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NZ Media on Climate Change Criticised in US Senate

The New Zealand Climate Science Coalition

The Coalition is a not-for-profit, membership-based organization dedicated to climate science and has no political affiliation. We take a science and evidence-based approach to climate change issues.

Media release (exclusive to Scoop) 18 December 2006

New Zealand Media Treatment of Climate Change Criticised in US Senate Hearing

The New Zealand media, and leading commentators, have been recently sharply criticised before a hearing of the US Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee.

The hearing, convened on 6 December by committee chair Senator James Inhofe, to consider whether the public debate on global warming has been conditioned by biased media coverage, heard from expert witnesses who provided many examples of media under-performance and lack of balance.

The Christchurch Press newspaper was cited for its biased attitude to global warming. Such as when, earlier this year, it published an 800 word alarmist polemic from Landcare's David Whitehead on the same day that it turned down a balanced discussion from geologist Dr Gerrit van der Lingen that explained the discrediting of the famous "hockey stick" climate curve - an important development that has yet to be explained to the New Zealand public.

Radio New Zealand's Kim Hill and Chris Laidlaw were singled out for special criticism because of their politically correct public presentations of the climate change issue. Experienced expatriate climate scientist Professor Bob Carter commented that these and other talk show hosts choose not to interview well-qualified New Zealand rationalist climate experts, but instead succumb to the cultural cringe by deferring to zany climate alarmists like the U.K.'s Lord Ron Oxburgh, Sir David King and Professor James Lovelock, and providing them with the oxygen of publicity.

Also criticised were leading weekly magazines North & South and The Listener, and the large circulation newspapers, the New Zealand Herald and Sunday Star Times, all of which declined to publish an opinion piece entitled "The Global Warming Emperor Has No Clothes" that was submitted to them by Professor Carter on the suggestion of local scientists who were strongly concerned about the imbalance in the New Zealand climate change debate.

Now posted on the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition's website (www.climatescience.org.nz), Carter's article relates several important facts about contemporary climate that remain unknown to most members of the general public. Such as: that global average temperature has not increased over the last eight years, despite the continuing rise in human-caused greenhouse emissions; that late 20th century temperatures were warm as part of a solar driven recovery from the Little Ice Age; and that during natural climate cycling, changes in temperature precede their parallel changes in carbon dioxide.

More recently, the New Zealand media failed to report on a show-stopper of a speech given at the European Union Summit in Finland by Professor Vaclav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic. Klaus, who is a former distinguished Professor of Economics, challenged the conventional wisdom on global warming, and stressed the importance of nuclear energy. In direct contradiction to the views expressed at the same meeting by Prime Ministers Blair (UK) and Balkenende (Netherlands) - that human-caused global warming will cause world climate to reach a dangerous tipping point within 10 to 15 years - Klaus said that "what is concisely referred to as global warming is a fatal mistake of the present time". He also indicated, correctly, that before alarm is raised, first, "a reply must be given to the question whether global warming is occurring, and second, if it is, are humans to blame"

Given the long-lasting evangelism of major European Union (EU) nations about the risks posed by global warming - and the pressures that they have exerted on USA and Australia to sign the Kyoto Protocol - it was almost sensational news that a head-of-state inside the EU tent is a considered climate skeptic. Yet no New Zealand media outlet covered the story, with the New Zealand Herald also rejecting a brief letter to the editor that drew attention to President Klaus' views.

Professor Carter concluded that it would be "greatly in the real New Zealand public interest that the national press be vigilant to all sides of the climate debate, and rigorously scrutinize pronouncements by governments and pressure groups alike. Instead, they compliantly and uncritically report climate propaganda from sources that are known to be partial."


(i) US Environment & Public Works hearings: http://epw.senate.gov/hearing_statements.cfm?id=266407
Tabled papers:

(ii) NZCSC website:


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