The mote and the beam

Written By: - Date published: 11:58 am, February 21st, 2010 - 16 comments
Categories: climate change, Environment - Tags: ,

Today is a good day to reflect upon an old question – “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Matthew 7:1-5).

Consider the IPPC report on climate change. The report is over 900 pages long, written by 620 authors and editors from 40 countries, and reviewed by hundreds of experts. Before being accepted, the summary for policy-makers was reviewed line-by-line by representatives from 113 governments. It presents the case for human induced climate change based on predictions from basic physics, projections from detailed climate modelling, and evidence from land based temperature readings, ocean temperature readings, ice measurements from glaciers, icecaps and frozen ground, sea level rises, hurricane and extreme weather events, and changes in patterns of winds, rainfall and drought. Although it isn’t highlighted in the report, further strong evidence comes from the changing distributions of plant and animal species. This evidence is so comprehensive and so compelling that governments, world wide, are acknowledging that this slowly unfolding crisis must be addressed (albeit, see the tragedy of Copenhagen, they are not yet translating that acknowledgement into effective action).

Despite all this evidence and the global acknowledgement of governments, there are people who would (for reasons beyond my comprehension) prefer to deny the existence of human induced climate change. The deniers make much of a mote, occasional errors in the vast body of evidence amassed by the IPCCC, in particular the incorrect claim regarding Himalayan glaciers. Yes it’s a bad look for errors to have made their way in to this document (though not in to the summary for policy makers). But two points. First, an error in one (or a few) claims does not discredit the rest of the vast body of evidence compiled by the IPCC. And second, this is how science works, by finding errors, acknowledging them, and fixing them.

Compare this mote with the beam in the eye of deniers. Deniers make many claims which are provably false. They keep making them, over and over, long after they are shown to be rubbish, trying by simple repetition to drum them in to the public discourse. So once again two points. First, deniers don’t seem to have any science on their side, so they are reduced to trying to pick holes in climate change science. And second, denier tactics are the opposite of science, instead of acknowledging and fixing their errors they repeat them over and over again.

So who you gonna believe?

To finish with a case study of stupid denier tactics – the snow storms which have been hammering the Northern hemisphere. A field day for deniers:

Climate skeptics built an igloo in Washington, D.C., during the recent storm and dedicated it to former Vice President Al Gore, who’s become the public face of climate change. There was also a YouTube video called “12 inches of global warming” that showed snow plows driving through a blizzard.

All good denier theatre to be sure, but it ignores the basic facts (from the same link):

“The fact that the oceans are warmer now than they were, say, 30 years ago means there’s about on average 4 percent more water vapor lurking around over the oceans than there was, say, in the 1970s,” he [a climate scientist] says. Warmer water means more water vapor rises up into the air, and what goes up must come down. “So one of the consequences of a warming ocean near a coastline like the East Coast and Washington, D.C., for instance, is that you can get dumped on with more snow partly as a consequence of global warming,” he says.

Expect more extreme weather events. Expect more stupid denier tactics. Expect endless hyping of the motes in climate change science while ignoring the beams of denier tactics. Climates change, but human stupidity appears to be enduring.

16 comments on “The mote and the beam ”

  1. Bill 1

    Debating the existence of climate change is an irrelevant luxury we have indulged ourselves with when we should be simply ceasing to do those things that we do which contribute to the problem.

    But I get the impression that far too many of us use the various climatic and ecological unravellings as nothing more than an intellectual exercise thus allowing for a disconnect and a space where ‘steady as she goes’ behaviours persist…with a low energy light bulb thrown in to light our salved consciences as we are drive, fly and career our way to our collective bitter end.

    Really. Seriously. Are you willing to walk away your job, your career; to recognise and abandon all the support you give to the detrimental material products and processes; to walk away from all the material accumulations and ambitions that simultaneously undermine our future while underpinning your psychological comfort and sense of being?

    Are you willing and ready to simply stop? If not, why not?

  2. Despite all this evidence and the global acknowledgement of governments, there are people who would (for reasons beyond my comprehension) prefer to deny the existence of human induced climate change.

    I suspect that the reasons for the denials habouring the views they have are a combination of fear, the inability to accept that our world is facing disaster and greed, the desire by the deniers to continue with their indulgent lifestyles. There is also more than a hint of anti intellectualism and a hate of any collective action.

    For similar reasons they criticise peak oil, even though as a concept it has always made perfect sense to me. If humankind is not discovering new oil gushers then eventually the old gushers will decline and the supply of petroleum will also decline.

  3. winston smith 3

    You’re full of pseudo-intellectual onanism again Mickey.

    The reason why deniers harbour the views we do is simply because the warmists have been proven to be full-of-crap….
    – Hockey sticks based on a single tree,
    – the whole Phil Hide-The-Decline Jones show,
    – the IPCC citing two newspaper articles and one tourism statistics newsletter as scientific evidence of AGW,
    – Aussie’s GISS adjusts the temperature records of two sites at Mackay to reverse a cooling trend in one and increase a warming trend in another,
    – Al Gore and his claims that the Arctic will be completely ice-free in five years
    – …

    At what stage will you stand up and admit that the sky ain’t falling, Chicken-Little?

    • lprent 3.1

      None of the things you’ve cited change the basic science.

      Indeed several of them are good science that you’re too lazy or stupid to understand – for instance the sources and vagaries of raw data.

      One of them have nothing to do with science at all – who cares what Al Gore says – he is merely a politician (just like listening to the potty peer).

      Several of them relate to science done over 10 years ago where data was scarce and haven’t been in several IPCC reports. You do know that they’re working on AR5 right? You really can’t lock yourself away in the 1990’s forever.

      You do understand that the articles you’re referring to are in the second section of AR4, not the first section that deals with the science?

      The second section is the descriptive section that is meant to use ‘grey’ material because it is looking at possible consequences of the first section. These are in areas where there is often no research because the issues are too new and there is no way to model them accurately. Furthermore humans have never recorded what happens because they haven’t been seen since we discovered writing or even agriculture. Most are speculation based on geological events in the distant past.

      Basically ‘winston’ hasn’t read the post. Otherwise he wouldn’t have made himself so much of a caricature of a ignorant bullshit artist with absolutely no understanding of what he is talking about. In short – the type of CCD f*ckwit who gives many genuine skeptics and even deniers a bad reputation.

  4. Winston did you actually read and understand R0b’s post and the New Scientist link? Or did you do a cut and paste the deniers’ list of bullet points and decide to engage in some personal abuse at the same time?

  5. zelda 5

    “So one of the consequences of a warming ocean near a coastline like the East Coast and Washington, D.C., for instance, is that you can get dumped on with more snow partly as a consequence of global warming,”

    How bizarre. ! Do you have any idea of how the US climate works. The snow storms certainly dont sweep in from the sea ( neither do the same in NZ)
    The recent snow storms in the US came from the mid west. One of the places that regularly has more snow than Washington is Chicago. Which is nowhere near the’warm ocean’. The Great Lakes , which are very cold all year do have an effect on the amount of snow, Buffalo being one of the highest snowfall cities because it lies down wind of Lake Erie ( which this month was totally frozen over for the first time in 14 years)

    AS for the idea that the Climate models ‘predict’ more extreme events . For snow the opposite is true

    A 2005 Columbia University study titled “WILL CLIMATE CHANGE AFFECT SNOW COVER OVER NORTH AMERICA?’ ran nine climate models used by the IPCC, and all nine predicted that North American winter snow cover would decline significantly, starting in about 1990.
    http://www.eee.columbia.edu/research-projects/water_resources/climate-change-snow-cover/index.html

    I think that beam just whacked your arse

    • r0b 5.1

      The snow storms certainly dont sweep in from the sea

      Don’t believe that the article says that they do.

      A 2005 Columbia University study titled “WILL CLIMATE CHANGE AFFECT SNOW COVER OVER NORTH AMERICA?’ ran nine climate models used by the IPCC, and all nine predicted that North American winter snow cover would decline significantly, starting in about 1990.

      A 2005 study predicted changes starting in 1990? Gosh that’s quite some prediction.

      A little less facetiously, there is a difference between long term snow cover, and short term events like snow storms (like the difference between climate and weather). Deniers are trying to use weather to make claims about climate. It’s silly.

