Living in a warmer world

This year really has started with a bang. An unusual concatenation of weather extremes — Britain’s stormy and wet winter – the wettest since records began, 250 years ago – the warm winter in Russia and Alaska, drought in California and Australian heatwaves — has caused many people to consider the role that climate change might have played in driving those weather events. For once, public debate has moved away from the tired old is it/isn’t it happening frame and into concern about what living in a warming world might actually mean for us all. This makes Jim Salinger’s latest book, Living In A Warmer World – How a changing climate will affect our lives (Bateman NZ, 2013) especially welcome.

Salinger has drawn on all the relationships he has built up over a 40 year career as a climate scientist, including a spell as president of the WMO Commission for Agricultural Meteorology, to bring together some of the world’s leading experts on climate impacts. Each is given a chapter to look at what might be coming down the road, and it makes for essential, if sobering reading.

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VUW 3 vindicated, Monckton complaint rejected

Potty peer Chris Monckton’s complaint against VUW academics Jonathan Boston, David Frame and Jim Renwick has been roundly rejected by the university. An investigation carried out by a senior member of the academic staff found that Monckton’s allegations of fraud and libel were “not substantiated”. VUW vice chancellor Pat Walsh was unequivocal in his support of the VUW 3:

“I want to state clearly that I have faith in these academic staff. By speaking publicly in their field of expertise, they were doing exactly what we expect.”

It remains to be seen how Monckton will respond, but it will probably involve more empty threats. In a typically tasteless and intemperate article posted at WND last week, he fantasised about reporting VUW to the police:

If I do not receive a reply very soon, police will be asked to investigate not only the “professor” who had posted up the dodgy graph but also the vice-chancellor, the chancellor and the “university” itself as accessories during and after the fact of scientific fraud. Don’t send your child there, and don’t give it any money.

Despite hobnobbing with a High Court judge during his NZ visit1, it appears that Monckton’s grasp of the law is as dodgy as his understanding of climate science and economics.

  1. Or at least claiming to. It would be interesting to know to whom he refers… []

Moaning minnie Monckton attacks academic freedom: Support The VUW Three!

Christopher, Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, has converted his recent threats against NZ academics and universities into a gloriously idiotic letter of complaint (pdf), sent to the vice chancellor of Victoria University of Wellington, professor Pat Walsh, last Friday. In the letter, Monckton accuses the head of the Institute of Policy Studies, professor Jonathan Boston, of academic fraud, professor Dave Frame, director of the Climate Change Research Institute of committing “a grave libel”, and professor Jim Renwick of “delivering gratuitous, baseless and childish insults”. He accuses all three of dishonesty and breaching the university’s code of conduct for academic staff, and demands letters of apology. The reaction from Wellington? Great amusement, as Stuff reported:

The formal complaint was met with hilarity by the accused academics yesterday, none of whom appeared concerned about disciplinary action.

In support of his complaint, Monckton offers two documents: an unpublished paper (pdf) that purports to demonstrate that mitigation of carbon emissions is not cost-effective, and a critique (pdf) of a graph that featured in the IPCC’s fourth report. Boston’s use of the graph in a 2008 presentation is what Monckton claims is “fraudulent”. He demands:

Professor Boston’s fraudulent graph should be removed forthwith from the university’s website. Otherwise, a complaint of scientific fraud may be made to the police.

Scientific fraud? I wonder who is really guilty of that charge — the head of the Institute of Policy Studies using a graph from a major international report, or a visiting fringe politician who has published nothing on climate in any peer-reviewed journal, who is happy to misrepresent the facts about climate change at every opportunity, and who believes the UN is hell bent on confining Americans to concentration camps?

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