Birds of a feather…

Written By: - Date published: 3:45 pm, March 14th, 2008 - 27 comments
Categories: climate change, Environment, greens - Tags: , ,

birds220Frogblog covers Muriel Newman’s column in the Dom yesterday: “Climate change, we didn’t do it” [whew! back to my environmentally pollutive and destructive ways then].

Muriel’s source for this assertion is the recent (and delightfully innocuously named) International Conference on Climate Change. The purpose of the conference is to promote doubt over the increasing scientific consensus on climate change.

The conference is organised by the right wing think tank the Heartland Institute who assert:

  • “Most scientists do not believe human activities threaten to disrupt the Earth’s climate.”[4]
  • “The most reliable temperature data show no global warming trend.”[4]
  • “A modest amount of global warming, should it occur, would be beneficial to the natural world and to human civilization.”[4]
  • “The best strategy to pursue is one of ‘no regrets’.”[4]

Frogblog also note that as reported in The Independent the Heartland Institute has some big name sponsors including Exxon, the oil giant, and Philip Morris, the tobacco company. Turns out that Muriel aside, there’s another curious link back to little old New Zealand.

There amonst the list of sponsors (PDF link) of Heartland’s anti-environment conference is our very own Business Round Table. Fancy that.

27 comments on “Birds of a feather…”

  1. Although I think it is important to constantly ask questions, when something states their case using incredibly vague/tautological statements like “The best strategy to pursue is one of ‘no regrets’.” it makes me giggle.

    After all, if there was a strategy with ‘no regrets’ (which would mean that it is the best strategy no matter what happens) then we should choose it – it would be a dominant strategy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominant_strategy). There is so much debate about climate change because there is no ‘dominant strategy’, insofar as we can’t do one thing and it will be the best thing to do in all possible states of the world.

    Also “The most reliable temperature data show no global warming trend”, what the hell? I don’t think anyone buys that.

  2. Steve Pierson 2

    ‘no regrets’ was UF’s green house policy last election, it’s a step above Key ‘its a hoax’ but not not by much.

    It’s really just a heel dragging position, kind of like ‘let’s be a fast follower’. That’s great for someone with vested interests to protect.. everyone else is pushing for change and you lean the other way, dragging you heels yelling ‘let’s be a fast follower!’

  3. out of bed 3

    read the sponsors list it is a hoot

    eg “Sovereignty International”
    “The media and the UN have conspired to orchestrate the most comprehensive propaganda campaign since Joseph Goebbels tried to prepare the world for Hitler’s brand of global governance.” [1]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereignty_International

  4. higherstandard 4

    I think it’s safe to say that the Heartland institue are dubious at best due to their active involvement in the debate over tobacco policy, opposing restrictions on smoking and being on the payroll of some of the major tobacco producers.

  5. out of bed 5

    so why would the NZ Business Round table want to be associated with all those extreme right fuckwits?

  6. Steve Pierson 6

    hehe

  7. higherstandard 7

    Stupidity isn’t the sole property of politicians, business people are just as capable of bad decisions, the business roundatable have made some superb faux pas over the years

  8. out of bed 8

    “At regular scientific conferences, an independent scientific committee selects the talks. Here, the financial sponsors get to select their favorite speakers. The Heartland website is seeking sponsors and in return for the cash promises “input into the program regarding speakers and panel topics”.
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/01/what-if-you-held-a-conference-and-no-real-scientists-came/

  9. Phil 9

    “The most reliable temperature data show no global warming trend”

    This is technically true.
    Across the history of the planet, average temperatures exhibit a “U” shape… long periods of cool and then a spike upward. What we’re seeing now is a prologned maintaining of temperature at the top of the spike.

  10. randal 10

    it won’t happen immediately but it will happen…

  11. out of bed 11

    Phil link ?

  12. Dale 12

    I must congradulate The Standard for reporting on the conference albeit onesided. The ex vice president of the IPCC the was there in support of the conference. A wise man realising that the IPCC has been wrong all along. There are two sides to this not all have been swindled.

  13. AncientGeek 13

    Phil: what timescale are you talking about?

    Technically we are currently in an ice age that started about 45 million years ago when Antarctica moved fully into the southern polar region. It started building ice and dropped the entire world temperature massively. Since then we have had a number of glacial events, punctuated with occasional warmer periods like the ‘holocene hotspot’. You could (technically) argue that we will resume ‘normal’ temperatures when the temperatures and the O2 levels approach those of the Jurassic. When all of the ice melts off the polar regions, and we get a sea level rise in the order of about 75 metres.

    You could look at the Devonian ice ages as being ‘normal’, not to mention the “snowball earth” pre-cambian period.

    What has been unusual about the last 10,000 years has been its unusual temperature stability. Since all human civilization has occoured during that period – the real question is will it survive fouling its own nest.

