Does Reisinger have any evidence?

Methane – CH4


Dr Andy Reisinger wrote an opinion piece in today’s Herald. Here are some answers.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that global methane emissions are responsible for more than 40 per cent of the total warming effect so far of all human activities. … Our livestock sector is making the concentration of methane in the atmosphere higher than it would be otherwise, and this results in the world becoming warmer than it would be otherwise.

But methane contributes only 0.36% to the total greenhouse effect, of which only about 18% comes from human activities. It is an unimportant trace gas. This is from respected climate scientist Dr Gerrit van der Lingen (personal communication).

There are differing views regarding how much effort should be put into reducing methane, and whether this effort should occur immediately or only after carbon dioxide emissions have begun to decline. But there is no dispute that continuing methane emissions at current levels will continue to keep the world warmer than it would otherwise be, and that reducing methane emissions would help reduce the impacts of climate change.

There is no dispute simply because it’s scarcely significant to prevent whatever meagre warming methane creates, Dr Reisinger. More importantly, there are substantial disagreements about the effect of carbon dioxide on temperature. All around you sceptics are asking questions about your climate science. In fact, even learned scientists like yourself can be heard arguing about your climate science. Are you listening? Are you too frightened to acknowledge they exist? Or is your evidence too weak to present?

The goal to reduce emissions from all gases is fully consistent with the science.

How can this be? There is no evidence that human-derived methane or carbon dioxide has a harmful influence on surface temperatures. Methane exists in the atmosphere only at the ridiculously low level of 1.8 parts per million, and carbon dioxide only trivial, at 400 parts per million. If you have evidence, please give it to us. While you’re at it, tell us exactly what temperature increase will be caused by the present or expected methane levels in, say, 10, 20 and 30 years’ time. If that’s too difficult, tell us what the present temperature would be without methane in the atmosphere. It’s hard to imagine it would change at all.

Cutting carbon dioxide emissions to zero has to be the foremost goal, but the ways and costs of achieving this will depend on how much progress we can make in reducing emissions of other gases at the same time. The question is: what is possible?

No, the question is: why should we try to cut emissions even of carbon dioxide? What evidence makes you say it’s dangerous? Share it with us.

If you’re aware at all of sceptical questions like these, why don’t you answer them? I presume you’re aware that credible evidence is the most excellent response to those who doubt you. There is no refuting evidence. Evidence puts to rest the keenest sceptical inquiries and satisfies the most persistent questioner.

So give us the evidence.

* Dr Andy Reisinger is deputy director of the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre and was a co-ordinating lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report.


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7 Thoughts on “Does Reisinger have any evidence?

  1. Robin Pittwood on 25/08/2017 at 6:59 am said:

    And so while he worries about cow burps and farts the rest of the world does this ..
    And a minuscule change in cloud cover is more significant than all the CH4 combined. Sorry if I’ve misquoted you Dr Spencer.

  2. Dr Andy Reisinger is deputy director of the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre

    His job is based on the notion that “Greenhouse Gas” is so calamitous that it requires him to be ever vigilant on justifying his job.

  3. Ian Cooper on 01/09/2017 at 10:17 am said:

    Along similar lines perhaps was this address by Dr William Rolleston 4 days ago regarding “Science & public perception in NZ Farming,” on the AgriView NZ site ( ).

    I found this segment rather interesting where Rolleston quotes our wheel-chair friend, “In his speech to the Royal Society of Medicine this week Stephen Hawking, the renowned physicist and author of A Brief History of Time, said:
    “Speaking as a scientist, cherry picking evidence is unacceptable. When public figures abuse scientific argument, citing some studies but suppressing others, to justify policies that they want to implement it debases scientific culture. One consequence of this sort of behaviour is that it leads ordinary people not to trust science, at a time when scientific research and progress are more important than ever, given the challenges we face as a human race.”

    We have seen activists use this tactic in the debates on fluoride, immunisation, 1080, climate change, genetic modification and in the debate on water.”

    Two things emerge from that. Given Stephen Hawking’s pronouncements on CAGW in the past it would appear that he makes exceptions for that case (don’t they all?).

