Climate porkies from TV One

What appeared to be a startling development in the important topic of global warming started with Dr James Renwick on Sunday 17 March, 2013, in an interview aired on TV1 at about 11:17 am. Susan Wood introduces it by describing the current severe drought.

TVNZ issued a press release a few hours later, stating: “Dr Renwick told the programme that global warming was the only explanation for the drought,” even though that was not a faithful reflection of the interview.

The NBR followed up the same day with an article in which they make an identical statement: “Dr Renwick told the programme that global warming was the only explanation for the drought,” which suggests that the NBR obtained the statement from TVNZ.

Rodney Hide picked up the story (which is how I discovered it) a week ago with an article in the NBR criticising Renwick for blaming global warming for the drought.

My initial post supported Rodney’s article in the NBR and I defended him when he was lambasted by Gareth Renowden.

It was a startling story, since reputable scientists say that you cannot blame this or that specific weather event on global warming. Although warming might increase the frequency or ferocity of an event, warming alone cannot create one. But the statement was corroborated by the very broadcaster which interviewed Renwick. They should know. So it appeared to be true.

This is just not so

Because the statement was outrageous, I was sceptical, but after reading the transcript and studying the video, I thought that taking that meaning from it was plausible and I wrote a post carefully explaining my reasoning.

There was a clamour of dissent until Andy suggested someone contact James Renwick. Good idea, I thought, and I emailed him.

Within half an hour, James politely confirmed that he never blamed the drought on global warming: “This is just not so.” It’s good to hear him say that, actually, but we must deal with the fallout.

So, I apologise to Dr Renwick for misquoting him so badly — that is, over a statement so disastrously incorrect. And I am asking TVNZ for an explanation.

Our public broadcaster has told a very naughty porky.

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Mike Jowsey

It’s great to see that Dr. Renwick does not agree that global warming had anything to do with this summer’s weather in the antipodes. One wonders what exactly Dr. Renwick might claim as an indicator in New Zealand of global warming.

Richard C (NZ)

Mike, drought effect on kiwifruit from Tony Hawkin, CEO of East Pack Ltd, NZ’s largest post-harvest operator (my employer):-

“To date the 2013 season has been completely different from other seasons so far – never has there been less fruit available to pack than Zespri wanted to ship and sell……..Never before have we seen the Kiwistart programme [precedes May/June Mainseason, growers get premium prices] being completely unrestrained and allowing packhouses to pack as much fruit as they can possibly find.”

“This year’s drought has resulted in fruit maturity being later than average and fruit sizes being a lot smaller than ideal. Our Edgecumbe and Opotiki sites have packed some of the smallest fruit that we have ever seen and throughout the whole kiwifruit industry Green fruit average size is the smallest ever recorded.”

“On the positive side the drought has produced some of the best tasting fruit that we have ever known – from our Asian customers’ perspective this is particularly important as for them taste is even more important than fruit size”

# # #


Richard C (NZ)

BTW re sweetness, it is amazing to watch the Asians: mostly Malays, Chinese, some Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese and Phillipino (but most of our overseas workers are Vanuatuans – sweet-tooths too), ladling half a dozen spoonfuls of sugar into their teacups.

Mike Jowsey

Hi Richard
Cherries were extra sweet this year, a good size, no splitting due to little rain and lots of sun. The crop was knocked back about 30% by very late frosts (7th Nov) which meant the remaining fruit was larger than normal. Plus, we irrigate them with trickle irrigation so dry conditions are not as much of a problem. I did note that the water table remained well above normal summer levels and our irrigation well supplied full irrigation throughout the season. From my experience, this summer in North Canterbury was not exceptionally dry by any stretch. We did not have nearly the number or strength of Norwesters which are the really drying winds. We did have plenty of sun though. In fact, I was ordered to install a small swimming pool, which is now dismantled for the winter.

Richard C (NZ)

Good result Mike, and up 10% on last season (if I’ve got that right).

Re: “The crop was knocked back about 30% by very late frosts (7th Nov)” and “little rain”

I recall this exchange in the ‘New Zealand’ thread:-

Richard C (NZ) says:
July 8, 2012 at 2:44 pm

So place your bets, when will the last frost be this year at Mike’s cherry orchard

Mike Jowsey says:
July 8, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Last year the last frost was on 3rd November. It was a very light one. Last year’s crop was about 60% of normal. Then we got the rain at Christmas which buggered everything!

# # #

I would have lost money on my frost bet.

