Shaw’s parade of climate fiction draws official review

State Services Commissioner to review MfE performance

The Labour-Green Coalition Government published the discussion document Our Climate Your Say (“the Consultation Document”) in 2018 to pave the way for the Zero Carbon Bill that received Royal assent on 13 November, 2019. Robin Grieve, of Whangarei, studied the document and was disturbed to discover scientific errors, political bias and propaganda. He raised his complaints with Vicky Robertson, Secretary for the Environment. She replied but didn’t take her department’s ethical breaches seriously.

When it comes to accuracy, political neutrality and inspiring the nation to save the planet, just how badly must a public servant behave to earn a manager’s rebuke? By normal standards, addressing the parade of fiction in the Zero Carbon campaign should never have waited on a complaint from outside the organisation. It should have been dealt with firmly in-house.

Robin escalated the matter to the State Services Commissioner, Peter Hughes, who has instigated an investigation of the Consultation Document with reference to state services integrity, ethics and standards.

This is Robin’s story.

Message from the Minister

James Shaw, smooth wee Minister for Climate Change, saving us all. Smug, superior, wrong.

Readers familiar with the tragi-comic saga that is the climate “emergency” will readily spot common errors and propaganda throughout James Shaw’s introduction to this inglorious discussion document:

Over the past summer, many New Zealanders have experienced the changing climate in their everyday lives. The seas we swam in were warmer than anyone could remember. We had months of almost uninterrupted spectacular weather.

Personal recollections — even if you’re the Minister for Climate Change — are a poor guide to climate changes, which need up to 60 years of meticulous weather records. “Over the past summer” and “months of almost uninterrupted spectacular weather” is ridiculous in its gullibility. Anyway, ‘almost uninterrupted’ means interrupted.

When the minister is simply too young to remember the weather just a few decades ago, his view of reality is incomplete. He refuses to consult his scientific advisors, but he might at least consult his elders, who would tell him what they remember.

He would learn that over the past summer people have not experienced the changing climate in the sense of dystopian results of computer models. Shaw’s claim of recently warmer seas is refuted by the facts. A couple of long-term New Zealand sea surface temperature records for the last 60 years show no warming trend. Leigh is 90 km north of Auckland, Portobello about 10 km from Dunedin.

coastal-sea-surface-temperature

source

The Minister continues his introduction with talk about a storm in January (that’s totally normal—as soon as we hit the summer camping spots, the weather often packs a sad!), two Pacific cyclones in February (the cyclone season is November to April, what can I say?), Coromandel roads washed out (again!), Tamaki Drive flooded (again!), landslides and crop damage (happen all the time).

Big deal. None of this is new. Unfortunate, even sad, but not disastrous, and certainly not caused by human emissions, which he doesn’t even try to bring evidence for. But hearing the Minister describe these things as alarming, people will naturally tend to believe him. They won’t imagine he’s wrong or making it up. Yet he is doing both.

He states correctly that we’ve always had dramatic weather, but he seriously missteps by saying frequency and severity are increasing, and he continues to err with the ridiculous claim they are caused by carbon dioxide (coded as “greenhouse gases”). These are his words exactly:

But the frequency and the severity of storms, coastal and river flooding, droughts, and wildfires are increasing. These will continue to increase, as long as people continue to add large amounts of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere.

He gives no evidence of the increase in frequency and severity of those events, nor of course does any data exist for that, nor does he show that they are caused by “greenhouse gases”, and in the same way there’s no evidence for that. He has surely been advised that scientific records of storms, floods, droughts and wildfires falsify his claims. If NIWA haven’t told him, then the Ministry for the Environment would have. That would be their statutory duty, right?

But maybe he’s getting his scientific information from Greenpeace newsletters—what could possibly go wrong with that?

A new industrial revolution?

He refers to rising costs, and indeed the costs of extreme events are increasing, but not because the weather’s any worse. It’s because building costs are rising, more people are living in hazardous places like coasts and riversides and they all want to erect dwellings more wonderful and expensive than before.

