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Consquences on climate change

Written By: - Date published: 2:04 pm, August 21st, 2008 - 70 comments
Categories: climate change - Tags:

Deputy leader Bill English yesterday late afternoon released what could barely be described as National’s policy on climate change. I was sorry to see such little detail on what they planned, despite his saying (again) that their structure would be in place within nine months. Surely they must know what they plan to do then? I also noted that it  was slipped out under the cover of dusk, and curious as to why it was Bill English that presented, rather than Mr Key (or Nick Smith?). Perhaps it’s because Mr Key has something of a damaged reputation when it comes to climate change.

So, from past words, here’s some insight into Mr Key’s thinking:

1) Key gives one reason for why he’s saying something different now. Key: “I wasn’t going to go into the House and give a speech that completely contrasted with the leader at a time where everything I said was always contrasted with the leader as some sort of leadership ploy.’ Sunday Star Times, 28 Jan 2007

2) Key gives a different reason for why he’s saying something different now. Key: “My opinions on climate changes have now changed, based purely on scientific evidence.”(Southland Times, 30 Nov 2006 offline)

3) He says some are sceptical but not him: Key “The scientific consensus is clear: human-induced climate change is real and it’s threatening the planet. There are some armchair sceptics out there, but I’m not one of them.’ (Northern Regional Conference, 13 May 2007)

4) Key says he never thought any different. Key “I firmly believe in climate change and always have” (28 Nov 2006, Nine to Noon, National Radio offline)

But in the early days:

5) It’s a hoax and he’s suspicious: Key: “This is a complete and utter hoax, if I may say so. The impact of the Kyoto Protocol, even if one believes in global warming—and I am somewhat suspicious of it—is that we will see billions and billions of dollars poured into fixing something that we are not even sure is a problem. Even if it is a problem, it will be delayed for about 6 years. Then it will hit the world in 2096 instead of 2102, or something like that. It will not work” (Hansard, 10 May 2005)

I’ve looked in vain to see a reaction from Labour regarding this latest policy  – maybe they think people already are suspicous of Key on climate change.

70 comments on “Consquences on climate change ”

  1. Better Dead Than Red 1

    The myth of humankind induced climate change is a millstone around the neck of National. A result of their failure to fight on the issue. As they have failed to fight on almost every issue of consequence.

    I dunno why you guys on the left are so worried by National. They’ve got no secret agenda. (No more secret than yours anyway) They’ve got no bloody agenda at all. They’ve got no policies that are radically different to yours. They stumble across the stage of NZ politics like Blind Freddy stumbles around when he loses his seeing eye dog. National under John Key or Labour under Helen Clark, it makes little difference to the working middle class Nzers struggling to put food on the table, petrol in the car and educate their kids. Climate change?? Pfft. What an elitist rort.

    The Nats could have won a lot of votes on climate change, merely by telling the truth that it is a myth, and saying that under National, no NZer will be paying money to any Russian gangsters as a result of some loopy watermelon fairy story.

  2. randal 2

    better dead than red is a fool. In the long run mans life span upon the planet will be brief. in the short term mans efforts to denude the planet of the very thing that creates and sustains its present fecundity will also put and end to the present levels of population and the end of industrial capitalism based on the extraction of energy from fossil fuels will expend itself on who knows what rock and vision of the future it entails. However there are steps that must be taken before there is an irreversible tragedy of the commons that is greater than mans ability to heal the wounds of open eploitaion and release of heretofore conecentrations of molecules and other things inimicable to life in general. you betcha kiddo

  3. Lew 3

    BDTR: So you’re one of those people who doesn’t believe in science, then?

    Good to know.

    L

    Captcha: `Detroit debate’

  4. Better Dead Than Red 4

    “So you’re one of those people who doesn’t believe in science, then?”

    Neither did Copernicus.

  5. Lew 5

    BDTR: Indeed he didn’t. Nor did Galileo, as is so frequently pointed out in this case.

    This is what’s called confirmation bias: of all the thousands of prominent people who stood against the scientific (or religious, or whatever) establishment over the centuries, history tends to only remember the handful who turned out to be right. The rest of those thousands are regarded in death as they were in life: as deluded fools.

    The IPCC represents scientific consensus. Unless you’re a climate scientist equipped to argue the merits of the IPCC’s findings (and I accept that there are legitimate dissenting voices) then in the face of such a massive preponderance of scientific opinion, the only rational course of action is to accept the IPCC’s findings. If it were more evenly split – say, if one climate scientist in four could mount a strong case against the IPCC – then I’d have more tolerance for those who discard their findings. But since those representing the `climate change is a myth’ position account for a diminishingly small minority of those qualified to give informed comment, choosing that position over the alternative is purely ideological. It’s a matter of believing one set of experts because you want to believe them over another larger, more credible, more widely accepted set of experts.

