- Date published:
10:11 am, January 17th, 2016 - 82 comments
Categories: act, climate change, Environment, global warming, spin, sustainability, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: robin grieve
The Herald has had some difficulties recently with the quality of some contributions provided by former ACT candidates. Hot on the heels of Jamie Whyte’s unfortunate regurgitated missive on poverty came this opinion from climate change denier and number three on ACT’s last list Robin Grieve. He is the head of Pastoral Farming Climate Research Inc and professes to have some understanding of climate change. His contributions to the subject include a proposal that methane is vital for reducing global temperatures do not matter and he once defended Paul Henry against an allegation that he publicly called Susan Boyle a retard when he had actually said that she was retarded.
Mr Grieve’s opinion piece contains this doozie of a passage:
The dire picture the leaders painted of a world under attack from the weather echoed through the numerous opinion pieces published during the Paris talks. Amongst them Rachael Le Mesurier, executive director of Oxfam, warned that the effects of climate change are coming on quicker than scientists had predicted. The problem of global warming was no longer a prediction for the future, it is real and it is happening now and even worse than expected, they warned.
According to the UN’s own Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), they are all wrong. Its fifth assessment report states that the temperature rise of the past 15 years is far slower than it used to be and well below model predictions. On droughts, the IPCC concludes that it cannot attribute any changes in the frequency or severity of droughts to human influence on climate. On extreme weather, it summarizes that we are not in the sting of anything at all with no increasing trend in storminess or cyclones identified over the last century. It does predict however that in a warmer world there will be a reduction in cyclones for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere, so that is good news.
Why then are world leaders misleading us? Are they mistaken or are they being dishonest?
There are some rather major accusations there. Amongst the various statements are that the IPCC report says this:
… the temperature rise of the past 15 years is far slower than it used to be and well below model predictions”.
What the summary report says is this:
[T]rends based on short records are very sensitive to the beginning and end dates and do not in general reflect long-term climate trends. As one example, the rate of warming over the past 15 years (1998–2012; 0.05 [–0.05 to 0.15] °C per decade), which begins with a strong El Niño, is smaller than the rate calculated since 1951 (1951–2012; 0.12 [0.08 to 0.14] °C per decade).
So although the report says what Mr Grieve claims it also gives the reason why it is dangerous for this particular period to be relied on and this is because 1998 was especially warm. Holy cherry picked time period batman.
Mr Grieve also says this:
The IPCC cannot attribute any changes in the frequency or severity of droughts to human influence on climate
What the report actually says is that the writers have medium confidence that increases in drought conditions in North America and Asia can be attributed to climate change. And the report also says this:
Impacts from recent climate-related extremes, such as heat waves, droughts, floods, cyclones and wildfires, reveal significant vulnerability and exposure of some ecosystems and many human systems to current climate variability (very high confidence).
But wait there is more. According to Mr Grieve:
no increasing trend in storminess or cyclones has been identified over the last century.
If you ignore increased temperature, drought and flooding and sea level rises and concentrate only on the number of cyclones then I guess we have nothing to worry about. But unfortunately again it appears Mr Grieve has misunderstood the report. The full report says:
There is low confidence that long-term changes in tropical cyclone activity are robust, and there is low confidence in the attribution of global changes to any particular cause. However, it is virtually certain that intense tropical cyclone activity has increased in the North Atlantic since 1970.
So at least for the North Atlantic the boffins are virtually certain that increased cyclone activity has occurred.
And there is this statement by Mr Grieve:
in a warmer world there will be a reduction in cyclones for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere.
Try as I might I could not find this reference anywhere. But I did find this:
Extreme precipitation events over most mid-latitude land masses and over wet tropical regions will very likely become more intense and more frequent as global mean surface temperature increases …
Globally, in all RCPs, it is likely that the area encompassed by monsoon systems will increase and monsoon precipitation is likely to intensify and El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) related precipitation variability on regional scales will likely intensify.
So while there may not necessarily be more cyclones it seems inevitable that they will be stronger. And besides we should be worried about the global effect of human induced anthropogenic warming, not cheering that because of localised effects the change will not be so dramatic here.
So what are we worrying about? Well the quality of analysis of the Pastural Farming Climate for one and the fact that they are allowed to publicly sow confusion when their analysis is so wrong.