Suddenly, like one seized by a transforming vision, Shaw claims that in the midst of this climate mayhem:

A new industrial revolution is taking place … Those leading the way are developing intellectual property, new technology and the products and services of the ‘low-carbon economy’. Those that do not lead are letting the opportunity pass them by.

There’s a lot going on here, most of it simply a distraction from the central left-wing aim. This is Shaw’s attempt to describe his preferred future. The quote marks around ‘low-carbon economy’ give the game away—it is entirely fictitious.

These are some of the document’s errors, and then there’s the mistaken hankering to reduce the wrongly-named “carbon” emissions that lies behind them, but we need to look at Robin’s complaint. First, you can download the relevant documents:

Missing evidence

Robin lays out the statutory obligations of the State Services and quotes a letter from the State Services Commissioner, Peter Hughes, to State Services Chief Executives describing their responsibility to remain politically neutral.

In correspondence with the Ministry for the Environment during 2018, Robin requested weather records and other reports that justified statements in the Consultation Document, and the Ministry advised that it partially refused his request because information was publicly available. But a list of sources they provided had no reference to official New Zealand climate records, showing that the statements Robin complained about were unresearched.

Consultation prejudiced

Robin charges that much of the material in the Consultation Document is “incapable of being verified.” None of his nine requests succeeded, which means that information in the paper could be wrong. He says this is “inappropriate” and points out that an advocacy document posing as an objective fact-sheet poisons the consultation process.

Unbalanced Publication

The word “information” in the Environment Act 1986 normally refers to facts, not opinion, and implies accuracy. The public rightly expect any Ministerial-level discussion paper to stick to objective facts and present both sides in a way that’s reasonably fair. Robin Grieve says this Consultation Document failed to meet any of those expectations, as follows.

  • The key reasons presented for the “zero” target were deteriorating weather, the prospect of greater prosperity and the wish to influence global opinion. But there’s no evidence to support any of that, which Robin can demonstrate.
  • The Zero Carbon Bill (now embodied as part of the Climate Change Response Act 2002) requires our emissions to decline to zero by the year 2050, though the Paris Agreement we signed envisages only “net zero emissions BY the second half of the century.” (emphasis added) We must crack on faster than anyone else, just because James Shaw wants to make a good international impression.
  • Ostensibly written to obtain feedback, most of the Consultation Document actually promoted a case for more aggressive suppression of emissions and was heavily slanted towards the 2050 deadline that featured in the formal Confidence and Supply Agreement between the Green and Labour Parties.
  • A balanced account of the issues would be expected to cover beneficial aspects of warming, but there’s no mention of them and no intelligible cost-benefit analysis.
  • None of the alleged co-benefits in Table 3 are dependent upon any emissions target, let alone zero. The regressive results of the NZIER modelling are heavily fudged, as shown by independent economists Croaking Cassandra and Tailrisk Economics (pdf, 1.05 MB).

We eagerly await a progress report on the investigation from the State Services Commissioner or the Minister for Climate Change. I’ll post more when I hear more.


BACKGROUND: Here are the six analyses of the Zero Carbon Bill by Barry Brill published last year:

The Brill essays

001 The Zero Carbon Bill (pdf, 185 KB)
002 2050 Costs vs Benefits (pdf, 267 KB)
003 We are the Climate Champions (pdf, 240 KB)
004 Climate Scare Could be Gone by 2030 (pdf, 302 KB)
005 1.5C Cuckoo in the Nest (pdf, 234 KB)
006 A Bang for Every Buck (pdf, 79 KB)
007 Two Stones for Every Bird (pdf, 171 KB)
008 What is C Commission (pdf, 442 KB)
009 The United Kingdom Precedent (pdf, 133 KB)
010 Targets or Virtue Signals (pdf, 251 KB)
011 The Short-lived Gas (pdf, 204 KB)

The Bill became the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act 2019 passed by Royal assent on 13 November, 2019, which you can see here.

