Wednesday, October 31, 2018

NZCPR Weekly: Global Warming - the New Political Platform

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we look into the implications of Jacinda Ardern’s zero carbon agenda and the austerity measures that she will need to introduce, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Dr Jock Allison shares scientific evidence that shows the greenhouse gas emission data that our Government relies on is flawed, and our poll asks whether you believe agriculture should be included in the Emissions Trading Scheme.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Matt Ridley: The Genes that Contribute to Human Intelligence and Personality

My Review in The Times of Robert Plomin's new book:

For a long time there was an uncomfortable paradox in the world of behaviour genetics. The evidence for genes heavily influencing personality, intelligence and almost everything about human behaviour got stronger and stronger as more and more studies of twins and adoption came through. 

However, the evidence implicating any particular gene in any of these traits stubbornly refused to emerge, and when it did, it failed to replicate. Ten years ago I recall talking to Robert Plomin about this crisis in the science of which he was and is the doyen. He was as baffled as anybody. The more genes seemed to matter, the more they refused to be identified. Were we missing something about heredity? He came close to giving up research and retiring to a sailing boat. 

 Fortunately, he did not. With the help of the latest genetic techniques, Plomin has now solved the mystery and this is his book setting out the answer. It is a hugely important book — and the story is very well told. Plomin’s writing combines passion with reason (and passion for reason) so fluently that it is hard to believe this is his first book for popular consumption, after more than 800 scientific publications.

Ben Pile: Apocalypse Delayed

We should all be dead by now, thanks to overpopulation and resource depletion. The few of us remaining should be scavenging a landscape denuded of life by acid rains and UV rays. Thankfully, we are not. Also still standing are the scientific institutions and the global bureaucracies that predicted our premature demise. One of those is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The job of the IPCC is to provide a review of climate-change research to policymakers. The bulk of climate policymaking occurs under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which meets yearly to try to wrangle a global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At the 2015 UNFCCC meeting in Paris, a loose deal was struck. It aimed to limit global warming to 2°C, with a looser agreement to aim to limit it to 1.5°C. Subsequently, the UNFCCC asked the IPCC to compare global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C for a report to be published this year. So far, so boring.

Moving The Goalposts, IPCC Secretly Redefines ‘Climate’

New Study Reveals 90% Of Global Atolls Are Stable Or Growing

In this newsletter:

1) Moving The Goalposts, IPCC Secretly Redefines ‘Climate’
GWPF Observatory, 29 October 2018
2) New Study Reveals 90% Of Global Atolls Are Stable Or Growing
GWPF & WIREs Climate Change, 29 October 2018

Saturday, October 27, 2018

BBC Misleading The Public Again About Wind Energy

Don’t Link Extreme Weather To Climate Change, Met Office Tells Forecasters

In this newsletter:

1) BBC Misleading The Public Again About Wind Energy
Paul Homewood, Not A Lot Of People Know That, 25 October 2018
2) Don’t Link Extreme Weather To Climate Change, Met Office Tells Forecasters
The Times, 19 October 2018

Friday, October 26, 2018

Melanie Phillips: The Story Behind the Story of Jamal Khashoggi

The disappearance and presumed murder of the Saudi exile Jamal Khashoggi has caused a crisis of relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia.

Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to sign some papers relating to his marriage and never emerged again. Lurid accounts claim he was murdered in the consulate by a 15-strong team flown from Saudi Arabia the previous day in order to kill him.

Bob Edlin: Sir Ernest Rutherford today could go to university and learn how to synthesise his science with Māori belief

A warning about pseudoscience threatening to take hold of New Zealand if curious children don’t pursue science in schools is sounded today in an article on the Stuff website. 

House of Science chief executive and founder Chris Duggan is quoted as saying primary teachers don’t have the confidence to teach students science because of inadequate training and a lack of resources,

The extent of the threat to science teaching had become ominously plain a few days earlier in an item headed Schools to axe core subjects as shortage of specialist teachers reaches ‘crisis point. This report says secondary schools across the country could be forced to drop subjects as a teacher shortage becomes critical.

