Rodney Hide remains rightly honourable

The Hon Rodney Hide

UPDATE: Comments added and extended 3:30 p.m. February 11.

The Hon Rodney Hide gave welcome publicity in his Leader’s address in the Parliament yesterday to our attempt to obtain the adjustments made to the national temperature record.

Gareth Renowden, at his Hot Topic blog, has again misunderstood what we’re trying to do and tries his darndest to demolish Rodney’s reputation, solely on the basis that Rodney disagrees that the world is dangerously warming from the actions of humanity. Has he not heard of free speech?

However, far from misleading the Parliament, as Mr Renowden scurrilously alleges, Rodney in fact brings its members up to date with the latest developments in the long-running climate scandal, which most of our mainstream media have shown themselves reluctant to do.

Greatest scandal in history of science

Let’s examine his salient points, ignoring the ad hominem attacks on Rodney, the Coalition and me. Here is Mr Renowden, quoting Rodney (RH) (some of my comments in red):

Hide climbs straight into the so-called “climategate” affair:

RH: Climate-gate is now the greatest scandal in the history of science.

Astonishing hyperbole, but straight out of the denial campaign’s play book. Try Googling “greatest scandal in the history of science” and see where the hits are coming from…

I did. They are overwhelmingly about the climategate affair. No problem. In any case, it’s an expression of opinion, cannot be incorrect and is distinctly unastonishing.

Breaches of the law unequivocal

RH: It turns out that the prestigious agencies involved in leading climate change science were breaking official information laws,

Where does he get the plural from?

Phil Jones, of the CRU at the University of East Anglia, is under investigation by his university and by Scotland Yard. The UEA was found by the deputy information commissioner to be in breach of the Freedom of Information Act; the only reason he could not be prosecuted was that too much time had elapsed. Jones, as an IPCC author, thus involves the prestigious agencies of the IPCC and his university in his wrongdoing.

One agency — the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the UK might was found to have failed to meet the relevant freedom of information standards, but it was the subject of a coordinated campaign of frivolous FOI requests at the time, emanating from the Climate Audit blog — details here.

Oh, yes, they breached the law, without a doubt (see previous comment). The “campaign of frivolous FOI requests” has been soundly refuted by Steve McIntyre, who described how the CRU could not have received a burdensome number of FOI requests.

Repeated data tampering in evidence

RH: arbitrarily adjusting raw data,

Wrong. The “raw” data, supplied by national met services around the world was processed to create a global temperature record — a far from arbitrary process, and one fully described in the literature.

The released emails, or more particularly comments in the computer code, describe repeatedly, in gut-wrenching detail, unjustified adjustments to temperature data to match expectations of warming.

RH: hiding the reasons for those adjustments,

Wrong. The methodology is fully described in the scientific literature.

Misdirection. We’re asking for the actual adjustments, not the methodology. The methods are often subjective so you cannot tell what another person decided, they have to tell you.

RH: then somehow contriving to lose the original unadjusted data so that it could not be independently checked,

Wrong.

This is true. The CRU admitted it had destroyed original data in the early days due to the high costs of data storage. Consequently, it cannot be independently checked.

Claim of man-made warming unjustified

RH: thereby making claims that were not remotely justified by the state of the science,

Wrong. The various global temperature datasets produced by the Hadley Centre and CRU are very similar (though not identical) to those produced by NASA’s Godddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and the various satellite data series.

The fundamental incorrect claim is that there exists proper scientific evidence that proves the meagre emissions of greenhouse gases from man’s activities are causing the Earth to warm dangerously. In fact, the claim is often made that the evidence is now “overwhelming”. But if such evidence had been found, we would all know it by heart; it would have been rammed down our throats repeatedly, just as the propaganda is rammed down our throats.

But it’s only propaganda — even after the expenditure of billions of dollars on climate research over 30 years, still nobody can state what the evidence is.

Fear of ice age “never happened” — oh, really?

Mr Renowden continues on his merry way, making free with this and that aspect of the truth about climate change and its politics, and it is becoming tedious. There are just a few more things I cannot resist rebutting.

The “global cooling scare” never happened. There were a few media reports based on some speculative studies, but no “scare”.

