Emanations from Royal Society less than lordly

Hot air being blown into a balloon

There’s little of royalty attached to recent climate change missives emanating from the Royal Society. Did I call them missives? I meant to say emissions.

Professor Keith A. Hunter, FNZIC, FRSNZ, Vice-President, Physical Sciences, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology, Royal Society of New Zealand, issued a statement on 7 April entitled Science, Climate Change and Integrity.

He means to support the hypothesis that human activity is dangerously warming the world’s climate. He uses whole sentences and impeccable syntax, but the evidence he cites is wrong.

The package is lovely but the contents rotten.

There are now several of our prominent public scientists who are unaware it is not sufficient merely to tog themselves out in the royal or other esteemed branding — they must actually live up to it and, before all else, speak the truth.

The senior scientists who’ve made misleading public statements about global warming include Peter Gluckman, David Wratt, James Renwick, Brett Mullan, Andrew Reisinger and Jim Salinger.

Their cheeks are smooth and their mouths are smiling but their breath stinks.

Hunter’s statement has been ripped apart by the chairman of the NZ Climate Science Coalition, Barry Brill, in a remorseless list of rebuttals and by a knowledgeable and tenacious Ian Wishart at the Briefing Room.

Together they give Professor Hunter nowhere to hide. His egregious statement has no leg to stand on and he can only withdraw it and apologise.

Though he raises points that are worth debating, nobody can accept his statement as the last word on the subject, and this for two reasons: he has no relevant expertise and his statements are demonstrably incorrect. If I made similar statements, I would expect nobody to accept them without challenge. Why should he?

That Hunter presents his statement under the imprimature of the Royal Society does not imbue it with authority but debases the Society. A mud pie made by the King is still just a mud pie.

Professor Hunter should be ashamed of this shoddy piece of research. The lowliest undergraduate would do better than he.

One of the few parts I can agree with is Professor Hunter’s admission that “science is never settled”. As Barry Brill says after dismantling Hunter’s reasoning:

For not only does he destroy a popular, but tragically incorrect, canon of the warmists, but also he opens the door to a dialogue where none has existed. It will be with a sense of anticipation that we put our fact-based arguments over the very existence of dangerous human-caused global warming to the gatekeepers of our public science academies and at last expect their reasoned response.

I echo the Coalition’s call for the Royal Society to “publicly distance itself from Professor Hunter’s deeply flawed statement, and withdraw it from their website.”

Next I will go through Prof Hunter’s statement in detail and why not?

Look for the Royal Society banner introducing a topic

Royal Society web site banner

and have a go yourself!

13 Thoughts on “Emanations from Royal Society less than lordly

  1. Wynsome Bronsan on April 10, 2010 at 8:55 pm said:

    Are you so very sure that this guy is as wrong as you say? Are you sure that is he is the archetypal doddery professor? Have you considered that he might be setting you up? If he is a distinguished scientist, then why would he make statements that can be so easily attacked? Have you carefully read what he has said? What I read from his article is that he is saying that the anti-AGW community makes unsubstantiated and personal attacks on climate scientists. This is what you have done, including what you have done to him. How do you know that he hasn’t set you up to do exactly that? Are you so sure of your opinions that you can dismiss the notion that this guy is smarter than you and is setting you up for a massive fall? I have looked him up on the web and he is genuinely a senior scientist with a substantial and strong reputation. He is no amateur by any means. You should carefully consider why he has suddenly entered the public domain, especially since he is so well known in science. Have you noticed that his opinion piece is now referenced on Peter Gluckmans’s web site? Surely that should tell you something. .Also, he says nothing that is not said on Peter Gluckman’s web statement. I think you are all being set up for a fall. Please be very careful.

  2. Are you who you say you are? You say your name is Bronsan, yet your email address says brosnan. Thanks for your advice of caution, but we are indeed sure of our ground.

  3. Wynsome Brosnan on April 10, 2010 at 9:47 pm said:

    Sorry the original name is a typo – it is Brosnan

  4. All right, so that’s an honest mistake, fair enough.

    Again, thanks for the caution, Wynsome. Though there’s no suggestion in the post that Hunter is “the archetypal doddery professor”, he might well be setting us up. So when he says that ocean temperatures have been rising, the fact that the ARGO project reports falling temperatures might be a ruse, I guess. When he says the amount of extra carbon accumulated in the ocean and the atmosphere matches the known quantity emitted by the combustion of fossil fuels, it might, in some secret, unstated way, take account of the “missing carbon sink”. But I don’t think so.

    I think Prof Hunter will be more worried by our criticism than we are by his silly little paper.

