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An insider’s story of the global attack on climate science

A recent headline – Failed doubters trust leaves taxpayers six-figure loss – marked the end of a four-year epic saga of secretly-funded climate denial, harassment of scientists and tying-up of valuable…

Stormy weather hits New Zealand’s capital, Wellington. Flickr.com/wiifm69 (Sean Hamlin)

A recent headline – Failed doubters trust leaves taxpayers six-figure loss – marked the end of a four-year epic saga of secretly-funded climate denial, harassment of scientists and tying-up of valuable government resources in New Zealand.

It’s likely to be a familiar story to my scientist colleagues in Australia, the UK, USA and elsewhere around the world.

But if you’re not a scientist, and are genuinely trying to work out who to believe when it comes to climate change, then it’s a story you need to hear too. Because while the New Zealand fight over climate data appears finally to be over, it’s part of a much larger, ongoing war against evidence-based science.

From number crunching to controversy

In 1981 as part of my PhD work, I produced a seven-station New Zealand temperature series, known as 7SS, to monitor historic temperature trends and variations from Auckland to as far south as Dunedin in southern New Zealand.

A decade later, in 1991-92 while at the NZ Meteorological Service, I revised the 7SS using a new homogenisation approach to make New Zealand’s temperature records more accurate, such as adjusting for when temperature gauges were moved to new sites.

The Kelburn Cable Car trundles up into the hills of Wellington. Shutterstock/amorfati.art

For example, in 1928 Wellington’s temperature gauge was relocated from an inner suburb near sea level up into the hills at Kelburn, where - due to its higher, cooler location - it recorded much cooler temperatures for the city than before.

With statistical analysis, we could work out how much Wellington’s temperature has really gone up or down since the city’s temperature records began back in 1862, and how much of that change was simply due to the gauge being moved uphill. (You can read more about re-examining NZ temperatures here.)

So far, so uncontroversial.

But then in 2008, while working for a NZ government-owned research organisation, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), we updated the 7SS. And we found that at those seven stations across the country, from Auckland down to Dunedin, between 1909 and 2008 there was a warming trend of 0.91°C.

Soon after that, things started to get heated.

The New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, linked to a global climate change denial group, the International Climate Science Coalition, began to question the adjustments I had made to the 7SS.

And rather than ever contacting me to ask for an explanation of the science, as I’ve tried to briefly cover above, the Coalition appeared determined to find a conspiracy.

“Shonky” claims

The attack on the science was led by then MP for the free market ACT New Zealand party, Rodney Hide, who claimed in the NZ Parliament in February 2010 that:

NIWA’s raw data for their official temperature graph shows no warming. But NIWA shifted the bulk of the temperature record pre-1950 downwards and the bulk of the data post-1950 upwards to produce a sharply rising trend… NIWA’s entire argument for warming was a result of adjustments to data which can’t be justified or checked. It’s shonky.

Mr Hide’s attack continued for 18 months, with more than 80 parliamentary questions being put to NIWA between February 2010 and July 2011, all of which required NIWA input for the answers.

The science minister asked NIWA to re-examine the temperature records, which required several months of science time. In December 2010, the results were in. After the methodology was reviewed and endorsed by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, it was found that at the seven stations from Auckland to Dunedin, between 1909 and 2008 there was a warming trend of 0.91°C.

That is, the same result as before.

But in the meantime, before NIWA even had had time to produce that report, a new line of attack had been launched.

Off to court

In July 2010, a statement of claim against NIWA was filed in the High Court of New Zealand, under the guise of a new charitable trust: the New Zealand Climate Science Education Trust (NZCSET). Its trustees were all members of the NZ Climate Science Coalition.

The NZCSET challenged the decision of NIWA to publish the adjusted 7SS, claiming that the “unscientific” methods used created an unrealistic indication of climate warming.

The Trust ignored the evidence in the Meteorological Service report I first authored, which stated a particular adjustment methodology had been used. The Trust incorrectly claimed this methodology should have been used but wasn’t.

In July 2011 the Trust produced a document that attempted to reproduce the Meteorological Service adjustments, but failed to, instead making lots of errors.