    L

  6. coge 6

    Lew, you are quite correct. The main problem I see is it would be impossible for anyone to qualify as a climate scientist, if you disagreed with the popular consensus. Like someone wanting becoming a preist, who doesn’t subscribe to the teachings of catholisism. So after a few years the numbers are very stacked in favour of the current popular consensus. Not very scientific, really.

  7. Stephen 7

    What an elitist rort.

    If it’s elitist then i’m all for it 😉

  8. Lew 8

    Coge: Would it?

    What you’re arguing is that the international scientific establishment has been subjugated by an ideological movement. That’s a bona fide conspiracy theory right there, and taken to its logical conclusion means that you can”t trust anything. I know you’re pretty cynical, but do you really believe that? And if so, on what basis? (Challenging orthodoxy, the burden of evidence rests with you.)

    L

  9. Better Dead Than Red 9

    “the only rational course of action is to accept the IPCC’s findings”

    Even if one accepts your claims as correct, its not rational without a cost benefit analysis. Taking measures that will seriously impact on the living standards of working middle class people on the basis of an unproven myth is not logical or rational or anything. There is already massive criticism of the IPPC’s findings, and the connection between mankind’s actions and any climate change remains unproven.

    Any government, National or Labour, Democrat or Republican, that tries to take money from working people and their families to counter this mythical event will soon find out the real degree of support.

    Keep at it tho. If there’s one thing that will turn out to be a millstone around the neck of socialism its this stupid idea. Go for it.

  10. coge 10

    Lew, do you think it would be possible to qualify as a climate scientist if one didn’t agree with popular consensus?

  11. Lew 11

    BDTR: The IPCC has done the calculations. My point is: what qualifies you to reject them?

    And before you come with the `I’m entitled to do as I please’ – yes you’re entitled to reject them if you want . I just want to it to be clear whether you’re doing it for sound scientific reasons, for reasons based on rationality and logic, or simply because you don’t want to believe the experts.

    L

  12. Draco TB 12

    Even if one accepts your claims as correct, its not rational without a cost benefit analysis.

    Here’s a cost benefit for ya BDTR

    Doing something about anthropogenic climate change:
    cost: a few hundred million divided by several billion people
    benefit: We, our children and our children’s children get to live long healthy lives.

    Not doing anything about anthropogenic climate change:
    cost: nothing
    benefit: We get to die out due to the collapse of the ecology.

    There is already massive criticism of the IPPC’s findings, and the connection between mankind’s actions and any climate change remains unproven.

    There’s a 95% probability that our actions are making major changes to the Earths ecology. If you could bet on a horse with a 95% probability of coming first would you then place a winning bet, a placement bet on that horse or bet on another horse that has a 5% chance?

  13. Matthew Pilott 13

    BDTR, a rational cost/benefit anaylsis will show that we should act to forstall climate change.

    There are two options, two scenarios and four outcomes.

    Scenario 1: CC is a complete and utter hoax
    Action 1: Do nothing
    Outcome: you’ve saved a bit of money by not acting. Otherwise fine.
    Score: let’s say, for the sake of it, plus 10.

    Scenario 1: CC is a complete and utter hoax.
    Action 2: Act to prevent CC.
    Outcome: you’ve wasted a bit of money. Otherwise fine.
    Score: logically minus 10.

    Scenario 2: CC is occuring
    Action 1: Do nothing
    Outcome: You’ve saved a little money, and civilised society as we know it largely disintegrates through conflict for resources as rising sea levels put huge strain on land and water. In general, we’re going to be pretty miserable.
    Score: Would have to be minus several thousand.

    Scenario 2: CC is occuring
    Action 2: Act to prevent CC
    Outcome: Spend a little money, and prevent an incomparable disaster.
    Score: Plus several thousand, conservatively. Bordering on immesurable.

    You’d have to be very, very confident in your scenario assessment to go with the ‘do nothing’ action – you’re waging a tiny benefit against a huge, huge loss. Unless you know somthing the IPCC doesn’t, you either have a massive gambling problem or are ideologically driven to irrationality.

    So I’ll ‘go for it’, and I can always point back to this assessment and say “it was the right choice”. What are you going to say if you’re wrong? “Sorry about our planet. I really thought I was right.”?

