Renwick’s alarmist climate claims

UPDATE BELOW 18 June 20201

A Stuff article on Saturday by Amber-Leigh Woolf, Climate change accelerating but people can help change a world crisis, scientist says, quotes Prof James Renwick, who mentions a couple of hitherto unknown and surprising aspects of global warming.

The Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences professor said people were right to worry about the world’s future because the rate of climate change was accelerating. Climate change was affecting an ecosystem which had been in place for tens of thousands of decades, and could be destroyed within 40 years.

I wrote a comment asking about this and Stuff immediately deleted it. Had they leapt to the conclusion that I was again denying the climate?

You may be astonished to read Renwick’s statements, for they are the most alarming I have heard from a scientist on global warming. Nothing in my research prepared me for this. Sure, bloggers and hangers-on say this kind of thing, but scientists are slow to adopt extreme positions and James is a proper climate scientist, head of the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences at Victoria University, prominent in the NZ Royal Society, past lead author for the IPCC and much sought after by journalists for comment.

But this was wrong; I had to find out more about it, but there was nothing helpful in the article. The journalist didn’t realise this story was special, that this time she should ask extra questions. Major news organisations in New Zealand believe the United Nations version of global warming, repeat what UN-connected scientists (including Royal Society officeholders) say and ask no questions. I penned a comment at Stuff:

Prof Renwick says our ecosystem “could be destroyed within 40 years,” and “the rate of climate change was accelerating. However, we don’t need to exaggerate the facts.”

Forty years is an alarmingly short period to contemplate the “destruction” of our environment, but nonetheless, I’m keenly interested, as many surely are, in just how we know that climate change has accelerated. So, without exaggerating the facts, and understanding that climate is an abstraction created by statistical analysis of weather, what aspects of weather engender that conclusion? Is it air temperature, rainfall, humidity, cloudiness, wind strength or direction, ocean temperature, length of season, monsoon timing, jet stream changes, major ocean cycles, sunspots or something else?

The comment quickly disappeared, even after I posted it twice more. I wrote to Stuff:

I notice my comment, below, which I’ve posted two or three times, thinking I had made some mistake, is actually being quickly removed each time it’s posted, I assume in accordance with your site’s policy on moderation standards. Since it ventures little that might be regarded as opinion, and simply asks a question about significant statements by Prof Renwick, I am somewhat bamboozled. Kindly explain why this comment apparently transgresses your moderation policy.

The comment was restored almost immediately (though without explanation), so it was a good enough response by Stuff. The main thing is to get a response from Renwick. I’ll keep an eye on those comments and if nothing appears I’ll get in touch with James.

UPDATE 18 June 2020

Views: 343

  1. My comment remains but still no response from Renwick. DennisHorne says it’s “incontrovertible” so I’ve challenged him to reveal the evidence. I’m glad he says so, because I thought it was actually quite vague. It’ll be good to have an answer.

16 Thoughts on “Renwick’s alarmist climate claims

  1. Maggy Wassilieff on 12/08/2019 at 6:57 pm said:

    I gave up placing corrections on Stuff years ago.
    They are not interested in correcting mistakes or presenting differing views.

    I’m watching this latest push from IPCC acolytes to move the alarm from Global Warming perse to Environmental/Ecological concerns.

    I’m an Ecologist, Renwick isn’t.

    Most Climate scientists aren’t experts in soil-plant-animal interactions or landform/ecosystem relationships.

    My personal belief is that the alarming Global warming models have run their course…

    The folks running the alarm need a new bogey to hitch to their apocalyptic vision.

  2. Michael Kelly on 12/08/2019 at 8:25 pm said:

    Posted at Stuff:
    The Chinese Belt and Road initiative, with its 700 planned new coal fired power stations of which over a third are being built, is the biggest civil engineering project on earth: it will go further, over the next 20-30 years, than anything else on the books to achieve the first and second of the UN sustainable development goals, namely the elimination of world poverty and hunger. I applaud that James Renwick continues to have his head deep in the sand when issuing his warnings, especially if he thinks that actions by New Zealanders can make any real difference.

