Hot Topic semi-science now in the Herald

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Now we have the NZ Herald echoing Hot Topic’s posts from Sciblogs. Man, the Herald have really burned their bridges on impartiality, haven’t they? By patronising Hot Topic they unquestionably declare their belief in the non-science of dangerous anthropogenic global warming.

Don’t expect any material from them in the near future to be critical of the now-established doctrine of climate change according to the IPCC.

Comments on poll uncover Hot Topic’s dearth of science

Yesterday, they published an article by Bryan Walker, one of Gareth’s support writers, Ask me why – polling the public on climate change. The first thing Bryan does is denigrate the organisation behind the poll; good one, Bryan, ignore the issue — go straight for the man.

Note also Walker’s disconnect from the real world where people must make a living:

But their notion of what constitutes appropriate measures is severely constrained by their determination to protect what they call the competitiveness of all sectors of NZ industry.

“What they call” competitiveness? He says that as though it’s a bad thing. Bryan, open your eyes — it IS competitiveness and ours will suffer when we are forced into paying a tax our competitors don’t have to. This is precisely what is happening, since New Zealand is going hell-for-leather for an ETS without any of our trading partners doing the same. Except for Europe, which is governed by non-elected bureaucrats in Brussels intent upon destroying civilisation, which hardly makes it a sensible model.

Do business without a profit?

The government has been talking for some time about “trade-exposed” industries and giving them some relief from the ETS; this is what they mean, Bryan. Even the government “calls it” competitiveness. It’s a good thing. To people who can think.

What are you trying to say? That our businesses shouldn’t be competitive? That they shouldn’t protect their profit-making capacity? How astonishing. Why ever not?

The Greenhouse Policy Coalition poll shows some important attitudes towards global warming gradually changing in New Zealand, but it’s interesting to hear Walker blame the results on the government:

Given the tepid policies being advanced by the government, the results of the commissioned poll are probably not surprising.

And he claims:

Public opinion is not being informed of the seriousness of climate change.

Well, I tend to agree, though “public opinion” is also having the actual facts of “climate change” withheld from it, which is far more damaging.

Still, having explained the problem, he offers no improvement and gives no information for the poll’s respondents to change their minds.

I encourage Mr Walker not to be bashful about releasing the evidence he claims for what he calls the “ineluctable science”. For, though he writes constantly of global warming and its predicted effects, he offers no evidence that mankind causes it or that it will ever be dangerous. This article is no different.

He says:

Meanwhile all the directly measurable effects continue – global temperature rises inexorably, Arctic summer sea ice diminishes with unexpected speed, ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica continue to lose mass. And the less specific predictions of increased wildfires, floods and droughts show every sign of coming to pass. Positive feedback loops loom in the shadows.

His list of effects might be evidence of warming; but not that the warming is man-made or dangerous — surely I’m not the only one to notice. Anyway, each one of his “effects” is either misleading or wrong. I’ll show you:

Global temperature is rising

This is at least controversial, since the only thing rising is the 30-year trend line – the temperatures themselves are actually declining. Over the last 12 years the satellite readings show a cooling trend. Temperatures were flat for seven years before plunging during 2008-09. They’ve only just briefly got back up to about where they were in 1998 — 12 years ago. Hardly “inexorable” warming.

Of course, carbon dioxide continues gently rising, probably partly driven out of the ocean by the slight warming of late last century, but who knows?

Arctic ice diminishes with unexpected speed

He mentions the Arctic summer ice but strangely not the Antarctic sea ice, the extent of which reached a record high this year. Does that signal global cooling? Just four days ago, a peer-reviewed paper, Holocene fluctuations in Arctic sea-ice cover: dinocyst-based reconstructions for the eastern Chukchi Sea, reported more arctic ice now than for about 9000 years.

Greenland, Antarctica lose mass

Mr Walker claims ice sheets are losing mass, and they are, although not very fast. Not three weeks ago a team of Dutch and US scientists reported “Estimates of the rate of ice loss from Greenland and West Antarctica should be halved.” Apparently previous papers forgot to allow for glacial isostatic adjustment (the Earth’s crust rebounding from the last Ice Age).

