Let’s invite a vitriolic torrent of abuse

Guest post

The Foundations of Green Policy

The polls have consistently shown the Green Party at about half the Labour party’s support.  It could then be concluded that the Greens would have a third of the Cabinet positions and a commensurate amount of influence in a Left wing government.

Given some incompetence of Labour on policy matters it could be an even greater bias.

It is important for the electorate to be able to assess what that means for the future of the country.

The Greens have two underlying philosophic positions that shape their policies.  One is old-fashioned and long since disproved and mostly abandoned socialism.  The other is climate change.

Socialism hardly needs any more discrediting.  It is a recipe for economic misery and failure. The higher taxes, picking winners, state ownership and control, heavier handed regulation, bloated bureaucracy slowly stifles growth and kills initiative. Ironically, socialist governed countries generally have the worst and most degraded environments.

However the climate change premise demands further scrutiny as a platform for policy and a basis for legislation changes.

Speaking out against climate change is a sure way to invite a vitriolic torrent of abuse, name calling and dismissal.  So I am not going to.

I humbly accept the notion of climate change. Climate change is settled science.  It’s up there in certainty terms with the earth being round not flat.

However ‘climate change’ is a deliberate misnomer because we all accept on-going change.  What is open to question is how much, what is causing it and what if anything should we do about it.  

Over the decades a re-occurring aspect of the green movement’s operating mode has been “Panic and Exaggerate”.  Daily we are bombarded with extremism – sea rise claims, record temperatures, increased storms, worsening health, famine, wars and much more, mostly with a modicum of truth but too often embellished to gain space.

Let’s look at some of the saner and more scientific claims and see if the case for founding policy and making dramatic legislation changes is robust and necessary.

It is not a case of disproving the science, simply a question of whether it’s rational to embark on expensive and far reaching changes in our economy based on current evidence.

James Hansen is the ‘father of climate change’.  He made some strong claims about temperature rises in 1988 that launched a near hysterical response.

His calculations are shown in red, orange and green in the graph below.  The actual temperatures records are in black.

Even his most conservative estimate was wildly over optimistic.  Clearly, not a sound basis for a change in how we govern ourselves.


However it was early days.  Massive amounts of taxpayer’s money was put into building climate models to confirm Hansen’s projections.  It resulted in the formation of the IPCC and a deluge of data that followed.

Once again their models published in 1990 are too far out to be taken seriously.

2aSubsequently the models have been finessed, but the results remain stubbornly out of line with the reality.  In fact reality shows little warming for nearly 20 years – a phenomenon not predicted by a single model but now acknowledged by the IPCC.


The response to this embarrassment is to propose that the sea is absorbing the recent temperature rises.

However, the actual Argo records are creating even redder faces.  Again, no basis for a policy platform and major economic disruption.

4aOr this one….


Another frustration for the alarmist scientists is the issue of “hot spots”.   These are temperature changes in the tropics at an altitude of about 10 kms.

If feedback is real and the whole case for climate change is heavily dependent on amplification of modelled temperature rises(feedback) then balloon readings would need to be able to identify such a ‘hotspot’.

In reality none exists.


So, why are these models yielding such erroneous information?

A growing number of scientists believe the problems lie in the feedback or amplification theory. Feedbacks are due to the ways the Earth reacts to the direct warming effect of the CO2.

The threefold amplification by feedbacks is based on the assumption, or guess, made around 1980, that more warming due to CO2 will cause more evaporation from the oceans and that this extra water vapor will in turn lead to even more heat trapping because water vapor is the main greenhouse gas.

And extra heat will cause even more evaporation, and so on.

This amplification is built into all the climate models.   The amount of amplification is estimated by assuming that nearly all the industrial-age warming is due to our CO2.

In taking the generally agreed position that CO2 doubling produces an extra 1.1C degrees of temperature increase, the IPCC scientist then multiply that by 3 times to account for the many feedbacks in the atmosphere.

If the feedback multiplier is wrong the whole global warming and climate debate becomes a travesty; a hollow theory.   We can happily live with a degree of warming over the next 100 years.

Increasingly it looks to be just that.  New studies confirm the three times multiplier is bad science.

A more rational explanation says the feedbacks dampen or reduce the direct effect of the extra CO2, cutting it roughly in half. So 1.1C becomes 0.55C – which is what we are seeing in real recorded changes.

The main feedbacks involve evaporation, water vapor, and clouds. In particular, water vapor condenses into clouds.

So extra water vapor due to the direct warming effect of extra CO2 will cause extra clouds, which reflect sunlight back out to space and cool the earth, thereby reducing the overall warming.

An even more compelling reason to be sceptical about building policy on supposition and incomplete science is the question of radiation from the earth.


Outgoing radiation from Earth (vertical axis) against sea-surface temperature (horizontal), as measured by the ERBE satellites (upper-left graph), and as “predicted” by 11 climate models (the other graphs).  Notice that the slopes of the graphs for the climate models are opposite to the slope of the graph for the observed data.

A fair question at this point would be “what about the 97% of scientists who support global warming?”   Let’s look at the actual propositions the 97% agreed to in one such study conducted at the University of Illinois.  Here they are:

  1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?
  2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?

All agree on the answer to question one so no issues there.   The second question revolves around “significant”.  Is 3% or 20% a “significant” contribution?  The reality is that many of the 97% have problems with the feedbacks or simply do not study that discipline.  So the 97% support is irrelevant to this debate.

Accompanying the computer projections are actual temperature records taken on land by traditional methods, new computerised recording devices, satellite recording at various altitudes and sophisticated gear for taking the temperature in sea water.    A very simple matter of reading gauges and recording the data?  No, actually.  Meteorologists “adjust” the readings.  These adjustments are made for various reasons that are now being scrutinised with greater rigour because some have shown to have been deliberately manipulated to bolster a warming case.  The latest is in Australia where some records showing a drop in temperature have been removed on specious grounds.

In summary, voters could be on the brink of putting their future into the hands of a government with a very strong influence from the Green Party, whose policy foundation on environmental issues is suspect and insufficiently robust to radically change the country’s direction.

The Greens have Labour’s ear on environmental issues, with David Cunliffe and his team unwilling or unable to counter the Greens more extreme positions.

In another place and another debate, the Greens would promote the precautionary principle.

This principle states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is not harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking an action.

Let’s turn it on its head .

Let’s have the Green Party show their policies are not harmful to the economy – that pollution taxes, promoting expensive energy options driving up electricity costs, picking winners, high cost rail and bus developments, stopping mining and other potential export earning, job rich options are not detrimental.

Our economic recovery is evident, but it could easily be derailed.  The scientific evidence is too weak, too lacking in accuracy, too dictated by political imperatives to be used as a basis for dramatic and poorly costed changes in policy.


Owen Jennings.
A former Act MP and National President of Federated Farmers.

Ref: Dr David Evans, IPCC ,


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