New Zealand Climate Science Coalition.
7 June 2006
Before new Green Party co-leader Russel Norman starts calling another political party leader a "climate change denier",
he should explain his own "scaremongering" in the face of NIWA evidence that temperatures in New Zealand have been
cooling since 1998.
The new Green leader has been challenged by Dr Vincent Gray, of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition to justify his
claim last weekend "that the carbon dioxide we are pouring into the atmosphere is turning the air into a giant electric
blanket that will cook us and yet we continue to increase our carbon emissions year after year."
"How can Norman use falsely emotive terms like 'cook' when our own National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research
(NIWA) publishes a graph showing a decline in temperatures in New Zealand since 1998," asked Dr Gray, a Welllington
climate scientist, who is also an expert reviewer for the Intergovernmental, Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
"For Norman then to have the gall to criticise National leader Don Brash for being a 'climate change denier' shows that
there are no depths to which the Green Party will not descend in their attempts to hoodwink New Zealanders about what is
happening to our climate," said Dr Gray.
"The NIWA record tells us that the current pother on global warming was caused by the sudden temperature increase in New
Zealand of 1.8ºC from 1993 to 1998, caused by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation ocean event of 1998. Since then
temperatures are plunging, and are currently below the average of the last 50 years.
"NIWA themselves could put an end to this misleading speculation by being more forthcoming about the results of their
own temperature records," said Dr Gray, who has just published a paper that shows that while there has been some warming
on the surface of the Earth, none has been detectable in the lower atmosphere where climate models claiming CO2 as the
cause of warming say it must be happening.
"While they're at it, NIWA could remind New Zealanders that CO2 is not only a natural and ever-present constituent of
the Earth's atmosphere, mostly derived from natural sources as it has been for centuries, and it is a gas that served
the dual purposes of helping to prevent us from freezing to death while being an essential aid to plant growth. The
amount of CO2 emitted by man is infinitesimal by comparison with the bulk that originates from natural sources such as
volcanoes, oceans, plants and the like.
"New Zealanders can be assured that the Green Party's fantasies about man-made CO2 turning the atmosphere in a giant
electric blanket are nothing more than politically motivated scaremongering and have no foundation in science," said Dr
NIWA Graph: Mean annual temperatures over New Zealand, from 1855 to 2004 inclusive. The grey bars show annual differences from the
1971-2000 average, and the red line is a smoothed time series.