In February of this year, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution reported that “waters from warmer latitudes — or subtropical waters — are reaching Greenland’s glaciers, driving melting and likely triggering an acceleration of ice loss.” In other words, glacial melting is not caused only by warm air.

One must remember to ask, too: is “loss of mass” the same as “melting”? Of course it is not, for it might be caused by “less snow falling”, which is more likely to be caused by a cooling climate than a warming climate, which tends to increase precipitation.

Wildfires, floods, droughts

Mr Walker reaches the nadir of his science in the final two sentences, wherein he shamelessly mentions alarming weather events (which by definition are not climate) and hints at their future increase. We can believe such predictions are “less specific”, but must wonder what is meant that they “show every sign” of coming to pass. To what mysterious predictive evidence is he referring and why doesn’t he describe it?

It’s the kind of thing you say when you don’t have any evidence for saying it.

No evidence at all

Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder, commenting in July on the northern winter’s big chill, reminds us: “What we saw last winter was just weather. The current heat wave is also weather.” Which means extreme weather events do not prove climate change – whether warming or cooling.

Then Walker says cryptically: “Positive feedback loops loom in the shadows.”

But by now he’s given up all pretence of evidence and resorts to nothing more than a rude attempt to alarm us.

Views: 314

32 Thoughts on “Hot Topic semi-science now in the Herald

  1. Andy on 25/09/2010 at 7:24 pm said:

    Maybe they’ll run a piece on this guy:

    A Finnish environmentalist guru has gone further than any other global warming alarmist in openly calling for fascism as a necessary step to save the planet from ecological destruction, demanding that climate change deniers be “re-educated” in eco-gulags and that the vast majority of humans be killed with the rest enslaved and controlled by a green police state, with people forcibly sterilized, cars confiscated and travel restricted to members of the elite.

    Philosopher Pentti Linkola has built an enthusiastic following of self-described “eco-fascists” receptive to his message that the state should enact draconian measures of “discipline, prohibition, enforcement and oppression” in order to make people comply with environmental dictates.

    he has a Wiki page

    More info here

    • Andy on 26/09/2010 at 9:55 am said:

      Is this guy just an isolated nutter?
      Check out this HT comment:

      Actually, the Hitch-hikers Guide had some hints about what to do with the non-scientists. Give them a trip to another planet…. Isn’t that what Boeing has recently suggested?

      The faster Earth gets rid of humans, the sooner it can get back to evolving the white mice, and identifying “the question”.

    • Yes, what an evil juice dribbles from his lips!

      The real danger is that when someone like this resets the horizon so far away, someone else can make other proposals not nearly so dire and everyone says: “You know, that’s not so bad.” When it’s actually a hundred miles from where we are now.

      We must never stop resisting this muck.

  2. Mike Jowsey on 26/09/2010 at 6:39 am said:

    “Then Walker says cryptically: “Positive feedback loops loom in the shadows.””

    in other words “WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!”


    … more Fear Uncertainty and Doubt from another alarmist troll [comment removed for rough language – unnecessary].

    Nice rebuttal Richard – a surgical evisceration of his shonky logic.

    • You’re exactly right, Mike, that’s just what Walker is saying. It doesn’t take much to see through it, just that it lacks evidence. But the scientific process is so little known from our education system, and the alarming climatic comments so widely repeated, that I fear few question the assertions. Glad that you do, though.

      Thanks for your comments. “Surgical evisceration” – LOL. Do you mean to say I’ve given him an informal colostomy?

  3. Flipper on 26/09/2010 at 9:19 am said:

    Well said. But really the Finn is probably no worse than Gore, “young nicky” et al. It is just that he avoids sugar.
    Wikipedia ? Linkola’s involvement with that load of rubbish is proof that he is mad.
    On the other hand, one might also say that about the O’Herald’s Murphy (and some staff).

  4. Andy on 26/09/2010 at 9:28 am said:

    The “ineluctable science”: I posted something on the original article about this.

