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Political Feet in the Cancun Mire

Political Feet in the Cancun Mire

by Joe Fone

The political consensus in this country is that New Zealand will look good on the world stage because we have an emissions trading scheme in place and that we are therefore leading the world in “fighting climate change”. This dubious honour comes despite earlier assurances by Prime Minister John Key that New Zealand would be a “fast follower” behind Australia. Back in 2005, Nick Smith argued that any form of carbon tax would be “mad” because “New Zealanders will be the only people in the world paying it” and that it “will drive up the costs of living and undermine the competitiveness of New Zealand business for negligible environmental gain.” Before he took on the National Government’s climate change portfolio, Nick Smith was scathing of Labour’s plan to introduce an emissions scheme and correctly argued that “it will not make one iota of difference to New Zealand’s emissions.” Yet as Environment Minister for climate change issues, Nick Smith seems to have changed his tune to become the driving force behind the current ETS.

Since the National Government clearly reversed its stance on the merits of an emissions tax after Nick Smith’s criticism of it in 2005 and introduced the ETS anyway, we are now stuck with it despite its huge cost to the economy and its non-existent effect on climate. Ironically everyone seems to agree on this. Even Prime Minister John Key’s Chief Science Adviser Professor Sir Peter Gluckman admits that “Anything we do as a nation will in itself have little impact on the climate. Our impact will be symbolic, moral and political”. This is consistent with the recent admission from German economist and IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer who advises, “One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore”. So New Zealanders are now paying an extra tax on everything from milk to energy for nothing more than political posturing on the world stage, and the kudos that comes from leading the world in a futile attempt to “fight climate change”.

But the madness doesn’t stop there. Ever since the Climategate email scandal turned last year’s Copenhagen climate conference into a farce, the scientific case for human-induced climate change has been unraveling and now lies in tatters. Thousands of emails, leaked from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit by an anonymous whistleblower revealed tricks employed by scientists to show a warming planet when it was cooling and unethical tactics to stifle dissent.

Then in October this year, physicist Professor Hal Lewis of the University of California wrote a scorching letter resigning from the American Physical Society in which he condemned the political advocacy of his fellow scientists in the global warming debate. Lewis’s long emotional letter reveals the extent of the calumny and his disgust at the manipulation of data by many climate scientists in order to give a false impression of rock-solid science supported by a consensus in tune with the IPCC. Lewis complained “it was a fraud on a scale I have never seen, and I lack the words to describe its enormity”. He was so outraged at the scheming designed to deceive the public, mislead politicians and shut down debate, he wrote “my former pride at being an APS Fellow all these years has been turned into shame.” Lewis accused them of orchestrating a massive scam and complained of the “trillions of dollars driving it that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS [the American Physical Society] before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist”, he wrote.

So much for the supposedly sound scientific case for human-induced “climate disruption”, aka “climate change”, aka “global warming”, and the alleged consensus so lauded by Al Gore and others riding this monstrous bandwagon. So too for the spurious claim that there is no doubt the planet is heating catastrophically and heading for a tipping point caused by our carbon emissions.

Fuelled by the scandals, frequent exaggerations by the IPCC and endless cries of alarm from the media, the public have become bored and increasingly cynical. The growing scepticism is further encouraged by evidence of a cooling planet, as early and severe winters again hit the Northern Hemisphere. This fact is well known but downplayed by the scientists implicated in the Climategate scandal as they attempted to “hide the decline” in global temperatures.

Now with their feet in the mire of so much chicanery by the scientists, the politicians in Cancun would appear stuck. They can no longer say with confidence that our CO2 emissions are heating the planet catastrophically, yet neither can they admit to the existence of a scam which they helped finance. But as Nick Smith’s ETS has already shown, none of this matters because it was never about the science in the first place. The purpose of Cancun, like Copenhagen before it, is to bring global governance one step closer through yet more taxes and restrictions on energy use. Some have already called for the “rationing” of everything from energy to food in the West. All in the interests of “saving the planet” of course.


Joe Fone is a member of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition.

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