Clive Bibby: A Fight Worth Having

The most recent IPCC summary of the world as they see it is a scary document.

It is meant to be!

We should all take the trouble to read what they are saying even if we think it is a load of cobblers. It is, after all, the considered opinion of a large group of eminent scientists who would appear to have all reached the same conclusion about the effects of climate change to the planet and the steps that should be taken in mitigation of this threat.

They deserve a response from all of us.

Richard A. Epstein: Our Latest Global Warming Scare

The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued a special report predicting apocalyptic environmental consequences if the nations of the world are unable to reduce the amount of warming to 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels in the next 12 years. 

The IPCC report insists that meeting this target requires “rapid and far-reaching” changes—all unspecified—in a wide range of areas including land, energy, industry, buildings, transportation, and cities. These changes, the report insists, must reduce carbon dioxide emissions to about 45 percent of 2010 levels by 2030 and to a neutral level of no new carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

NZCPR Weekly: The Controversy of Politics

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we reflect on the impact of controversy in politics and examine the Jamie-Lee Ross saga, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Brian Gaynor looks at the state of US politics ahead of the mid-term elections, and our poll asks whether you agree with Labour and the Greens, that taxpayers should fund the election campaigns of political parties.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

New Study Reveals Alpine Glaciers Started Melting Much Earlier Than Thought

Climate Predictions Could Be Wrong In UK And Europe

In this newsletter:

1) New Study Reveals Alpine Glaciers Started Melting Much Earlier Than Thought
Swiss Info, 21 October 2018
2) Climate Predictions Could Be Wrong In UK And Europe
The University Network, 18 October 2018

Friday, October 19, 2018

Bob Edlin: The case for a sugar tax is sweetened if NZIER report is overlooked

When Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand would  not join the countries that are signing up for a war against drugs – as championed by US President Donald Trump – she said her government has an agenda that is focused on addressing issues around drug use.

“We have a number of challenges that are quite specific to New Zealand and the type of drugs that are present, but also I’m taking a health approach.
“We want to do what works, so we are using a strong evidence-base to do that.”

Whether she will similarly use a strong evidence base to decide on how to reduce sugar consumption is a moot point.

Karl du Fresne: Brexit exposes the imperious mindset of Fortress Europe

Let’s start with a brief history lesson.

What is now the European Union originated in 1957 as the European Economic Community. It had just six members: France, West Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Italy.

It began as a customs union and common market, the aim being to promote free trade and economic co-operation. Neutralising the historic enmity between France and Germany was a crucial objective.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Frank Newman: Another day. Another inquiry.

Last week the Prime Minister talked tough about petrol prices. She quite earnestly said, "I am hugely concerned at the level of price that consumers are currently paying at the pump for fuel" and that motorists were being "fleeced" at the pump.

The bottom line is that the Government intends to rush through changes to the Commerce Act to allow the competition watchdog to investigate the margins on fuel. The findings will be reported back to the government next year and the PM has assured motorists that she will "prioritise a response to it".

I don't disagree that motorists are being "fleeced", but it’s not by service stations. The PM's tough talk comes just days after central government imposed a new excise tax adding another 4 cents onto the price of petrol.

Melanie Phillips: The Democrats' Proposed Banana Republic

I wrote here that the American Democratic party had become the party of hate. Subsequent events have not only amply confirmed that view but further suggest that the Democrats now pose a real threat to America, in terms of both physical violence and a threat to due process and the US constitution.
Two days after the Senate confirmed Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell told a press conference that GOP senators were “literally under assault” during the confirmation process.
“These demonstrators, I’m sure some of them were well-meaning citizens. But many of them were obviously trying to get in our faces, to go to our homes. Basically almost attack us in the halls of the capitol. There was a full-scale effort to intimidate.”

NZCPR Weekly: The Dangers of Judicial Activism

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we examine judicial activism and the problems it causes society, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Anthony Willy outlines the constraints on judges and explains why a recent speech given by a sitting Judge is in breach of the judicial conduct guidelines, and our poll asks whether you believe judicial activism should be subjected to a public complaint and censure process..