Richard C (NZ)

>”The crop was knocked back about 30% by very late frosts (7th Nov) which meant the remaining fruit was larger than normal”

I recall too discussing frost mitigation a year ago. Does the larger fruit offset (to a degree) the cost and effort of frost protection (just going on Nov 2012)?


Man you guys are stubborn. What don’t you understand about the effect that the GW trend has on the shifting of probabilities for weather events such as droughts or floods? Don’t you think you look silly riding this ‘Causation’ debate about ONE drought when really you should think about the outcome if we have a rise in the frequency and severity of these droughts to consider? If you are a smoker and get lung cancer, does this prove that YOUR cancer was definitively caused by smoking? No. If however the lung cancer rate among 1 million heavy smokers is ten times the national average, would you resist to concur that smoking caused the vast majority of the extra cases? People rebuild their houses after one flood and the insurance generally pays. But if the frequency of flooding goes up, eventually affected areas will have to be abandoned as no bank and no insurance man will want to pay for the folly of building there. Even our current government (Bill English) admitted that he (the government) will not be able to offer prolonged assistance to farmers in the case of a rising frequency of… Read more »

“You seem to want to wring some confirmation of your denial of the contribution of GW to drought out of talk about one specific drought.”

Who on earth are you talking to?


It’s pretty obvious RT. You can not conclusively say that a weather event was caused by AGW. You can however say that the probability of such an event occurring has increased/decreased because of AGW.


This is true. Renwick says that a one in 50 year event might become a one in 25 year event, so if we check back in 100 years we might have 4 data points, or maybe 2.

No argument with that. What are you on about?


We can say that the probability of an event may have increased or decreased because of AGW

In the UK, the met office predicted drier summers and wet warm winters. The exact opposite has happened over the last few years, but hey who cares, it’s all climate change.


Thanks for this post. I think this is the best interpretation of the events, namely that TVNZ are the culprit for misleading the public

I think any speculation on what James Renwick meant is moot in this case.

Yes, it’s moot. But it’s useful to have his firm statement on record that weather events are not caused by global warming. Everyone and his dog has been looking around at this warm record or that storm and saying that’s global warming, we’re all doomed. It will be handy to slap them with Renwick’s authoritative statement.


I haven’t seen the email, but you have to be careful not to turn a double negative into a positive

Do you mean “there’s no global warming, so it doesn’t cause weather events”?


No, I mean that the statements

“I did not claim that the recent drought was caused by global warming”

is not the same as

“the recent drought was not caused by global warming”

This appears to be getting somewhat Clintonesque

Oh, right.

James makes it crystal clear that he did not say, and it’s not true, that global warming caused the drought. Unless he’s being most audaciously devious, which I cannot believe. I’ll likely (95% confidence) release the email in due course.


No Andy. You guys look desperate to try to mislead the public into thinking that global warming is not causing droughts (or floods) for that matter. Its you guys here that are trying to spin this story so that perhaps some folks out there think: Oh well, its juts weather. Its nothing to do with climate change. That, would be a bad outcome and would be the propagation of a lie. You know that. Now back of the case and get real. Tell the public that they can expect more droughts and tell the farmers that they will need to adapt to the changing climate as there will be no tax payer bailouts trying to pay for unsustainable farming practices in changing climate. Bill English said so much himself.

For warming to influence weather, it must first exist. Do you agree? No warming, no influence. Show us warming over the last approx. 17 years! If the ocean’s warming without warming the atmosphere, how has that been affecting the weather?


Richard, the AGW forcing has gone on unabated. The rise of atmospheric temperatures will be undulating, due to well researched ocean circulation patterns, solar rhythms and so on. If you subtract the natural cyclical signal from the data, the steady rise of the trend is clear as a bell.
Here is a video showing you the temp record plus especially the last 16 years with subtracting the known natural variations from the data.
What do you see?
Has AGW stopped?
And again, this is just the air temp record. Remember that the vast majority of the heat content added to the Earth system is stored in the enormous heat capacity of the oceans.

