Sea rising dangerously — yeah, nah*

Rising but not dangerously

Some say our arrogant, relentless use of coal, oil and gas dangerously heats the atmosphere, which in turn heats the ocean and raises sea levels.

The worry-warts were whinging about it in the New Zealand Parliament the other day, demanding we outlaw building near the beach because coastal houses will fall into the sea in 2050. Continue Reading →

Commissioner Wright’s wrong – Part 2

Changing climate and rising seas: Understanding the science

UPDATE No.1 12 FEB 2015 9:50PM

Go to UPDATE 1.

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright, published a report last November, Changing climate and rising seas: Understanding the science (CCRS) (pdf, 2MB). While reading it I marked more than a hundred places where her evidence or reasoning is questionable. Part 1 discussed a first batch of questions; this post discusses another.

Power and privilege

The Commissioner for the Environment enjoys a privileged position: the Environment Act 1986 grants the Commissioner wide powers to investigate and engage staff and consultants, along with millions of dollars. The Parliamentary Vote for this financial year permits a departmental expenditure of $3,258,000, including a personal salary of $296,000. The Commissioner enjoys the same powers as a commission of inquiry, and the same immunities and privileges as a District Court Judge. For investigations the Commissioner initiates, she has “such powers as may be necessary” to see them through—extensive powers, for whatever she wants to do, she has the power to do. Continue Reading →

Commissioner Wright’s wrong – Part 1

Changing climate and rising seas: Understanding the science

Private prejudice

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright, published a report last month, Changing climate and rising seas: Understanding the science (pdf, 2MB). While reading it I marked more than a hundred places where her evidence or reasoning is questionable. This post discusses some of those.

The commissioner’s errors cause concern—just as errors from any prominent public servant1 cause concern—and her agitation for policy change means she sides with environmental activists against at least half our population, and possibly even three-quarters of our population—those who are not persuaded that global warming is a problem. You can see that this arises directly from her personal views, Continue Reading →

  1. Dr Wright is highly paid. The Vote for the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment in 2014/15 provides for an annual remuneration of $296,000 in a total departmental budget of $3,258,000.