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

GWPF Newsletter: UK Govt Axes Electric Cars Subsidies

Richard Lindzen: ‘Warming Of Any Significance Ceased 20 Years Ago’

In this newsletter:

1) British Government Axes Electric Cars Subsidies
Huffington Post, 13 October 2018

2) Richard Lindzen: ‘Warming Of Any Significance Ceased 20 Years Ago’
Alison Bevege, Daily Mail, 12 October 2018

Monday, October 15, 2018

Frank Newman: Loan sharks and shady operators

Last week the Government announced it is going to get tough on loan sharks and truck shops.

The proposed changes include payday loan companies who provide short-term unsecured loans of small amounts intended to get the borrower though to the next payday. While they generally have a maximum term of a month or two, these small sums can become very large amounts very quickly.

Alan Davidson: How does Putin see the World?

              Why is Russia our enemy?   Why is Russia America’s enemy?   We know how America sees the world;   but how does Russia see the world?  

              Winston Churchill:   “I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia.   It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma;   but perhaps there is a key.

              “That key is Russian national interest.   It cannot be in accordance with the interest of the safety of Russia that Germany should plant itself upon the shores of the Black Sea, or that it should overrun the Balkan States, and subjugate the Slavonic peoples of south eastern Europe.   That would be contrary to the historic life-interests of Russia.”

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Clive Bibby: In defence of men and the rule of law

I wonder how many blokes are getting a bit tired of having to justify their very existence every time they come within screaming distance of members of the "MeToo" movement.

What can we do to avert this mindless mis-characterisation of the innocent?

Bob Edlin: The climate change challenge - leading the charge has cost-of-living implications

Climate change zealots who press for New Zealand to lead the charge globally in reaching a zero carbon target appear to be not too bothered by the cuts in living standards New Zealanders would have to absorb.

According to the most optimistic technology scenario used by the NZIER, there would be a $6.7bn reduction in annual GDP – and if lower levels of innovation are achieved, in areas such as forestry planting, methane vaccines for livestock and mass electricification of transport and industry, the annual loss rises to $26.6bn.

And what if the sacrifices made by NZ – that is, the reduction made in domestic emissions – are counteracted by a rise in emissions elsewhere as domestic product is replaced by imports?

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Melanie Phillips: Gay cake crumbles in rare win for liberal values

I have often criticised Britain’s senior judges in general, and the president of the Supreme Court Lady Hale in particular, for “liberal” partisanship and allowing ideology to influence their rulings. 

Today, however, Lady Hale and her Supreme Court colleagues have bravely gone against fashionable ideology in a ruling which actually upholds liberalism, rationality and law. The judges have ruled unanimously that the Christian owners of Ashers bakery in Belfast did not act in a discriminatory manner when they refused to bake a cake iced with the message “Support Gay Marriage”.

GWPF Newsletter: Denying Nature

IPCC Now Claims All Warming Since End Of Little Ice Age Is Man-Made

In this newsletter:

1) Denying Nature: IPCC Now Claims All Warming Since End Of Little Ice Age Is Man-Made
Climate Scepticism, 9 October 2018
2) Australia Rejects IPCC Energy Policy Prescriptions
The Australian, 9 October 2018

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

NZCPR Weekly: Time To Have A Say On Entrenching The Maori Seats

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we outline Labour’s plan to entrench the Maori seats and we call on readers to help encourage everyone who has a view on the future of the Maori seats to put in a submission, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Barry Soper explains why the Maori seats should be abolished, and our poll asks, if a referendum on the future of the Maori seats was to be held, would you support abolishing them or entrenching them.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

GWPF Newsletter: IPCC Turns Green Energy Lobby

Climate Scientists Call For $2.4 Trillion Per Year For Shift To Renewables

In this newsletter:

1) IPCC Turns Green Energy Lobby: Climate Scientists Call For $2.4 Trillion Per Year For Shift To Renewables
Bloomberg, 8 October 2018
2) Most UK Newspapers Ignore IPCC Report On Their Frontpages
Global Warming Policy Forum, 8 October 2018

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Mike Butler: Why extra standards for rentals?

