Friday, June 11, 2010

Ron Smith: Politics and Climate Change

Accounts of the National Party Northern District conference at Waitangi at the end of May make interesting reading for anyone interested in the mechanics of politics and/or the politics of climate change. After a couple of heavy defeats on the issue at previous district meetings, the Party was evidently determined to head off a third. To this end, the relevant minister (Nick Smith) cancelled all other appointments and made a late decision to attend. The Party leadership then manipulated the proceedings so that opponents of Government policy had no time to speak, or were not called at all. On the other hand, the Minister had unlimited time, both before and after the fully 90 seconds allowed to the mover of a motion urging delay in the implementation of the EFTS.

Does it need to be said that any policy that has to be defended in this way, in front of your own supporters, cannot long be sustained? The tide against anthropogenic global warming has been going out for some time and that trend looks set to continue. Following the revelations of ‘Climategate’ and the failure at Copenhagen, ‘shoes’ have been falling all over the world with an increasingly resonant crash, as individuals and institutions have added to the disquieting evidence of misrepresentation and deceit and a diminishing confidence in the official version of both the supposed problem and the necessary solution.

As is well-known, Australia has abandoned its EFTS for the time being and, unless, the United States gets something through Congress before the mid-term elections in November, they too will give up on the project. Europe seems to be still committed but are we sure to what? In view of the undoubted economic problems besetting the whole community, it is not at all unreasonable to presume that they will be extremely reluctant to add to their difficulties by imposing further costs on their struggling economies.

In February of this year, the London-based Institute of Physics echoed the gathering concern, which is now beginning to penetrate even the more conservative bastions of orthodoxy. In its evidence to the British parliamentary inquiry on the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit revelations (‘Climategate’ above), it said quite bluntly that the emails as published, ‘had worrying implications for the integrity of scientific research in this field’. The previously monolithic British Royal Society has also been forced by a members’ petition to appoint a panel to rewrite its official position on global warming. In announcing this, the Society repudiated the view of its previous president, Lord May, who had been quoted as saying, ‘The debate on climate change is over’. Now they say, ‘any public perception that science [of global warming, or other] is somehow fully settled is wholly incorrect.’ (parenthesis added)

More generally, it is noteworthy that the Interacademy Council, which links the world’s science academies, has set up an independent review of the ‘procedures and processes’ of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It will be interesting to see whether any of the comparable criticisms that have been levelled against NIWA and the New Zealand Royal Society produces any willingness to engage with the gathering chorus of independent and, in their way, expert local critics.

In addition to these international and institutional activities, there has also been a continuing stream of individual or local initiatives, such as that of Australian Ken Stewart, a retired headmaster who also had ten years experience as a data analyst. Mr Stewart took it upon himself to meticulously re-examine the official Australian temperature record and found it (like the corresponding New Zealand record) much doctored. Also recently reported have been the findings of a University of Pennsylvania Law School Professor who systematically examined the claims in the various IPCC reports and compared them with, ‘what is found in the peer-edited climate science literature’. Echoing others who had traversed the same ground, he found that the former had more the character of political advocacy than scientific report.

There are questions, too, at the level of practical politics. Traditional National supporters, like the farmers, are talking defection (forming their own party even). The Prime Minister may be right that he can call their bluff, or blunt their antagonism by further deferring the start of EFTS for the agricultural sector. After all, where could these disaffected supporters go? Labour? Greens?? Recent public opinion polls indicate that the only logical alternative (ACT) is not attracting increased support; it must be that the generality of citizens are not yet sufficiently agitated about the effects of the ETS to raise it to a level that would determine a change in political allegiance.

The Prime Minister must be hoping that that will continue; but will it? Already there are signs that his economic plan could be derailed by inflationary pressure and international financial trends, over which the Government has no control. If this situation is further exacerbated by the adverse effects of self-imposed charges on energy and commerce, which are increasingly seen to be unjustified by climatic trends or the fundamentals of climate science, the backlash could be severe. What puzzles this writer is why would you take the risk?

3 comments:

Sally said...

"An increasing number of scientists were now disputing the issue of global warming. By signing the Kyoto Protocol on climate change New Zealand had put itself at a hugely significant disadvantage."
David Carter Aug 2003.

A 50-strong crowd were told that "they were being asked to pay for speculative ventures that would struggle to meet the requirements of the Government's own scientific research fund, while other countries waited for New Zealand agriculture to lose its competitive advantage."
Bill English Aug 2003

Brian said...

Comment from Brian Arrandale.

Dr. Smith illustrated with his account of the National Party’s Northern District conference in May, on how the politics of organization can achieve the outcome which is required by the organizers.

As I see the Climate Change debate the actual subject matter i.e. Global Change is merely a vehicle, a very convenient vehicle, by which those in power….in this case firstly the United Nations, and secondly our own Government can assume more control.

*(The political divisions within New Zealand National, Labour, Act, or the Greens, matter little as the end result is the aim).

“A phenomenon noticeable throughout history regardless of place or period is the pursuit of governments of politics contrary to their own interests. Mankind it seems makes a poorer performance of government than of almost any human activity”….

“Why do the holders of high office so often act contrary to the way reason points and enlightened self-interest suggests? Why does intelligent mental process seem so often not to function”?

Quotation
“Pursuit of Policy Contrary to Self-Interest”?
“The March of Folly” (From Troy to Vietnam). Barbara W. Tuchman 1984.

Since its inception as a creed, the Global Warming debate has been a “Creed of Fear”, the architects of this creed knew that humans respond instinctively to being frightened. One has only to acknowledge the popularity of “fear” in both publications and television, to know that the “Greens” are on fertile ground. One has to admit they sowed the seeds well and have now gathered in the harvest.

The aim is twofold, “Gather ye taxes while ye may”, and more importantly, a controlled United Nations World Environment. No doubt our politicians welcome the opportunity to be part of these elite…witness the figure of our last Prime Minister now holding forth in the supreme Hall of Power.

Any opposition to this unsubstantiated theory of a catastrophic Global Warming end to our world is viewed as a heresy, and those entertaining such #views# have, and have been for some time the subject of a new Salem Witch Hunt.

#Reference. Ponte, Lowell “The Cooling” (Prentice-Hall 1972).

*They matter when the quest is to be the “First”, hence Nick Smith’s argument that New Zealand MUST be the leader….as if anyone outside our shores really cares!

Economically July will see the advent of nothing more than an increase in taxation, more inflation and a decrease in our living standards; but more worrying to us all is the anticipation of a further increase in “Big Government” and more United Nations control.

Brian.

Anonymous said...

This ETS scheme will exacerbate the already stretched small businesses who are only just surviving in many cases. There will be more job losses as these small businesses have to lower staff numbers. I do the books for a budget accommodation complex, without pay, otherwise they would already have folded.

Nick Smith should be classified as "unfit for the job", which is a polite way of saying he is an absolute idiot.

Can we organize a NZ wide every car on the road, or whatever, I would even struggle to pay the petrol to drive to Wellington as a protest. WHAT CAN BE ORGANISED TO SHOW THE STUPIDITY OF THIS ETS???

KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.

BEV