18 December 2006
Govt guilty of fraud in statement on climate change
The Government is guilty on at least two counts of fraud in its statement today on what it calls climate change,
according to the former MetService Chief Meteorologist, Professor Augie Auer, who is chairman of the scientific panel of
the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition.
"On the first count, nowhere in the statement, with its threats of huge economic and social costs on New Zealanders, is
there any valid, verifiable scientific evidence to show that changes in our future weather patterns will have
catastrophic consequences for New Zealand, let alone the rest of the world. It is simply unacceptable for the Minister
David Parker to inflict these cost burdens on New Zealanders because, as he said in answer to a question by one of my
colleagues last week, he accepts the views of the leaders of most European countries and their advisers.
"That's nowhere near good enough, Minister! Where is the sound science that proves carbon dioxide increases will have
catastrophic consequences for New Zealand? Until you can produce that evidence, you should be advising the Government to
withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol, a process that its promoters predict will do no more than reduce temperatures by 0.06
deg C by 2050. And for that you would impose costs on New Zealand business and agriculture to the tune of billions of
dollars?" asked Professor Auer.
“On the second count of fraud, the Government has defined climate change as ‘a change of climate due to global warming,
which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity, and which is in addition to natural climate variability.’
It is downright dishonest to exclude natural drivers of climate change such as solar heat and radiation, volcanoes and
natural weather cycles that the world has known for millions of years. To make the definition more farcical, it excludes
global cooling, thus ignoring the fact that the world has not got any warmer since 1998.
"In the face of this evidence, the claim that CO2 is the major causes of the moderate amount of warming up to 1998, is a
blatant attempt to hoodwink New Zealanders into swallowing a story that looks more like a politically motivated hoax
than a scientifically proven fact. Of course there's been an increase in levels of CO2 in the atmosphere since World War
II, but what seems to have escaped notice is that in the same period temperatures gave gone down and up and now down
again, so CO2 or any other of the so-called greenhouse gases can't have been a significant cause. In fact, their
increase may well have been a consequence of warming.
"Anyway, why single out CO2? Naturally-occurring water vapour in the atmosphere drives 95% of greenhouse warming, with
the rest of it coming from CO2 (a distant second place at 3.62%), methane (0.36%), nitrous oxide (0.95%) and
miscellaneous gases (0.07%). Of this, the man-made contribution is just 0.276% - made up of 0.117% for C02, 0.006% for
methane, 0.047% for nitrous oxide and 0.046% for miscellaneous gases.
"For CO2, which the Kyoto Protocol is all about, that percentage is the equivalent of $1.17 in $1000 - in other words,
minuscule. What are we all getting excited about?
"The greenhouse effect is a near-miraculous phenomenon that keeps the planet a safe and pleasant place to live on . . .
if we did not have it the world average temperature would be -18C – and we wouldn’t be here. Because water vapour
contributes 95% to the beneficial warming process mankind cannot make a big difference to the greenhouse effect even if
we wanted to.
"The Government’s definition of climate change is simply dishonest. Climate change is a demonstrable fact: the climate
is always changing, as it has for thousands of years past, at different rates in different parts of the world. Research
is telling us with increasing clarity that the main driver of climate change is variation in the levels of heat and
other forms of radiation emanating from the sun. Now we have the government and others hijacking climate change, a
natural and cyclical phenomenon, as a synonym for man-made global warming, that it's all due to CO2, and that the way to
fix that is to impose a punitive tax on emissions by humans.
"As for Kyoto, New Zealand can withdraw without cost under article 27 of the protocol if we give notice by February
2008. We should do so, and, instead, join the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (AP6) comprising
Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and the United States. Within New Zealand, we should turn our
attention to the real and present environmental dangers earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, clean air and clean water.
"And, in case no one has noticed, New Zealand temperatures have been dropping every year since the El Nino high of 1998,
ocean temperatures have cooled to the point that icebergs have floated as far north as Banks Peninsula before melting
away, and South Island farmers are still counting the cost of a winter that has been one of the coldest on record.
Simple meteorological observation suggests that, in New Zealand at least, we are in for a cooling phase that will make a
mockery of claims of catastrophic global warming," said Professor Auer.