Peter Spencer story getting more attention

Red tape protest

The mainstream media are becoming involved in Peter Spencer’s story now, although apparently some reporters are looking at Peter himself rather than the big picture.

Some less savoury details have emerged from Peter’s past, which have the potential to obscure the real and substantial matters of his treatment by successive governments and his undeserved misfortunes at their hands.

Still, lots of people are interested in his welfare and Joanne Nova is doing a sterling job keeping up with the play and badgering the news professionals to protect citizens from the government, not the other way around.

We can see how the story develops further at Jo Nova’s blog.

NIWA guilty of propaganda posing as science

NIWA web site banner

NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) has been accused of “propaganda posing as science” in its claim that the 2000s have been the warmest decade on record. The New Zealand Climate Science Coalition says the claim that the “noughties” decade is the warmest is based on a statistic for which the margin of error is far greater than the claimed warming.

The Coalition says it fully agrees with the criticism by Blue Skies weather forecaster Tony Trewinnard that NIWA’s own numbers show there is no long-term warming trend.

The warm decade claim is one of five by NIWA which amount to advocacy rather than science, and as such represents propaganda which should not be expected from a Crown research institute, especially one claiming to be based on science. The examples of advocacy are:

1) The warmest decade: NIWA principal climate scientist Dr James Renwick told newspapers that temperatures at seven key stations over the past 10 years were one-tenth of a degree above the 1971-2000 norm, adding “the next warmest were the 1980s, about 0.07°C above that normal, so it’s only a few hundredths of a degree difference”. Dr Renwick should know that a few hundredths of a degree is well inside the margin of error for temperature readings and is, therefore, meaningless. The Coalition says if Dr Renwick doesn’t know about margin for error he shouldn’t be in the job; and if he does know it, he has misled the public.

2) NIWA constantly claims that spot temperatures are just ‘noise’ and only long-term trends are important in climate science. NIWA’s statement notably fails to mention that the upward trend in the nineties has unexpectedly disappeared in the ‘noughties’.

3) Most of the warming in New Zealand occurred prior to about 1955, well before the build-up of atmospheric CO2. There has been little or no statistically significant warming in New Zealand over the past 55 years. NIWA fails to put its information in its proper context.

4) Climate is always warming or cooling. There no evidence whatsoever that ‘climate change’ in New Zealand over the past 150 years is outside the expected range of normal climate system variability.

5) The NIWA press statement wrongly contended that 2009 was a year of warm weather extremes, when it is usually at pains to distinguish weather from climate. It dwelt on cyclones in the Pacific without mentioning the vanishing hurricanes in the Atlantic. It studiously avoided mention of the blizzards which disrupted the Copenhagen conference and are currently setting coldness records throughout the Northern Hemisphere. The entire piece is a classic example of the use of selective and misleading data.

The Coalition statement concludes: “Until NIWA responds to our request to come clean on the full extent of its adjustments to raw temperature data, exactly what adjustments were made, and why, any statement that institute makes about climate variation must be taken with a grain of salt.”

Old lessons good lessons

Dear Sir, A friend of mine in New England has a neighbour who has received a Government cheque for 1,000 dollars this year for not raising hogs. So my friend now wants to go into the business himself, he not being very prosperous just now. He says, in fact, that the idea of not raising hogs appeals to him very strongly. Of course, he will need a hired man, and that is where I come in. I write to you as to your opinion of the best kind of farm not to raise hogs on, the best strain of hogs not to raise and how best to keep an inventory of hogs you are not raising. Also, do you think capital could be raised by issuance of a non-hog raising gold bond? The friend who got the 1,000 dollars got it for not raising 500 hogs. Now, we figure we might easily not raise 1,500 or 2,000 hogs, so you see the possible profits are only limited by the number of hogs we do not raise.

The letter below surfaced in an email group today (on the right is its earliest incarnation). It’s creative writing and, if you’re in a good mood when you read it, finely stimulating, even hilarious.

But I was moved to investigate. Google gave several recent references, the earliest was May 7, 2006. I kept looking; there are a score of references dated December 2009.

Then, on a blog from Quite Interesting Ltd (www.qi.com), came word it was from 1982. The writer traces it back from 2006 to an entry in Hansard in October 1994. I urge you to take a look; the story is interesting enough, to be sure.

The matter has by now quite fastened on our writer’s imagination and he presses his investigation on and on, discovering it on both sides of the Atlantic and in ever earlier decades. Eventually he turns it up, almost fully formed, in 1935, with beginnings in Hansard, no less, in a shipping context, in 1934!

Old or new, early or late, it contains elementary economics lessons for ever. Not to mention some of the driest British (or American) humour you’ll find anywhere.


NIGEL JOHNSON-HILL, PARKFARM, MILLAND, LIPHOOK GU30 7JT

Rt Hon David Miliband MP
Secretary of State.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA),
Nobel House
17 Smith Square
London
SW1P 3JR

16 July 2009

Dear Secretary of State,

My friend, who is in farming at the moment, recently received a cheque for £3,000 from the Rural Payments Agency for not rearing pigs. I would now like to join the “not rearing pigs” business. Continue Reading →