On September 7 2012, High Court Justice Geoffrey Venning delivered a 49-page ruling, finding that the NZCSET had not succeeded in any of its challenges against NIWA.

The NZ weather wars in the news. The New Zealand Herald

The judge was particularly critical about retired journalist and NZCSET Trustee Terry Dunleavy’s lack of scientific expertise.

Justice Venning described some of the Trust’s evidence as tediously lengthy and said “it is particularly unsuited to a satisfactory resolution of a difference of opinion on scientific matters".

Taxpayers left to foot the bill

After an appeal that was withdrawn at the last minute, late last year the NZCSET was ordered to pay NIWA NZ$89,000 in costs from the original case, plus further costs from the appeal.

But just this month, we have learned that the people behind the NZCSET have sent it into liquidation as they cannot afford the fees, leaving the New Zealand taxpayer at a substantial, six-figure loss.

Commenting on the lost time and money involved with the case, NIWA’s chief executive John Morgan has said that:

On the surface it looks like the trust was purely for the purpose of taking action, which is not what one would consider the normal use of a charitable trust.

This has been an insidious saga. The Trust aggressively attacked the scientists, instead of engaging with them to understand the technical issues; they ignored evidence that didn’t suit their case; and they regularly misrepresented NIWA statements by taking them out of context.

Yet their attack has now been repeatedly rejected in Parliament, by scientists, and by the courts.

The end result of the antics by a few individuals and this Trust is probably going to be a six-figure bill for New Zealanders to pay.

My former colleagues have had valuable weeks tied up with wasted time in defending these manufactured allegations. That’s time that could have profitably been used investigating further what is happening with our climate.

But there is a bigger picture here too.

Merchants of doubt

Doubt-mongering is an old strategy. It is a strategy that has been pursued before to combat the ideas that cigarette smoking is harmful to your health, and it has been assiduously followed by climate deniers for the past 20 years.

One of the best known international proponents of such strategies is US think tank, the Heartland Institute.

The first in a planned series of anti-global warming billboards in the US, comparing “climate alarmists” with terrorists and mass murderers. The campaign was canned after a backlash. The Heartland Institute

Just to be clear: there is no evidence that the Heartland Institute helped fund the NZ court challenge. In 2012, one of the Trustees who brought the action against NIWA said Heartland had not donated anything to the case.

However, Heartland is known to have been active in NZ in the past, providing funding to the NZ Climate Science Coalition and a related International Coalition, as well as financially backing prominent climate “sceptic” campaigns in Australia.

An extract from a 1999 letter from the Heartland Institute to tobacco company Philip Morris. University of California, San Francisco, Legacy Tobacco Documents Library

The Heartland Institute also has a long record of working with tobacco companies, as the letter on the right illustrates. (You can read that letter and other industry documents in full here. Meanwhile, Heartland’s reply to critics of its tobacco and fossil fuel campaigns is here.)

Earlier this month, the news broke that major tobacco companies will finally admit they “deliberately deceived the American public”, in “corrective statements” that would run on prime-time TV, in newspapers and even on cigarette packs.

It’s taken a 15-year court battle with the US government to reach this point, and it shows that evidence can trump doubt-mongering in the long run.

A similar day may come for those who actively work to cast doubt on climate science.

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    1. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Agree with your sentiments Peter, but for your info, the official employers group in Vic is applying to be declared a charity because their work is "for the good of the community" and if they get charitable assoc status they won't have to fork out payroll and land tax. And of course there's the so-called Waubra Foundation , controlled by determined anti-wind campaigners, some of whom are climate science deniers. They have always had "charity" status due to their claim they are working to improve community health.

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    2. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, the problem with scientists launching legal action is the cost. Most of these worthy people are not paid very much. There is a fund set up to accept donations, for the purpose of defending scientists like Michael Mann from mischievous court cases http://climatesciencedefensefund.org/ - I don't know if it operates, or has a parallel, in Australia.

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    3. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Might not even be necessary Doug. If the likes of a Jo Nova or a Jenny Marohasy (someone with some assets) can be tempted into naming and libelling a scientist I'd be pretty certain that we could find a decent legal counsel willing to do such work either pro bono or via some other suitable arrangement.