    There are few knowns in climate science. One is that we are increasing the concentrations of CO2 and other GHGs. The other is the basic radiative physics of CO2, which is generally accepted across the board.

    The many unknowns include the feedback effects, including those of water vapour and albedo.
    Computer models assume positive feedbacks. They are an input to the models, not an output.

    The IPCC calculate a climate sensitivity of at least 2degC based on positive feedbacks, but the existence of these feedbacks is highly speculative,

    The general public knowledge of these simple statements is fairly limited. Most people assume that greenhouse gases cause warming, therefore we need to stop it.

    This is about as scientific as saying “eating pizza makes you fat, therefore we need to ban it”.

    The general public, mainstream media, and politicians have been fed partisan and agenda driven science for years that hides the real issues. The AGW propaganda machine has effectively marginalised all counter arguments and made mainstream the perjorative term “denier”, where a person exercising normal and healthy scientific scepticism (wiipedia defines science as organised scepticism) is branded as a “crank”, “flat-earther”, and compared with 9/11 truthers, creationists, and HIV/AIDS deniers.

    Monckton is routinely vilified , in my view because he is an easy target, matching all their stereotypes of right-wing privilege. They don’t pick on Lindzen, Christy and Spencer because they know they are too smart for them.

    The warmists are getting desperate now. Nature is not playing ball, and the climate summit was a fiasco. There are signs of in-fighting (Joe Romm attacking Richard Black of the BBC, for example). A mainstream media outlet is great news for them, but if you see it in online form, then place some comments and bring it into reality.

    The articles and comments on this site have been of a very high quality recently, and I am very grateful for that.

    The question is, how do we explain all this to the general public, in simple and effective terms that don’t get bulldozed by the AGW propadanda machine?

    • Andy, thanks again. I always learn something from your thoughtful comments and I admire the breadth of the view you seem to have.

    • Richard C on 26/09/2010 at 3:44 pm said:

      “The question is, how do we explain all this to the general public, in simple and effective terms that don’t get bulldozed by the AGW propaganda machine?”

      You’ve answered your own question here:

      “Nature is not playing ball”

      Most of the general public has a functioning BS detector. No amount of propaganda will be able to overturn opinions formed by the simple act of observation.

      The key is to keep the debate centred on the AGW premise that CO2 is the major climate driver. Just ignore the anecdotal hand waving. The warmists get shot down every time they come up with a new scary story.

      Ocean acidification – case in point. Google it and see all the warmist idiots that don’t know the difference between acid and alkaline.

      The trend I note across many AGW sceptic sites is recognition of the real motives behind anti-CO2 pressure groups.

      Climate Change Dispatch

      Global Tax Scam Shifts From Climate Change To Poverty

      the Air Vent

      UN plans expanding influence on world agenda


      UN totalitarians want your money and your life

      Monckton highlighted the UN’s aspirations at COP15 but they’ve been at it for a while. See:


      So the same people that oppose totalitarian climate change activism (us) are now engaged in opposing the root case – totalitarianism. The fact that we must know climate science inside out in order to engage in scientific debate with “useful idiots” (google that too with the addition of “marx”) at Hot Topic or SciBlogs is a mere side issue.

    • Andy on 27/09/2010 at 10:31 am said:

      Nature is not playing ball, but people often accept authoritative figures when presented with alarmist predictions that may be many decades off.

      An example is the recent RS report that presented the view that IPCC projections of sea level rise had been underestimated.

      This report was presented on TVOne’s “Closeup”, and was unquestioningly accepted by the presenter Mark Sainsbury.

      If I were the presenter, the questions to ask would be

      (a) Is there any empirical evidence that current sea levels are increasing at a level that is abnormal for the last 150 years?
      (b) What assumptions did you make to calculate these projected sea level rises, and what are the probabilities attached to the outcomes?

      Since I live by the sea, these are of personal interest. The neighbours are understandably concerned and some are taking this advice seriously, but without answering
      my questions above, what use are these predictions?

