NZ’s ETS and NIWA’s veracity

Fran O’Sullivan, writing in the NZ Herald a few days ago, summarised objections to the government’s Emissions Trading Scheme and the difficulties Labour faces in getting some kind of political consensus together in time to pass some legislation before the election.

I was interested in her conclusion—in passing, though apparently sincere, that:

“New Zealand does need to address climate change issues. But not in a lopsided fashion where ordinary folk—and smaller businesses—feel the brunt first.”

I applaud her concern for “ordinary folk” and their economic difficulties, but the more important question must be: why must we address climate change issues?

Now, I saw the lovely Fran recently, at Professor Bob Carter’s dinner at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, sitting happily at the top table with several prominent NZ climate realists and Don Brash.

But I don’t know her opinion on climate change, so I must take what she says at face value. And at face value, her comment reflects the prevailing disjointedness of reality concerning global warming.

It is clearly no longer necessary to give reasons for “addressing” global warming. This is quite astonishing.

When introducing any other policy requiring the expenditure of millions from the national purse, reasons are given as a matter of course. If millions are required from private purses, the government might even ask nicely.

But with climate change, we’re facing the expenditure of billions from private purses and yet we’re getting neither reasons nor courtesy. We’re actually being treated rudely—by the government, the opposition, the greenies and the media—when just asking for reasons, and we haven’t even heard of the existence of an honest cost-benefit analysis, much less seen one. It’s apparently accepted without question, not only that we can, but also that we must, “fight” climate change.

The existence of heaps of evidence against the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis is now comfortably ignored by people who ought to know better.

Then, to add insult to a huge looming fiscal injury, the Rt Hon Michael Cullen tells us calmly: “Reducing our emissions will not … make a major contribution to the global problem of climate change.”

You can see this on the government’s Climate Change web site (3rd paragraph).

Let’s understand what the government is telling us here: Climate can be changed by us, so we’re going to fight it with everything you’ve got. However, we’re nervous of telling you why, since the evidence is shaky, so when you ask, we’re going to say that you’re in denial. If we say this often enough, you’ll believe us.

They’re also saying: Although global warming must be fought at great cost by everybody, actually there are some countries (and, guess what, NZ is one of them) whose contribution is more valued than meaningful; err, more meaningful, if undervalued; err, devalued but meaningless. No, let’s start again.

New Zealand’s contribution, both to warming and to the attempted cooling, is so small as to be unmeasurable. But we must still fight, since others might be inspired by that. Oh, and our European customers are starting to look hard at our carbon footprints, and we want to show that we’re reducing them. Even though it’s nothing but a meaningless gesture, since we’re too small.

I call on Helen Clark, Michael Cullen and/or David Parker to explain to New Zealand citizens why, if the temperature is not rising, global warming is an impending disaster.

I advise them that, whatever reasons they mention, at least five or six of their fellow citizens will fail to believe them and will ask for proof. So, if they possess any evidence in support of their reasons, could they please mention that at the same time.

It’s only fair that I, too, present evidence in support of my question, so please see the website of your official meteorological advisers, NIWA, for a time series showing that the current NZ temperature is about the same as it was around 1872. Also 1956 and 1972. If they could please update it (the latest figures seem to be ten years ago) they’ll see the temperature has come down, so current temperature is about the same as 1865. If they don’t know where to find the latest figures, I can recommend a good web site.

I’ve copied the graph from NIWA’s web site. The snaking red line is a moving 10-year average:
NZ temperature record 1864-1998














It’s very simple. Me, I don’t know what the fuss is about. The temperature’s not rising, so there’s no global warming at the moment. The temperature’s not out of the ordinary in any way. But CO2 is still going up. Isn’t it supposed to warm the atmosphere all the time?

Now we have to get serious, so this is not a drill: are NIWA telling the truth?

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