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    4. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      "I suspect that our local conspirators have had more sense than to establish a "charitable trust" for tax purposes"

      The main purpose of the New Zealand Climate Science Education Trust was to avoid legal liability in case they lost in court. They might have avoided tax too but I don't know. Certainly they have cost taxpayers one way or another.

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    5. Craig Somerton

      IT Professional

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Hang on. Climate Scientists aren't all as rich Midas from all those generous research grants?

      According to "respected" organisations and commentators like the IPA, Bolt, Jones, Nova, Sheehan and members of the current Lieberal government state, I was always led to believe all those climate scientists only went into the job for the massive "fat-cat" salaries, the raucous partying lifestyle, the luxury houses, fast cars, expensive holiday jaunts and, of course, all those groupies.

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    6. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      From my albeit limited understanding of matters pertaining to tax avoidance, the main purpose of a "charitable trust" is to permit donations to be tax deductible.

      There are plenty of methods for avoiding or minimising financial liability - not the least being the simple device of incorporation ... registering onesself as a limited (liability) company for example which is designed specifically for this purpose.

      Were I a kiwi I'd be most keen to ascertain who those donors were and what sort of tax losses have been availed in this little "educational" scam.

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    7. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Craig Somerton

      Craig, don't let the cat out of the bag! Those climate scientist groupies are the one really hot thing here - no wonder Bolt gets so sulky and envious!

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  1. George Sawyer

    MCSE

    As a citizen of both the USA and Australia, I was disgusted when the "Anti-Science" crowd, in the US, started their distortion of the global warming knowledge. When I saw the same thing happening in Australia, I was sad and depressed.
    I was born an Aussie and I thought the down-under crowd were a lot smarter....and more wise. :(

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    1. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Pamela H.

      Pamela, "There are some here who believe we're actually heading for another ice age" and there are even some who are GLAD about unrestrained AGW, as it has overwhelmed the Milankovitch cycle, which would otherwise have been taking us slowly in the cooling direction. Insane, as humanity evolved to cope with ice ages, but not to prolonged 50°C+ temperatures.

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  2. Jim Inglis

    retired

    Here is another case of the "science" being warmed to suit the philosophy.

    Assisted by our own BoM!

    Who'd have thought?

    "Justice Venning emphasised it several times in different ways, he did not and never would rule on scientific matters. When he stated “the methodology applied by NIWA was in accordance with internationally recognised and credible scientific methodology [para 182],” he could not have been commending NIWA’s methods because he had heard no evidence of “international recognition.” The only “evidence” consisted of NIWA scientists themselves asserting that their methods were internationally recognised and credible."

    Argument by authority, not evidence.

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    1. In reply to Jim Inglis

      Comment removed by moderator.

    2. In reply to Jim Inglis

      Comment removed by moderator.

    3. In reply to Jim Inglis

      Comment removed by moderator.

    4. In reply to Jim Inglis

      Comment removed by moderator.

    5. In reply to Ian Enting

      Comment removed by moderator.

    6. In reply to Jim Inglis

      Comment removed by moderator.

    7. In reply to Jim Inglis

      Comment removed by moderator.

    8. In reply to Jim Inglis

      Comment removed by moderator.

    9. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to David Karoly

      No wishful thinking David.

      The judges decision on this case simply relied on the higher weighting of the authority of the people giving evidence.

      Not on standards of methodology.

      The NZCSET found 0.34 C/century warming over the period of the 7SS 1909 – 2010 using rigorous application of R&S93 methodology vs NIWA’s 0.91 C/century using loose, arbitrary and indeterminant methodology.

      So both sides were admitting warming.

      Just the gatekeepers up about 300%.

      What does that remind you of?

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    10. In reply to Mike Hansen

      Comment removed by moderator.

    11. In reply to Jim Inglis

      Comment removed by moderator.

    12. In reply to Mike Hansen

      Comment removed by moderator.

    13. In reply to Jim Inglis

      Comment removed by moderator.

    14. In reply to Jim Inglis

      Comment removed by moderator.