 

13 Thoughts on “Shaw’s parade of climate fiction draws official review

  1. Nick on March 5, 2020 at 6:49 pm said:

    No. The requirement is emissions down to net zero by 2050 in a smooth path. Of course that isn’t likely to happen, so Earth will continue to warm in an increasingly unpredictable way until reversal is physically beyond our means. That’s the science.

    Greenhouse gases have done this before: the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum. Difference is now man is releasing the GHGs. That’s the science.

    The judgement of experts based on the evidence. What do you want the politicians to do? Listen to the cranks and halfwits?

  2. Richard Treadgold on March 5, 2020 at 7:03 pm said:

    Nick,

    Earth will continue to warm in an increasingly unpredictable way until reversal is physically beyond our means. That’s the science.

    Increasingly unpredictable? What do you mean? Reference please.

    Greenhouse gases have done this before: the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum. Difference is now man is releasing the GHGs. That’s the science.

    Done this before? Done what before?

    The judgement of experts based on the evidence.

    What evidence?

    What do you want the politicians to do? Listen to the cranks and halfwits?

    Yeah, easy to call people cranks and halfwits, no matter their quality. But listen to the evidence—what is it? Course, you never answer our questions. Halfwit.

  3. Andy on March 6, 2020 at 9:23 am said:

    Part of this “low carbon economy” seems to consist of selling off our farmland to German and Austrian aristocrats so that they can plant pine trees here, and pocket millions for no actual work.

    I’m sure all the cranks and halfwits are behind this scheme

    • Richard Treadgold on March 6, 2020 at 10:29 am said:

      Andy,

      selling off our farmland to German and Austrian aristocrats

      I had heard of overseas “investors”, but not zees, mein Gott.

      Cranks and halfwits? Hmm. I’ll give you financially crafty halfwits.

  4. I read somewhere that NZ is a net carbon sink, but I don’t have the source.
    In any case, I don’t think that the vast swathes of trees in our National Parks are covered in the equations, are they?

    • Richard Treadgold on March 6, 2020 at 11:05 am said:

      Andy,

      Yes, I’m sad to confirm that we are just a sink. Barry Brill, in his essay 003 We are the climate champions, linked in the post, says:

      NIWA scientists have carefully measured the atmospheric carbon dioxide on both sides of the country over a 36-month period, finding that New Zealand removes an average of 98 Tg CO2 per year from the atmosphere. This is a net figure, after deducting the result of its human-caused emissions which amount to only 35 Tg CO2 per year. That is a big contribution to the rest of the world.

      Moving on, all forest in the land is included in our carbon inventory, never mind its ownership or use.

      The entirely enthralling New Zealand’s Initial Report under the Kyoto Protocol (2006) reveals the following description of the forests we include:

      Forests planted in exotic tree species predominately grown for wood or wood fibre greater than 1 ha in extent. All forest in this class will exceed 30 percent canopy cover and 5 metres in height before 10 years of age.
      Indigenous forest is defined as forest dominated by tall indigenous forest canopy species greater than 1 hectare in size. All forests mapped into this class exceed 30 percent canopy cover and 5 metres in height.

    • Thanks, that’s excellent research from Barry.

      So it’s a scam, 100%

      Well done NZ

    • Richard Treadgold on March 6, 2020 at 11:17 am said:

      Various ways of putting it, for sure. That’s one. Also shooting ourselves in the foot, piddling in our own pool, an own goal, a flaw, a faux pas or a goof. The Guvmint doesn’t appear to be in a hurry to trumpet this great success. We’ll have to do it for them.

