That Kyoto Is A Fraud - Owen McShane
Two weeks ago I was invited to participate in the Vice-Chancellor's debate at Waikato University. The debate was "That Kyoto is a Fraud". Jeanette Fitsimons took one side and I took the other. I wrote the attached paper to inform myself of the issues. – Owen McShane
THAT KYOTO IS A FRAUD
I acknowledge that the city of Kyoto exists. Any claims to the contrary are fraudulent.
However, the protocol developed out of the IPCC conference in Kyoto is a fraud, because it is based on fraudulent assumptions, fraudulent models and fraudulent manipulations of data.
First, a few key points:
- Climate Change is real. Claims that the climate is static and unchanging are fraudulent.
- Claims that the burning of fossil fuels has released large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere are not fraudulent.
- Claims that this carbon dioxide is a "pollutant" are fraudulent because carbon dioxide is a benign gas which is also a fertilizer and necessary for the growth of plants.
- The United Nations International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims a consensus exists that global average temperatures may increase by 1 or 2 degrees by the end of the century. This claim is probably not fraudulent in itself.
- However, most of the other IPCC assumptions, which have led to the Kyoto Protocol, are fraudulent.
- This necessarily means that the Kyoto protocol itself is a fraud and that our government is the victim of a major scam.
I shall now deal with the fourteen key fraudulent items which have been used to construct the fraudulent Kyoto Protocol.
The Consensus fraud
We hear much about the scientific consensus on which the IPCC policy papers are based.
However, there is no scientific consensus. Many more scientists challenge the IPCC assumptions than support them. However, the argument continues to rage and most of us feel incompetent to judge given that climate science is so complex and specialized.
However, the IPCC scenarios are equally dependent on the economic and demographic inputs to their computer models. There is absolutely no consensus on these inputs. Indeed as economists start to examine these inputs they are horrified by what they find.
Hence whatever the consensus on the climate science there is no consensus on the economics. (I discuss this further in the "Economic Inputs" fraud below).
This constitutes "the consensus fraud".
The "Averaging" Fraud
Kyoto advocates talk of sea levels rising and temperatures rising as though these changes are universal and apply to each and every area of the globe. The proposed amendment to our own RMA refers to "rising sea levels".
But these "averages" are meaningless when applied to any particular town, village or coastline.
For example the average sea level is rising at about a couple of millimeters per year. But the movement of tectonic plates - up or down - normally exceeds this rate of change. The result is that some parts of New Zealand are actually experiencing falling sea levels while, in other parts, the sea levels may be rising. The only reliable way to find out whether the sea is rising or falling in some particular location is to measure the sea level, over time, and at that place.
At present we have measuring devices in only two locations within New Zealand. One of them, placed near Whakatane, has already recorded a sudden leap upwards by the tectonic plate as it slides over the Pacific plate. So the sea level there has just fallen by several mms.
We know too that the European plate is bouncing back from the released weight of the ice caps of the last ice age. This explains why the Dutch are not panicking about rising sea levels.
Radio New Zealand continues to talk of Tuvalu sinking beneath the waves. The Australians have been measuring the level of seas surrounding those islands and announced to a recent conference on this crisis that the sea levels were actually falling.
The conference attendees were deeply saddened by this "good" news.
The fraudulent claim of universal inundation persists because of this "averaging fraud".
The "Warming is Bad for Us" Fraud
The Kyoto Protocol assumes that some extra warming is bad for and must be stopped, in spite of the historical evidence to the contrary. Even if we accept that the globe is warming (and it has been for some centuries now) we should be asking if this is a bad thing, which should be stopped. Understandably, President Putin is not convinced.
The main challenges to the belief that "warming is universally bad" are the beneficial experiences of the "benign medieval period", and the equally unpleasant times which accompanied the "mini-ice-age" which followed.
During the benign period of the 11th to 13th centuries, Europe was certainly, and the rest of the world probably, some few degrees warmer than today. This benign period saw civilizations flourish in Europe, Asia and South America. Europeans used their agricultural surplus to build the great cathedrals, the Cambodians built their temples, and the South Americans built their Mayan and Aztec monuments. The Polynesian navigators explored the Pacific, reaching as far south as New Zealand. The Norsemen crossed the North Atlantic and settled Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland.