    15. In reply to Jim Inglis

      Comment removed by moderator.

    16. Trevor S

      Jack of all Trades

      In reply to wilma western

      "Well some people will never respond to the actual evidence"

      I put it to you that most don't respond. We have know for a several decades about the effect of anthropogenic CO2e on the climate and yet those still doing the most emitting are those of us in the Western World. I have only to look at my neighbours to see the culprits.

      There are many here pontificating about what needs to be done with very, very, few actually lowering their emissions. Professor Kevin Anderson speaks to that here…

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    17. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Cory Zanoni

      Leave me up if you can, it's important for people to hear the rebuttals and it will only give reinforce their conspiritorial persecution complex if they are censored

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    18. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Tony Walters

      Follow the money trail indeed, the money trail leads to climate scientist thousandares on their luxery vacations in the artic

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    19. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Tony Walters

      Absolutely spot on! The deniers often accuse climate scientists of a conspiracy and/or promoting "climate change alarmism" to secure funding and advance their careers.

      The real story is that many of the deniers are part of a systematic campaign to sow doubt and delay action to protect the interests of those who are likely to have their business impacted by measures to effectively forestall the many negative effects of AGW.

      The template for this is the tobacco lobby.

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    20. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Trevor S

      I suggest you are making unwarranted generalisations that amount to ad hominem attacks. Your claims are a variant on the "JetA1 fuel" goad directed ad nauseam by Gerard Dean and others.

      No one is perfect when it comes to modifying their lifestyles but many, me included have made significant changes which reduce our impact on this planet. Some other changes await the growth in renewables including the use of electric cars and perhaps bio-fuel for jet aircraft. We do not have to live in caves or in primitive conditions in the meantime. Additionally, the real "game changers" are in the supply of fossil fuels- and these can and will be solved over time by renewable energy and energy efficiency of various sorts.

      The sub-text of your argument is that "you are still flying to Europe therefore you do not REALLY accept the science.

      It is nonsense and shows the desperation of those who deny the science.

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    21. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Cory Zanoni

      Cory,

      What is it you don't understand about the BoM being a gatekeeper of our records?

      You surely don't deny that?

      And my saying that by hiding our old records where they are never used by science, the MSM or anyone else for modern comparisons, yet claiming the BoM are being as up-front as if they hadn't hidden them, was self delusion.

      Is that not the case?

      What other description could you possibly give it.

      Ian Enting claimed I was an outright liar for saying this.

      His comment is much less polite than mine.

      Why is his comment allowed to stand and mine removed

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    22. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Jim, I've just read the court "Judgement of Venning J" in regard to this wasted exercise. I suggest you do the same. In any case in regard to temperatures, The Scientists in question have found that;
      "NIWA refers to eight lines of evidence that indicate New Zealand has warmed significantly over the period 1909 to 2009;
      *The consistent results of the recalculated 7SS following the review, which was consistent with the results recorded in the original 7SS series based on the Salinger 1992 work, plus…

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    23. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix, David Karoly told Jim "your wishful thinking and "you are wrong", It would be better to ponder the reason why these comments were made, because they're no different to the statement by Ian Enting to Jim.
      Smoke and mirrors are exactly the tactics used by New Zealand Climate Science Coalition or the now "evaporated" New Zealand Climate Science Education Trust.

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    24. Miles Ruhl

      Thinker

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Haha, so you saw that too eh Michael? Gold piece that was wasn't it!

      "Scientist 'Thousandares' on their lavish arctic expeditions"

      The best I've heard yet - I laughed for 20 minutes straight. Will be a classic for years to come, with cliche status one would think eventually.

      But that doesn't matter, as no matter how you (completely) debunk everything the deniers throw up, there is just no getting through to them.

      Ah good old truth & fact; another left-wing conspiracy.

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    25. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Miles Ruhl

      Jon has a nack for being able to demolish his opponents arguements in such a quick, clean and humourus stype

      absolutely loved it

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    26. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Trevor S

      "yet those still doing the most emitting are those of us in the Western World"

      Of course, you will get idiots responding to that by saying that China as a whole emits more than Australia as a whole..