Well, that is confident but wrong.

Many people don’t remember the 1970s, so we need testimony now and again from those who do. People like Mr Renowden might deny it happened, but I can tell you that, at the time, reading the stories and hearing the comments about a new ice age was as bad as it gets. At some point we began to leave behind the chilling threat of a nuclear Armageddon, which was to be followed, for the survivors, by the long-forgotten “nuclear winter”. We felt relieved. But that scare was quickly replaced by the new threat of a naturally-occurring ice age.

I suspect that Mr Renowden is playing games with the word “scare”, as though there are levels of scare that should be achieved before an official scare is declared. That of course is nonsense. Let me tell him that we were scared in the same way that people now are scared by global warming.

Disquieting NZ connections with climategate

RH: Our own NIWA is caught up in the scandal and its scientific credibility shredded.

NIWA has had nothing to do with any “gate” that Hide has mentioned.

On the contrary. Connections between NIWA and the principals in some of these scandals are many, starting with the fact that Jim Salinger, student author of the only scientific paper that alleges warming in New Zealand, trained at the CRU with Phil Jones, currently under police investigation for his scientific practices, and they have since published numerous papers with each other as joint authors.

Andrew Reisinger, strongly connected with NIWA through the New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute he works for (which is directed by David Wratt), has commercial and other ties with Rajendra Pachauri, embattled chairman of the IPCC, who is responsible for the “glaciergate” scandal that threatens to undo the reputation of that UN subsidiary.

Many scientists at NIWA, from David Wratt down, work as authors for the IPCC reports, putting them in a direct connection with all the IPCC scandals. Of course, the CCG has given evidence of poor performance by NIWA in the production of the official national temperature graph. Saying NIWA’s credibility is shredded is a perfectly reasonable opinion based on these facts.

What matters is the science

RH: NIWA’s raw data for their official temperature graph shows no warming. But NIWA shifted the bulk of the temperature record pre-1950 downwards and the bulk of the data post-1950 upwards to produce a sharply rising trend. Their warming trend is not a consequence of measurement but of manufactured adjustment.

Hide appears happy to forget that stations that have not been adjusted show the very same rising trend.

So what? We don’t care about warming or cooling. The data Rodney mentions still demonstrate warming only because of the adjustments. So what are they, and why were they made?

RH: Well, there may be good reason for the adjustment.
So, before Christmas, I asked NIWA to disclose the adjustments and their reasons. They said they would.
But they have just told the Climate Science Coalition they don’t have the record of the adjustments.

As I discovered a couple of days ago, that’s not what NIWA told the CSC and Treadgold. The adjustments are described in the literature, and references were provided. Hide is clearly misrepresenting the facts of the matter here, taking his cue from the NZ CSC and Treadgold.

Let me repeat that those citations were unsatisfactory for they did not give the adjustments but only the methodology, which is insufficient to derive NIWA’s adjustments, because many of them are subjective. NIWA told us recently they no longer have the “worksheets” involved with creating the adjustments. There’s nothing wrong with that, but that was only part of our question; we also asked for: “An explanation of how those original observations were processed to provide the current individual records,” and “NIWA’s justifications for the adjustments that were made to the seven station data, including their calculations of levels of accuracy/reliability,” and “NIWA’s calculation of the accuracy/reliability levels (including margins for error) of the temperature trends shown in the seven station graph, along with the full basis for those calculations,” and some other things.

NIWA’s answer was much less than adequate to answer these questions. Rodney Hide’s assertion was correct in every particular.

NIWA’s entire argument for warming was a result of adjustments to data which can’t be justified or checked.

A straightforward lie, and a direct attack on the scientists working at NIWA. The shareholding ministers for NIWA are finance minister and deputy PM Bill English, and minister for research, science and technology Wayne Mapp. They should immediately demand that Hide withdraw his allegation, and apologise.

Rodney is talking here about the official New Zealand temperature record. It consists of only seven stations (the selection of which is weakly justified), whose raw readings, as demonstrated in our paper, show no trend at all but they have been adjusted. Those adjustments create a strong warming trend, according to NIWA, of 0.92°C per Century.