Then came the "mini ice age" of the 14th century. Europe's food production collapsed and an under-nourished population was vulnerable to a wave of plagues that wiped out 40% of the European population. Agricultural surpluses dried up, temple building stopped, and tribal warfare flourished as people fought over scarce food resources. The Polynesians stopped visiting New Zealand and the Norseman retreated from Iceland, Greenland and North America. The Viking long ships were iced up in their harbours and the English, Portuguese and Spaniards came out to play. This is common knowledge. My library contains some 5,000 books; I suspect that over half of them bear some testament to these historical truths.
This notion that a little warming may be good for us posed a serious challenge to the IPCC and the climate change industry. So the IPCC needed to re-write history. Dr Mann and his colleagues in fraud were only too willing to oblige and in 1998 they generated the now infamous "hockey stick" theory. (Proxy Data Base and Northern Hemispheric Average Temperature Series.) Organisations, such as NIWA, which depend on the global warming industry, trot out the hockey stick graph at every opportunity.
Dr Mann's paper declared that the benign period/mini-ice-age cycle had never happened and that the world has been very slowly warming for the last thousand or so years, but will go abruptly troppo towards the end of this century. Hence the hockey stick - the handle represents the long stable period, while the blade represents the sudden upturn during the final years of the 21st century. (See the graph in appendix one at the end of this paper.)
Most educated people should know that the benign period and the mini ice age really did happen. Indeed the plagues of the mini ice age destroyed faith in the established Church, and drove up the price of labour and hence triggered the Renaissance, and the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions.
That's why we are here today, listening to this debate.
The IPCC has surely shot itself in the foot with this one - its credibility has been so damaged that many people feel much more free to express their doubts.
Then, just a few months ago, Energy and Environment published a paper by McIntyre and McKitrick which has revealed fraud on an unsuspected scale. These statisticians have had access to the base data which Mann, Bradley and Hughes used to generate their famous hockey stick, and have checked out their methods. Their abstract, which is a damning indictment of the Mann research methodology reads:
ABSTRACT: - The data set of proxies of past climate used in Mann, Bradley and Hughes (1998, "MBH98" hereafter) for the estimation of temperatures from 1400 to 1980 contains collation errors, unjustifiable truncation or extrapolation of source data, obsolete data, geographical location errors, incorrect calculation of principal components and other quality control defects. We detail these errors and defects. We then apply MBH98 methodology to the construction of a Northern Hemisphere average temperature index for the 1400-1980 period, using corrected and updated source data. The major finding is that the values in the early 15th century exceed any values in the 20th century. The particular "hockey stick" shape derived in the MBH98 proxy construction - a temperature index that decreases slightly between the early 15th century and early 20th century and then increases dramatically up to 1980 ¡X is primarily an artifact of poor data handling, obsolete data and incorrect calculation of principal components.
In other words the hockey stick diagram is a fraud.
What is more damning is that when McIntyre and McKitrick re-worked the basis data, using honest analysis and constructions, they found that the base data revealed just what any historian would expect.
The benign period did exist, was followed by a mini-ice age, and the globe has been slowly warming ever since. The graphs included in Appendix One make this more clear than any words of mine.
The "Stable Climate" Fraud.
Kyoto advocates tend to believe that the earth and its biosphere are static systems. This leads them to conclude that any changes from nature's "norm" must be our fault, and that we must intervene to restore the "state of nature". I should not need to explain to an educated audience that the "static earth" theory is patently nonsense.
However, if we are to accept the Kyoto Protocol, we have to believe that the climate has been stable over most of human history and has been warming only since we began to burn fossil fuels and otherwise release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Hence the crucial role of the IPCC "Hockey Stick", which argues that the climate has been stable for the last thousand years and has only begun to warm since the early twentieth century.
The McIntyre and McKitrick paper, which overturns the Mann Hockey Stick, only confirms what we should have known already. The climate has been changing for as long as we have recorded measurements. Hence, climate change may not be our fault, and may not respond to human intervention.
It appears to be true that the polar ice caps are melting. As it happens these particular polar ice caps are on Mars. They are made of dry ice or CO2. Presumably the melting of these Martian ice caps has nothing to do with our Earthly love affair with motor cars. Solar forcing is the more likely explanation.
The Hockey Stick supports the "Stable Climate" fraud, but the Hockey Stick itself is fraudulent.
The "Economic Inputs" Fraud
The IPCC has persuaded many Governments that the predictions of a warmer future have been generated by expert climate scientists running models through their powerful computers and that therefore their predictions are correct.