Few could argue against the value of warm and dry housing but many could criticise the way the Peters-Ardern Government is imposing extra standards on rental property.

Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford is about to require owners of rental property to install expensive heaters, add an extra layer of insulation, require extractor fans in kitchens and bathrooms, a polythene sheet under the floor to stop rising damp, and draught-stopping tape around windows and doors.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Friday, October 5, 2018

Barend Vlaardingerbroek: A critical appraisal of the Novichok incident narrative

What we have here, it seems to me, is an attempt by the UK to limit the damage to its own reputation – damage perhaps it never envisaged, because it assumed everyone would “buy” the “wicked Russia” story. - Mary Dejevsky in The Independent, 24 May

The murky world of secret operations by State intelligence units is one that we seldom get much of a look into – well, if we did, it wouldn’t be ‘secret’ anymore, would it? – but enough transpires to give us considerable insight into its workings.

When it comes to awarding first prize for clandestine operations aimed at liquidating individuals they don’t like, the Russian secret service would have to be the front-runner. For the past three quarters of a century, these furtive characters have built up a reputation for slick, targeted assassinations outside their own territory. 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Karl du Fresne: An enemy of free speech and a dissembler too

It’s taken a while, but the speech wars have reached New Zealand – and an Australian is in the thick of the strife. Problem is, she’s on the wrong side.

Jan Thomas, the vice-chancellor of Massey University, recently banned Don Brash, a former leader of the centre-right National party, from speaking at a campus event organised by a student politics society. It was the first occurrence at a New Zealand university of the ugly phenomenon known as no-platforming. Now Thomas, who came to New Zealand from the University of Southern Queensland, has been exposed not just as an enemy of free speech, but as a dissembler who was less than honest about her motives.

Frank Newman: When a capital gain is income

The interim report recently published by the government's Tax Working Group had a handy summary of the current law regarding taxing gains in the value of investment assets. Here are the relevant extracts from their report.

Gains on the sale of land are taxable if the land was bought with a purpose or intention of resale, even if resale was not the only or dominant purpose or intention of the purchase. Capital losses are generally not deductible unless a gain on the sale of the property would be taxable.

Bryan Leyland: Why electricity prices have increased

The Electricity Price Review has revealed that residential electricity prices have increased by about 80% above inflation since 1990. Why did this happen? We were promised that privatisation and the electricity market would reduce power prices.

An objective examination of the whole electricity industry and the effect of the reforms leads to some interesting conclusions.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Owen Young: The new ‘received pronunciation’

When I was a wee boy, and that’s many years ago, radio broadcasting in New Zealand was dominated by the state.  The announcers were required to speak with ‘received pronunciation’, which is an accent endemic to parts of southern England.  It was how educated, cultured people were supposed to speak.  Too bad if you spoke with your New Zealand accent.  Announcing was not for you.  That barrier to freedom has been largely, but not completely, overcome and I think we are prouder and happier for it.

However, that cultural domination is being replaced by another, this time based on ethnicity, not perceived social class.  I refer to the pronunciation of Maori place names.  

NZCPR Weekly: De-Industrialising Our Economy

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we look into factors influencing the rising price of petrol – including the Government’s climate change agenda, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Bryan Leyland explains how New Zealand will face blackout if the Government closes down the Huntly coal and gas fired power station, and our poll asks whether you think Labour should put a halt on its plans to add more excise taxes onto the price of petrol.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2018

NZ Climate Science Coalition: An Open Letter to the Council of the Royal Society of New Zealand

3 October 2018

An Open Letter to the Council of the Royal Society of New Zealand

The debate on man-made global warming.

Over the last year a series of exchanges between the Royal Society of New Zealand (RSNZ) and the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition have revealed the following:

Monday, October 1, 2018

GWPF Newsletter: EU Abandons New 2030 Climate Target

EU Commission Fears Job Losses In Car Industry

In this newsletter:

1) EU Abandons New 2030 Climate Target
Deutsche Press Agentur, 28 September 2018 
2) Climate Target Are Too Strict: EU Commission Fears Job Losses In Car Industry
Handelsblatt, 26 September 2018