Richard C (NZ)

>”Richard, the AGW forcing has gone on unabated.” Cling to that Thomas, the forcing may be there but it is ineffectual in the face of far stronger forcings e.g. PDO (negative phase of which is actually the cause of the current standstill) and solar input which has been plummeting since 2011/12). Meanwhile the atmospheric temperature standstill is a documented fact:- ‘The Global Warming Standstill’ Acknowledged by Hansen, Sato and Ruedy:- ‘Global Temperature Update Through 2012’ “Global Warming Standstill. The 5-year running mean of global temperature has been flat for the past decade.” >”Here is a video showing you the temp record plus especially the last 16 years with subtracting the known natural variations from the data. What do you see?” Out of date data. Since the end of series 2010 El Nino, temperature anomalies are way back down near all dataset baselines i.e. nowhere near the trajectory of say Foster and Rahmstorf’s data torture exercise. Latest April UAH anomaly is +0.1 C in ENSO-neutral conditions. At the beginning of 2010 (El Nino) it was up around +0.58 C anomaly and made Foster and Rahmstorf look good. Now they look silly. >”Has… Read more »

Interesting video, thanks. I was surprised to see so much warming over the last 16 years, so I looked at a few things. The GISTEMP LOTI dataset from 2001 to the present shows stasis and from 2002 considerable cooling. That’s 11.5 years of the 16 years that Cook is illustrating. Even the dTs dataset shows stasis from 2005, which means 7.5 years of warming gone. To verify this, go to Wood for Trees and use the interactive graph. Kindly explain why he shows warming that occurs over just 4 to 8 years as if spread over 16 years. It doesn’t make sense. The presentation is hard to believe. I noticed the paper when it was published earlier this year and wondered at their ability to identify the forcings, given our poor understanding of the climate system — the IPCC can’t. In addition, there has been no warming for the last 16 years if the temperature has not been rising, no matter how many forcings you “remove.” To show it rising at the same rate since 1978 is simply ridiculous. We haven’t even begun to consider the hugely controversial “removal” of the natural forcings.… Read more »


Richard T said: ” I don’t accept that heat “stored” in the oceans has any climate forcing capacity until and unless it emerges to heat the air. Reasonable?”

But of cause it is affecting things at the surface and it will emerge and affect the surface! Heat stored in the ocean system is accumulative. The only way to cool the oceans again would be, guess how? Through giving off heat to the atmosphere!

The atmospheric temperatures are greatly influenced by ocean temperatures. And deep ocean water will eventually well up again on the upward parts of the great ocean circulation currents. Energy as you know, is a conserved quantity and just because the oceans store the vast majority of the energy excess due to AGW, does not mean we will not see the effects.

Bob D


… just because the oceans store the vast majority of the energy excess due to AGW…

The top layers of the ocean are expected to store the energy, not the bottom. But the top layers aren’t warming.

Please provide us with the links to the relevant portions of the IPCC reports that predict that the deep ocean will warm while the atmosphere and upper layers do not.

Richard C (NZ)

>”The only way to cool the oceans again would be, guess how? Through giving off heat to the atmosphere!” Actually no. The ocean WAS giving off heat CONTINUALLY but NOT cooling up to the early 2000s, it was accumulating heat as you yourself state Thomas but gains were greater than losses. The only way to cool the oceans is to reduce the energy input so that losses are greater than gains. That occurred from about 1986 and the thermal lag took effect by early 2000s after which the upper Pacific and Atlantic have been cooling (Indian was still warming because it receives heat mainly from the Pacific by circulation and from the Atlantic to a much lessor degree, but the upper Indian stopped warming 4Q2010). But the reduced energy input to the the ocean since 1986 has been a minimal reduction and therefore minimal OHC reduction, it is only since 2011/12 that the input reduction is becoming significant. The effect (of any significance) of the post 2011/12 energy input reduction wont show up in the atmosphere until about 6 years have elapsed (Trenberth). This is now MSM stuff Thomas, even CO2-centric Steven Sherwood… Read more »


TVNZ produce a piece that directly contracts the email statement of James Renwick, we point that out and are accused by you, Thomas, of propagating a lie.

How does that work, exactly?


Yes Andy. Spin makes a lie out of situations. I repeat: You are riding this because you hope that some passer-by spectators here might think that the last drought (and perhaps by inference droughts or weather extremes in general) have nothing to do with AGW. I am I not correct?
This is the fallacious story you are trying to spin.
This drought, its duration and severity has been made more likely due to AGW. This is a fact that is well supported by science. And this is the message that people need to hear. The rest is semantical shenanigans on your end and utterly irrelevant to the message and the management decisions that Farmers and others that will be effected by the changes in climate will have to take into account.