  14. Matthew Pilott 14

    I see Draco TB has the same line of thought! Great minds…

  15. Lew 15

    Coge: Of course I do – if your research stacks up, scientific communities rally around you and have shown great willingness in the past to throw out old orthodoxies which have been disproven, and to adopt new orthodoxies for whcih there exists strong evidence. The one thing scientists aren’t afraid of is being proved wrong. They take it as a challenge, and it is the engine of progress. If you argue that the scientific community has now shut its mind to dissent, you’re arguing the end of science and therefore the end of progress. I’m pretty cynical, too, but I don’t think humanity’s gotten that bad.

    L

  16. Lew 16

    Matt, some bloke called Greg Craven already did this in a spiffy video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zORv8wwiadQ

    L

  17. Stephen 17

    Well the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development http://www.nzbcsd.org.nz/ is often a place to go for benefits…

    The NZIER put out a report on the costs several months ago, but missed quite a bit in their analysis…

  18. vto 18

    Lew, you said

    “This is what’s called confirmation bias: of all the thousands of prominent people who stood against the scientific (or religious, or whatever) establishment over the centuries, history tends to only remember the handful who turned out to be right. The rest of those thousands are regarded in death as they were in life: as deluded fools.”

    Is it in fact so, or is it more the case that “the rest of those thousands” are not remembered because they simply did not actually come up with the proof to the contrary? And “those thousands” while perhaps not having the appropriate scientific mind to attack the prevailing wisdom, may have had an instinctual ‘animal type’ nous subconsciously telling them that the “prevailing scientific / religious / whatever wisdom” was flawed? And as such they can be kind of held in a similar regard to Galileo and Copernicus..

    (Tho, you are no doubt right in that all who oppose accepted orthodoxy are regarded in death as deluded fools. It is only later that the truth emerges and they are not such fools after all, but by then everyone who remembers them is in death as well.)

    Just curious as I enjoy going against the grain…

  19. Draco TB 19

    do you think it would be possible to qualify as a climate scientist if one didn’t agree with popular consensus?

    Of course it is. If you then proved via the scientific method that the scientific consensus was incorrect you would become a multi-millionaire very very quickly.

    Scientific consensus is not popular – it’s backed up by thorough research and observable phenomena.

  20. lprent 20

    coge: Sure. However it’d be bloody hard to qualify if you just rejected the evidence without bothering to go through it.

    In almost every case of recent climate dissenters (ie in the last 10 years) there have been two characteristics IMHO.

    1. They aren’t trained in earth sciences (note – not geology, meteorology, physics, astronomy, etc etc).

    2. They ignore wide swathes of the evidence and concentrate on discrepancies in a few areas for relatively short time spans, OR they look outside the last 10k years.

    The point with that last point is the question of scales.

    No-one (I know) outside of the extreme scientific illiterates denies that there has been quite severe climate change in the past. But the last 10k years has been remarkably stable compared to the last 20 million years or so. All of human civilisation has happened within that period and is probably largely dependent on that climate stability.

    You can look at any small climate dataset and find a discrepancy to ‘theory’. The reason is that you’re looking at a relatively chaotic with inherent rules that are usually non-intuitive. For instance global warming will result in some reasons becoming colder. Regions that should be getting drier get heavier rainfalls (when they occur). A lot of the climate detractors are distinguishable for their apparent inability to deal with large statistical sets. They keep appealing to localised or time limited data.

    I consider that very few of the detractors recently in the last decade have contributed much. The earlier ones were useful because they kept pointing to alternate possibilities – which have been investigated and found wanting or have been added to the theories. The recent detractors just seem to indulge themselves in wishful thinking and dubious associations.

  21. Stephen 21

    I don’t think there is a qualification that one earns to become a climate scientist, as a few seem to be implying here…They get their PhD in a relevant field, and off they go! As long as they’re practicing climate scientists anyway. A few published journal articles help too.

  22. Better Dead Than Red 22

    If people awoke tomorrow morning, and never spoke of climate change, and it was never spoken of ever again, and nothing was ever done, there would be no disaster. There is no scientific evidence to prove this statement untrue.

    People who say we must take on enormous financial imposts because something “might” happen are more likely to cause death and disaster, as the blunder over DDT has shown so well.

    Many within the scientific community have come out in opposition to the supposed “consensus”. This is not just some minor point of disagreement, but a challenge to the opinion that we are facing disaster if nothing is done. No scientist would argue the point without good reason. The non-believers have the fate of the human race on their conscience. They would not express such opinions unless they held them sincerely and strongly. One cannot say that of the believers, who only have their research funding at stake.

