Written By: - Date published: 8:57 am, September 3rd, 2018 - 151 comments
Categories: blogs, climate change, David Farrar, dpf, Environment, global warming, national, same old national, science, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:
You would think that the blog site most closely associated with National would be a little more circumspect. Maybe DPF just wants to show that he is a champion of free speech. Whatever happened he has peddled more nonsense from a climate change denier. He used to express some belief that global warming was actually happening but has expressed no such belief in his latest post.
For those of you who do not know the guest columnist, Bryan Leland, is an electrical engineer. For a long time he has been saying that climate change is a myth and global warming is not happening. He writes occasional blogs on the New Zealand Centre for Policy Research website, which has as contributors right wingers such as Don Brash and Muriel Newman.
He sees himself as a champion of the cause and complained to the Media Council when the Herald refused to publish one of his articles.
The Herald was disparaging in its response:
Just because someone holds an eccentric view, it does not mean they are entitled to run in the paper.
Although interestingly the Council did not consider Leyland to hold eccentric views it did not uphold his complaint.
It all started with a statement by the Chief Executive (CE) and two reports that made it clear that RSNZ supported the belief that that man-made global warming was real and dangerous and urgent action was essential. The [New Zealand Climate Science Coalition] asked RSNZ to provide convincing evidence based on observational data that supported this belief. The Royal Society were unable to do so and passed the query on to Prof James Renwick who has close links with the IPCC. He too was unable to provide the requested evidence. It seems that the evidence does not exist.
The NZCSC then lodged a complaint with the Society on the grounds that statements made by the CE and authors of the report breached RSNZ’s Code of Ethics because, among other things, they had ignored the requirement that statements to the public should make it clear if there were uncertainties in the science and if other scientists held different views.
This is akin to an anti vaxxer complaining to the Medical Council that it is wrong to support vaccinating kids.
Then the comments started. The easiest way to describe them is that most of them said that climate change was utter bunk, that global temperatures are not increasing, and that all climate scientists are on the take and influenced by left wing politicians. To them New South Wales’ drought, California’s forest fires and the disappearance of ice from the North and South poles are not happening.
Someone called MJW bravely tried to swim against the tide. He or she said this:
We are in the middle of a massive change to the chemical balance of the atmosphere, not seen for millions of years, and always associated in the geological record with other significant ecological changes.
Those are very simple, basic facts. Forget the models, forget the ‘controversy’. Humans have extracted and burnt massive amounts of carbon resulting in a massive chemical change to the earth. I can’t see how those facts can be disputed.
Then guess who popped up?
Your first paragraph fact is not true.
We are not in the middle of a massive change to the chemical balance of the atmosphere.
In response MJW tried to inject some of that evidency stuff into the debate:
The massive chemical change of the atmosphere is the increase of CO2 from about 280 ppm to over 400 ppm in the last 1000 years, with most of the increase in the last 100 years. You can view this data, extracted from ice core records and measurements at manu loa at: https://www.co2.earth/co2-ice-core-data.
The last time carbon dioxide was this high was about 3 million years ago. E.g. https://www.skepticalscience.com/pliocene-snapshot.html, https://e360.yale.edu/features/how-the-world-passed-a-carbon-threshold-400ppm-and-why-it-matters.
So again, those are the facts. Human extraction and burning of fossil fuel has changed the chemistry of the atmosphere in a way not seen for three million years.
But in comment after comment his or her attempt to bring some reality to the debate was met with contempt. And to add to the level of bile and vitriol some commentators took the opportunity to insult indigenous people and suggest that everyone was on the take. I guess to a right winger the concept of someone being on the take may be business as usual but to the rest of us …
The post highlights why National was so inept over climate change. It did not go as far as to deny it was happening, it went along with the IPCC and the international negotiations for reduction of green house gas emissions. But in area after area it weakened and damaged the policy response that had been established by the last Labour Government.
The reason is clear. Its base wanted this to happen and would not tolerate the type of tough policy decisions that are needed to address this most difficult of issues.
The right is involved in a culture war with the left over the issue where winning is all important. Their anti intellectualism and their complete distrust of the left as well as their contempt for any environmental campaign means that they automatically oppose any suggestion that change is needed. Added to their unfailing belief they are right, and a bunch of corporations willing to use this distrust and you have all the making of a policy impasse. At at time where it is clearer than ever that we are in the middle of a crisis and that urgent action is needed.