PM’s Chief Science Adviser must change — or go

Professor Sir Peter Gluckman

Here is a statement issued yesterday by Terry Dunleavy, Hon Secretary of the NZ Climate Science Coalition.

UPDATE 21 June: see end of post

Prime Minister John Key has been asked by a former National Party activist either to rein in his Chief Science Adviser, Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, or to change his title to more accurately reflect the professor’s global warming propaganda advocacy activities.

Terry Dunleavy, MBE, JP, was a member of the National Party’s Dominion Publicity Committee in the 1960’s, its candidate for Napier in 1969, a member of the Divisional Executive in both Wellington and Auckland, chair of North Shore Electorate, 1995-2000, and national convenor of BlueGreens, 1998-2002. In 2006, he co-founded the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition and remains its honorary secretary and webmaster.

Mr Dunleavy said: “In creating the position of Chief Science Adviser in May 2009, the Prime Minister commented that ‘this role is one of vital importance that demands not only a high level of science expertise, but also the utmost integrity to fairly represent the state of science knowledge’ and that, ‘Professor Gluckman will provide me with a direct line to advice when I need it. He will be an independent voice that will complement existing channels of advice such as government departments and the Royal Society.’

“But, on the issue of climate change, Professor Gluckman has emerged as nothing more than a propagandist for global warming zealotry, eschewing any regard for independence or the proud traditions of questioning skepticism in the science he was appointed to represent.

“The timing of his expressions of support for global warming alarmism have coincided with periods when the Key government has been forced to defend its unjustified emissions trading scheme (ETS). His first statement on climate change as in August last year when the government was searching desperately for support in Parliament for its Bill to amend the existing Labour ETS legislation, against the fierce opposition of one coalition partner, ACT, and a distinct lack of enthusiasm for its other partner, the Maori Party. In that statement, contrary to the Prime Minister’s reference to independence, Professor Gluckman noted that his paper had been peer-reviewed by Dr David Wratt, leader of the climate group of NIWA and also chair of the climate committee of the Royal Society of New Zealand, as well as being a lead author of the most recent IPCC Assessment Report. So much for independence! NIWA and the Royal Society are substantially government-funded.

“Now, with Climate Minister Nick Smith having embarked on a self-confessed publicity tour to counter growing opposition among business leaders, farmers and cash-strapped consumers to the introduction on 1 July of National’s go-it-alone ETS, out comes Professor Gluckman again defending the pseudo-science that is the only justification for the costly but futile attempts to curb emissions of carbon dioxide.

“Contrary to the best scientific practice, the Professor has adduced no references for his assertions on climate change other than what he claims is a ‘consensus’ that supports the hypothesis of dangerous man-made warming. Worse, not only does he ignore the many thousands of contrary scientific positions, but he labels those challengers with terms such as ‘deniers’ and ‘denialists’ which anyone of Jewish ancestry would know have despicable connotations. He should know that such language breaches the code of ethics of the Royal Society of New Zealand:

“In so doing, Professor Gluckman misrepresents skeptics who argue against dangerous man-made global warming. One doesn’t have to be a scientist to know that climate changes, as it has done in natural cycles for billions of years. For instance, history tells us why Greenland came to be called Greenland but is now covered in ice. He cites no evidence that natural cyclical changes are caused by greenhouse gas emissions, and is apparently not aware that correlation does not prove causality.

“If Professor Gluckman is unable to practise what the Prime Minister asked of him, that is, to provide not only a high level of science expertise, but also the utmost integrity to fairly represent the state of science knowledge, and to complement and not simply parrot entrenched positions of government agencies and the Royal Society, he should return to the Liggins Institute and the medical field in which he is deservedly an acknowledged and internationally respected figure,” Mr Dunleavy concluded.

I would suggest that our highly respected Sir Pete ought to acquaint himself with some real climate science if he wants to be taken seriously by the scientists in the NZCSC. So far he has managed only to demean his position of CSA and his own hard-won medical reputation. I mean: “deniers”? That’s how he addresses senior scientists in earth sciences? How could anybody take him seriously after that?