    • Macro 5.2

      “snow cover would decline significantly, starting in about 1990.”
      Just read your link three times in case I missed it but NO it doesn’t say what you say at all. The paper is talking about something completely different to the existence or not of snow storms in Washington. What it does say is that CONTINENTAL snow extent would start to decline in a statistically significant trend in the 21st C. The paper is talking about the EXTENT of snow cover over the North American continent. In case you haven’t been following the Winter Olympics in Vancouver over the past week you may not be aware that they are having to manufacture snow to run the events – it being a particularly warm winter and a distinct LACK of snow there. So the models may well be right. It’s still early days in the 21 st C.
      And yes the snow storms definitely sweep in from the south seas in NZ.
      Chicago is on the Great Lakes tho isn’t it? Which are more like inland seas.
      Are you saying that increased water vapour in the atmosphere will not result in increased precipitation?

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Cost of living support for low-income homeowners
    Local Government Minister Simeon Brown has announced an increase to the Rates Rebate Scheme, putting money back into the pockets of low-income homeowners.  “The coalition Government is committed to bringing down the cost of living for New Zealanders. That includes targeted support for those Kiwis who are doing things tough, such ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Government backing mussel spat project
    The Coalition Government is investing in a project to boost survival rates of New Zealand mussels and grow the industry, Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones has announced. “This project seeks to increase the resilience of our mussels and significantly boost the sector’s productivity,” Mr Jones says. “The project - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Government focused on getting people into work
    Benefit figures released today underscore the importance of the Government’s plan to rebuild the economy and have 50,000 fewer people on Jobseeker Support, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “Benefit numbers are still significantly higher than when National was last in government, when there was about 70,000 fewer ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Clean energy key driver to reducing emissions
    The Government’s commitment to doubling New Zealand’s renewable energy capacity is backed by new data showing that clean energy has helped the country reach its lowest annual gross emissions since 1999, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. New Zealand’s latest Greenhouse Gas Inventory (1990-2022) published today, shows gross emissions fell ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Earthquake-prone buildings review brought forward
    The Government is bringing the earthquake-prone building review forward, with work to start immediately, and extending the deadline for remediations by four years, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says. “Our Government is focused on rebuilding the economy. A key part of our plan is to cut red tape that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Thailand and NZ to agree to Strategic Partnership
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and his Thai counterpart, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, have today agreed that New Zealand and the Kingdom of Thailand will upgrade the bilateral relationship to a Strategic Partnership by 2026. “New Zealand and Thailand have a lot to offer each other. We have a strong mutual desire to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Government consults on extending coastal permits for ports
    RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop and Transport Minister Simeon Brown have today announced the Coalition Government’s intention to extend port coastal permits for a further 20 years, providing port operators with certainty to continue their operations. “The introduction of the Resource Management Act in 1991 required ports to obtain coastal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Inflation coming down, but more work to do
    Today’s announcement that inflation is down to 4 per cent is encouraging news for Kiwis, but there is more work to be done - underlining the importance of the Government’s plan to get the economy back on track, acting Finance Minister Chris Bishop says. “Inflation is now at 4 per ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • School attendance restored as a priority in health advice
    Refreshed health guidance released today will help parents and schools make informed decisions about whether their child needs to be in school, addressing one of the key issues affecting school attendance, says Associate Education Minister David Seymour. In recent years, consistently across all school terms, short-term illness or medical reasons ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Unnecessary bureaucracy cut in oceans sector
    Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones is streamlining high-level oceans management while maintaining a focus on supporting the sector’s role in the export-led recovery of the economy. “I am working to realise the untapped potential of our fishing and aquaculture sector. To achieve that we need to be smarter with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Patterson promoting NZ’s wool sector at International Congress
    Associate Agriculture Minister Mark Patterson is speaking at the International Wool Textile Organisation Congress in Adelaide, promoting New Zealand wool, and outlining the coalition Government’s support for the revitalisation the sector.    "New Zealand’s wool exports reached $400 million in the year to 30 June 2023, and the coalition Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Removing red tape to help early learners thrive
    The Government is making legislative changes to make it easier for new early learning services to be established, and for existing services to operate, Associate Education Minister David Seymour says. The changes involve repealing the network approval provisions that apply when someone wants to establish a new early learning service, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • RMA changes to cut coal mining consent red tape