  5. Wynsome Brosnan on April 10, 2010 at 11:17 pm said:

    Well Richard, I am very sorry to report that you are, unfortunately, seriously mistaken. I know this guy personally and he has told me tonight that there is no secret unstated way, but that it is actually true that the amount of extra CO2 in the ocean and atmosphere is balanced by fossil fuel emissions, as asserted in his statement. The “missing carbon sink” mentioned in the NZCSC response is balanced (more or less) by the putative carbon source from land use change. What he said to me is that fossil fuel emission is 75% of total anthropogenic CO2 emission, which is matched by 45% atmospheric increase and 30% oceanic uptake, which is exactly what he said in his article. The remaining 25% is the land use source, more or less balanced by the terrestrial (i.e. forest) uptake. He also tells me that he formulated his comments in the article this way specifically to trap deniers into making this mistake. This is why I gave you my warning and why I think you should be very careful in dealing with this guy from here on. He is not a fool. Be very careful in dealing with his comments in the future, because he has told me that he has has now decided to make you all targets. I know him well and he is ruthless.You have been warned!

  6. Thanks again, Wynsome. It’s easy to assert anything one likes, but to be taken seriously one must give references, and Professor Hunter has given none. I’d be interested in your comments on the science, not the protagonists. By the way, you haven’t mentioned Prof Hunter once by name, do you really know who you’re talking about? You call him “this guy” – what’s that about?

    The missing carbon sink is not balanced by land use change, or it wouldn’t be a missing sink, would it? Can you provide a reference for that? Why is Prof Hunter speaking through you instead of directly for himself?

    If he has comments about his intentions and tactics in writing his article, let him say so here himself. Ooh, he is ruthless, is he? Don’t be so silly! You’re advancing the most unscientific arguments possible!

  7. Wynsome Brosnan on April 11, 2010 at 12:31 am said:

    I’m not a scientist so can’t comment on whether the land use source is balanced by the missing sink, as my friend Keith Hunter asserts. However, he has never lied to me before, and his figures seem to make sense.

    As far as his name is concerned, it is Keith Andrew Hunter and I have known him for 25 years. I find your insinuations very rude. He tells me that his article was not a scientific one and therefore he didn’t provide references. But he says on the telephone that the data he gave me for the last email came from the IPCC AR4 report, which according to him means that it can be found in the refereed scientific literature.

    As far as him being ruthless, that is my personal observation and it is disappointing to say the least that you are not willing to accept that opinion. Do you think that he would advertise openly his strategy in dealing with climate change deniers? He doesn’t know I have said this.

    He also says that he can’t find any scientific references on your web site and therefore you are nothing more than a hypocrite in that regard. I must say that I have to agree, based on what I have seen.

    I must say that I have found my interaction with you quite disappointing.

  8. Australis on April 11, 2010 at 1:01 am said:

    Your winsome correspondent was right to look up Prof Hunter’s credentials on the web. His bio on the Royal Society site points out that he is HOD chemistry and an oceanographer. It goes on: “He directs a large research group at Otago, affectionately dubbed “Water World”, which has close contacts with NIWA, through the joint Otago-NIWA Centre for Chemical & Physical Oceanography.”

    That connection with NIWA is interesting. When I looked up the Royal Society’s Committee on “NZ Climate”, it turned out that the Chairman is Dr David Wratt, general manager of the NIWA Climate Group. So I thought it strange that a person in a sort of liaison role between NIWA and the Society would be appointed Chairman. But on looking closer, it was evident that this committee is OWNED by NIWA. No fewer than five of the committee members have their email addresses @niwa.co.nz. Then there are a couple of Waikato professors and a Dr Weaver whose email address is @carbon-partnership.com. Yes, most members of the committee are dependent on climate change for their salaries.

    These blatant conflicts of interest perhaps explain why the Society statement needed to be made by VP Keith Hunter – unschooled as he is in the relevant arguments.

    While looking up Prof Humter, I saw a bio of another VP of the Society – Dr Steve Goldson. I thought that name was familiar. Sure enough he is the strategy adviser to the Office of the Chief Science Adviser, Peter Gluckman. And, in answer to winsome, I did see that the Royal Society paper on the website poerated by Drs Glodson and Gluckman. There, it shares space with another paper on Climate Change prepared by NIWA for Prof Gluckman last August. That paper was peer-reviewed by the Royal Society, delegating its task to Dr Wratt of NIWA.

    For those readers who feel queasy about incest and cronyism, it is best to avert your eyes from the Royal Society, and its sponsors and acolytes.Wellington’s small society sets new standards of clubbiness for reciprocal (or should that be muttual) peer reviews.

