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NZ Scientists Want Names Off Climate Skeptics List

Auckland May 7 2008 –

"Please remove my name. What you've done is totally unethical!"

Greenpeace says it's a sign of how desperate climate sceptics are that they've used the names of eminent New Zealand scientists to falsely back their cause.

US-based neo-conservative think-thank the Heartland Institute, which has emerged over the last year as the ringleader of global warming denial and is partly funded by Exxon Mobil (1), has published an international list of 500 scientists whose work it alleges undermines the idea of human-induced climate change.

Five New Zealanders appear on the list (2). A significant number of the scientists, including the five New Zealanders, are very upset at their inclusion and have requested their names be removed. See below for some of their responses (3).

The five have today issued a public statement strongly objecting to the implication that they support Heartland's position and reiterating their support for the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as to global warming and its causes.

"The sceptics have sunk to new depths if they're prepared to mislead the public by using with the names of upstanding New Zealand climate scientists," says Greenpeace climate campaigner Simon Boxer.

The incident comes just as a notorious New Zealand sceptic linked to the Heartland Institute puts his case to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee on the Government's emissions trading scheme.

"Owen McShane, who was paid by Heartland to speak at their conference in New York in March, gave evidence to the Committee this morning that climate change is a hoax," said Boxer. "If this latest incident is any indication of the veracity of sceptics' case, let's hope the Select Committee paid no heed to his submission."

Heartlands also helped Mr McShane - and fellow member of the NZ Climate Science Coalition Bryan Leyland - travel to the recent UN climate conference in Bali, where they ran workshops to try and draw attention to his anti-climate science argument, to little effect.

"Sceptics are like the huge number of species in the world - at risk of extinction from the truth about climate change," said Boxer.

In 2004, Greenpeace launched the research project ExxonSecrets to highlight the more than decade-long campaign by Exxon-funded think tanks to deny the urgency of global warming and delay action to fix the problem.

See here for a map of Heartland, its staff and associates, the Exxon-funded groups they are linked with and the NZ Climate Science coalition: www.exxonsecrets.org/index.php?mapid=1241


(1) The Heartland Institute is the neo-conservative group leading the anti-climate science charge in the US. The organisation has strong links with the tobacco industry and, along with a massive campaign against the science of global warming – and Al Gore - also questions laws on tobacco and the science linking second hand smoke with health problems. The Heartland statement the scientists are objecting to can be found here: http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=21978

(2) The five scientists concerned are Associate Professor Chris Hendy (University of Waikato), Dr Matt McGlone (Science Team Leader, Landcare Research), Dr Neville Moar (retired DSIR,), Dr Jim Salinger (Principal Scientist, NIWA) and Dr Peter Wardle (retired DSIR, FRSNZ)

(3) International climate blog DeSmog Blog wrote to some of the scientists on the Heartland list. These are some of the responses:

"I am horrified to find my name on such a list. I have spent the last 20 years arguing the opposite." - Dr. David Sugden. Professor of Geography, University of Edinburgh

"I have NO doubts ..the recent changes in global climate ARE man-induced. I insist that you immediately remove my name from this list since I did not give you permission to put it there." - Dr. Gregory Cutter, Professor, Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Old Dominion University.

"Please remove my name. What you have done is totally unethical!!" Dr. Svante Bjorck, Geo Biosphere Science Centre, Lund University.

"I don't believe any of my work can be used to support any of the statements listed in the article." - Dr. Robert Whittaker, Professor of Biogeography, University of Oxford


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