      Another example is in this week’s Listener editorial, where they happily regurgitate a statement from Caroline Spelman, UK environment minister, who has suggested that hospitals “be built on hills to avoid the inevitable effects of climate change”

      This factoid is presented without a hint of irony or critique, but is so ridiculous that even Al Gore would not have suggested it.

      As always, Richard North has the last laugh at this one. It’s a shame the Listener editorial writers don’t expand their reading a bit.

    • Richard C on 27/09/2010 at 8:53 pm said:

      How did Sainsbury’s guest get to be an “expert” on future sea level rise? And (worryingly), how was that “expert’s” opinion accepted in Court? – He must do well at Lotto.

      I would like to hear more of the alternative opinion at the Court hearing he mentioned.

      As for:- hospitals “be built on hills to avoid the inevitable effects of climate change”.

      Words fail me.

    • Richard C on 27/09/2010 at 11:23 pm said:

      Just remembered a relevant NZ paper:

      “Sea-level change and storm surges in the context of climate change”, Bell, Goring, de Lange 2000

      Much regurgitation of IPCC but they do mention climatic regime shifts and the difficulty of isolating sea level rise from storm surges, ENSO etc..

      The trend they found at Auckland (1.3mm/yr) is debatable as 1973-98 was flat (see graphs).

      “The trend in relative sea level over the almost 100 year record is a linear rise of 1.3 mm yr–1, which falls within the 1–2.5 mm yr–1 range for the global sea-level rise this century. ‘

      “The resulting almost static trend in MSL at Auckland and Moturiki over the last 25 years (1973–98), as a result of the unusually persistent ENSO behaviour, completely masks the ongoing global rise in sea level. The next few years should see another climate regime shift to another “cool” phase (17), which would cause regional sea levels to rise more rapidly, similar to the 1950s. This confounding behaviour of interdecadal variability in sea level and
      its complex link with ENSO effects (including sea-surface temperature) highlights the problem in attempting to isolate any rise in sea level, due to climate change, over even medium-term periods of 20–30 years.”

      The Moturiki gauge no longer exists.

      They do a risk assessment based on a regional trend of +1.7 mm yr-1 combined with the projected contribution from the greenhouse effect (also debatable).

      i.e. They didn’t use the 1.3mm/yr trend they found locally, they used the IPCC regional trend of 1.7mm/yr instead (more alarming), plus a GHG contribution (even more alarming).

      TABLE 2: Projected sea-level rise (SLR) for New Zealand for
      two probabilities of exceedance based on the approach of
      assessing the risk associated with regional sea-level rise (26).
      Year 50% chance that 10% chance that
      SLR will reach SLR will reach
      2025 11 cm 18 cm
      2050 20 cm 33 cm
      2070 31 cm 50 cm
      2100 45 cm 74 cm

    • Andy on 28/09/2010 at 7:22 am said:

      Thanks again Richard C, for taking the time to research some numbers, so sadly lacking in any of the alarmist arguments.

      Of course, anyone with any scientific or engineering background will understand that the value of extrapolating some small figures over century timescales is a fairly pointless exercise.

      This is what makes so many of these arguments from the alarmists so absurd.

    • Richard C on 28/09/2010 at 11:06 am said:

      It gets worse.

      A development in computer modeling is climate-economics coupled models. Article here:

      The model, CIM-EARTH here:

      This means that the AGW hypothesis is hard-wired into economic scenarios and risk assessments. A horrifying thought is that NIWA will get hold of this model and begin dabbling in two black arts.

      I am certainly a proponent of risk assessments but when the only scenario investigated is the prevailing CO2-forced warming scenario then the risk element is lost. The economic impacts on fisheries, agriculture, horticulture, insurance, energy infrastructure, engineering, architecture etc of a cooling scenario are of greater significance right now and for the next 40 years than a warming scenario in 2100 (ask the Argentinians).

      Even if CO2 does play a part in climate, the CO2 forcing implementation in the spin-up parameters of the models would be laughable if it wasn’t for the entire “precautionary” modification of global lifestyle behavior that is hanging on the frayed thread of model outputs.