Shameful attack on a valiant politician

Those adjustments have not even been described, much less justified, except in the most general way. It is naive to assert they can be checked without knowledge of the reasons for them. Mr Renowden’s allegation of lying is incorrect, intemperate and even detestable.

He would use his energies more productively by asking NIWA why they led the CCG and the Coalition on a wild goose chase, looking up citations and references that they knew did not contain the material we asked for. Ask them how they could do that to fellow scientists.

I’ve mentioned this and other criticisms several times before, but Mr Renowden ignores them. He has a highly visible blind spot when it comes to criticising NIWA.

He updates his article with a snide comment about Rodney being ignorant of NIWA posting new data just as Rodney was attacking them in the House. But criticising Rodney for an accident of timing is no more than petty.

Rodney Hide provides an example of a man prepared to be informed against the run of play and to take a firm position against prejudice, ignorance and powerful vested interests. Well done, him.

10 Thoughts on “Rodney Hide remains rightly honourable

  1. Hear, hear. Well said.

    Rodney also has more credibility regarding environmental science than any other NZ MP, at least from an academic qualification perspective. National is to be pilloried for continuing to hold their current policy on CO2 and the ETS in the face of this scientific farce. The hoax has been unmasked — time to face facts and change course appropriately.

    The UN is trying to sell paper “indulgences” to countries for a billion here and a billion there and NZ is swallowing this fairy tale like ignorant numpties. At least Parliament is. Time to wake up, yokels and yokelesses. The populace are not with you on this one. (Except for the odd worshipper of Gorebull.)

  2. Thanks, David. I also remain firmly of the opinion that change will be effected by winning people’s hearts, which is not achieved by name-calling. The more often that reasonable, moderate views are sounded in forums and blogs the quicker the vitriol and name-calling will die away.

  3. Richard Tol on February 14, 2010 at 1:57 am said:

    “Andrew Reisinger […] has commercial and other ties with Rajendra Pachauri”

    Could you elaborate “other ties”? Rumour has that Pachauri is his father-in-law, but I have never seen this confirmed.

  4. Richard,

    You can see my posting, NZ’s Reisinger — God’s right-hand man, dated January 15, 2010, for more details.

    Briefly, I mention the fact the Reisinger works for TERI and reports to Pachauri in his work for the IPCC. The links with TERI may be contracting, employment or both – it’s unclear – but it’s of long standing, about four years, if I recall correctly.

    Dr Richard North, at EUReferendum, has produced a series of remarkable investigative reports on Pachauri, TERI, Reisinger and others.

    I have not heard of Reisinger marrying a relative of Pachauri.

  5. Richard Tol on February 15, 2010 at 12:37 am said:

    Reisinger lived in Delhi for over a year, ostensibly for his IPCC work, but the UK would have been a better location for that.

    Reisinger is now in New Zealand. So is Pachauri’s eldest daughter Rashmi. There is no sign of her being employed there (she was a successful consultant in Delhi), while Reisinger’s wife/girlfriend just had a baby.

    Unlike most people at their age and education, there is nothing online about Andy Reisinger’s or Rahsmi Pachauri’s personal life.

  6. That’s interesting. Do you have a source for the information on Rashmi Pachauri?

  7. Richard Tol on February 15, 2010 at 7:13 pm said:

    The story, with links, is here: http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2010/01/keeping-it-in-family.html

    Google “andy reisinger” or “rashmi pachauri” and you’ll learn nothing about their personal lifes. Google any other highly educated thirty-something, and you’ll find holiday pictures, baby pictures, wedding pictures, what have you.

  8. That’s an interesting story, but what are you saying about the lack of Google hits for them?

  9. Richard Tol on February 16, 2010 at 9:59 am said:

    Well, if you’d google me, you’d find that I have a wife called Julie Anne and a daughter named Meabh — you’d find pictures of my friends, their families, and what school they went to. We live in public.

    Not Reisinger and Pachauri. There is nothing about their private life. That’s very atypical for their age.

  10. What a curiosity you have raised, Richard!

    Ok, that’s atypical, they’re less forthcoming. What does that tell us? I’m politely asking: so what?

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