I am not trying to spin any story
The story that you are trying to spin is that it is perfectly fine for a public funded broadcaster to make stuff up.

i.e they say in their press release that “James Renwick told us that the drought was caused by global warming”. His email clearly states that he did not say this, and the transcript and the interview also clearly state this

You seem fine with this

Richard C (NZ)

>”This drought, its duration and severity has been made more likely due to AGW. This is a fact that is well supported by science”

And the “science” as applicable to “This drought” is (citation please)?

Or are you just making it up as you go along?

FYI, there’s a standstill in the NZ temperature series too (NIWA or NZCSET – take your pick but there’s no difference in the recent years). If NZ temperatures have remained static this century, albeit warm, why wasn’t there a drought of comparable “duration and severity” to “this drought” every year this century?


No Andy. You guys look desperate to try to mislead the public

No Thomas, TVNZ look desperate trying to mislead the public by making statements that are not supported by the science and contradicted by the person being interviewed

By the way, why don’t you pop over here and read about the new paper that find significantly lower climate sensitivity; a paper written by some of the big guns on the topic

Richard C (NZ)

Definitely incumbent on the National news and current events broadcaster to convey the facts but in this case they’ve failed. I have to say though, being familiar with Renwick’s climate double-speak since he’s assumed Jim Salinger’s mantle, that I completely understand how Renwick was misinterpreted by them and by Corin Dann in particular. Memo to Corin Dann: If you are making a news item on the basis of your personal but incorrect premise, you are not reporting facts. And if you are intent on presenting that premise during an interview with an “expert” to the extent that it prevents you from determining exactly what the expert is saying, then why did you need the expert at all except as a sounding board for yourself if all you are doing is imposing your own opinion on a topic rather than seeking expert-based assessment? A caution: some “experts” are looking for every opportunity for public exposure of their particular slant on an issue and wont voluntarily correct your false assessment of it if it suits their purposes to have the public left with the false impression you’ve created. James Renwick is one of those. Also… Read more »


I would agree that the dialogue on both sides was largely gibberish.

What happened to our language?


More news of the real, guys – quick, put your blinders on…You are one thick kumara. – RT Fish and other sea life have been moving toward Earth’s poles in search of cooler waters, part of a worldwide, decades-long migration documented for the first time by a study released Wednesday. The research, published in the journal Nature, provides more evidence of a rapidly warming planet and has broad repercussions for fish harvests around the globe. University of British Columbia researchers found that significant numbers of 968 species of fish and invertebrates they examined moved to escape the warming waters of their original habitats.Previous studies had documented the same phenomenon in specific parts of the world’s oceans. But the new study is the first to assess the migration worldwide and to look back as far as 1970, according to its authors. The research is more confirmation that “global change is real and has been real for a long time,” said Boris Worm, a professor of marine biology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, who was not part of the study. “It’s not something in the distant future. It is well underway.” The conclusions… Read more »


Remind me again how migratory behavior of fish in Canada relate to the issue of TVNZ and their coverage of the north island drought?

I am sure there is a connection somewhere ….


Indeed, Andy, the connection is a phenomenon known as Anthropogenic Global Warming – perhaps you may have heard of it?

realityrulesok (Rob Taylor) has demonstrated for the last time a deep contempt for courteous behaviour and he has gone off somewhere. I don’t know where and I don’t care. He will not be returning.

Richard C (NZ)

Already been 2 posts on this at WUWT so no need to reach for the “blinders”. Second one:-

Washington Post Headline: “Worlds fish have been moving to cooler waters for decades, study finds”

Posted on May 16, 2013 by Bob Tisdale

“As usual, global warming enthusiasts in the press overlook some basic issues—like the sea surface temperatures for the Indian and Pacific Oceans from pole to pole haven’t warmed in 19+ years, and the Atlantic data show little warming for more than a decade. Further, the tropical Indian and Pacific sea surface temperatures haven’t warmed since 1986. It’s therefore difficult to make claims like “more evidence of a rapidly warming planet”, but that doesn’t stop proponents of hypothetical human-induced global warming.”



But keep trying Rob, as Tom Petty puts it – “even the losers get lucky sometimes”


So you accuse the scientists who reported on species migrations of fraud? Do you think they made their data up? Have you got any alternate data at hand showing that species have been staying put and habitats have not changed? Or are you again and again confusing natural variability of the climate data, i.e. short term fluctuations, as an indicator to trend changes?