      Compare the historical CO2 measurements in this article with the spliced Law Dome-Mauna Loa forcing dataset that the models use:

      Garbage In – Grants Out.

      But what economic use to society, is a model that uses flawed data as its basis?

    • Richard C on 28/09/2010 at 3:11 pm said:

      “The Moturiki gauge no longer exists.”

      I’m wrong, I checked today, its been modified and its a NIWA installation.

      Long-term plot here:

      Bell, Goring, de Lange 2000 doesn’t get a mention (Bell, Goring 1997 does) at NIWA and is at odds with the paper NIWA promotes: Hannah 2004 – behind a paywall but here’s the abstract:

      An updated analysis of long-term sea level change in New Zealand

      J. Hannah

      School of Surveying, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

      The original analysis of long-term sea level change in New Zealand is updated with a new and extended analysis. In this new analysis the original hourly sea level data have been re-examined to remove obvious errors that were still present, new data covering the period 1989–2000 has been added, and the sea level record for Wellington extended by the inclusion of recently discovered data covering the years 1891–1893. These new results indicate that relative sea levels in New Zealand have been rising at an average rate of 1.6 mm/yr over the last 100 years – a figure that is not only within the error bounds of the original determination, but when corrected for glacial-isostatic effects has a high level of coherency with other regional and global sea level rise determinations. There continues to be no evidence of any acceleration in relative sea levels over the record period.

      From NIWA page

      “New Zealand has four tide gauges with records for 75 years or longer (Auckland, Wellington, Lyttelton and Dunedin). Hannah (1990) used these data to calculate a rising trend in sea level of 1.3, 1.7, 2.3 and 1.4 mm per year respectively, giving New Zealand a mean of 1.7 mm per year. An update by Hannah (2004) confirmed that sea levels around New Zealand have been rising at an average rate of 1.6mm/year over the last 100 years.”

      So, no acceleration of sea levels for the last 100 years. Just a hike in the trend from Lyttleton (Hannah 1990) and some difficulties in the measurements:

      “The Difficulties in Using Tide Gauges to Monitor Long-Term Sea Level Change”, Hannah 2010.

    • I don’t know how interested you might be in the whole 2003 paper (published 2004), but I’m happy to offer it here: An updated analysis of long-term sea level change in New Zealand.

      I love your work, Richard!

    • Richard C on 28/09/2010 at 5:18 pm said:

      Very interested, thank you.

      It ties in with ocean heat and PDO. I’ll give it a good read but meantime this is the relevant conclusion:

      “…it continues to indicate that in New Zealand, at least, there has been neither a significant change in the rate of sea level rise nor any detectable acceleration”

    • Richard C on 29/09/2010 at 11:03 am said:

      Ocean Heat Content graph from NOAA

      Examining Trenberth’s ‘The heat will come back to haunt us sooner or later’ statement

      Maybe they’ve found Trenberth’s missing heat

      Scientists Find 20 Years of Deep Water Warming Leading to Sea Level Rise

      From the NOAA article:

      “Sea level has been rising at around 3 mm (1/8 of a inch) per year on average since 1993”

      NZ data
      Bell 2000 – 1.3 mm per year
      Hannah 2004 – 1.6 mm per year
      IPCC AR4 Regional 1.7 mm per year

      Looks like there’s a surge coming.

    • Richard C on 29/09/2010 at 11:18 am said:

      Ocean Thermocline Profile – the Air Vent

    • Andy on 26/09/2010 at 9:43 pm said:

      There is an interesting post by Thomas Fuller on a survey done on certainty and consensus in climate science.

      The science certainly isn’t “settled”

  5. Richard C on 26/09/2010 at 10:55 am said:

    The original Herald report begs a question.

    Climate change concern slips as cost of living worry grows

    “The UMR Research poll done on behalf of the Greenhouse Policy Coalition, which represents some of the larger greenhouse gas emitters, said climate change rated bottom in order of importance to people out of a list of 10 common issues”

    So respondents were forced by the questionnaire to choose “climate change” at position 10 out of a list of 10 options supplied to them.

