Wp-Content Uploads 2007 08 Homer-1Al Gore’s making most of the climate news at the moment. Winning a Nobel Peace Prize and having a British judge find nine “errors” in An Inconvenient Truth has generated a lot of copy, and more hot air. Others have done a lot of footwork on this story: Deltoid looks at the nature of the “errors” and RealClimate examines the underlying science, but New Zealand has its own band of stalwarts banging away. Former ACT MP Muriel Newman, who runs a web site titled the NZ Centre For Policy Research, not content with fulminating against “political indoctrination” in NZ schools, has now written to the president of the Academy Awards demanding that Gore’s Oscar should be removed:

“With the release of the British High Court judgement overnight that found that ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ was littered with nine inconvenient untruths, it is clear that Al Gore embellished the truth to create dramatic effect (see the High Court Judgement Given that the Oscar Award was presented in the documentary category and not the drama category, the only appropriate action now is for the Academy to rescind the Award as it was clearly inappropriately classed as a documentary. The second Oscar for ‘Best Original Song’ is not affected by the Judge’s ruling. The truth, as inconvenient as it is to Al Gore, is that his so-called documentary contained critical distortions that are quite contrary to the principles of good documentary journalism. Good documentaries should be factually correct. Clearly this documentary is not.”

What a broadside. I’m sure the Oscar committee are quaking in their boots and rushing to consider such an urgent issue, raised by such an important and perceptive commentator. Set aside for a moment that “embellishing the truth for dramatic effect” is pretty much what film-making is all about, Muriel seems to have forgotten a few basic facts herself.

Continue reading “Crankwatch”

Hot wine, or merely mulled?

GrapesJim Salinger of NIWA gave a talk on climate change and its implications for New Zealand’s wine growers at their annual Romeo Bragato conference, held in Auckland at the end of August.. The Herald reported some of the likely changes:

In the Gisborne area, chardonnay was likely to be replaced by shiraz, grenache and zindafel, while chardonnay and merlot were likely to be replaced by shiraz and malbec in Hawke’s Bay. Wairarapa’s pinot noir could be supplanted by merlot, malbec and cabernet franc grapes while cabernet sauvignon and merlot were likely to replace sauvignon blanc in Marlborough. In Canterbury, sauvignon blanc could replace chardonnay, while the pinot noir very suited to both Canterbury and Otago, could spread out to higher altitude sites in these regions.

Meanwhile, Napa Valley wineries are concerned about predictions that their premium vineyards could be worthless by the second half of this century, and in Alsace growers are reporting that climate change is already having a dramatic impact:

On a cobweb-encrusted rafter above his giant steel grape pressers, Rene Mure is charting one of the world’s most tangible barometers of global warming. The evidence, scrawled in black ink, is the first day of the annual grape harvest for the past three decades. In 1978, it was Oct. 16. In 1998, the date was Sept. 14. This year, harvesting started Aug. 24 — the earliest ever recorded, not only in Mure’s vineyards, but also in the entire Alsace wine district of northeastern France.

Mure wants to experiment with Rhone varietals like syrah, but France’s appellation rules make that difficult.

NIWA’s new climate projections coming soon

The Herald managed a sneak peek at NIWA’s latest round of climate projections last week:

Scientists expect New Zealand’s mean temperature will rise by an average 1.8C by the 2080s. By 2100, there will be up to 70 more days with temperatures over 30C, and frosty days will also drop, by five to 20 days in the North Island, and 10-30 days in the South Island. Snowlines will rise and westerly winds will be 20 per cent stronger. Severe droughts are likely to occur up to four times as often, but heavy rain will be more frequent.

Full results will not be available until September at the earliest, but I’m breathing a deep sigh of relief because the new study – based on the global climate modelling used in the IPCC’s Fourth Report – confirms earlier work, and that’s what I used in Hot Topic. Brett Mullen told the Herald:

“You don’t really want to have to reverse what you were saying before, but there certainly were some differences from what we saw in the first assessment. I think we’re on a firmer basis now.

What’s climate? Ask a real scientist…

A few weeks ago, our beloved Climate “Science