    The second point is that in the list of debates Dr Rolleston doesn’t mention that as far as climate is concerned it is the scientists in the field that are the activists. It may be a part of his strategy though when you read the rest of his address?

  4. Richard Treadgold on 01/09/2017 at 1:25 pm said:

    Yes, thanks for this, Ian. William Rolleston appears to be a well-informed and thoughtful farming leader, and I think you’re right to suggest he knows about the scientist-activist. In that same speech he says:

    It is absolutely clear that science will not progress and evidence will not drive decision making if scientists do not speak out and communicate with the public.  But not all scientists are equal.  While academic freedom is an essential tenet of our modern society it is often difficult for the public to discern when a scientist is speaking as a scientist and when they are speaking as an activist.

    When Mike Joy articulated his desire to see all ruminants removed from agriculture was he speaking as a scientist or an activist?  When medical researcher Garth Cooper joined the board of the Sustainability Council to oppose genetic modification in agriculture he cited trade issues – hardly his area of expertise.

    I know neither Mike Joy nor Garth Cooper but his point is clear.

    I’m concerned about his apparent acceptance of CAGW, since it seems to be heading towards taxing farmers for their contributions to emissions, whether real or perceived. Elsewhere he mentions Fed Farmers’ “acceptance of climate change” and in the speech you mention he says:

    The goal we must all aim for is for there to be no tension between the scientific evidence and public perception.  Just as in the climate change debate, in the immunisation debate and in the debate on fluoridation those who hold views contrary to the evidence will eventually be marginalised.

    He (and Fed Farmers) may have abandoned their personal inquiries into climate science because of the effort involved and the clear signs that establishment leaders around the world accept the apparent evidence for it, but at least he leaves the door ajar for us to pose our questions.

    I note he says: “what I see from farmers … is that they hate being told what to do but give them a problem and they want to fix it.”

    It’s not just farmers, is it? Sounds like a fine strategy for approaching anyone in the establishment.

  5. Ian Cooper on 01/09/2017 at 3:52 pm said:

    That last quote you could read either way with regard to “those who hold contrary views to the evidence will eventually be marginalised.” Although he has lumped climate change in with other contentious subjects, I sense that he is on the side of ‘actual’ science in that he calls them all ‘debates.’ Most of the alarmists claim that the there is NO debate! It is over!

    I also think he leaves the door ajar so that those who aren’t looking may fall into a trap. By that I mean those who supposedly champion science but when it suits them they let their emotions rule to the stage that they conveniently ignore the science, just as Stephen Hawking appears to be doing. I know many of the people on the CAGW side who think like this and if they really looked hard in the mirror they would be embarrassed by how hypocritical they are. By claiming to be not only defenders of this good earth but “Science” as well and then pushing the advocacy agenda we can call them nothing but hypocrites. Sad but true.

  6. Andy on 01/09/2017 at 5:00 pm said:

    I have met William Rolleston a few times. He helps with the school ski champs at our local ski field

    He is a very charming chap. However, I am sure a person in his position needs to be seen to “fit in”. One can take that as it comes

  7. Graham A on 06/09/2017 at 3:57 pm said:

    No one has ever proved that methane from farmed livestock can ever warm the temperature of the world .Methane has a half life in the atmosphere of about 8.4 years and it is broken down into water and CO2in the upper atmosphere .Water and CO2 are essential to grow fodder for livestock and all other life on earth. The methane is produced in the anaerobic digestive process and belched as the animals chew their cud .It is a continuous cycle ,Co2 is absorbed by plants .animals eat the plants . they belch out methane which is broken down into CO2 and H2O.Nothing is added to the atmosphere over an 8 year period and this nonsense was slipped into the Kyoto Accord by activists and no body has ever proved that the methane from LIVESTOCK in the atmosphere is increasing over any time span .We plant trees to absorb CO2 but when the trees are harvested a great deal of CO2 is released back into the atmosphere as the wood is used and paper sawdust and firewood is burnt . Livestock methane is absolutely neutral as far as green house gasses are concerned.I challenge anyone to prove otherwise . I mean prove not just quote something some one else has said .

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