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    27. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      "hiding our old records where they are never used by science"

      Simply not true. Old records in Australia, where they are reliable, are used in the compilation of global average temperature anomalies such as BEST, HadCrut4, GISTEMP, and NCDC.

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    28. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      The difference between someone with 'unusual views' and a professional climate change denier troll is that the person with 'unusual views' welcomes the opportunity to explain the big conspiracy and is pleased that someone is listening to them. These people are wrong, but they are at least truthfully posting their views.

      The professional denier won't provide a big picture view - they don't have one. That is apart from it being their job or their duty to use debating points and trolling techniques to prevent people wanting to take action on climate change.

      So Peter's question about Jim's world view is key to this debate. And rather than repetitive and endless debates about detail, what we should tackle the deniers on is the big picture.

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    29. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Cory Zanoni

      Hah ... the BoM ... like as if they can be trusted! It's supposed to be raining here today and nothing... not a drop. They can't even get that right!

      Folks like me who are out in the shed with the pencil and the calculator making up our own weather know full well that the BoM is just another tentacle of the ginormous IPCC monster squid that is telling us incessant porkies about what's really happening.

      That's why I have the terrorism security hotline - be alert not alarmed - on speed dial…

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    30. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Did YOU read it?

      Did you notice how much those old temperatures have been "homogenised"?

      It's a joke.

      For someone whose pathetic standard of argument is to call opponents liars, you fall far short in the credibility stakes yourself.

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    31. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      IOW, you are convinced that academics are the only people who understand climate and temperatures and when they testify about using their poor methodology it is still superior to lesser individuals who apply rigorous methodology.

      That's not even an argument from authority.

      That's just pal review.

      "What alternative process would you recommend the judge should have taken?"

      He could have at least announced the truth, which is, that there is a certain amount of doubt arising from the case, he isn't qualified to decide and have it looked into further by genuine independents.

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    32. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Perhaps Jim you could supply us all with a complete compilation of Australia's mean temperature for the years 1800- 2013, or your own set of localised mean yearly temperature records for a variety of stations for a similar period of time.
      Then perhaps you could tell us all your conclusions in regard to a change/lack of change, in yearly mean temperatures over this period. Put your data on the table and explain your conclusions, shouldn't take long.

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    33. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Cory Zanoni

      Cory, saying that the BoM is a gatekeeper of temperature records is a plain and simple statement of fact.

      Nothing to do with attacking a messenger rather than the message.

      Or IOW playing the man, not the ball.

      And did you read the paper and see how the old records had been homogenised?

      That has effectively neutered them from any meaning in the current climate.

      They may as well not exist.

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    34. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Jim,

      One of the hallmarks of the true skeptic is an inquiring mind. They ask questions. A lot.

      Now you actually don't. You make assertions. You insinuate, imply and allege.

      Here you have a chance to explore the professional thinking of why the records that concern you have been "obliterated", "kept secret" and modified. Ask away feel free. Or do you already know the answer?

      Personally I find it curious that you would want to access data that has not been corrected to reflect changing…

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    35. George Montgomery

      Industrial Chemist

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      "Pal review" like that which occurred in the climate skeptics Pattern Recognition in Physics Journal? A pattern recognition of problems such as self-plagiarism, self-editing, nudge-nudge-wink-wink reviewer choices resulting in its being terminated by Copernicus Publications on the basis that:
      "the editors selected the referees on a nepotistic basis, which we regard as malpractice in scientific publishing and not in accordance with our publication ethics we expect to be followed by the editors."

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    36. George Montgomery

      Industrial Chemist

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Check out why temperatures are "homogenised" so that legitimate comparisons can be made. Homogenisation is way less dodgy than the Duckworth-Lewis system used to decide rain-interrupted limited overs cricket.
      I'd venture to suggest that as long as the homogenisation was uniformly applied to the data, the effect on anomalies would be negligible.
      After you read up on homogenisation, do a test run on some data, graphically compare before and after and, while the base line moves up or down, the overall trend for the data remains the same. Check it out and report back to us with your findings and results.

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    37. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Notice how @Inglis refuses to apologise for his smear or even admit that he is wrong to claim "you obliterate historical records of raw data from any scientific consideration".

