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Response To Royal Society's Climate Report

The New Zealand
Climate Science Coalition


Response To Royal Society's Climate Report

The Royal Society of New Zealand (RSNZ) has been accused of forsaking its tradition of scientific integrity, in the field of climate science at least, to follow a political agenda, and of misleading its members by giving them an unbalanced view of public reactions to the emissions trading scheme.

This charge today from Rear Admiral Jack Welch, chairman of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition. He was releasing the coalition’s response to a statement issued last week by the RSNZ climate committee and to the society's distribution of two political Green Party press releases. "The Royal Society is supposed to be about science and not politics.

This is no longer a debate about science, but one involving a profound conflict of interest, a lack of contestability in public policy formation, and a former pillar of scientific integrity allowing itself to become a tool of political manipulation,” said Rear Admiral Welch. “Further, a majority of the climate committee are in breach of RSNZ’s code of ethics.

“The science is discussed in our response, in which our independent scientists say that it beggars belief that a so-called expert committee can launch a public statement about climate change that is so partial in its arguments and so out of date in its science. It adds nothing to the 2007 IPCC report, so the obvious conclusion is that it has been released in a deliberate attempt to influence the public and members of Parliament into supporting this seriously flawed emissions trading scheme. Our response is available on our website at:

“The issue for all New Zealanders in general, and for RSNZ members in particular, is the way in which scientific integrity has been subverted to meet a political agenda. Anyone interested in politics in this country knows that the present government is in trouble gathering support in Parliament for the emissions trading legislation that is a step in its ideological preoccupation with man-made global warming. The timing of this RSNZ statement is too close to be coincidental.

“Few people outside the scientific community realise that policy in this field is advised by a small coterie of employees of the government agency NIWA, and that the same people dominate the RSNZ climate committee.

“NIWA is a commercial organisation that makes money by selling advice on ‘climate change’. According to the Royal Society's code of ethics, its members should ‘avoid or declare real or apparent conflicts of interest and document them beforehand whenever possible’ and ‘where appropriate, acknowledge themselves as interested parties in controversies about scientific and technical procedures’. The RSNZ climate committee are in breach of that code.

“For its own political purposes, the present government parrots the claims by these same NIWA people it appoints to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that there is a so-called consensus that humans are causing dangerous global warming and rejects out of hand alternative interpretations by independent scientists without any such conflict of interest.

“Aside from the self-evident truth that scientific integrity is not determined by a show of hands, the recorded facts on the claimed consensus are that the vast majority of scientists in the world, who are qualified in this field, dispute the opinions of the governmental appointees to IPCC.

That majority insists that whatever warming or cooling takes place in the world is the result of natural and well documented cyclical climate behaviour, affected by humans to such a minimal degree that it is probably undetectable.

There is certainly no agreement that the effects of man-made emissions of carbon dioxide are anywhere near enough to justify the damaging socio-economic measures proposed in legislation such as New Zealand’s emissions trading bill.

“Our scientists have told me that RSNZ has failed to observe accepted protocol in its statement in that its climate committee has not referenced the evidence they cite. Worse, they have only chosen 'evidence' which supports what they wish to promulgate. The reader would form the opinion no conflicting evidence exists in any of the spheres they cite. This is no way to inform the public on matters of science, and falls more in the category of propaganda than science.

“Now, in addition, there is the observed evidence of the last few years that warming has ceased, and that the history of solar cycles suggest that the world is very likely in the first stages of a cooling phase. They choose to ignore that cooling could be a very real threat to the world.

“But, for RSNZ members at least, there has to be concern that their supposedly politically neutral guardian of scientific integrity has become a mouthpiece for political radicals like the Green Party, and that one of their longstanding colleagues, Dr Vincent Gray, who has been an expert reviewer of IPCC assessment reports since they began, has felt impelled to resign his RSNZ membership in protest at what he has described as a lie in last week’s statement,” said Rear Admiral Welch.

“The blatant politicisation of this issue reinforces the call made by our coalition when it first formed mid-2006 for an independent, in-depth review of the science, including a cost/benefit analysis for New Zealand from both the slight warming and slight cooling that occurs in natural climate cycles. Let’s get the facts straight, as they affect New Zealand, before we saddle our people with costs and lifestyle changes for which we can find no justification,” concluded Rear Admiral Welch.


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