  5. Gwan on March 9, 2020 at 5:26 pm said:

    I have written about this many times here and on WUWT.
    Biogenic methane is a cycle and not one atom of carbon is added to the atmosphere as all forage consumed by livestock has absorbed CO2 and the methane emitted breaks down into CO2 and water vapour in around 6 to 8 years .
    This is the biggest scam thought up by anti animal farming activists and was introduced at the Kyoto climate Accord and has never been scientifically scrutinized .
    Andy Reisinger the scientist in charge of our Agriculture Greenhouse Gas Research should be able to work that out but he depends on the scam for his employment.
    He is the only scientist pushing the ozone warming factor an effect of the breakdown of methane in the upper atmosphere .
    Even if what he suggests that ozone is adding some slight warming , a cycle that adds nothing to the overall amount of methane in the atmosphere cannot be part of the problem.
    A cycle can never increase the amount of CO2 and CH4 in the atmosphere and all other emissions are extracted from below the earths surface where they have been locked up for millions of years.
    Methane levels flat-lined for 10 years from 1999 until 2008 and then started an increase that coincided with a large increase in world coal production that was stable at 4.7 billion tonnes per year and has now increased to over 8 billion tonnes per annum.
    Why don’t the Labour and Green Politicians admit that they are wrong about biogenic methane and that it should never have been included in any countries emission profile . National members of parliament that I have corresponded with are well aware that biogenic methane is a cycle and poses no harm or risk now or at any time in the future .
    Graham Anderson
    Proud to be farming in New Zealand.
    With the lowest GHG emissions per unit produced in the world.

  6. Ian Cooper on March 10, 2020 at 12:39 pm said:

    Surely NIWA would have advised the patently ignorant Minister for Climate Change that the summer of 2017-18 that he was referring to was a La Nina summer, and therefore more likely to be hotter than average. Not only that but La Nina summers here are also more likely to see ex Tropical Cyclones (T.C’s) drop down on NZ than normal. This is well documented. Despite that you will never hear or see it mentioned in our MSM.

    If the Minister was speaking as an uninformed Public Servant influencing govt. policy, then why do we bother having our Public Servants who know this fact and haven’t passed it on? Could it be the other way around? Could the Minister also know this, and has decided to take advantage of the situation where those facts are not well publicised? I could believe either scenario unfortunately.

    There was a lot of noise regarding just how hot that particular summer was at the time. In the end, as far as my region was concerned, the summer of 2017-18 pipped the previous, long-term record holder as the hottest summer on record for both T-Max & T-Mean which was 1934-5, by 0.1 degree C! My father who will be 88 in a few months, was alive for both of those summers. If I asked him today whether or not he could remember either or both of those two hot summers as being anything memorable, I doubt that he would say yes!

  7. Dave Frame is an author of a new paper worth reading titled:
    Observed emergence of the climate change signal: from the familiar to the unknown
    https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/2019GL086259

    Plain Language Summary
    Changes in climate are translated into impacts on society not just though the amount of change, but how this change compares to the variations in climate that society is used to. Here we demonstrate that significant changes, when compared to the size of past variations, are present in both temperature and rainfall observations over many parts of the world.

    • Simon time for you to cool off and get a copy of George Wrighrstones
      “Inconvenient Facts” the science that Al Gore doesn’t want you to know .
      After reading what he has written you might realize that you are being conned by these mainstream climate scientists .
      Then again you probably would not understand the facts that he puts before you.
      Read the two and cross reference and you will see that climate change is a fraud.

    • Simon,
      What a load of double-dutch garbage attempting to somehow link a few floods in England to something “unprecedented” in the natural climate. The usual suspects…AGW brainwashed academics..Ed Hawkins, Dave Frame ..etc..attempting to justify their positions by producing confusing crap which nobody bothers to read….you don’t have to go further than the “Plain Language” Summary, to realise that.
      For example …. “Here, we develop the concept of “signal to noise” in observations of local temperature… “…wow.. good luck with that.
      Signal to noise … a signal drowned out by noise?, a noisy signal?, some signal somewhere in the noise?…. it’s climate science for monkeys with headphones.

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