      Shown to be wrong, he simply ignores his original claim and moves on to suggesting a new conspiracy.

      The "homogenisation process" to make the old data consistent with the modern data collected via Stevenson thermometer screens is described in detail in the paper. Inglis does not deal with the specifics of the science…

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    38. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike, "imagine a cooked goose under a bus": sounds like a very subtle invocation of the tar-and-feathers meme, so loved by deniers upset at being contradicted.

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    39. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      "The "homogenisation process" to make the old data consistent with the modern data collected via Stevenson thermometer screens is described in detail in the paper."

      You still don't get it do you?

      You're still confused between old averages and old records.

      The old Glaisher screens were on average possibly 0.2c warmer than Stevenson screens yet the statistical "homogenising technique" wiped out all the temperature extremes to the tune of several degrees.

      Which was the intention of the exercise.

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    40. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Careful, Jim: "wiped out all the temperature extremes to the tune of several degrees. ... Which was the intention of the exercise" comes perilously close to suggesting a conspiracy. You wouldn't be a conspiracy theorist, though, would you?

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    41. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Why do all the GCMs, gatekeepers et al cool the past and warm the future?

      Why does the hockey team want to remove the MWP?

      I'm sure a genuine farmer could work that out.

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    42. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Jim, you still don't get it.

      What difference to the big picture of climate change is there if these figures had been done wrong?

      A mistake in NZ doesn't make all the work by thousands of others elsewhere wrong, so even if the NZ figures are wrong climate change is still something we need to do something about.

      And I'm still waiting for your big picture about climate change.

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    43. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Note the trolling technique of refusing to answer questions which any genuine person would answer.

      And note how Jim is keeping the discussion going around in circles to ensure that we don't get into any discussions about what we think should be done about climate change and how to achieve this politically.

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    44. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Jim, "Why do all the GCMs, gatekeepers et al cool the past and warm the future? Why does the hockey team want to remove the MWP?" It seems a conspiracy-theorist alert warning should accompany all your posts, unless you reply with supportable answers to your own questions. <cue the sound of crickets ...>

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    45. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      I'm afraid I'm beginning to resign myself to the sad fact that Jim is obviously too embarrassed to let us in on the true scope of his paranoia... so we have a pointless student prank sort of global conspiracy. So secret in fact that even those who are "in-the-know" won't reveal the purpose of the plot. Geez ... suitable cases for treatment really.

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    46. Darren G

      logged in via email @yahoo.com

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      I m not familiar with this case but I think I should correct your misapprehension about the role of judges: if something comes before a judge for decision then it is that judge's duty to decide. And he or she is amply qualified to decide. Your average judge is not your average Joe-Schmo and has skills in assessing facts and arguments that ordinary people simply do not possess. Sounds arrogant and elitist? No, its just a fact.

      Now, to some details. In a common law jurisdiction court the rules are…

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    47. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      There is something there that Jim hasn't worked out yet. He knows he is right and he does have evidence and can see how it all works but he is waiting for the light to go on and show him how all the bits and pieces of evidence he has fit together. Let's not hold our breath while we wait for this light to go on.

      But I bet the main thread of his story that explains why so many scientists are fools is that science has been co-opted by lefties and progressives to stop people getting ahead like Jim himself did.

      But I ask why he believes that lefties want to stop people getting ahead and he never answers.

      But it all fits together for Jim.

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    48. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Inglis continues to ignore the provided reference and continues to lie about the "homogenisation process".

      The reference extensively details the adjustments made with the changeover from the Glaisher stands to the Stephenson screens.

      "The second improvement is the reduction of a step change at 1908–1910, particularly for Tmax and DTR (step down) but also for Tmin (step up). These step changes are consistent with the results of Nicholls et al. (1996c) on the influence of the change from Glaisher…

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    49. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      @Inglis claims again without a single piece of evidence

      "the statistical "homogenising technique" wiped out all the temperature extremes to the tune of several degrees"

      "several degrees". ????

      The best estimate of the temperature difference between the last glacial maximum when ice sheets Km thick lay over North America and the twentieth century is 3-5C.

