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Dr Muriel Newman

Climate Change in Tatters

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“I can assure you that the government has investigated the evidence on the science of climate change from a number of different sources and I can appreciate that there are many different perspectives on the matter. However, the government is convinced that climate change is a serious and legitimate issue and that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides the most reliable information on climate change science. In its most recent assessment, the IPCC states that the evidence for climate change is unequivocal, that humankind’s emissions are very likely the cause of these changes and that, unless action is taken to reduce emissions, dangerous changes in the climate system will result.”

– Hon Nick Smith, Minister for Climate Change Issues, in response to submissions on New Zealand’s 2020 Emissions Target.

It is not often that international controversies have a direct impact on New Zealand, but “Climategate” (dubbed the biggest scientific scandal of all times) along with the associated collapse of the credibility of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) most certainly does. The IPCC has been relied on by our government as the purveyor of truth regarding climate change. The emerging trail of fraud and deceit emanating from the IPCC must signal a thorough review by the government of all climate change policies based on “evidence” from the IPCC.

Climategate was the name given to the public release of thousands of incriminating emails from the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in Britain. The leaked emails penned by leaders of the global warming movement show a gross breach of scientific methods. The scientific peer review process requires that raw data, along with details of assumptions and methods, be made available so that other researchers can replicate the results to confirm or disprove the hypothesis. The Climatic Research Unit however, not only refused to release data, but also by destroyed and manipulated data to produce their required results. In addition, they used their influence to prevent scientists who believed that human induced greenhouse gases do not cause global warming from having access to some of the most prestigious scientific journals for their publications. They also spearheaded vicious campaigns to discredit “non-believers”, going so far as to link them to holocaust deniers, suggesting that they be tried for crimes against humanity and jailed!

To date, three inquiries have now been launched into Climategate. The first is by the university itself into the 1000 emails and 3000 other files that were released (160MB of data in total) to see whether the allegations of widespread fraud and deceit hold up. The problem with this inquiry is that it is internal and could end up being no more than a whitewash. In fact, it hasn’t got off to a good start. While the review panel is meant to have “no prejudicial interest in climate change and climate science”, one of the six panel members has already been forced to resign because of a long established pro-global warming stance, and similar doubts have already been raised about another member.

The second inquiry, also internal, will re-appraise the scientific conclusions reached by the Climatic Research Unit. This will include the now discredited “hockey stick” reconstructions of climate history which conveniently eliminated all reference to past periods of global warming and cooling such as the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age in order to make the present day warming appear extraordinary, instead of being part of the normal ebb and flow of the earth’s natural climate cycles.

The third inquiry has been called by the UK Parliament’s Science and Technology Select Committee. It intends to examine the terms of reference and scope of that first University inquiry to see whether it is adequate, as well as delving into matters relating to the data sets held by the Climatic Research Unit to see whether they are independent.

Meanwhile the web of deceit that underpins the theory of anthropogenic global warming is rapidly spreading with the IPCC itself under fire for peddling political propaganda as peer-reviewed science in their reports to governments.

Where to start? First of all there is the IPCC’s claim that the Himalayan glaciers would melt within 25 years. This of course raised public fears of rising sea levels flooding low lying countries. However, it turns out that this scare story was based on the unfounded speculation of a glaciologist back in 1999, who says he was misquoted. His comments were published in a report by the environmental pressure group, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and used as evidence of catastrophic climate change in the IPCC’s 2007 Report. This is hardly the rigorous peer-reviewed scientific research that we had been led to believe underpinned the IPCC reports upon which our government has based its climate related policy. In fact a closer investigation of the IPCC reports shows that not only are WWF reports commonly used to justify Armageddon-type claims, but some from Greenpeace are used as well!

What makes the whole “glaciergate” situation worse is the fact that the IPCC author who approved the section admitted “we” did it because “we thought … it will impact policy makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action.”[1]

Gross exaggeration is a recurring theme amongst those promoting catastrophic man-made global warming. The IPCC reports that the land area covered by the Himalayan glaciers is 500,000 square kilometres, when it is actually only 33,000 sq km. It dramatically claimed that 55 percent of the Netherlands is below sea level when the correct figure is less than half that at 26 percent. And it claims that global warming could cut rain-fed north African crop production by up to 50% by 2020, when there is in fact no evidence to back it up.[2]

Then there are the IPCC’s claims that between the years 1900 and 2000 mountain ice has been fast disappearing from the Andes, Alps and Africa. On further investigation this claim was found to be based on anecdotal evidence from mountaineers – again, hardly the rigorous peer reviewed research upon which governments should be basing policy decisions. Or what about the IPCC claim that global warming could wipe out 40 percent of the Amazon rainforests – based on another unsubstantiated report produced by the WWF.[2] Or the IPCC’s claim that the world had suffered rapidly rising costs due to extreme weather-related events since the 1970s, which attributed the damage caused by floods and hurricanes to global warming. This “fact” has been used by developing countries to demand compensation of $100 billion from industrial nations. But far from being based on sound peer–reviewed research, it was based on an unpublished report. Once published, the authors of the report concluded We find insufficient evidence to claim a statistical relationship between global temperature increase and catastrophe losses![3]

Last year NZCPR Guest Commentator Dr Willem de Lange, outlined the IPCC process in his article “Why I Am a Climate Realist” making it clear that it is the manipulation of data that has produced claims of rapid sea level rises.[4]

As this list of IPCC inaccuracies grows, so global warming advocates are starting to bail out, spilling the beans about how the reports were doctored up to become dramatic so that political leaders would be forced to sign up to draconian measures like the Kyoto Protocol. This of course is at the root of a gigantic international money tree that encompasses carbon trading, clean development mechanisms, “sustainable” investment funds, green energy projects, green job schemes, carbon mitigation schemes, environmental and climate research – the list goes on and on.

