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Dr Muriel Newman

Unstoppable Climate Change

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9 March 2008

Unstoppable Climate Change

I have just returned from an historic meeting of more than 500 people from all around the world who gathered in New York to address the question of whether man-made global warming is really threatening the future existence of our planet. In attendance were some 200 scientists, economists and climate authorities, highly respected experts who are standing up to defend science against the tide of political opportunism, media dramatisation, and crowd hysteria that is propelling the global warming debate. In doing so these scientists and economists are putting their livelihoods at risk – their research grants, tenure, and ability to get published have all been threatened. Some have even faced death threats for speaking out against the global warming alarmism that is sweeping the world.

As a New Zealander concerned that our country is on the brink of passing new laws to counter global warming that will have a devastating effect on our standard of living, I wanted some answers. In particular, I wanted to know whether there is any scientific evidence that human-induced catastrophic global warming is occurring, since that is the sole justification for the economically damaging policies that Labour intends to push onto the country.

I would like to share with you what I found.

Scientists have shown that in the earth’s geological past, concentrations of carbon dioxide have been up to 20 times higher than they are at present and temperatures have been considerably warmer. The two most recent warming periods occurred during Roman Times from 200BC to 600 AD and Medieval Times from 900AD to 1300AD. The Little Ice Age followed.

Current temperature trends show a warm period between 1920 and 1940, followed by a cooling phase. There was a sudden warming surge from 1976 to 1978 and another in 1998. Since then the weather has been cooler. The year 1934 has emerged as the warmest of the 20th century. This, along with the evidence of those historical warm periods, confirms that man-made greenhouse gas emissions cannot possibly be the cause of the earth’s warming.

The very latest scientific research shows that the climate operates on a 1,500-year cycle and is driven by a complex interaction of solar activity including sunspots and cosmic rays, winds, deep ocean currents, as well as cloud and precipitation cycles. It is a “chaotic” system which is very hard to predict. That is why it is almost impossible to forecast weather more than ten days in advance. For the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the IPCC) to pretend that their predictions of the earth’s climate in a hundred years time are accurate is fanciful, and for politicians to regulate their economies on the basis of such fantasy is grossly irresponsible.

The IPCC was set up in 1988 to assess the impact of human-induced climate change. This is a governmental body that was established to show firstly, that humans are causing global warming and secondly, to present the case for action.

In their latest report, released in 2007, the IPCC concludes that “most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations”.

However, in the two years since the cut-off date for that report (May 2006), scientists have discredited that conclusion by showing that the IPCC used corrupted data, that proper forecasting principles were not followed, and that their statistical analysis was flawed.

A key problem that scientists have discovered is that the computer model outputs produced by the IPCC are at odds with observable results: in particular a central feature of the IPCC’s case for catastrophic global warming is a forecasted build-up of warmer air above the tropics, yet temperature records show that this is not occurring. Some of the excessive temperatures used in the IPCC’s models which are presented as evidence of catastrophic warming have been traced to urban encroachment – temperature stations that were once located in the countryside are now surrounded by carparks, roads and other heat absorbing structures.

Scientists at the conference refuted emotive claims that polar bears are dying out due to a loss of habitat (a claim featured in Al Gore’s drama, “An Inconvenient Truth”, that is now screening in schools). They showed that Alaska’s polar bear population is stable, and Canada’s has increased by 25 percent over the last decade.

Claims that the melting snow of Mt Kilimanjaro is caused by global warming were shown to be wrong. In fact, the snow has been known to be melting since 1880 – deforestation at its base has reduced cloud cover increasing exposure to the sun.

Predictions of dramatic sea level rises were categorically discredited. The sea has been rising by a constant 18cm a century (1.8mm a year) and is thought to be driven by the melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The fact that this started an estimated 18,000 years ago and is expected to continue for another7000 years shows that humans are not to blame!

The President of the Czech Republic, Hon Václav Klaus, gave a keynote address at the conference and received a standing ovation. He is very happy that his speech is being featured as this week’s NZCPR’s guest commentary.

President Klaus, who spent most of his life under a communist regime, believes that global warming alarmism is essentially an attack on freedom. In his speech he explained: “Future dangers will not come from the same source. The ideology will be different. Its essence will, nevertheless, be identical – the attractive, pathetic, at first sight noble idea that transcends the individual in the name of the common good, and the enormous self-confidence on the side of its proponents about their right to sacrifice the man and his freedom in order to make this idea reality. What I had in mind was of course, environmentalism and its currently strongest version, climate alarmism”.

President Klaus went on to state that there are only three ways to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide: “we either have to stop economic growth and thus block further rise in the standard of living, or stop population growth, or make miracles with the emissions intensity”. He explained that the only realistic option is to stop economic growth and cut living standards, which is why he is so vocal in his opposition to the objectives of the IPCC. (Read speech )

Those New Zealand politicians who have jumped on the global warming bandwagon have been less than honest with us over the implications to this country. They have failed to spell out clearly that the main cost of joining up to the Kyoto Protocol (which, in spite of a 22 percent increase in our population, requires greenhouse gas emissions over the next four years to be reduced to 1990 levels) will be a dramatic cut in living standards.

Once the Emissions Trading Bill and the Electricity Amendment Bill are passed into law, a price for carbon dioxide emissions will be imposed on the New Zealand economy which will in effect tax growth and spread the costs across the economy. The lion’s share of that burden will fall on households.

Based on the government’s own predictions of $50 a tonne for carbon dioxide, petrol prices will rise by 12.2 cents a litre, and electricity by 20 percent. Once agriculture is brought into the scheme, farmers will be effectively taxed on the methane produced by their livestock with devastating costs – a 12 percent reduction in the payout for dairy, a 21 percent reduction for beef, a 39 percent reduction for sheep, and a 43 percent reduction for venison. The overall effect of this madness will be a stalling of growth and a decline in living standards. (See Emissions Trading Bill click )

So will our emissions trading scheme work? The experience of the European Union says not. The scheme has forced carbon-intensive industries to relocate to non-Kyoto countries, it has caused businesses to fail, and others to reduce their hours of operation. It has done nothing to reduce carbon emissions, but a lot to reduce economic growth. And all for nothing – there is no logical scientific reason to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The only reason is a political one.

As acclaimed journalist George Will wrote in Newsweek last year, if nations go ahead and impose anti-global warming policies, “the damage to global economic growth could cause in this century more preventable death and suffering than was caused in the last century by Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot combined.” (See “An Inconvenient Price”, click here )

In a nutshell, the overwhelming conclusion from the Climate Change Conference in New York is that climate change is caused by natural forces not human activity. It is an unstoppable process and any attempts that are made to try to control it are futile, political and expensive.

This week’s poll asks: Do you agree or disagree with the government’s proposed emissions trading scheme? Go to Poll

Reader’s comments will be posted on the NZCPR Forum page click to view .