So rather than echoing the WUWT, why don’t you bother to look at the data from leading ocean scientists fist:

Bob D

They found that fish have moved. They assumed that the fish moved because of global warming. Two different things. As many have pointed out, the oceans haven’t warmed significantly for about 19 years. So if the fish are moving, could it be due to other factors? Changes in circulation patterns? Over-fishing in the tropics? These are valid questions to ask, in an era when absolutely everything is blamed on global warming.

And even when all the dust has settled, global warming doesn’t necessarily imply anthropogenic global warming, does it? The Medieval Warm Period was warmer than the present, and the Roman Warm Period was warmer again. Before that the Minoan Warm Period was still warmer. All these Warm Periods occurred naturally, so until irrefutable proof is presented (it hasn’t yet) we must assume the null hypothesis and conclude that the current warming is natural too.


Thomas – even if the fish are migrating due to warming temperatures, you have absolutely no evidence whatsoever that this warming is anthropogenic in origin. In order to claim that something is causing an effect, be it fish migrating, ice melting, etc, you must first establish that the ‘something’ exists. CO2 can only raise the temp 1.2C maximum per doubling of total (not just man’s) atmospheric CO2 levels. Positive feedbacks are supposed to triple this initial warming effect, and the vast majority of these feedbacks is supposed to come from water vapour. The positive feedback from water vapour was supposed to be evident in a tropospheric hot spot that has not eventuated in over 40 yrs of looking from more than 30,000,000 weather balloons and 2 satellites. Now, without the tropospheric hot spot what evidence do you have of positive feedback from water vapour? Without evidence of positive feedback from water vapour what evidence do you have of of AGW beyond the tiny 1.2C per doubling of CO2? Without evidence of AGW beyond a tiny 1.2C per doubling of total atmospheric CO2 levels, what evidence is there that the fish migrations, melting ice,… Read more »

Nice summary, Magoo, thanks.

Richard C (NZ)

>”So rather than echoing the WUWT, why don’t you bother to look at the data from leading ocean scientists fist:

We do, but in more detail than you do Thomas. You are essentially just looking at the Indian Ocean there Thomas (as were Balmaseda et al in their truncated study ending 2009). But if we do a basin-by-basin analysis (as we do but you don’t) of the same NODC data it is clear that the upper Pacific and Atlantic has been cooling since 2003:-

Data source:-

Now even the upper Indian hasn’t warmed since 4Q2010.


This discussion is silly. Trolls such as Thomas and his fellow members of the Flat Earth Society, are clearly in need of a return to Primary School, and a massive re-education kick start. Andy, Rich C and Richard T – your tolerance is extraordinary. Thomas et al should tune into , read and learn. A sample: ” Ocean temperatures – Is that warming statistically significant? The oceans as measured by ARGO are warming, but that warming is not only far less than the models predicted, it is far less even than the instrument error. Everyone agrees: 90% of the energy in the Earth’s climate system is stored in the oceans. Rocks and sand don’t transmit the heat down, except at incredibly slow rates. The wil-o’-the-wisp-atmosphere hardly holds any energy. But water covers 70% of the surface, to an average depth of 3,700m, and it can store septillions of joules. Climate models say the Earth’s energy balance is out of whack, and therefore 90% of the extra energy trapped by increasing greenhouse gases is stored in the ocean. The oceans are warming (probably), but the extra energy found in the top 700m of… Read more »


LOL! Thanks Flipper! Will print your post and past that on my office wall.Your comment should say more than implied sarcasm, Thomas, or it won’t survive. – RT


Why don’t we discuss theories of ocean warming on its own thread? It doesn’t see relevant to the topic of the post.

Just a suggestion…

Richard C (NZ)

>”Why don’t we discuss theories of ocean warming on its own thread?” Merit in that I agree Andy, except that ocean heat is now the underlying thread of all of this like it or not. Even the most significant element of your Lewis CS comment in ‘Global Warming’ is ocean heat. OHC is front-and-centre now the atmosphere is a non-issue, every climate issue, including NZ drought and the porkies derived from it have an ocean heat element to them one way or another. I think the problem will be resolved once RT takes the ocean heat issue to post level and keeps it fresh as Jo Nova does (see Flipper’s quote). I know by email that RT is considering this on Tuesday. And yes there’s the ‘Ocean Heat Content’ ‘Open Threads’ but I’m about the only one that frequents them. The issue however is continually topical now and the likes of SkS have been banging on about it with their own spin at post level for some to now so ocean heat specific comments can be contained rather than spilling over into off-topic threads. It would be good though to use the ‘Open… Read more »

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