  23. Lew 23

    vto: What you describe is the `blind pig’ phenomenon (even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while – ignoring for a moment that pigs mostly use smell, not sight, to find acorns). It’s a teleological sort of take on the confirmation bias – the idea that Ronald the turnip farmer should be lauded as prescient because, based on no apparent evidence, he correctly predicted some trend or phenomenon ascribes a degree of rigour to Ronald that he probably doesn’t deserve, although it must be said he got the answer right. In order to be more fondly remembered by history one must, as Copernicus and Galileo and others did, demonstrate your bases for believing what you believe, and then have your bases confirmed after the fact. Quite a different matter.

    L

  24. Lew 24

    BDTR: Three points to make here.

    1. Those arguing climate change is real and happening have to prove nothing – they’ve already got scientific consensus on their side. The burden of proof is now on those who believe it’s not real.

    2. Ah, the `they’re doing it for the funding’ argument, straight out of the Great Global Warming Swindle. Given the amount of cash that climate change policy is supposedly going to cost the industrialised world, it should be in industry’s best interests to get the world back on track. If funding is the way to produce science which favours your side (as you claim – note that I don’t accept this) then wouldn’t industry be funding more science?

    3. Actually, proportionjally very few scientists disagree with the fundamental premises of anthropogenic climate change. Another way of putting this is that, for every properly qualified climate scientist who does disagree, there are at least several (on some estimates it’s hundreds) others who accept it entirely. If you’re going to argue numbers, then the IPCC gets to argue numbers too, and they’ve got the numbers.

    L

  25. randal 25

    bdtr is a proposer of vapid meaningless propositions that may have some significance but are barelr credulous scenarios. tough titt\y bdtr. if their is aaaan evironemtl catastgrophe then the fittest will survive. I got got six boys who run, swim, play footie, get high grades and have well rounded persoanlities. I’ll bank on them

  26. On a different matter entirely I see you’ve beaten FailOil and are now the 3rd most read blog in New Zealand according to NZBlogosphere. Congratulations!

  27. jaymam 27

    Better Dead Than Red, at last I agree with you about something – the myth of humankind induced climate change.

    You seem familiar – Redbaiter used to moan about National and DDT too!

  28. Roby110 28

    this was ages ago I know but BRTD aid: Even if one accepts your claims as correct, its not rational without a cost benefit analysis.
    hahahahahahahahahahahaha
    so —what? We say “we’re all going to die but we won’t do anything about it because it means some of us won’t b ble to buy tellies”?
    hahahahahahahahaha nice work – the PErFECT example of ideological market thinking. Priceless. Excellent.

    BTW BRTD “If people awoke tomorrow morning, and never spoke of climate change, and it was never spoken of ever again, and nothing was ever done, there would be no disaster. There is no scientific evidence to prove this statement untrue.”
    is a perfect demonstration of why people like you should not be involved in scientific discussions. “there is no evidence to prove this statement untrue” Priceless.

  29. Better Dead Than Red 29

    As I said. Go for it. Put another nail in the coffin of socialism. You think financially pressured working families will buy into this crap you’re even more out there than I’d ever imagined. Force it upon them, and you’ll pay the price at the ballot box.

  30. Lew 30

    We’ve moved from cynical conspiracy theorist to smug prophet of doom, folks.

    L

  31. Stephen 31

    Incidentally, every party in Parliament has a ‘do something’ climate change policy, so that must be why ACT is gonna do a carbon tax – to kill socialism! 😀 😀 😀

  32. I didn’t hear thier policy on climate change, but Im guessing they used REAL SCIENCE and not computer models and used hard data for thier policies, and didn’t prey on people’s fear some parties.

  33. Bill 33

    Politicians are members of parliament. Parliament exists to facilitate business. Much business activity is to the detriment of the environment. Climate change is an inconvenience to business activity.
    So……

  34. vto 34

    lew i suspect thats not right

    this leight at night

  35. Dean 35

    “coge: Sure. However it’d be bloody hard to qualify if you just rejected the evidence without bothering to go through it.

    In almost every case of recent climate dissenters (ie in the last 10 years) there have been two characteristics IMHO.

    1. They aren’t trained in earth sciences (note – not geology, meteorology, physics, astronomy, etc etc).

    2. They ignore wide swathes of the evidence and concentrate on discrepancies in a few areas for relatively short time spans, OR they look outside the last 10k years.”

    or,

    3. You’re only reading the publications you want to believe in.

    There have been numerous well qualified and experienced publications and lectures which do not agree with this assertion. Sadly for both sides of the debate, most people take the same ill informed, bordering on religious denial you have chosen to take. For instance, if you ask most experienced geologists for their take they will utterly disagree with you.

    But I suppose geologists must be discounted for the sake of New Zealand giving money to Russia.

  36. lprent 36

    Dean: It is one of those funny things about geologists – they aren’t trained in anything useful for this topic. They may get into it later on, but you’d have to look closely at what they have been working on.

    Geologists mostly look at rocks. And guess what – they don’t look at atmosphere or water except in the most peripheral way. Pretty much how it weathers or decomposes rocks or how sediments deposit and form.

    In other words geologists are not particularly useful.

    Most of the denial ‘experts’ tend to be like that. Not trained or skilled in the whole area that they are commenting on. They just know one little bit.

    You’re really restricted to two major groups of study. People trained in earth sciences and climatology. Put anyone else up and I’d want to look closely at what experience they have before I waste too much time on their theories.

    I’d also prefer to read their work in peer-reviewed journals (probably what you’re referring to), rather than some group with dubious sponsorship. It doesn’t get rid of all of the nutty theories, but it eliminates the ones that don’t have any credence.

  37. Brett

    Computer models are based on hard data which is based on hard science. They’ve been extremely useful and accurate in predicting global warming.

  38. Kevyn 38

    Dancer has completely misread English’s speech. Have a close look at point
    3. The ETS should be as closely aligned as possible to the planned Australian Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, with, where possible, common compliance regimes and tradability. National wants to closely co-operate with Australia as we develop our respective schemes. We note that Australia intends to release draft legislation in December and to introduce a bill to the House by March next year. National thinks it would be foolish to ignore this obvious opportunity to work with Australia, to share information and ideas and to work for mutual benefit as we develop our trading schemes.

    This is a very clever electioneering strategy. It gives the Greens the maneuvre room they have been looking for to avoid voting for Labour’s piss-weak ETS. The where possible’s may be National’s post election copout clause or they may be intended as “concedeable negotiating points” to form a National government supported by the Greens in the same way as Labour is currently supported by the Greens. Mark my words, as the election nears National will be milking the CER with Kevin Rudd’s ETS angle for all it is worth. The basic argument will develope along the line “Why rush to beat Australia to the punch when we can wait nine months and do exactly what our biggest trading partner is doing.”

    With Crosby and Textor whispering in their ears they’ll probably stuff it up but otherwise it looks like a work of genius (ie not Crosby/Textor’s work.)

  39. vto 39

    Lew, just following from your 5.54pm comment I dont think it is a blind pig phenomenality. It’s not so much that those “thousands” merely stumble upon an idea that current orthodoxy is wrong, it is that they instinctively know it is wrong. They may not be able to describe it or explain it but something in their bones tells them there is a flaw.

    So not a blind pig finding an acorn eventually by luck, more a blind pig knowing there is an acorn out there despite everyone telling the pig otherwise. If they get to find the acorn then it is a matter of luck but they have always known it is there. And in fact many galileos stumble on discoveries thru some luck.

    Bringing all that full circle – perhaps the climate change ‘sceptics’ today are like the ‘blind pigs’ and their instinctual wisdom.

    if you get my drift

  40. Matthew Pilott 40

    Is that really worth arguing, vto, that the people who don’t believe that anthropogenic climate change is possible might be right by instinct? The opposite could be equally true, neither is provable (w.r.t instinct, as opposed to science) so to be blunt this line of devil’s advocacy isn’t of much value!

    As I said. Go for it. Put another nail in the coffin of socialism. You think financially pressured working families will buy into this crap you’re even more out there than I’d ever imagined. Force it upon them, and you’ll pay the price at the ballot box.

    It’s like talking to a capitalist about quality of life – they’ll ask “how much money is in that?”

    Amazing that you present an argument saying that you think what you believe in is important because it could save the whole bloody planet, and the reply is “It might cost you some votes!!!” Well shit, if that’s the price to pay, then sign me up. Jeebers.

    Interestingly, some estimates are that 1% of Global Domestic Product will be enough to counter Anthro-CC. Might want to get some perspective, BDTR, although I presume you avoid it like the plague.

  41. Lew 41

    Dean: “There have been numerous well qualified and experienced publications and lectures which do not agree with this assertion.”

    Allow me to quote myself, in a comment above to BDTR, which you evidently didn’t read:

    “Actually, proportionjally very few scientists disagree with the fundamental premises of anthropogenic climate change. Another way of putting this is that, for every properly qualified climate scientist who does disagree, there are at least several (on some estimates it’s hundreds) others who accept it entirely. If you’re going to argue numbers, then the IPCC gets to argue numbers too, and they’ve got the numbers.”

    So, are you going to argue there are substantial numbers of legitimate and properly-qualified climate scientists who disagree with the IPCC, or are you going to take a qualitative line now that your quantitative line has been discredited?

    L

  42. Lew 42

    vto: “They may not be able to describe it or explain it but something in their bones tells them there is a flaw. ”

    A guess, they say, is a hypothesis based on nothing. While I’ll grant you that a gut feeling isn’t exactly nothing, I’d argue it’s pretty bloody close, and when right it’s more by coincidence than by design. What you’re inferring is that method is equal to chance. I wonder how far you’d be prepared to take that assertion?

    L

  43. Stephen 43

    If you were referring to ACT Brett Dale, their detailed background paper to back up the pledge card (http://www.roger4hunua.com/RogerDouglas20PointPlan.pdf) states that there hasn’t been any warming since 1998 ergo, ACT are liars or stupid and I would be reluctant to trust much of what else they say.

  44. randal 44

    bdtr is banking on no change in his lifetime so he can indulge in his gross consumption habits till he is fully sated with useless junk and dependent retinues. the word possess comes from the latin root to sit on so I guess the fatasses will have their day and the devil will take the hindmost eventually

  45. higherstandard 45

    Stephen

    I got ACTs pledge card flier in the post this morning

    No.18 Climate change – adopt saner policies. Low carbon tax better than carbon trading.

  46. Stephen 46

    Yeah I know higherstandard – they obviously hate the whole climate change disruption thing, but at the same time can’t be too principled by just flat out opposing any action as they’d like to…

    Would it have been so hard for them to chuck in a few extra words like ‘$2/ton carbon tax by December 2030’ though?! rah!

  47. vto 47

    MP my point isn’t to have a go at climate change, more the argument itself about people throughout the centuries who have gone against whatever the prevailing orthodoxy was at the time, and how they were regarded by their societies at the time (usually deluded fools according to Lew, and I don’t disagree).

    Maybe a good example would be people who may have wondered whether the world was in fact flat. I would almost lay money on there existing at the time probably many folk who thought the world wasn’t flat, but couldn’t prove it because they hadn’t the scientific mind or bent or ability to explain why.

    Lew, if instinct were a scale where the most often correct is the newborn baby finding mothers breast and the most often incorrect is the obvious random idiot who believes the sun will not come up tomorrow, I see the instinct referred to sitting in the newborn’s half. The instinct that tells you to turn around to check out who is staring at you from behind.

    So, not a guess or luck / chance but something quite real. But how to prove instinct etc or take this point I’m wasting my time on further I don’t know. best get some work done instead methinks..

  48. A Beautiful Distance 48

    Lew is right insofar as the apparent weight of scientific opinion accords with a belief in man-made climate change, but, their needs to be an acknowledgement that scientists are generally amenable to their beliefs and acceptances evolving once fresh evidence is identified. I discern that there is a swing against a perception that man made climate change is occurring simply from reading papers being published from reputable institutions on both sides of the Atlantic and particularly in Western Australia. As a devotee of science I suggest that this will continue. I base this suggestion on a schooled and reasoned debate, which is in itself, ongoing.

    It serves little purpose to season this debate with personal opinions from the non-scientific communities, shall we describe them as the “political communities?” To do this invites the absurd ad hominem nonsense that this blog is routinely weighed down by…note the dribbling of “randal” as a precise instance of this. The reality or unreality of man-made climate change is a scientific matter, not a political one!

    I question the aptness of a cost/benefit analysis in this debate as it cannot by definition assess non-action in an area where science is demonstrably unsettled.

    Your two major parties ought place the matter before a non-political authority to examine before imposing taxes/embargoes/etc on the basis that the theory is settled. The consensus here, whether within or wiithout of a cost/benefit analysis, has to accommodate the genuine possibility that the theory is a myth.

    In the interests of clarity I stress that climate change is not being questioned, it is the role of humanity in the change that is the suspect theory.

    PS Aussies got a great laugh out of the depiction of your hideous PM by our staffers. In golfing terms “A hole in One!”

  49. Lew 49

    A Beautiful Distance: “The reality or unreality of man-made climate change is a scientific matter, not a political one!”

    Thank you, this is quite right. Decisions of this sort are simply too important to be left to politicians, but then, their implementation is simply too important to be left to anyone not accountable to a constituency.

    This was the heart of my point about An Inconvenient Truth – the extent to which scientific reality is accepted as political reality is a matter of propaganda. AIT (a propaganda artifact) made the IPCC’s findings (or a very elementary synthesis of some of them) plain and trustworthy for a huge number of people, such that it is now political as well as scientific orthodoxy. This means there is now considerable accord between the climate scientists who posit a problem facing humanity and the politicians who are charged with solving that problem. I’d say the political debate around anthropogenic climate change is now very similar to the scientific debate – scientific orthodoxy accepts the IPCC’s findings and their recommendations to act, while a small but vocal heterodoxy rejects the IPCC’s findings to a greater or lesser extent. This is as it should be – political reality reflecting scientific reality.

    There’s a clear hierarchy here: science must lead and politics must follow. What we (the royal we of all humankind) must be careful to avoid is what coge and others argue is already happening – scientific reality aping political reality.

    L

  50. Lew 50

    vto: I see what you’re driving at. To this end, I encourage everyone who thinks they’re onto something to go forth and test it. It is by the scientific method that hunches become hypotheses become theories become accepted facts.

    L

  51. vto 51

    Lew, how would someone prove the instinct (or establish the physics rather) that tells you to turn around to check out who is staring from behind? Do the staring person’s eyes emit a beam which taps the back of the persons head so causing a nervous / brain reaction in the staree to turn around? I wonder if research has ever been done to prove, physically, such instincts…

    feel free to ignore my time-wasting waffle

  52. Lew 52

    vto: I don’t know. That’s the big challenge, innit? Until it’s proven, the only scientific thing to do is call it confirmation bias.

    L

  53. Rob 53

    Very Interesting this hold Climate change discussion with Labour trying to pass the ETS bill. Do you smell defeat in the house for this bill I do, Does anyone know where the money gathered is going? Australian Government has come out and said we will not be taking a cent of it. Where as in New Zealand the perception is that its just another Cullen tax going into the consolidated fund. This is going to cost the average NZ household about $3500 per year do you think they are in a position do pay that at the moment/ I certainly don’t!!

    Isnt it good to see that even the Union organises are now looking to run for right wing parties. Steven Tan from the EPMU is standing for the Act party fantastic. What does the Union do stand him done from his Job.I believe that could be contestable in a court of law.

  54. Stephen 54

    “This is going to cost the average NZ household about $3500 per year”

    And i’m Brian Tamaki.

  55. Rob 55

    Stephen

    Actually they believe its more because the Carbon price is understated at the moment. The figures the Government are putting on fuel is around 5 cetns a litre other analysts are now saying 20 cetns a litre. This could turn into a can of worms for the Government who ever is in.

  56. yl 56

    Rob,

    here is the link that you were talking about as far as Shaun Tan (it is Shaun not Steven), it only took me 2 mins to find it.
    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/union-accused-discriminating-against-employee-34279

    again Rob you get it all wrong, i am starting to think you are doing this purposely because no one can be this stupid surely. Maybe its time you go start your own blog.

    If you had bothered to read the article you would know that he has been stood down because he didn’t seek permission from EPMU national exec to become an MP, not because of the party he was standing for.

    This is misleading rob and i am getting sick of it.

    [it’s actually Shawn – call centre worker i hear and the guy was a greenie until a month ago. scrapping the barrel if this is who they get for number ten on their list. SP]

  57. A Beautiful Distance 57

    I think this topic has gone as far as further debate presently requires. I am open to furthering it when someone, suitably knowledgeable, can portray to me whether or not excessive CO2 affects global temperature changes. To date nothing on this blog even nudges this. The descent into a non-scientific whimsically political realm is a waste of time without scientific reality and balance.

    To reiterate: Aussies enjoyed the apt portrayal by our staffers of Ms Clark. She must be a cause for ongoing embarrassment for thinking NZers with her obsessive outdated rebuke of the United States and its laudable foreign policies. The election looms, or will when she becomes sufficiently intrepid to name the date, I expect there will be a momentous collective sigh of relief when she is dispensed with!

  58. Lew 58

    ABD: “I am open to furthering it when someone, suitably knowledgeable, can portray to me whether or not excessive CO2 affects global temperature changes.”

    Happy to oblige: http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/index.htm

    From your off-topic repetition of the guff about Helen Clark (who incidentally prefers `Miss’), I’m starting to wonder whether you’re not partially a troll despite the good points made in your earlier post.

    L

  59. Stephen 59

    As Lew indirectly suggests ABD, this blog is hardly where one should go for answers to questions like that you pose. There is an NZ site that deals with climate change too:
    http://www.hot-topic.co.nz

  60. Stephen 60

    SP, bit more on that guy’s ‘conversion’ there:
    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2008/08/the_act_list.html#comment-476616

  61. Matthew Pilott 61

    Can someone start a blog, copy and paste all of Rob’s comments into it, and then delete his comments from here, replacing them with a link, so that if people want to debate with the moron they can do so elsewhere, and we don’t get thread after thread ruined. It’s fairly obvious that the wee fella can’t foot the debate here so he has to start his own based on what ever inanity he’s heard from Trademe threadsor talkback, which get shown up, every time, as pure drivel and lies.

    He’s more of a troll than anyone else I’ve seen on this site.