Even the Chairman of the IPCC itself, Rajendra K. Pachauri, is involved in a vast array of money-making ventures based on global warming, resulting in accusations of gross conflicts of interest and calls for his resignation. These projects are mostly funded by taxpayers in jurisdictions where their governments have embraced the global warming religion and imposed what are in effect green taxes. New Zealand, of course is heavily involved in all of this as was evident in the government’s enthusiasm to bulldoze the emissions trading scheme through Parliament ahead of the Copenhagen climate conference – which turned into a debacle and has been described as the beginning of the end of the global warming movement.

The Christchurch Press reported that the 32-strong delegation of New Zealand politicians and officials who attended the Copenhagen climate fiasco has cost taxpayers at least $600,000.[5] Under the Official Information Act I have been trying to find out from government agencies the cost to taxpayers of funding officials to fly all around the world for the last five years endlessly talking about ways to reduce carbon emissions and negotiate a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol. While all of the information has not yet been received, it looks likely to be at least $2 million. But this is just the tip of the iceberg of taxpayer funded costs that have resulted from the government’s blind acceptance of the IPCC reports. Instead of seriously questioning the scientific findings that underpin the IPCC reports, to see whether they were robust enough to base complex and expensive public policy on, blind acceptance appears to have been the name of the game. Even a cursory examination by unbiased scientists should have been able to spot the glaring anomalies that are currently being exposed and to come up with the conclusion that the IPCC reports were not rigorous and reliable enough to be used as a basis for public policy development.

All of this leads to questions over the integrity of our own National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). NIWA scientists featured in the Climategate emails and in early January NIWA came out with the astonishing claim that the last decade was the warmest on record. This finding, based on measurements of fractions of a degree, helped support the cause of catastrophic global warming. However it has now been revealed that even though their raw data shows no warming, NIWA has been adjusting their temperature records to produce results that show a warming trend. When asked for the details of how they make their adjustments they have had to astonishingly admit that they don’t have it![6] The fact that the data has been massaged might also explain the fact that warming was found down here in New Zealand, when no warming has been found for the last 15 years in the rest of the world according to Professor Phil Jones, the scientists at the centre of the Climategate scandal![7]

This trend for climate agencies to adjustment temperatures in a way that supports claims of global warming – and for weather stations to be manipulated in ways that lead to warming temperature results – is widespread. In Russia it is claimed that the Climatic Research Unit cherry picked data from only 25 percent of the country’s climate-monitoring sites – those closest to warmer urban areas that would be biased by the “heat island effect”. In Canada the number of weather stations was reduced from 496 in 1989 to 44 in 1991 with the number of stations at lower (warmer) altitudes tripling, leaving only one at a higher elevation. In Bolivia, where there haven’t been any weather stations for 20 years, the global weather readings used by NASA, which should produce a cooler average given that the country is mountainous, give a warmer reading because they are estimated from nearby stations on Peruvian beaches and the Amazon jungle![8]

The accuracy of climate measurement is an issue that has long perplexed climate researchers like this week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, Dr Vincent Gray, who has been an IPCC expert reviewer. In his article The Cause of Global Warming, Dr Gray points out that “there is no method currently available that can measure the average surface temperature of the earth’s surface. It is thus impossible to find out if it is increasing”.

Dr Gray explains, “The world is worried about supposed rises in temperature that are well below what most of us would be able to detect if they happened and would have negligible influence on other organisms as well. They also have an exaggerated opinion of how we could measure such small changes. We know that weather forecasters nevermention decimals of a degree and even whole degrees don’t seem to matter all that much. The measurements about which we are now so worried have been made over many years with a large variety of instruments and observers, few of which have been monitored, or verified. They have been processed in ways that have not been revealed. However recent accidental revelations raise severe doubts on their impartiality”.

What all of this means for New Zealanders is that we are a victim of a global warming scaremongering campaign. Our political leaders have imposed on the country a range of policies based on evidence provided by the IPCC. The problem is that as this so-called evidence has been found to be riddled with fraud and deceit. It is up to the government to extricate us from the consequences. With the disastrous emissions trading scheme ready to kick in later this year, surely the government must postpone it until it has investigated the voracity of the evidence on which this policy is based. With an estimated $1 billion cost, the ETS should be repealed once the evidence is shown not to stack up. The ACT Party would support such a postponement and eventual repeal in Parliament – and so too would most New Zealanders!


1.Terence Corcoran, Heat wave closes in on the IPCC
2. Africagate: top British scientist says UN panel is losing credibility
3. Times, UN wrongly linked global warming to natural disasters
4.Willem de Lange, Why I Am a Climate Realist
5.The Press, UN climate conference costs taxpayers $600,000
6. NIWA guilty of propaganda posing as science
7.BBC, Q&A Professor Phil Jones
8.Marc Sheppard, CRU was but the tip of the iceberg