      Inglis will have you believe that immediately prior to 1910 Australia's maximums were "several degrees" higher. And no one noticed.

      This is total tripe. It is teaparty science. The fantasy of someone who does not have the slightest clue about climate science.

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    50. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Actually once again the trolls have won.

      As always about 80% of the comments here are back and forth between deniers and acceptors. This time we even had a post from someone saying that the comments didn't add value - and he is right, if you start of accepting the science then they don't.

      Once again a huge amount of work by the acceptors has gone into this thread but has achieved nothing more than if The Conversation had simply disabled comments for this article.

      Just like six months ago or a year ago there is no real debate on what those who accept the science think we should do about climate change and how to advance the cause politically.

      Imagine what might have been achieved over the last few years if all the effort by those who accept the science had gone into advancing the discussion!

      That none of this has happened is a huge victory to the deniers.

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    51. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Don't agree at all MWH ... what we're looking at here the the increasingly evident bankruptcy of the denialists ... they can throw muck, allegations and feverish suspicions but they really cannot lay a glove on the science.

      Now unless you think we're actually going to beat them or even better change their minds. We won't. They can't change their minds ... it's a bit much expecting us to do it for them.

      But this is just about not letting them make their skirmishing attacks, their baseless…

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    52. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      If The Conversation had disabled comments to this article then there would be no denial posts that needed to be put right.

      It was evident years ago that the denialists had nothing to their claims, and to be honest most of this thread could have been written years ago - it's just more of the same pointless back and forth.

      As I've pointed out their posts here enable someone who has had their beliefs set by the Murdoch press to find a rationalisation for ignoring what the articles here and the…

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    53. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      I don't agree Michael simple as that. I don't agree with disabling their comments. Or anyone else's for that matter. But I do disagree with taking these dullards seriously.

      Treat them with the respect and deference they demonstrate towards serious scientists ... don't take them seriously at all. Treat them like the cranks they are and you'll enjoy yourself more.

      Yoiu say it's been evident for years ... I also don't agree. The science has moved forward and improved. Their arguments are less and less credible. Their failures to affect the science have been repeatedly demonstrated. This NZ experience is another positive development in their decline.

      You might think that nothing has changed and that there is no progress being made. I don't agree, simple as that.

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    54. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Nick Stokes has downloaded and tabulated the **raw** data for Melbourne thus killing off 2 of Inglis's more persistent lies here.

      1. The "you obliterate historical records of raw data from any scientific consideration"
      2. "the statistical "homogenising technique" wiped out all the temperature extremes to the tune of several degrees"

      Nick lists the 20 highest maximums for Melbourne since 1855. 7 have occurred since 2000.

      The "several degrees" are notably missing.
      http://moyhu.blogspot.com.au/2014/01/heat-wave-in-victoria.html

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    55. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      Now Jim you're being a bit coy ... a bit disingenuous. I'm not interested in your cut and pasted assertions, allegations and bits of borrowed "analysis" ...

      I have one simple direct question for you: Why are they doing this all these scientists and weathermen? Why are they lying to us?

      Come on Jim reveal the extent of the underlying madness... or don't you know or care?

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    56. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, the science has made progress, with unfortunately most steps showing that things are worse than we first thought.

      It was blindly obvious a year and half ago when I joined this site that climate change was such a significant threat that urgent action is required, and that is still the case today. So no big change here.

      On the whole the back and forth between the two sides has not changed in any substantial way over the last fifteen months either. They are still repeatedly posting wrong…

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    57. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      No I don't agree at all that they are winning - not here and not out in the actual politics of the issue.

      Depends to some extent on the degree to which you accepted that Labor's half-hearted commitment was sincere - I don't. Too many poll-watchers, conservatives like Marn Ferson and Bowen who thought the whole thing was a Green plot. Cabinet wasn't behind this and didn't even try and sell the need for it or how it would work ... so it was christened and stayed a Carbon Tax ... only Combet had…

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    58. Jim Inglis

      retired

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      With UHI effects of around 6-8c in major cities, a 1.5c increase over 1939 or a 2.5c increase over 1860 represents global cooling.