UPDATE 21 June:

I see that Gareth Renowden, at Hot Topic, mocked this comment. He says:

Gave me the best laugh of the day… “Sir Pete” is, I imagine, rather uninterested in what scientists of the calibre of — who, Vince Gray? — think of him. And the scientists in the C”S”C would do well to try to be taken seriously by — well, anyone, really…

By penning this disgraceful ad hominem remark, Gareth may feel better about an opponent, but reveals a demeaning preference for insults over intelligent conversation.

Following Sir Peter’s last two or three public statements on the subject, including his speech last week, the Coalition scientists I have heard from consider him an unreliable spokesman on global warming. Also, unlike Gluckman and Renowden, they address scientific issues with scientific responses, not ad hominem attacks.

Gluckman has stated that New Zealand action on climate will be “symbolic, moral and political” and will not affect the climate of the Earth. It is a fact that he has given us no scientific reason to believe that such action is necessary. The Coalition has called on him, and I call on him again, to provide such reasons and to stop hiding behind the petticoats of the Royal Society and the IPCC.

Perhaps Gareth is correct that Dr Gluckman is unconcerned with opinions about him held by Coalition scientists and that might be the reason the good doctor is content to label them with the ferociously anti-science epithet “deniers”.

He says he doesn’t like the term, but he uses it; this guarantees that Gluckman’s unconcern towards Coalition scientists’ opinions is perfectly reflected in their unconcern towards Gluckman’s. Even so, Sir Peter can be assured that when he addresses facts of global warming without descending to gutter politics his words will be received in an attentive silence.

When will Gareth provide us with evidence that humanity is responsible for dangerous global warming? He is following in the footsteps of our Chief Science Advisor more closely than is wise.

When will our leaders notice we don’t want to pay for their feel-good ETS? When will they notice there is no dangerous global warming? When will they notice the lack of evidence that we are responsible for warming?

Do they realise they will be out of office next year if they insist on ramming this down our throats?

What, for Pete’s sake, is the evidence?

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4 Thoughts on “PM’s Chief Science Adviser must change — or go

  1. Andy on 13/06/2010 at 5:30 pm said:

    I have to agree here. As soon as I hear someone utter the word “denier” I immediately switch off and think “I cannot take this person seriously.”

    Whilst this might be acceptable for some of the blogosphere, whose inhabitants seem to rejoice in patronising their questioners and belittle their scientific abilities, I do not expect this of a Chief Scientist.

    Even Prof (now Sir) John Beddington, UK Chief Scientist, a fervent proponent of the AGW cause, has stated on public record that the “sceptics” should be listened to, and have at times been proven to be right.

    For example:

    The impact of global warming has been exaggerated by some scientists and there is an urgent need for more honest disclosure of the uncertainty of predictions about the rate of climate change, according to the Government’s chief scientific adviser.

    And this:

    Climate change sceptics should not be dismissed, the Government’s chief scientific adviser has said, as he called for more openness in the global warming debate.

  2. Pingback: Terry keeps his clips on — Hot Topic

  3. Clarence on 21/06/2010 at 7:28 am said:

    The British Royal Society recently released a statement that “Any public perception that the science is somehow fully settled is wholly incorrect,” thus contradicting Prof Gluckman. And if the science isn’t settled, there can hardly ever have been “consensus” on the issue.

    A paper by Mike Hulme, Professor of Climate Change at the University of East Anglia, from which the Climategate emails emerged, admits that the actual group involved in the “consensus” that “human activities are having a significant influence on the climate” was in fact “only a few dozen,” rather than the thousands invoked by the IPCC.

    Who were those “few dozen” people (51, to be exact, according to Melbourne researcher, John McLean)? They were authors hand-picked by the 40-odd Government servants making up the IPCC Bureau.

    Last week, economist Richard Tol, one of the IPCC’s own lead authors, suggested that the whole IPCC process should be suspended until the scandalous selection of authors has been fixed.

  4. Richard C (NZ) on 11/10/2011 at 8:50 am said:

    Gluckman has been very quiet lately in regard to climate change. I did a NEWS search at Google and Bing:-

    sir peter gluckman climate


    Your search – sir peter gluckman climate – did not match any documents.

    We didn’t find any results for sir peter gluckman climate.

    On the WEB, the last link seems to be about 9 Jun 2010.

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