooked climate scientists working to a socialist agenda.

    And if you think consensus is important (funny, I thought science was about the odd enlightened sceptic proving the consensus wrong), then why don't you mention the 31,000 scientists who signed a petition saying that man-made global warming was a hoax?

    In short, I think your heading is a good one. ACT does seem to be concerned with FACTS, while you guys are concerned with defending your religion.

    1. Strong words, John. Please provide evidence for your assertions. Please note that they read suspiciously as if they rely on the same sources as those used by Rodney and John — in which case they cut no ice here, for they have been shown (repeatedly) to be based on the disinformation campaign being run out of US think tanks and foundations.

      I'm sure you'll be able to find a source or reference that does not have links to those groups, won't you John?

      But having read your own words on your own blog, I won't be holding my breath. Anyone who considers Monckton a credible source of anything other than bullshit is suffering under a severe misapprehension.

    2. What a heap of baloney.

      Can you point to one fact, supported by evidence, in your heap of assertions?

      All one can take from your rant is that everyone is discredited, except people you believe, because that's what you believe, and it fits your world view.

      How about you prove your case with real evidence?

      Are you an actual ACT party member, John? It would be interesting to know.

      1. I'm not an ACT member, but if I was I wouldn't be ashamed to belong to the only party with the guts to be what all scientists are supposed to be: sceptical.

        I do know that Rodney Hide became an environmentalist because he was concerned about the 1970s revelations about global cooling being put about by the likes of Jim Hansen. So we can't blame him for being sceptical about the same NASA GISS people now warning of excessive warming.

        As I've just posted elsewhere on this site, the best way to prove who's right and who's wrong is in a trial. I note that they've had one already and the judge found Monckton right and Gore wrong.

        Now I think we need another one to test ALL the evidence for and against global warming and the action being proposed to deal with it.

        A very public international trial is the only way for the millions whose pockets are being picked to know whether there's a problem, if so whether it's possible to solve it, and if so whether the cure is worse than the disease.

    3. "(funny, I thought science was about the odd enlightened sceptic proving the consensus wrong)"

      and you consider yourself an enlightened sceptic, I suppose. you're certainly odd…

      in fact science is mostly about formulating hypotheses to explain observations and then testing these against further observations. in some cases a hypothesis is overturned by a new hypothesis which better fits observations. thus far this is what your "enlightened sceptics" lack – a hypothesis which fits the observed warming better than the current one described by the IPCC (yes, the same IPCC that has been 'discredited' by libelous cranks)….

  14. Look, I'm just someone trying to make sense of this issue. I'm not even a very good natural sceptic. I started by believing Al Gore's movie.

    Then I heard that An Inconvenient Truth contained 35 inconvenient untruths, and how 9 of those had been proven in a court of law.

    Then I heard that Gore refused to debate Monckton. Why, if the peer is so potty and Al is so right? That rang alarm bells. They kept ringing when he said the science is settled.

    Now there are all these mistakes in the IPCC report.

    Can you blame people like me for being sceptical when we hear that the polar bears aren't dying, Tuvalu isn't sinking, temperatures for the Californian mountains were taken on the beach in Santa Monica, many temperatures were inflated by urban heat islands, tree rings were selected to suit the desired result, etc. etc.

    It all adds up.

    I'd be happy to change my mind back if I could see some compelling evidence that's not connected with Al Gore or the UN or computer models.

    1. Hey John are you the same John Ansell with a website about your work as a writer and public speaker? If so you had a section about Plain English which I found very interesting and would like to ask you a question about.

        1. Since you are into plain speaking I thopught you might be interested in a book that Bryan reviewed on this site called Global Sustainability – A Nobel Cause

          You can check it out herehttp://hot-topic.co.nz/global-sustainability-a-no

          I just loved some of the language used it there such as this gem –

          "It calls for better global communication about natural or social sustainability crises and for a global initiative on the advancement of sustainability science, education and training. “The best young minds, especially those of women, need to be motivated to engage in interdisciplinary problem-solving, based on ever enhanced disciplinary excellence.”