  62. A Beautiful Distance 62

    Yes, I agree with you Stephen hence my initial post is to the effect that the global warming theory is a scientific matter not a political one. The fact is, in NZ you are propelling it in to the domain of politics at a time when caution ought be adopted, ie the advent of governmental policy ought post-date sound scientific identification of the size/existence of the poser allegedly before us.

    The web-sites you refer to are fairly well known but what interests me is the burgeoning fresh writing which ably questions the theory. (I am tempted to write “myth” instead of “theory” but in the spirit of reasoned debate will adhere to neutral wordings!)

    Lew, As you are in NZ can you enquire of Peter Jackson whether “trolls” are real or imaginary please? I think you will find they are as imaginary as physically attractive PMs on either side of the Tasman Sea. You can use troll as a verb to aptly define the best manner in which to locate future PMs perhaps.

  63. Rob 63

    Steve sorry it was Shaun you are quite correct would they have stood him down if he was going to be Labour MP I think not. Any way has a good employment lawyer on it so should be a good case.

    I smell defeat for the ETS in the house next week could affect how Carbon Neutral Helen looks very embarrassing indeed

  64. Stephen 64

    ABD, a ‘myth’ is King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Certainly AGW is indisputably a theory, in the sense that gravity is a theory that explains why we don’t just float off in to space (i’m not saying it’s as concrete as gravity, i’m just saying).

    I would hazard a guess that the “fresh writing” you refer to is not so fresh, and has been addressed several times before (e.g. ‘no warming since 1998’) but that’s just a guess.

    “The fact is, in NZ you are propelling it…”

    I take it you don’t mean me personally.

  65. Crank 65

    “it’s actually Shawn – call centre worker i hear and the guy was a greenie until a month ago. scrapping the barrel if this is who they get for number ten on their list”

    Man Steve I thought you guy’s on the left were all about the “everyones equal” thing.

    This statement shows some fantastic snobbery about call centre workers and seems to point to greenies as being bottom of the barrel dwellers as well.

  66. Stephen 66

    There’s also Spencer Weart’s ‘The Discovery of Global Warming’ to read online, as if there wasn’t enough climate change material to read out there. But seems to do it pretty well, not that i’ve managed to read all of it.

    [lprent: corrected link to something clickable]

  67. r0b 67

    Lew, how would someone prove the instinct

    vto, instincts are perfectly real, but they aren’t very specific, and they only apply to behaviours that help an animal to survive (and even then what looks like a “pure” instinct may really be a mixture of instinct and learning). Thus a new born has an instinct to suckle.

    We don’t have instincts about global weather systems. Nothing in the mechanisms of evolution connects the magnitude and the time scale of global warming with the behaviours that an individual animal in its immediate environment needs to survive.

    What we call “instincts” now, like a gambler’s instinct that the next roll of the wheel will be Red 22, are just guesses and self deception. “Instincts” about global warming are of this latter kind, just believing what you want to believe. It won’t do. For global warming you have to look to scientific evidence.

    Maybe a good example would be people who may have wondered whether the world was in fact flat. I would almost lay money on there existing at the time probably many folk who thought the world wasn’t flat, but couldn’t prove it because they hadn’t the scientific mind or bent or ability to explain why.

    A better analogy would be that even today there are people who still believe that the world is flat. Why? Because their “instinct” tells them so. They would prefer to trust this “instinct” – the earth must be flat -than the scientific evidence.

  68. Lew 68

    ABD: I, too, would welcome fresh material credibly and ably questioning anthropogenic climate change. However, in the spirit of our agreement above that it’s a question of science rather than ideology, I don’t think opinion, rhetoric or propaganda will really change things any – what we have already is a scientific consensus, and the only thing which should be allowed to challenge that consensus is more science.

    I’m all for more science.

    L

  69. Draco TB 69

    ABD:

    The web-sites you refer to are fairly well known but what interests me is the burgeoning fresh writing which ably questions the theory. (I am tempted to write “myth’ instead of “theory’ but in the spirit of reasoned debate will adhere to neutral wordings!)

    Burgeoning?
    The number of scientists coming out in opposition to AGW has been declining steadily over the last 30 years as the research supporting the theory became stronger.

    Your attempt to equate the word theory with myth just proves, BTW, that you don’t actually know WTF you’re talking about.

  70. vto 70

    rOb, you said “We don’t have instincts about global weather systems. Nothing in the mechanisms of evolution connects the magnitude and the time scale of global warming with the behaviours that an individual animal in its immediate environment needs to survive.”

    Of course there is – hibernation, shedding, blossoms are directly connected. If the climate changes those mechanisms will be affected, if it doesnt then they wont.

    But I was sort of talking about something else anyway

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