    What if the list of concerns had been volunteered by the respondents; would “climate change” make it onto that list at all ?

    Also, the website “Ask me why” article only attracted one comment from KC:

    “Garbage – what evidence and how does it prove causal connection? If you are going to make a statement like this back it up with fact. You cant so it becomes opinion without substance. Should we tax the country on that basis – no”

    Got 12 “Likes”.

    MEMO TO: Herald Editor

    You can fool some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time.

    • It’s a very good question as to whether the respondents would volunteer a concern for climate change or even, if they were well informed, for a dangerous, man-made interference with it.

      To be concerned about climate change while expecting to “reduce” it by changing one’s behaviour is an uninformed position. The only sensible response to climate change is to make preparation for the most likely manifestations of it, because changes will occur. Of course, to express concern for a dangerous man-made version of climate change is, or should be, to declare oneself open to an investigation of the science of it. Which at the moment would remove the concern.

      About the Herald site: I left a comment (the second) yesterday morning. Perhaps because it’s the weekend, it still hasn’t appeared, so I posted it again this morning. It’s a midget version of this article (limit is 1200 words!). It must appear – they won’t be deliberately censoring my comments, will they?

    • Andy on 26/09/2010 at 11:36 am said:

      I left a comment too. Given the slightly hostile original comment, I suspect the mods are off work rather than censoring comments.

      I guess the Herald online is probably a pretty low traffic site and doesn’t warrant 24×7 mods like WUWT.

    • Richard C on 26/09/2010 at 2:38 pm said:

      I will be re-visiting the comments to check if your comment and RT’s see the light of day.

      Had a similar experience with a Kurt Lambeck – AAS story in The Australian that wasn’t let through. Probably mods off work as you say but who knows?

      We’re dealing with the second of two levels to the “climate change” debate – complex science and media impartiality as RT puts it in the post.

      I am sure that a shrinking newspaper journalist workforce has a lot to do with the second level; more profitable just to channel an AP or Reuters story (both warm-biased – Seth Borenstein a prime example. see, repackaged to give the impression that it’s local work. Any actual local report is of the ignorant dumbed-down variety, possibly helped along with a little “sponsorship”.

      There is now such an overwhelming body of scientific evidence (to coin a phrase) showing natural climate drivers to be the origin of climate change that the debate has been comprehensively won by CO2 sceptics. Unfortunately, the complex scientific debate takes place outside the attention of the general populace.

    • Andy on 27/09/2010 at 5:45 pm said:

      The comments are appearing on the Herald site now, including mine at Richard T’s.

    • Andy on 27/09/2010 at 5:50 pm said:

      mine AND Richard T’s I meant of course.

      And check out this little pearler from JD.

    • Richard C on 27/09/2010 at 8:25 pm said:

      Wow, JD sure can scoop a story.

      I see your comments. KC’s “Garbage” comment now has 23 Likes!

      Put one in too this evening (I’m “Nonentity” at the Herald). Also got one posted under the “Time to wake the world” article along with RT’s friend Gareth’s convoluted effort. Apparently our climate change denial is stopping air pollution being addressed (Huh ?).

    • Richard C on 28/09/2010 at 10:22 am said:

      On reflection, the global cooling on the agenda probably refers to global economic cooling rather than global climatic cooling.

  6. Ron on 29/09/2010 at 3:43 pm said:

    “On reflection, the global cooling on the agenda probably refers to global economic cooling rather than global climatic cooling.”

    or as a WUWT comment suggests, geoengineering to cool the CAGW planet!
    However there are caveats that the source of this information is suspect (would Bilderberg publish their agenda on the internet?)

    still, over 2000 comments shows it has touched a nerve.

    It is also interesting to see the huge number of comments following Steve McIntyre’s inclusion in the New Statesman top 50.

    Despite their efforts let’s hope the MSM can be outflanked and integrity will prevail.

  7. Andy on 30/10/2010 at 5:45 pm said:

    Hot Topic gets a response from Steve Goddard after another charming ad hom from Gareth

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