  3. Gwan on 12/08/2019 at 8:47 pm said:

    Renwick has always pushed climate alarm-ism.
    We have many climate scientists in New Zealand who do not push this outright exaggeration.
    The true sea level rise is 1.5 millimeters a year and our temperature here in New Zealand was warmer in the 1930s and 40s than the last 20 years.
    I remember over 20 years ago Renwick writing in the NZ Herald about the inconvenient fact that the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than present .
    He then with others have tried their best to change history and make up stories that the MWP was only in the Northern hemisphere.
    There are many studies that show that it was global.
    This alarmist talk is not founded on facts and a little warmer weather will will extend a more favorable climate north into Europe, Russia and Canada and south in South America .
    There might be the odd species where there habitat changes to drastically but most natural wild life is very adaptable .
    As for Stuff that’s a good name as it wont be long and they will be stuffed.
    I wrote 3 letters to the Editor on farmed live stock methane and they refused to publish them as they could not refute the facts that I put before them and they did not fit the party line .
    Graham Anderson

  4. Richard Treadgold on 12/08/2019 at 8:58 pm said:

    Hi, Michael. Good to see you here. You know that NZ is small in GHG output, but we’re awfully big on ego-driven climate policy.

  5. Richard Treadgold on 12/08/2019 at 8:58 pm said:

    Good points, Graham. We just have to keep plugging away, don’t we.

  6. Simon on 13/08/2019 at 8:25 am said:

    It is debatable that the rate of warming is accelerating. Prof. Renwick could have seen some advance evidence from reviewing papers yet to be published. Acceleration is very possible given that emissions are increasing. Prof. Kelly gave an example of why above. Another that is very scary is the incredible amount of taiga forest that has burnt this summer, 5m km²! plus rapid deforestation in the Amazon and Indonesia and European forest dying from drought, beetles and fire.
    There are multiple tipping points that we are closing in on.

  7. Maggy Wassilieff on 13/08/2019 at 2:17 pm said:

    Ever heard of the regular cycles of Arctic fires and the great fires in the 1730s, 1770s, 1850s, mid 1930s, 1970s that swept through hundreds of thousands of square km in Arctic Eurasia, Simon?

    Vakurov, A.D. 1975. Lesnye pozhary Severa [Forest fire in the north]. Moscow, Nauka, 100 pp. .Valendik, E.N. 1990. The struggle with big forest fires. Nauka.

    or read Chapter 4 here:

    The rapid destruction of Amazonian, Indonesian, Malaysian, West African, Congo Basin, Madagascan, European Forests has everything to do with the wholesale man-directed logging & burning of such….very, very little to do with a tiny increase of IR sensitive gases into the atmosphere.

  8. Gwan on 13/08/2019 at 3:33 pm said:

    Renwick has taken four Hamilton City Councillors to task for not supporting a motion on climate emergency .
    He stated that” the Councillors comments were complete rubbish”.
    This is reported in a Stuffed news paper The Waikato Times .
    Virtually every point that Renwick made can be refuted .
    He said the weather is getting more violent .Many studies show that this is a fallacy.Less tornadoes .Less hurricanes and less storms .
    For anyone not a scientist to look at the earths temperature rise of .5C .half a degree Celsius and state that CO2 has caused it you could understand .
    A climate scientist should be very wary of such a CON clusion.
    Floods and droughts are the same or less than last century .
    Renwick stated that the temperature had risen inline with model results .
    This statement is BS. All the models run Hot.
    There is no proof that the warming is not natural climate variation with some urban heat island effect.
    He said there is proof that the warming that has taken place since 1950 is caused by CO2 .
    There is no proof .
    Before the Paris Treaty meeting Ben Santer an IPCC lead author stated in his report that it was unequivocal that anthropocentric emissions were causing the observed warming .
    ,Nowhere in the summaries was that stated and that is opinion not fact but people like Renwick believe this ,and this what happens if a lie is repeated enough times .
    One of the Councillors said that the global sea level had been much higher in the past .
    Renwick did not counter this fact but said that the level could not have reached 170 meters .
    Renwick believes” that humans are driving the change and we have 100% control over it ”
    Graham Anderson

  9. Simon on 13/08/2019 at 5:11 pm said:

    100,000’s < 5 million km² in a single year. These fires are unprecedented.
    My point was that these fires plus the sudden acceleration in deforestation (thanks to the election of leaders like Bolsonaro) will result in a large uptick in CO2 emissions and resultant warming further down the track.