  9. Wynsome,

    Thank you for persevering. I apologise if I’ve been rude to you, but I’m not aware of making any insinuations. Keith is right in saying that the AR4 is accepted scientific literature. However, you may not be aware that there is a great deal of controversy concerning much of its contents, so the mere fact of finding a statement in the AR4 is no guarantee of its correctness.

    You’re mistaken in thinking I didn’t accept that Keith is ruthless; I did accept it. I just wasn’t impressed by it. Did you think I would stop expressing opinions against the state of “climate science” or NIWA or Hunter’s “statement” just from knowing that he’s ruthless? Whether or not he has a strategy towards anyone doesn’t concern me in the least and I don’t know why you mentioned it.

    I will reveal to anybody who asks what my strategy is towards fighting global warming: tell the truth and persevere. You see, now Hunter or anyone else can go away and devise a strategy against me but it won’t make any difference.

    Not all the articles here contain references, but many do. You’ll find scores of them if you have another look.

    The fact that your friend’s paper is on Peter Gluckman’s site merely shows that the scientific adviser to the PM has moved firmly into advocacy and away from the objective assessment he’s supposed to be concerned with. It’s a disgrace.

    So you’re disappointed. What went wrong? What did you expect?

  10. Australis,

    Yes, a heavyweight, for sure. Perhaps I should be afraid…

    Thanks for the information; this is really helpful.

    What a dispiriting discovery, that these people are sucking the credibility from our upstanding Royal Society; will people ever come to trust it again? Has any group ever used it with such blatant and all-encompassing self-interest and mined it so remorselessly for their own gain?

    It’s quite crushing to discover the extent of the cronyism of the AGW crowd. And it’s eye-opening to find the connections with commerce in the carbon-trading and footprinting scams. Then it’s intimidating to hear how many top-flight academics fill all kinds of positions in our universities, training new generations of cloned warmists.

    All of this consolidates the weight, the power, the pressure and, above all, the money behind the climate change pasquinade.

    We have almost nothing to fight it with. Nothing but the truth.

  11. Pingback: Hook, line and stinker — Hot Topic

  12. Richard: “It’s quite crushing to discover the extent of the cronyism of the AGW crowd.”

    I would also say quite disturbing, and in some ways frightening. I am personally acquainted with at least two climate scientists, and I am pretty sure that they have known each other for many years, possibly back to university days.

    Since then, when they are not meeting in person, they have exchanged a voluminous correspondence, initially by letter and more latterly by the electronic email. So in that sense they are pretty typical of climate scientists the world over, as we have all discovered to our horror over the past few months.

    Frankly, I am very curious as to the nature of this long-term relationship. One wonders how much help they have been giving each other on the sly; help that they have conveniently “forgotten” to record in their notebooks for later confirmation.

    Unfortunately, what I have learned to my cost is that climate scientists are ruthless in their quest, and being of a cowardly disposition I have remained mute. Just a few weeks ago at party one of them bailed me up and menaced me with a “tipping point”. Luckily, I was able to make an excuse about “freshening my drink” and gave him the slip.

    But perhaps not for long. The disturbing fact about climate scientists is that they have fingers in every pie. And not just pies. Ask my wife about climate scientists and their clammy fingers. You don’t even have to do that. Just look at them when they get together, hunching over their computers and communicating in secret code.

    Makes me sick. And scared. Please help.

  13. Yes, Eddy, you need some help, but not over our criticisms of climate scientists, which you overplay to a stupid degree, but rather over your avoidance of evidence. Could you please comment on the facts?

    The facts are that peer review in climate science does not resemble objective review; that climate scientists, keen to show warming and a human cause for it, have manufactured evidence, conspired to keep sceptical scientists out of the journals and refused to obey freedom of information laws.

    The fact is that the Vice President of the NZ Royal Society has just released a statement on “climate change” that reveals a deep ignorance of the climate.

    The fact is that New Zealand’s official temperature record, using only seven weather stations to represent the whole country, shows warming only because of adjustments made to the raw readings.

    The fact is that NIWA, having been unable to describe the adjustments allegedly made 30 years ago by Jim Salinger when he produced the iconic NZ temp record, are now engaged in an expensive exercise to “reconstruct” the series.

    The fact is that NIWA refuse to withdraw the official graph.

    But the fact is that, in the meantime, nobody knows what the New Zealand temperature history might have been. Unless you’re foolish enough to believe the actual raw, unadjusted readings available from NIWA’s web site.

    You’d be foolish to believe them, since NIWA says so. Even though NIWA cannot tell us the adjustments that should be made to them and cannot describe the adjustments that actually were made to them.

    It is a disgrace from beginning to end.

    And you have the temerity to mock me for pointing this out.

    Ah well, your statement is preserved here for ever.

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