Many people have bought into this fiction, and accepted that the "Great Global Warming" debate is a scientific matter, which only climate scientists can resolve. Climate science is complicated and mysterious to most of us. So we mere lay people are expected to bow to both the science and the policy response which is incorporated into the Kyoto Protocol.
It's been a clever strategy, but it's beginning to unravel.
The unraveling began when Dr Bjorn Lomburg, the non-gloomy Dane, first questioned the economics of the Kyoto Protocol, pointing out that the costs of implementing the protocol for less than one year would provide clean water for every human being on Earth - which is surely a better use of public funds. This encouraged a few other economists to look at the models behind the IPCC summaries; and they don't like what they find.
For example, Ian Castles, a former head of Australia's Statistics Bureau and Department of Finance, has asked the IPCC to advise governments "that the economic projections used in the IPCC emissions scenarios are technically unsound."
Climate science alone cannot generate a range of future global temperatures. The climate modelers must make assumptions about economic development, changing demographics and the use of technology, all of which have a huge impact on emissions and consequent temperature predictions.
The IPCC "modelers" who wrote The Special Report on Emissions Scenarios, did not use any of the standard predictions for economic and population growth.
Instead they set about creating a new set of economic forecasts that would support average world temperature increases of somewhere between 1.4 and 5.8 degrees over the next 100 years. One leading economic modeler, John Reilly of MIT's Joint Programme on the Science and Policy of Global Change, explains that: "Someone with graph paper and a magic marker [drew] a candidate line through the literature estimates, and then someone else bumped it up a little in one place, and down in another, taking some emissions from one region, and adding them to another, shaving GDP here and boosting it there" until the emissions "gave them the temperatures they wanted".
The Economist, of November 6th, 2003, pulled no punches in an essay which included the following damning comments:
You might think that a policy issue which puts at stake hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of global output would arouse at least the casual interest of the world's economics and finance ministries. You would be wrong. Global warming and the actions contemplated to mitigate it could well involve costs of that order. Assessing the possible scale of future greenhouse-gas emissions, and hence of man-made global warming, involves economic forecasts and economic calculations. Those forecasts and calculations will in turn provide the basis for policy on the issue. Yet governments have been content to leave these questions to a body - The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - which appears to lack the necessary expertise. The result is all too likely to be bad policy, at potentially heavy cost to the world economy.
The computer modelers assume growth rates that are beyond any historical experience. Between 2000 and 2050, per capita growth rates in Asia and Latin American countries are projected to roar ahead by between 50% and 65% per decade, non-stop, while per capita growth in OECD nations grinds to a near halt. The IMF's latest World Economic Outlook forecasts don't come close to forecasting these levels of growth for poor nations. The end result is a bizarre economic future in which the United States stops growing, developing nations overtake the GDPs of OECD nations in about 30 years, and then soar to almost three times OECD levels by the end of the century. (Could this be because they are unburdened by the Kyoto Protocol? If so, the New Zealand Government should take note.)
The Economist agrees and notes:
Contrary to standard practice, the IPCC measured the initial gaps using market-based exchange rates rather than rates adjusted for differences in purchasing power. This error makes the initial income gaps seem far larger than they really are, so the subsequent catching-up is correspondingly faster. The developing-country growth rates yielded by this method are historically implausible, to put it mildly.
Disaggregated projections published by the IPCC say that even in the lowest-emission scenarios, growth in poor countries will be so fast that by the end of the century Americans will be poorer on average than South Africans, Algerians, Argentines, Libyans, Turks and North Koreans. Mr Castles and Mr Henderson can hardly be alone in finding that odd.
The essay concludes with a reference to "the dangerous economic incompetence of the IPCC".
This is the "economic input" fraud.
The Inter-Generational Equity Fraud
The simple-minded response to any change is to try and reverse or halt it, especially if the change appears to generate more costs than benefits. The more intelligent way to respond to change may be to adapt to it, and to increase other people's ability to adapt. Human beings are so plentiful because we are the most adaptable of species. There were once only two of us. Now there are over six thousand million of us. We have weathered ice ages, warm periods, floods, volcanoes, and massive epidemics, including the great plagues of the mini-ice-age.
The wealthier we are the more we are able to adapt. Another mini-ice-age would not wreak the havoc of the last one because we can now warm ourselves, feed ourselves and know more about dealing with diseases and their vectors.
Policies that make us poorer, and hence reduce our key human advantage would seem to be particularly ill advised.
This becomes even more so when we have a self-confessed ignorance. In such cases, instead of drawing on the dangerous "Precautionary Principle" we should draw on the "Adaptivity Principle". Adaptation is more "human", and less threatening to our treasured freedoms.
The Government tells us we must accept the Kyoto cost burden because otherwise future generations will suffer the horrible effects of global warming. At the local level some New Zealand planners are telling their Councils that people should move away from coastal areas to avoid future inundation caused by increased sea levels.
Why should present day New Zealanders forsake their enjoyment of the coast today for the benefit of New Zealanders in a hundred year's time?
And why should we accept lower economic growth today in order to benefit future generations? After all, reduced growth rates have serious outcomes.
The present government seems to have accepted a target growth rate of 4% increase in GDP per year - which we must achieve to put us back into the OECD rich league.
The average household income for the Auckland Region is $66,000 dollars a year. After one hundred years of growth at 4% per capita this household's annual income will be $3.3 million per year. (I am assuming that the future population implosion translates 4% growth into 4% per capita growth.)
Surely these people will be able to deal with a degree or two of warming. They might even be able to pay for their health care. And each household would be paying the government about a million dollars a year in tax.
On the other hand, after a hundred years of growth at only 3% a year their income would be a miserly $1.3 million a year. If the local sea level has risen by a foot or two I suspect they will still be able to deal with it.
We have a choice. We can either attempt to prevent this climate change and accept the costs this will impose, or we can choose to adapt to it. Human beings are a remarkably adaptable species. In spite of the population explosion of the last century the present generation is the wealthiest, healthiest, longest-lived generation of human beings that has ever lived.
The ethical problem is surely obvious. Given the uncertainty surrounding the science, and the inherent variability of the climate and the forces which drive it, our present level of ignorance cannot justify making present generations poorer in order to protect the perceived interests of people whose incomes will be hugely higher than the incomes of the families of today. How can we justify imposing costs on the poorest people in New Zealand today for the benefit of future annual multimillionaires?
This is "the Inter-Generational Equity" fraud.
The Population Fraud
Needless to say these IPCC storylines also ignore the population collapse taking place in the wealthy nations and which will occur world-wide as poor nations get rich too.
The end result is that the IPCC is using economic and demographic models that have no connection to reality. The latest population figures from the United Nations paint a new vision of the future. The population bomb is proving to be a squib. Some may prefer the medium projection which shows the world's population continuing to grow very slowly beyond the year 2040 when it will have grown to 9 billion from the present 6 billion.
But a realist is more likely to favour the low projection, which shows the population going into decline from about the year 2030 from a peak of only 7.2 billion. This low rate of growth creates a massive problem of too few young people to support a burgeoning population of the very old.
The good news however is that all the worries about "sustainability" disappear like the morning dew.
The UN's latest projections show New Zealand's population peaking at only 4.5 million from its current base of 3.83 million.
This means that there will probably never be more than say an extra 650 thousand people occupying these lands, which may mean an extra 200,000 will be living in the Auckland Region.
The ARC and local Mayors are trying to convince us that this will create massive problems that will require us to let them tell us how and where to live. No more seaside and countryside living for Aucklanders. Railway stations and bus stops are the way to go. The Growth Forum anxiety is based on an assumption that Auckland alone will need to accommodate between 400,000 and 600,000 extra people by the year 2026.
But according to the UN projections the whole country will have only an extra 600,000 to cope with, and no earlier than the year 2050.
Who is kidding whom?
All the rich nations, and Europe in particular, are in the early stages of a massive population implosion. Germany now accepts that its population will decline by a third by 2050. The populations of Italy and Spain are projected to halve over the same period.
The Chinese are hardly wealthy yet, but their early introduction of the one-child policy means that even China's population may halve over the next fifty years.
As populations decline, emissions decline with them. The population implosion is already under way.
Yet enthusiasts for the Kyoto protocol continue to talk about the population explosion.
This is the population fraud.
The Energy Fraud
The IPCC modelers have used other inputs that stretch credibility.
For example, the scenario which generates the highest temperature increase at the end of this century assumes that in one hundred years time we shall be burning seventeen times as much coal as we are today. This seems unlikely to say the least.
The latest global emissions of carbon dioxide from combustion of fossil fuels, as published by the Carbon Dioxide Information and Advisory Center, Oakridge, Tennessee, fell 1.1% between 1996 and 1999 (the last quoted figure).
The United Nations Handbooks of Energy Statistics explains this "unexpected" trend.
- Between 1996 and 1998 the total world energy consumption decreased by 0.30%
- Energy from "Solids" (Coal) fell by 3.9%
- Energy from "Liquids" (Oil) increased by 1.5%
- Energy from "Gas" increased by 0.15%
- Energy from "Electricity" (Hydro and Nuclear) increased by 4.6%
The reduction in carbon dioxide emissions is therefore caused by a large reduction in the use of coal, but increases in oil, which emits less carbon dioxide. Gas emits still less, and hydro and nuclear, none.
"Renewables" such as wind and solar do not yet figure; presumably because they are negligible.
The fraudulent documents created by the IPCC modelers generate massive increases in carbon dioxide emissions over the next century.
These fraudulent emissions then generate fantasy temperatures.
These fraudulent scenarios have persuaded our Government to sign the Kyoto Protocol.
To deliver their overheated world the IPPC's functionaries have simply cooked the economic, energy, and demographic books.
This is creative accounting at its worst.
The Enron debacle costs its shareholders about US$25 billion. The creative accountants and modelers involved in that corporate scam are rightly condemned around the world, and held up as an example of the evils of private enterprise.
The costs of the Kyoto Protocol make the Enron losses look trivial. Lomburg suggests the costs could range from 140 to 274 trillion US dollars.
This makes the Enron accountants look honest.
This is the "Inefficient Energy Use" Fraud
The "End-of-Technology" Fraud
The regional councils of Auckland and Canterbury are convinced that their populations should live in high density cities crowded behind the fencing wire curtain they call their "Metropolitan Urban Limit" or "Green Belt". These New Victorians want us to revert to nineteenth century lifestyles living in "new urbanist" villages, pedaling from home to work and corner store.
These are the ideas of tiny minds bereft of imagination - minds whose future visions are locked firmly in the past. It's interesting to compare their narrow-minded visions with those offered up by much older, but more imaginative, minds. Freeman Dyson, one of the twentieth century's greatest mathematical physicists, and science adviser to many Governments, is now eighty years old, but he sees quite a different future, one that surely sits more comfortably within our New Zealand heritage, and the way most New Zealanders want to live.
In The Sun, the Genome and the Internet he predicts that three technologies will combine to set us free to live wherever we choose.
He points out that the sun shines everywhere; on the roofs of the rich and the poor, over the countryside and over the cities, in rich countries and in poor countries. The technology to make solar energy cheap and readily available is developing rapidly and decentralised solar power will soon transform the energy economy of the world. But the greatest gains may come from genetically engineering trees to raise their solar efficiency from 1% to say 10%, and then to further engineer them to produce liquid fuels directly from their roots. Villages all around the world will then be able to source their own fuel from their gardens and their forests, and bypass the need for high tech hardware. New Zealand scientists should be in the vanguard of this green revolution and probably will be - but not in New Zealand's over-regulated laboratories. They will do their work somewhere else.
The Internet will soon provide cheap broadband access all over the globe, which will free everyone from the tyranny of centralised information, and the consequent centralisation of power.
Villages will generate wealth. And wealthy urbanites will move to these villages. They are already doing so where villages are wealthy rather than poor. Dyson writes:
My vision is that solar energy, genetic engineering and the Internet will work together to create a socially just world in which every Mexican village becomes as wealthy as Princeton. ... Ethics must guide technology in the direction of social justice. Let us help to push the world in that direction as hard as we can.
Sadly, it won't happen here. Dyson's dream conflicts with the growth strategies of the Auckland and Canterbury Regional Councils and they will fight hard to enforce their vision through the courts. Sooner or later we shall have to choose who has the better grasp of reality: the eighty year old, but dynamic Freeman Dyson, and his colleagues - or our young, but dreary planners, who dislike the present, fear the future, and seek refuge in the past.
This is the "end-of-technology" fraud.
The "Gross Emissions" Fraud
Kyoto advocates mislead us all by focusing on emissions per head instead on net emissions per square kilometre of governed territory.
This has a remarkable effect on priorities and targets.
A focus on net emissions recognizes that any nation both generates anthropogenic green house gases and absorbs them. Generally, urban areas create greenhouse gas emissions while rural areas absorb them.
Hence net emissions relate to population density. While the US may be the greatest emitter there is now considerable evidence that the US is an overall greenhouse gas sink. On the other hand Europe with its high population densities far exceeds the United States in terms of net emissions per square kilometre.
This is the "US is the great polluter" fraud.
The "Roots not Shoots" fraud
In the The New York Review of Books, May 15, 2003, Dyson provides broad insights into the great uncertainties underlying global warming (which he refers to as global weather changes) within his review of The Earth's Biosphere: Evolution, Dynamics, and Change, by Vaclav Smil.
His main point is that the effects of human action on climate are driven by two interacting systems. The first of these is the physical system made up of gases, water, minerals and the like. This is the one we tend to focus on.
The second system is the impact on the biosphere itself. While carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that tends to trap the sun's radiation, it is also a vital fertilizer that stimulates plant growth and consequently enhances the food supplies for all the animals, insects, funghi and bacteria which live on and around them.
We hear a lot about the impact of carbon dioxide on the atmospheric temperature but much less about the effect of the same gas on the biosphere - other than the recognition that trees are carbon sinks.
In theory a crop yield should increase approximately with the square root of the available carbon dioxide. This means that a 30 percent increase in carbon dioxide concentration, as is thought to have occurred over the past 60 years, should have produced a 5.5 percent increase in the world's biomass, including plant foods.
Dyson was one of the first to point out that vegetation takes up carbon and hence forests are carbon sinks. Governments who saw an opportunity to trade in the carbon credits captures by trees have seized on this early observation. Our government seized on it literally and simply confiscated the carbon credits locked up in the trees on farmers' land.
Unfortunately, governments did not read the small print.
Dyson pointed out that when the concentration of carbon dioxide increases, plants increase the growth of roots over shoots. This is because fewer leaves are required to collect the more readily available carbon dioxide. But, when such plants decay, a greater portion of carbon dioxide ends up in the topsoil, which is a major reservoir of carbon dioxide. Dyson has always argued that we should focus on the carbon trapped in the soil around the roots rather than what is caught up in the wood.
Dyson calculates that an increase in depth of topsoil of only one tenth of an inch over half the area of the U.S. would capture about five billion tons of carbon in any given year. This is a billion tons more that the four billion tons of anthropogenic carbon dioxide being released into the global atmosphere at the present time.
Deforestation and erosion are obviously important variables. But generally the Western world is reforesting at a remarkable rate. Since the removal of agricultural subsidies in New Zealand, New Zealand is certainly reforesting, and as livestock numbers decrease, eroded hillsides are recovering, and there is massive regrowth in the valleys. As New Zealanders move from town to country they plant literally millions of trees per year and are rebuilding topsoil wherever they go.
The recycling programmes operated by many Councils mean that far more organic waste is being converted to compost, and hence to topsoil, than was the case in even the recent past.
New Zealand may already be meeting its Kyoto targets and would be doing so even faster if so many Councils did not attempt to keep us locked up in the cities, and living on smaller and smaller lots.
Increasing our depth of topsoil is a classic "no regrets" approach to meeting any Kyoto commitments.
No matter what we learn about climate change in future, and no matter what happens to technology, population and energy use, no one is likely to look back and criticize a policy which promoted the recovery and enhancement of topsoil.
But on the basis of a fraudulent application of theory the Government has seized the carbon credits from private forests and already repressed investment in forestry planting in New Zealand.
The Kyoto advocates focus on the shoots when we should be focusing on the roots.
This is the "roots not shoots" fraud.
The Great Flatulence Fraud
Some Points to Ruminate On
- Methane levels in the atmosphere are always changing. At present they are falling. We don't know why.
- There is no reason to believe that ruminants are more or less plentiful now than in times past. The 100 million cattle in the US simply replaced the 100 million buffalo. Africa is full of belching ruminants including elephants. Africa does not have to sign the Kyoto protocol.
- One of the biggest sources of "anthropogenic" methane are the rice paddies of Asian nations. The Asian nations are not required to sign the Kyoto protocol.
- Most "natural" methane comes from wetlands. The government wants farmers to build more wetlands. Will farmers who oblige have to pay more tax? Landfills are another major source of "unnatural" methane, and earn no foreign exchange. Should they be taxed?
- While our own dairy cow numbers are rising, beef cattle and sheep numbers are falling sharply. Dairy cows feed on high quality pastures and hence produce less methane per unit than sheep or beef. Our total ruminant population is only 16 million beef equivalents - and is falling.
- Canada has decided that the impact of their own 13 million beef cattle on global methane levels is insignificant.
