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Demand for removal of Env't Commissioner

23 December 2008

Demand for removal from office of Environment Commissioner

A demand for Dr Jan Wright, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, to be removed from office is to be conveyed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Dr Lockwood Smith, by the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition.

The Coalition’s chairman, Rear Admiral Jack Welch, said: “Dr Wright’s apparent ignorance of the nature and processes of science, her blatant bias in the on-going scientific debate about climate science, and her attempts to muzzle free speech and scientific debate mean that she has forfeited any right to a position that demands integrity, professionalism and neutrality”.

The coalition’s demand has been sparked by an op-ed article by Dr Wright in the Wellington newspaper Dominion Post. Admiral Welch said: “the entire tenor of the piece is disturbing. It shows that she either does not understand the fundamentals of the scientific method, or worse, has sacrificed it to suit another agenda.

“Dr Wright is an officer of a new Parliament which is committed to New Zealanders’ right to freedom of expression. She is the very last person who should describe dangerous manmade global warming sceptics as ‘a microscopic minority’ whose arguments should not be entertained.

“But it’s not just Dr Wright’s resistance to free speech that require her dismissal from a Parliamentary office, it’s also her rejection of how science has developed to explain the wonders of nature. Anyone who is Parliamentary Commissioner for anything should know that science, by its nature, is never settled, and is certainly not determined by a show of hands. Scientists like Galileo, Newton and Einstein were vilified for their views – and they were finally proved right.

“Dr Wright has obviously not bothered to research the facts freely available about the Fourth Assessment Report (4AR) of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). For starters it is not scientifically neutral, because it was created by the UN with a charter that presumed from the outset a widespread human influence on climate, rather than consideration of whether such influence may be negligible or missing altogether.

“Dr Wright is palpably incorrect when she asserts that 4AR was ‘written by 800 scientists and peer-reviewed by 2500 more.’ The basis of IPCC climate ‘scenarios’ (their word - they specifically disavow ‘predictions’) come from Chapter 9 of Working Group 1 (WG1), which had just 44 contributing authors, more than half of whom had co-authored papers with the lead authors or coordinating lead authors of chapter 9. As for peer-review, this crucial

Chapter 9 was reviewed by only seven chapter authors, eight government reviewers, and 47 individuals, a total of 62, of whom only five expressed support for the chapter as a whole. We know this because for the first time the IPCC was required to make available the kind of information about 4AR that New Zealanders have a right to via our own Official Information Act.
“One of those 62 reviewers was our own Dr Vincent Gray, of Wellington, an expert IPCC reviewer for the past 18 years, who comments: ‘After many voluminous reports they have yet to put forward a single scientific argument that can relate climate changes or temperature changes to changes in greenhouse gases. Instead they resort to hype and spin. The IPCC is run by a hard core of only a few dozen scientists, largely nominated by Government Environment Ministries, and its “peer-review" process is actually "pal-review", where anybody who disagrees with them is automatically excluded.’

Admiral Welch described Dr Wright’s understanding of science as “abysmal: she obviously has no grasp whatsoever of the processes of falsification of hypotheses which is fundamental to the scientific method. One of our scientists, Professor Bob Carter, a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, an alumnus of Otago University, and an internationally respect commentator on climate issues, has identified no less than six key hypotheses underlying claims of man-made global warming. If any one of them is shown to be false, man-made global warming must be consigned to the dustbin. Dr Carter has demonstrated that all six fail the tests.

“However, Dr Wright has done us one favour at least: this blatant bias by an officer of Parliament means that the Select Committee on the Emissions Trading Scheme Review will now have to allow submissions on the science of so-called climate change, and will have to extend its ridiculously early closing date of 13 February for receipt of those submissions,” said Admiral Welch.


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