  14. RedLogix 14

    And our friends at SourceWatch are worth a read too:

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Heartland_Institute

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=The_2008_International_Conference_on_Climate_Change

    Heartland’s long record working for pro-tobacco interests kind of makes for an oddball reference to Kevin Costner’s film “Waterworld”, in which the bad guys who occupied the last rusting oil tanker hulk (the Exxon Valdez ironically enough)…. were a gang who called who themselves “Smokers”.

  15. Ari 15

    Given that IPCC was full of concessions to climate skeptics from qualified scientists with the analysis of facts on their side, and still proposed action that governments found too strong, I find it kinda weird that you think that turning around from IPCC and going to a skeptical event is surprising.

  16. out of bed 16

    “The ex vice president of the IPCC the was there in support of the conference”. link please

  17. Dale 17

    leightonsmith.co.nz NewstalkZB.co.nz or just ask Dr Newman who was there.

  18. Aj 18

    At the coal face of climate science, there is some doubt over the analysis behind the AGW theory. Look beyond the BS from both sides to see what the science says.

    Eg. http://climatesci.org/

    I’m a leftie with complete sympathy with the most of views expressed on this site but we need to cast emotion aside and look without fear at the reality of the complex nature of the weather/climate systems on this planet. And I work in this field.

    I guess this discredits me completely now *sigh*

  19. Pablo 19

    Thanks Dale. The only person with less credibility than that loon Newman in these matters is Leighton Smith.

  20. RedLogix 20

    Aj,

    Agreed. The more we study the planet and it’s systems the more complexity we discover. Unfortunately there are plenty of people willing to use the “complexity” argument as fig leaf for a “we don’t understand it, therefore we cannot prove we are affecting it, and therefore we don’t have to do anything” position.

    How about this for another way of looking at it. All the excess anthropogenic CO2 released per annum, could be sequestrated if all the fertile land surface of the planet increased it’s depth of topsoil about 0.25mm per annum. (Sorry I don’t have a link for this). Of course in reality the exact opposite is happening.

    Looked at from this perspective, AGW could be a land management issue as much as anything.

  21. out of bed 21

    Aj from your link

    Humans are significantly altering the global climate, but in a variety of diverse ways beyond the radiative effect of carbon dioxide. The IPCC assessments have been too conservative in recognizing the importance of these human climate forcings as they alter regional and global climate. These assessments have also not communicated the inability of the models to accurately forecast the spread of possibilities of future climate. The forecasts, therefore, do not provide any skill in quantifying the impact of different mitigation strategies on the actual climate response that would occur.

    I don’t think that decredits you , but it might who 🙂

  22. out of bed 22

    knows?

    captha agony chemicals I kid you not

  23. Dale 23

    Yes Pablo thats why hes the most listened to talk back host in the contry.Grow up sunshine and do your homework.

  24. Aj 24

    out of bed, from a reader getting into bed lol

    Let’s preface your quote fully:

    1/The needed focus for the study of climate change and variability is on the regional and local scales. Global and zonally-averaged climate metrics would only be important to the extent that they provide useful information on these space scales.

    2/Global and zonally-averaged surface temperature trend assessments, besides having major difficulties in terms of how this metric is diagnosed and analyzed, do not provide significant information on climate change and variability on the regional and local scales.

    3/Global warming is not equivalent to climate change. Significant, societally important climate change, due to both natural- and human- climate forcings, can occur without any global warming or cooling.

    4/The spatial pattern of ocean heat content change is the appropriate metric to assess climate system heat changes including global warming.

    5/In terms of climate change and variability on the regional and local scale, the IPCC Reports, the CCSP Report on surface and tropospheric temperature trends, and the U.S. National Assessment have overstated the role of the radiative effect of the anthropogenic increase of CO2 relative to the role of the diversity of other human climate climate forcing on global warming, and more generally, on climate variability and change.

    6/Global and regional climate models have not demonstrated skill at predicting regional and local climate change and variability on multi-decadal time scales.

    7/Attempts to significantly influence regional and local-scale climate based on controlling CO2 emissions alone is an inadequate policy for this purpose.

    8/A vulnerability paradigm, focused on regional and local societal and environmental resources of importance, is a more inclusive, useful, and scientifically robust framework to interact with policymakers, than is the focus on global multi-decadal climate predictions which are downscaled to the regional and local scales. The vulnerability paradigm permits the evaluation of the entire spectrum of risks associated with different social and environmental threats, including climate variability and change.

    A huge amount of peer reveiwed science for the open minded on this site. I encourage you all the read as much as you can.

  25. Dale 25

    Clearly Pablo, your mind is so washed with rubbish you dont have the capacity to explore the boundries of science.Thank God Eienstein wasnt so closed to the boundries that you find yourself in.

  26. James 26

    “The imbalance of money between the promoters of climate fears and skeptics is so large that one 2007 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant of $20 million to study how “farm odors” contribute to global warming exceeded ALL of the money the groups skeptical of climate fears allegedly received from ExxonMobil over the past two decades.”

    U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee

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