*Auckland**, Monday 1 May 2006**: *The newly formed group of ‘climate scientists’ is about politics and big business, not science, says Greenpeace.
“It is a sad day for New Zealand when we are subjected to the type of tactics endorsed by a Republican memo on how to confuse the public on the science to allow the burning of fossil fuels,” says Greenpeace Climate Change campaigner, Vanessa Atkinson.
The memo states: “should the public come to believe the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, /you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate.”/ (1)
“It is a well known strategy by vested interests to cast doubt on the climate science. But the debate is over. The scientific majority agrees – climate change is happening and it is caused by human activities. What we are seeing in the formation of the Climate Science Coalition is the death throes of the climate change sceptic,” Ms Atkinson says.
Burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) for our energy needs, produces carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is one of the major contributors to climate change. Those that stand to lose the most require a debate to encourage uncertainty to protect their interests.
For example, Exxon-Mobil, the biggest oil company in the world, has spent more than NZD$18.8 million funding groups and climate sceptics to challenge the science of climate change. (2)
In 2003, Exxon-Mobil funded the Tech Central Science Foundation to the tune of NZ$151,430 and two of the members of the coalition - Vincent Gray and Bob Carter have been contributing writers to that foundation.
Why would anyone cast doubt on the largest body of scientific effort ever assembled on planet – the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) a collaboration of over 1,500 climate experts from around the world that 17 national academies of science have endorsed as the pre-emininent authority on climate science on the planet?
Why would anyone argue against 11 national science academies who issued a joint statement to the G8 Summit that acknowledged G8 nations have been responsible for much of the past greenhouse gas emissions? Or recent participants at Wellington’s Climate Change and Governance conference who all agree climate change is real and happening. Or the International Climate Change Taskforce has said we have only ten years to act to avoid very dangerous levels of climate change.
“The scientific community is united, the debate is over,” says Ms Atkinson.
1. The Frank Luntz memo was repeated by the Republican press office to all members of the House and Senate in early 2003. See http://www.luntzspeak.com/memo.html. See also http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/03/17/60minutes/main1415985.shtml. Story on the chief-of-staff at the White House of the Council on Environmental Quality – Phil Cooney who edited climate reports to change language from the ‘earth is undergoing rapid change’ to “may be undergoing change.” Likewise “uncertainty” became “significant remaining uncertainty.” One line that says energy production contributes to warming was just crossed out. Cooney has since resigned and gone to work for ExxonMobil, he is not a scientist but a lawyer and a former lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute.