Rodney Hide gives Russel Norman a kick in the slats for being both rude and wrong about climate change and politicising a condolence speech for the Philippines.
Out poured a diatribe of how Typhoon Haiyan has reminded us we haven’t done enough to combat climate change. We can’t afford to procrastinate: we must deal with the “climate crisis madness”. Vote Green was his message. And cut greenhouse gases.
He tried to excuse the speech by quoting the head of the Philippines delegation at the UN Climate Change talks in Warsaw. But it made me queasy that a political leader was making political points at a solemn time set aside to honour and to respect the thousands killed and a country that is reeling.
It struck me that it takes a special kind of political coldness to do that. Norman demonstrated an extraordinary heartlessness and an unappealing drive to push his own political barrow, no matter the circumstance.Â Read more »
My position on climate change is that greenhouse gas emissions beyond doubt cause warming. There is a legitimate debate about how much warming will occur, as we do not know for sure how the rest of the very complex climatic system will respond.
And about that warming that David says is beyond doubt?
In convincing the world that we must make such a dramatic response to man-made climate change, nothing has been more persuasive than those graphs that purport to show global temperature soaring to dangerous levels.
That iconic â€śhockey stickâ€ť graph, showing temperatures recently shooting up into the stratosphere, may now have been discredited. But just as important have been all those graphs showing how temperatures have changed in recent decades. These have the effect of greatly exaggerating those changes, by narrowly focusing just on what are called temperature â€śanomaliesâ€ť, showing how they have risen and fallen round their average level in the past 30-odd years.
What the graphs do not show is the actual level of global temperature, as it is measured above freezing point. In other words, they leave out by far the greater part of the total picture. So the respected Canadian environmental writer, Lawrence Solomon, recently had the bright idea of publishing in his Financial Post newspaper column a graph showing the temperature changes of the past 15 years in proper perspective, using figures from the most prestigious of all official temperature records, compiled by the UK Met Office and its Hadley Centre.Â Read more »
OnÂ November 9 this year you told the General Assembly: â€śExtreme weather due to climate change is the new normal â€¦ Our challenge remains, clear and urgent: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to strengthen adaptation to â€¦ even larger climate shocks â€¦ and to reach a legally binding climate agreement by 2015 â€¦ This should be one of the main lessons of Hurricane Sandy.â€ť
On November 13 you said atÂ Yale: â€śThe science is clear; we should waste no more time on that debate.â€ť
The following day,Â in Al Goreâ€™s â€śDirty Weatherâ€ť Webcast, you spoke of â€śmore severe storms,Â harsher droughts,Â greater floodsâ€ť, concluding: â€śTwo weeks ago, Hurricane Sandy struck the eastern seaboard of the United States. A nation saw the reality of climate change. The recovery will cost tens of billions of dollars.Â The cost of inaction will be even higher. We must reduce our dependence on carbon emissions.â€ť
We the undersigned, qualified in climate-related matters, wish to state that current scientific knowledge does not substantiate your assertions.
The U.K. Met Office recently released data showing that there has been no statistically significant global warming for almost 16 years. During this period,Â according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationÂ (NOAA), carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations rose by nearly 9% to now constitute 0.039% of the atmosphere. Global warming that has not occurred cannot have caused the extreme weather of the past few years. Whether, when and how atmospheric warming will resume is unknown. The science is unclear. Some scientists point out that near-term natural cooling, linked to variations in solar output, is also a distinct possibility.
The â€śeven larger climate shocksâ€ť you have mentioned would be worse if the world cooled than if it warmed. Climate changes naturally all the time, sometimes dramatically. The hypothesis that our emissions of CO2Â have caused, or will cause, dangerous warming is not supported by the evidence.
The incidence and severity of extreme weather has not increased. There is little evidence that dangerous weather-related events will occur more often in the future. The U.N.â€™s own Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says in itsÂ Special Report on Extreme Weather (2012)Â that there is â€śan absence of an attributable climate change signalâ€ť in trends in extreme weather losses to date. The funds currently dedicated to trying to stop extreme weather should therefore be diverted to strengthening our infrastructure so as to be able to withstand these inevitable, natural events, and to helping communities rebuild after natural catastrophes such as tropical storm Sandy.
There is no sound reason for the costly, restrictive public policy decisions proposed at the U.N. climate conference in Qatar. Rigorous analysis of unbiased observational data does not support the projections of future global warming predicted by computer models now proven to exaggerate warming and its effects.
WHAT would you say about a market that has helped reduce carbon emissions by a billion tonnes in seven years, attracted $215 billion of green investments to developing countries (more than any private environmental fund) and cut the cost of climate-change mitigation by $3.6 billion? The answer, to judge by a United Nations panel looking into the workings of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is: youâ€™d say it is a shambles.
The CDM was set up under the Kyoto protocol to get developing countries to do their bit to reduce carbon emissions. The mechanism allows projects that reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in poor countries to earn a carbon credit (a â€ścertified emission reductionâ€ť, or CER) for each tonne of carbon dioxide avoided. The credits can be sold to firms in rich countries which are obliged under Kyoto to cut their emissions. The idea was to encourage carbon saving where it was cheapest (ie, in developing countries), increasing efficiency.
The trouble is that the supply of credits has far outstripped demand. The one-billionth CER was issued on September 7th. But the largest greenhouse-gas emitters either did not ratify the Kyoto protocol (America) or were not obliged by it to cut emissions (China and India). That has left Europe as the main source of demand for credits, and the CDM has become a sort of annex to Europeâ€™s cap-and-trade scheme, the Emissions Trading System. But the euro crisis has reduced industrial activity (cutting pollution) and European firms were anyway given overly generous carbon quotas under the cap-and-trade scheme. So carbon prices have collapsed, falling from $20 a tonne in August 2008 to below $5 now (see chart).