- India tops the methane pops with 317 million genetically inferior beef equivalents all munching on inferior feed. If India increased its farming efficiency to anything like our own their methane production would drop by a half or more. The Indian herd size has increased by 17 million over the last three years; this increase alone is twice the size of New Zealand's whole cattle herd.
- A litre of English milk has generated much more methane than a litre of New Zealand milk on its passage from the grass, through the cow and into the carton. We are the world's most efficient producers of milk in terms of methane by-product because of our top quality livestock and top quality feed.
If Science Minister Hodgson and his earnest men and women really want to "make a difference" they should be funding New Zealand agricultural scientists to go out into the world and convert the masses into our own superior relationship to the Earth Mother rather than taxing our farmers for being "ungrateful whingers".
It's a weird marketing policy which presents us to the world as a curious mixture of stupid oafs and planet poisoning bad guys when we are the smartest and the best guys.
Why do we want to provide the European protectionists with such obvious ammunition?
This is the "Great Flatulence" Fraud.
The "We Must Suffer today for future generations" Fraud.
The Kyoto protocol argues (like other religious and secular doctrines) that we must suffer today to ensure better times in future.
The combination of increased wealth, technological change, and the population implosion means that the perceived problem will most likely solve itself - at no cost. Whatever is happening to the climate there are three good reasons to do nothing that harms the generations alive today.
First, the population implosion is already well underway in the developed world and global population goes into decline about half way through this century.
Second, the combination of solar power, genome technology and the Internet means that living patterns are changing, and will change, in ways that we cannot fully comprehend but which work against the assumptions of the IPCC models.
Third, future generations will be much wealthier than those of today, and their extra wealth means that they will be able to deal with the comparatively minor impacts of any likely changes. Humans are adaptable creatures and our adaptability is proportional to our wealth. Hence we should do nothing that destroys our ability to generate wealth now and in the future.
The Fourteen Frauds of the Kyoto Protocol.
1. The Consensus Fraud: - It claims that we have certainty when there is none and claims scientific consensus when there is none. Furthermore there is absolutely no consensus on the economic inputs to the models.
2. The Averaging Fraud: - It translates global averages into local events.
3. The "Warming is Bad for Us" Fraud: - The benign period of the middle ages was warmer than today and civilizations flourished.
4. The "Climate Change is Unnatural" Fraud: - the Kyoto protocol assumes that climate change is unnatural, is caused by human action and hence will response to human intervention, and used the Hockey Stick to support this argument. In reality climate change is normal and natural, and the Hockey Stick is a fraud.
5. The Economic Inputs Fraud: - The IPCC models are driven by economic inputs as well as climate change theory. The economic inputs are so wildly improbable, and theoretically unsound, as to be fraudulent.
6. The Intergenerational Equity Fraud: - Future generations will be wealthy beyond our dreams and will be able to adapt to climate change; poor people today should not suffer today to improve the lot of the wealthy populations of tomorrow.
7. The Population Fraud: - The population implosion is well underway and will achieve Kyoto type reductions in emissions at no direct cost.
8. The Energy Fraud: - The IPCC models assume fossil fuel use rates which deny historical records and reject all known trends. Carbon dioxide emissions are falling - not rising, as the IPCC fraudulently claims.
9. The End of Technology Fraud: - Technological changes and impacts, now under way, will allow us to live wherever we choose and with greatly reduced environmental impacts, and greatly reduce our use of fossil fuels.
10. The Gross Emissions Fraud: - The Kyoto protocol focuses on gross emissions rather than net emissions. This makes the US look like "the great polluter" rather than a net carbon sink - which it probably is.
11. The Roots not Shoots Fraud: - The Kyoto protocol focuses on carbon credits in the trees rather than the carbon absorbed into soil organisms.
12. The Great Flatulence Fraud: - Our New Zealand farmers are the most efficient ruminant farmers and should be telling others how to match our own performance rather than being cast as the villains of the methane world.
13. The Inter- Generational Equity Fraud: - There are no grounds for requiring people today to suffer on behalf of future wealthier generations. Wealth facilitates adaptation and humans are uniquely adaptable.
14. The Hockey Stick Fraud: - Finally, the IPCC's "Hockey Stick" is based on fraudulent manipulation of the data. The graph attached as Appendix I below shows that the medieval benign period and the mini-ice-age and the subsequent warming all actually happened. The "Hockey Stick" is the greatest fraud of all.
Director, Centre for Resource Management Studies