          What do you think that means by the way as we had quite a debate about it here?

          1. Gosman, if bright people like you have to debate what something means, then it's badly written.

            But since you challenged me, here goes (it helps to break the big Franco-Latin words down into little Anglo-Saxon ones):

            "It calls for better global communication about natural or social sustainability crises and for a global initiative on the advancement of sustainability science, education and training" might mean: "All of us need to get better at explaining the crises that threaten the planet and its people. We need a worldwide plan to show people how science can keep our environment healthy."

            (The original contained 7 words of three or more syllables. Mine had 2.)

            And “The best young minds, especially those of women, need to be motivated to engage in interdisciplinary problem-solving, based on ever enhanced disciplinary excellence.” might mean: "We need to persuade the best young thinkers, especially women, to not only be brilliant specialists, but also use those skills to solve problems in fields allied to their own."

            (Again, 6 multisyllables cut down to 2.)

            But who knows?

            1. Thank you for that John. I appreciate the time you took to cut through the BS in that passage.

              As for you Bryan, you seem to be particularly attracted to pseudo-intellectual drivel such as this which substitutes verbiage for actual content. The fact that you attempt to explain the incredibly poor efforts at communication by suggesting it is related to the authors experience of English as a second language is laughable.

              The reason I asked John Ansell about it here was that he was posting on this thread and he seems to have an ability in cutting through this sort of stuff, something you seem to lack.

          2. What has your sneering at the English in an international document quite possibly prepared by people for whom English is a second or third language (how many languages do you have?) got to do with this post or with the serious issue of climate change with which this website is concerned? You know as well as I do what the words mean. And if you want words of fewer syllables it shouldn't be beyond your intelligence to provide them.

    2. "Then I heard that" – that's where your problem lies John. Practically none of the things you've heard are true. Maybe Gore turned down a debate with Monckton – and why shouldn't he? Monckton deserves none of the attention he gains. There was one mistake in the IPCC report – acknowledged and regretted. If you want to read what the scientists say there are any number of books reviewed here on Hot Topic which will give you some real information. Click on the Book Reviews tab at the top of the page. But if you prefer to take your understanding from denialism there's little we can offer you.

    3. John, complicated problem – who do you believe? I wish I find a simple answer to this one. I'd start with published peer-reviewed science. This gets around issue of cranks and people that say one thing to naive audience and another when talking to their peers. If you cant follow the papers though, you have to rely on commentator that summerise it and regrettably there are numerous examples of "skeptics" citing a paper but reporting its meaning to be diametrically opposed to the authors. You need commentators that can called into account. For my money, your first point of call is IPCC. IPCC errors are mostly minor stuff, in WG2, not WG1, and a beat up by the media. Given the scrutiny of the results, if that's the best that "skeptic" community can marshall, then its evidence of the robustness. WG1 SPM is easily readable, and you can refer to the full WG1 report for more detail where you want it. And WG1 is massively referenced, so can go back to the science.

      The said, you can find much of this compelling evidence by following the papers

      And as for computer models… you want to do the calculations by hand?
      You might also want to look at http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-models.ht
      since I suspect you believe things about the models that not actually true.

    4. John Ansell, Good Sir, you speak of heresy that shall not be heard in these parts

      For the Good Book of Rajendra shall not be sullied with.

      I hear of a land of Bishops on Hills, of Lords who speak in tongues, who can perform wizardry unheard of on the wand of Mann.

      I beg you not to stay or to tarry. They are surely mad, for they believe that they can rule the wind and the weather. You should go and use the wind at sea for sail, and not partake of our toil on land.

      Sail at once, Sir, for, if the Milibandians come, they will surely set you to the poles for ever and a day.

    5. "They kept ringing when he said the science is settled." – J. Ansell.

      Strange that deniosaurs are the only ones to make that claim. Maybe you should stop listening to them?

  15. "I heard that An Inconvenient Truth contained 35 inconvenient untruths, and how 9 of those had been proven in a court of law. '

    Well, Peter Ellis and I don't have much faith in legal forums to arrive at the truth and I for one prefer to rely on scientific rather than legal methodology.

    That aside, my experience is the opposite to yours in regard to the ultimate impact of "climategate" allegations.
    Until a few months ago I had but a passing interest in the topic. That was until I came across some extraordinary denial rants on Poneke's weblog on the topics of the CRU email saga and Mann's hockey sticks.

    My i,nterest sparked it was easy to research a most of the allegations which were quickly and conclusively shown to have no substance what-so-ever..

    So in my case climategate has served the skeptical cause no good at all, rather it has has made me become quite proactive in my small way toward promoting climate science and mainstream consensus. I have been absolutely amazed at the utter baseness of most argument and tactics used by those on the science-denial camp.

    1. Well it seems to me that the scientific community is just as prone to get things wrong than the judicial system. What happened to global cooling, killer bees, 150,000 Americans dead from swine flu (another tall story from the UN), the Millennium Bug (yeah I know millions were spent to avoid it, but the Italians did nothing and nothing happened), etc.

      I think judges are our best bet to sort out who's telling the truth. That's what they're good at. Obviously it suits you to highlight the exception to the rule (Peter Ellis) because the only judge to have heard the facts from both sides found against you.

      Maybe you guys need to learn to explain your facts better… or, just maybe, they're just wrong.

        1. So your evidence is the real evidence and other people's is made up.

          Well then, you shouldn't have any problem proving that in a court of law, where both sides' views can be thoroughly tested and defended until one emerges the more credible.

          Oh wait, they did that already. Now I don't know how thorough that case in London was, but it seems to me such a court case needs to be convened urgently to hear all the evidence, once and for all, before a TV audience.

          Then, and only then, can ordinary people whose pockets are being raided know whether it's worth it or not.

          Otherwise each side will go on issuing plausible-sounding graphs and we'll all be none the wiser.

          1. except that one side is backed by actual scientific research, while the other side's just trying to turn every little bit of confusion into major controversy (often quite successfully).

            I suggest you check throughhttp://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php and see if you can spot any of the arguments you have read refuting AGW (hint they're all dealt with there) and read them before repeating said arguments.

            the court case you cite above, did not change the game at all. denialists still claim victory despite the judge finding largely in favour of Gore. while certain mistakes were identified, it was acknowledged that the film was largely factually accurate. the people who brought the case certainly did not get what they wanted so could hardly claim victory.

            no matter what, those with vested interests in the continuation of the status quo will fight it to the bitter end.

            it's interesting that despite the fact that you claim you're still 'trying to make sense of' the arguments (a claim I'm skeptical of), you've decided that AGW is all about stealing from 'the people'. if you do discover that AGW is a serious threat will you acknowledge that those fighting against action are stealing a much more valuable thing from 'the people'.

          2. You do need to read a little more about the UK court case, it would appear — nommopilot has the links for you. Bottom line: the judge explicitly cleared Gore's film to be shown in British schools, with some minor amendments to the teachers notes. That you have heard otherwise just goes to show how effective the PR spin applied by Monckton and others was.

            There is no equivalent case in NZ, but I did blog about a judge adjudicating in a magazine debate back in September 2008. You might find the result and the judges comments interesting.

  16. For what it is worth to readers of this blog, I did go along to one of these meetings with Rodney Hide. No talk of conspiracies, IPCC or whatever. Just plain economics

    Their calculation is that it will take 25% off the profit for a dairy farmer, and add a lot of compliance issues.

    Naturally, they are all very excited about this, especially as NZ is the only country outside of Europe pursuing such a scheme.

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