    Changes to the Resource Management Act will align consenting for coal mining to other forms of mining to reduce barriers that are holding back economic development, Resources Minister Shane Jones says. “The inconsistent treatment of coal mining compared with other extractive activities is burdensome red tape that fails to acknowledge ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • McClay reaffirms strong NZ-China trade relationship
    Trade, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Todd McClay has concluded productive discussions with ministerial counterparts in Beijing today, in support of the New Zealand-China trade and economic relationship. “My meeting with Commerce Minister Wang Wentao reaffirmed the complementary nature of the bilateral trade relationship, with our Free Trade Agreement at its ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Prime Minister Luxon acknowledges legacy of Singapore Prime Minister Lee
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon today paid tribute to Singapore’s outgoing Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.   Meeting in Singapore today immediately before Prime Minister Lee announced he was stepping down, Prime Minister Luxon warmly acknowledged his counterpart’s almost twenty years as leader, and the enduring legacy he has left for Singapore and South East ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • PMs Luxon and Lee deepen Singapore-NZ ties
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon held a bilateral meeting today with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. While in Singapore as part of his visit to South East Asia this week, Prime Minister Luxon also met with Singapore President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and will meet with Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong.  During today’s meeting, Prime Minister Luxon ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Antarctica New Zealand Board appointments
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has made further appointments to the Board of Antarctica New Zealand as part of a continued effort to ensure the Scott Base Redevelopment project is delivered in a cost-effective and efficient manner.  The Minister has appointed Neville Harris as a new member of the Board. Mr ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Finance Minister travels to Washington DC
    Finance Minister Nicola Willis will travel to the United States on Tuesday to attend a meeting of the Five Finance Ministers group, with counterparts from Australia, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.  “I am looking forward to meeting with our Five Finance partners on how we can work ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Pet bonds a win/win for renters and landlords
    The coalition Government has today announced purrfect and pawsitive changes to the Residential Tenancies Act to give tenants with pets greater choice when looking for a rental property, says Housing Minister Chris Bishop. “Pets are important members of many Kiwi families. It’s estimated that around 64 per cent of New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Long Tunnel for SH1 Wellington being considered
    State Highway 1 (SH1) through Wellington City is heavily congested at peak times and while planning continues on the duplicate Mt Victoria Tunnel and Basin Reserve project, the Government has also asked NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) to consider and provide advice on a Long Tunnel option, Transport Minister Simeon Brown ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand condemns Iranian strikes
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Foreign Minister Winston Peters have condemned Iran’s shocking and illegal strikes against Israel.    “These attacks are a major challenge to peace and stability in a region already under enormous pressure," Mr Luxon says.    "We are deeply concerned that miscalculation on any side could ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Huge interest in Government’s infrastructure plans
    Hundreds of people in little over a week have turned out in Northland to hear Regional Development Minister Shane Jones speak about plans for boosting the regional economy through infrastructure. About 200 people from the infrastructure and associated sectors attended an event headlined by Mr Jones in Whangarei today. Last ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Health Minister thanks outgoing Health New Zealand Chair
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti has today thanked outgoing Health New Zealand – Te Whatu Ora Chair Dame Karen Poutasi for her service on the Board.   “Dame Karen tendered her resignation as Chair and as a member of the Board today,” says Dr Reti.  “I have asked her to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Roads of National Significance planning underway
    The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has signalled their proposed delivery approach for the Government’s 15 Roads of National Significance (RoNS), with the release of the State Highway Investment Proposal (SHIP) today, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Boosting economic growth and productivity is a key part of the Government’s plan to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Navigating an unstable global environment
    New Zealand is renewing its connections with a world facing urgent challenges by pursuing an active, energetic foreign policy, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Our country faces the most unstable global environment in decades,” Mr Peters says at the conclusion of two weeks of engagements in Egypt, Europe and the United States.    “We cannot afford to sit back in splendid ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ welcomes Australian Governor-General
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has announced the Australian Governor-General, His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley and his wife Her Excellency Mrs Linda Hurley, will make a State visit to New Zealand from Tuesday 16 April to Thursday 18 April. The visit reciprocates the State visit of former Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Pseudoephedrine back on shelves for Winter
