Friday, April 23, 2010

Mike Butler: Holmes preaches global warming

Media celebrity Paul Holmes wants us all to "bite the bullet on reductions to our greenhouse gas emissions” because “if we don’t, by the end of the century we are headed for catastrophe”. The Holmes column, that was published in Tuesday’s Hawke’s Bay Today newspaper, is yet another example of a poorly informed celebrity endorsing the beliefs of the climate doomsayers that now occupy the top levels of our government.

Well, he must be right mustn’t he, because he is an award-winning columnist, a leading broadcaster, and was on television every night for years, so he is a celebrity.

And he talked to the Prime Minister’s chief science adviser, Sir Peter Gluckman, on Sunday's Q+A political show on television, so now he’s convinced.

He did not say that biting the bullet, for us in New Zealand from July 1 this year, means a five percent increase in the price of electricity and a four-cents-per-litre rise in the price of petrol.

Since Holmes does not acknowledge the impending price increases, he did not need to explain the reason for price increases -- that if electricity and petrol is more expensive we will use less of both, less greenhouse gas will be emitted, and disaster will be averted.

If Holmes was a journalist, he would know that he had some responsibility to publish facts rather than hearsay. If he had done a bit of research, he would have soon found out that New Zealand produces just 0.2 percent of global greenhouse emissions. This means that we are having little impact on the climate anyway. In other words, we could all lock up the car, turn everything off, and live off the vege garden, and that would not make a blind bit of difference to the global climate.

Lacking research, Holmes’ source of information on the climate is the prime minister’s chief science adviser, Sir Peter Gluckman. Is Sir Peter a climate scientist? No. He is a professor of paediatric and perinatal biology. This means he is just as much an expert on climate as Holmes is.

Therefore, at best Sir Peter is giving an academic endorsement of a belief in the expected disastrous consequences of human-induced climate change in the same way that Holmes is giving a celebrity endorsement of the science adviser’s beliefs.

Holmes asserts that “if we continue as we’re doing the overwhelming view of scientists throughout the world is that there is a 90 percent probability the Earth’s temperature will increase by anywhere between three and four degrees by the end of the 21st century.”

What is this “overwhelming view of scientists”? Is this the overwhelming view of climate scientists, based on a series of measurements, studies, and experiments that have been independently peer-reviewed, the data of which has been made available for other scientists to replicate experiments upon?

Or does this represent the beliefs of scientists from a variety of fields, like paediatrics, scientists who make up the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a global body that lacks independent oversight, displays bias by lead authors, and routinely ignores studies indicating a different view from the IPCC orthodoxy? Holmes is vague on which scientists he is basing his endorsement on.

Holmes asserts that the global temperature will increase. Will it? What do temperature measurements tell us? Temperature measurements using ground-based thermometers, balloon-mounted radiosondes, and satellite-mounted microwave sensing units show that no global warming has occurred since 1998.

What is more, other measurements show that during that time atmospheric CO2 has increased. This in itself should be enough to disprove the hypothesis that human-caused emissions (aka “anthropogenic global warming”) are warming the climate, don’t you think? (eg Temperature went down when CO2 went up; when the warming theory holds that CO2 goes up as temperature goes up)

Here is a simple challenge for Holmes: In his next column, he could publish evidence to show that global warming, or climate change, is caused by C02 released by human activity. He could be searching for a while since there is no evidence.

Another question for Holmes -- is a warmer climate more or less of a threat to human existence? The answer: History shows that warm periods are good for life on Earth. Warm periods mean more food can be grown, the population increases, and there is excess wealth. Cool periods are bad for life on Earth. The cool dry periods bring crop failure, famine, disease, war, and depopulation. Talk to any farmer. Holmes grows olives; he should know that.

The fact is that we should worry more about global cooling, than global warming.

Holmes acknowledges that there are skeptics, and here comes the innuendo, “they tend to be on the right, politically or, as Gluckman says, people who believe the world is here to serve them rather than their being here to serve and protect the world”. Decoded, skeptics are selfish.

Back to biting the bullet. You have already been warned that power prices will rise by five percent when the ETS kicks in on July 1, as generators seek to recover the additional costs incurred from burning fossil fuels - such as coal and gas.

ACT MP John Boscawen has been warning Prime Minister John Key, Climate Change Minister Nick Smith, and anyone who will listen, of the likely impact of the ridiculous Climate Change Response (Moderated Emissions Trading) Amendment Act, that was passed last year, with the help of a backroom forests-for-votes deal with the Maori Party.

The scheme will allow electricity companies that have a large proportion of renewable energy sources (dams, wind farms) - such as the state-owned Meridian Energy - to make massive windfall profits. This is because of the way the New Zealand electricity system works, with all generators receiving the same wholesale prices regardless of whether they have to pay for their emissions or not.

The government will pocket ever-increasing dividends from State-owned power companies, along with the extra margin on petrol.

Why didn’t Holmes touch on the next point, which touches on possibly why the government is so wedded to its emissions trading scheme. The answer? The cash-strapped government has found a new source of revenue.


Anonymous said...

Good post. I am surprised Holmes is so poorly informed on this subject. You are right to ask him to "publish evidence to show that global warming, or climate change, is caused by C02 released by human activity".

He will be hard pressed because there is no eviudence that CO2 casues climate change. Al Gore doctored the data in his infamous Convenient Untruths drama. He quite rightly pointed out the reltationship between CO2 and temperature, but that relationship is not cause and effect. The undoctored data shows CO2 lags temperature (its the effect, not the cause).

Common Holmes, show us the journalistic skills you would have us believe you have.

Graeme Matheson said...

A major problem with our discussions on "Global Warming" is the failure to relate what is happening to the balance of the Earth's CARBON CYCLE with our endeavours to cater for the needs of an ever increasing world population.
There are millions in the western world sufferind and/or dying from obesity and millions in the other parts of the world dying from starvation.
We have reduced the sea's fish stocks to a point where the "health" of our water environment is unable to "absorb" more carbon.
We are interfering with many other parts of Mother Earth's systems to a point of corruption.
Buying and selling "ficticious"carbon will not remedy the situation... we need to work with Mother Earth to keep the carbon cycle in balance.
A major starting point for this to happen is for people like Messrs Gluckman and Holmes to get off the chair at their computers, get out and, observe; test; record; analyse,discuss, and peer review their results before pretending to speak for the community that comment from real evidence rather than from a "Present day religous fever"..

Anonymous said...

Ah celebrities, they are often mistaken for experts on all subjects. Like Holmes, Lucy Lawless is another local to make the right noises without substance.