  10. Alexnder K on 13/08/2019 at 7:21 pm said:

    Simon promulgates nonsense again – the majority of recent forest fires in the USA have been attributed to too much Green influence on forest management policies, leding to enormous increases in deadwood, brush and other flammable material which were, foolishly, mandated to keep increasing without clearing. The same scenario applies in Aus where lunatic Greens have made it impossible to manage forests properly.
    Forest fires are an entirely normal part of any forest;s cycle, but if the fuel load builds to too high a level, fires cannot be contained.
    Forest fires are a part of reality that Green thinking inevitably makes worse.
    And more CO2 plant food will green the planet further, – what’s not to like with that?

  11. Maggy Wassilieff on 13/08/2019 at 7:51 pm said:

    There are numerous reasons why large forest fires occur.
    Look to management of the wood/litter load long before invoking some nebulous reason like a 1 or 2 degree increase in temperatures.
    The Moscow Times identifies a change in Law and a weakening economy as factors that prevented action to contain the first fires this season.

    The number of people working in Siberian Forest fire management/control has decreased more than 3 fold (from 200,000 to 60,000) in the last decade.

  12. Brett Keane on 14/08/2019 at 7:22 am said:

    Good news that the Select Committee on Zero Carbon wili travel to the Regions. Hope I can get to speak, though not very likely.
    The wisest man in Parliament did say it was Shaw who needed to watch his back. Corrupt sod that he is. Brett

  13. Simon on 14/08/2019 at 8:47 am said:

    Once again you link to articles which confirm exactly what I was saying:
    Furthermore, persistent high-pressure regions (anticyclones) are forming over the enormous areas affected by the fires in Siberia provoking extreme rains around the perimeter. The fires produce a vast amount of greenhouse gases and soot, which intensify the rate at which the Arctic ice caps are melting and accelerate climate change, which in itself increases the risk of new fires.

  14. Maggy Wassilieff on 14/08/2019 at 9:34 am said:


    Practically everything being written in MSM is going to invoke “Climate Change” and an apocalyptic view of our future.
    I’m favouring the view that Arctic fires are by and large natural events that have occurred many times in the past and even when Global Temperatures were higher (in the MWP).

    I’m in the camp that favours working towards solutions for real problems… such as the poor management of land/forest/water or the overpopulation of humans on stressed ecosystems… not wasting vast effort and $$$$ on C- bashing.

  15. Simon on 14/08/2019 at 4:20 pm said:

    Agreed. Climate change is merely a side-effect of poor resource management and overpopulation.

  16. Gwan on 15/08/2019 at 10:10 am said:

    Simon ,I see that you are agreeing on something.
    Lets revisit food production and food security for the planet .
    7 billion people need food otherwise there is widespread famine .
    Food to feed 7 billion people needs fossil fuel and artificial nitrogen and mineral fertiliser .
    12% of the worlds land surface is cropped and only 2% is under intensive pasture .There are large areas of extensive grazing which produce animal products .
    Our government is trying to go zero carbon and want to start taxing methane emissions from farmed livestock.
    When the actual figures are closely examined the atmospheric methane levels stabilized from 1999 to 2008 and have then increased from 1,8 parts per billion to 1,9 parts per billion in the last ten years.
    Now that sounds scary doesn’t it Simon ?
    In ten years it has gone up 10 billionths and in 20 years it has gone up 10 billionths .
    If it keeps going up at the same rate Simon 1t will take from 100 to 200 years to increase by one part per million. That s not much is it Simon?
    Why restrict the most efficient livestock farming in the world with the lowest carbon footprint per unit of produce that exports food that feeds 45 million people in other countries .
    History will judge how stupid our politicians are and how the United Nations has misled the world by pushing climate change .
    Graham Anderson

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