    Associate Health Minister David Seymour has announced that Medsafe has approved 11 cold and flu medicines containing pseudoephedrine. Pharmaceutical suppliers have indicated they may be able to supply the first products in June. “This is much earlier than the original expectation of medicines being available by 2025. The Government recognised ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ and the US: an ever closer partnership
    New Zealand and the United States have recommitted to their strategic partnership in Washington DC today, pledging to work ever more closely together in support of shared values and interests, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “The strategic environment that New Zealand and the United States face is considerably more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Joint US and NZ declaration
    April 11, 2024 Joint Declaration by United States Secretary of State the Honorable Antony J. Blinken and New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs the Right Honourable Winston Peters We met today in Washington, D.C. to recommit to the historic partnership between our two countries and the principles that underpin it—rule ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ and US to undertake further practical Pacific cooperation
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced further New Zealand cooperation with the United States in the Pacific Islands region through $16.4 million in funding for initiatives in digital connectivity and oceans and fisheries research.   “New Zealand can achieve more in the Pacific if we work together more urgently and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government redress for Te Korowai o Wainuiārua
    The Government is continuing the bipartisan effort to restore its relationship with iwi as the Te Korowai o Wainuiārua Claims Settlement Bill passed its first reading in Parliament today, says Treaty Negotiations Minister Paul Goldsmith. “Historical grievances of Te Korowai o Wainuiārua relate to 19th century warfare, land purchased or taken ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Focus on outstanding minerals permit applications
    New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals is working to resolve almost 150 outstanding minerals permit applications by the end of the financial year, enabling valuable mining activity and signalling to the sector that New Zealand is open for business, Resources Minister Shane Jones says.  “While there are no set timeframes for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Applications open for NZ-Ireland Research Call
    The New Zealand and Irish governments have today announced that applications for the 2024 New Zealand-Ireland Joint Research Call on Agriculture and Climate Change are now open. This is the third research call in the three-year Joint Research Initiative pilot launched in 2022 by the Ministry for Primary Industries and Ireland’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tenancy rules changes to improve rental market
    The coalition Government has today announced changes to the Residential Tenancies Act to encourage landlords back to the rental property market, says Housing Minister Chris Bishop. “The previous Government waged a war on landlords. Many landlords told us this caused them to exit the rental market altogether. It caused worse ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Boosting NZ’s trade and agricultural relationship with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay will visit China next week, to strengthen relationships, support Kiwi exporters and promote New Zealand businesses on the world stage. “China is one of New Zealand’s most significant trade and economic relationships and remains an important destination for New Zealand’s products, accounting for nearly 22 per cent of our good and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Freshwater farm plan systems to be improved
    The coalition Government intends to improve freshwater farm plans so that they are more cost-effective and practical for farmers, Associate Environment Minister Andrew Hoggard and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay have announced. “A fit-for-purpose freshwater farm plan system will enable farmers and growers to find the right solutions for their farm ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Fast Track Projects advisory group named
    The coalition Government has today announced the expert advisory group who will provide independent recommendations to Ministers on projects to be included in the Fast Track Approvals Bill, say RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop and Regional Development Minister Shane Jones. “Our Fast Track Approval process will make it easier and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pacific and Gaza focus of UN talks
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters says his official talks with the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York today focused on a shared commitment to partnering with the Pacific Islands region and a common concern about the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.    “Small states in the Pacific rely on collective ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government honours Taranaki Maunga deal
    The Government is honouring commitments made to Taranaki iwi with the Te Pire Whakatupua mō Te Kāhui Tupua/Taranaki Maunga Collective Redress Bill passing its first reading Parliament today, Treaty Negotiations Minister Paul Goldsmith says. “This Bill addresses the commitment the Crown made to the eight iwi of Taranaki to negotiate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Enhanced partnership to reduce agricultural emissions
    The Government and four further companies are together committing an additional $18 million towards AgriZeroNZ to boost New Zealand’s efforts to reduce agricultural emissions. Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says the strength of the New Zealand economy relies on us getting effective and affordable emission reduction solutions for New Zealand. “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago

Page generated in The Standard by Wordpress at 2024-04-18T04:19:44+00:00