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    59. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Once again Peter you don't tell me where I can engage with a wide audience of Australians who accept the science to discuss, without trolls, what to do and how to get there. Links?

      You seem happy because you think that all climate change articles should be the place to discuss science vs nonsense - it is your favourite area. But what about those who want to discuss what to do and how to get their? These discussions are very effectively swamped by the deniers and responses. That's why I think that…

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    60. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      For obvious reasons Michael I can't point you to the places where you'll find these discussions ... the ratbag brigade don't know where these are happening - and won't. I will try and find some way of doing so. I would have to ask about beforehand. Suffice to say it is not - and cannot be - a wide audience ... wide audiences attract astroturfers like flies at a barbeque.

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    61. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      So there is no place for the general public to debate this issues - just secret places that even a minor activist such as myself doesn't know about :(

      It's very easy to have a troll free place. Just have a forum where there are enough moderators to delete any posts by trolls. I set one up myself last year - http://map.boards.net/ - but it's next to impossible to attract enough traffic to get it going.

      It would also be very easy to do at TC. Just say that posts critical of the basic science are off topic, encourage readers to report any such posts, and posts by trolls will quickly be deleted. And once the trolls learn that their posts are being deleted they will stop posting.

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    62. Brad Keyes

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Karoly

      David,

      I wanted to draw your attention to something the article says to people like us (not you) about climate science:

      "But if you’re not a [climate] scientist, and are genuinely trying to work out who to believe when it comes to climate change, then it’s a story you need to hear too."

      Implicit in this sentence is that there are scientists on both sides of the question, and that it can be hard for non-experts to tell who's credible.

      So we'll say that's the boat I'm in.

      Two years ago…

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    63. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Jim Inglis

      I have marked the above comment as spam because it is just bare assertions that have no relevance to the article.

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    64. Anthony Benton

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Yet the BOM was willing to use records for Melbourne showing 1858 temptures, predating the BOM by 50 years, but was unwilling to show records from Adelaide in 1858 that showed longer and hotter heatwaves than have been experience in Adelaide today. Even thou the success of record keeping in Adelaide, 1856 by Sir Charles Todd, was what started the record keeping that the BOM used for Melbourne in 1858.

      http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/88420154
      http://www.rahs.org.au/history-resources/the-first-weather-bureau

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    65. Anthony Benton

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to George Montgomery

      no doubting what happen with PPPJ was questionable, but so was what happen with climategate and their "Pal Review" nudge nudge wink wink scandal.
      difference being, Copernicus closed down the PPP Journal, while those in the Climategate scandel where allowed to continue on their merry way.
      http://www.assassinationscience.com/climategate/1/FOIA/mail/1089318616.txt
      http://www.assassinationscience.com/climategate/

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    66. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Hmmm I don't know how widespread the readership is but you could try John Quiggan's blog, Michael W-H. I am sure that the place you want does not exist but this might be interesting.

      http://johnquiggin.com/2014/01/18/a-few-more-observations-on-nuclear-power/

      I met a 'denier' yesterday, a man who just wouldn't even talk about it, just to say "it is all cyclical and we will be okay". I think the only thing that will affect these type of people is if someone with 'authority' or 'power' tells them that it is happening and exactly what they need to do.

      There seem to be many ways that people are coping with this problem.

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  3. David Maddern

    logged in via Facebook

    To interesting to see the bastardry these people will go to. Trouble is, stories like this only come in retrospect after the major damage is done, and yes the net gives shit a new life.
    I am coming to the view that this is the diversity in the population, the same diversity that sees plague not kill everyone and that make drugs less certain after they get out into society.
    We have to battle on, giving out simple messages, we simply have no choice.

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  4. John Troughton

    ANU Alumni

    Good article helping scientists understand the value of science to the community yet the barriers to acceptance. Terry, also of wine fame, of course hosted the annual Wine Event in Auckland in the 80's, popular with public figures. The CO2 was measured in Lower Hutt in 1965 and was scientifically reported as 326ppm. Has it changed? By how much? In line with temperature?

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    1. Ian Enting

      Honorary Senior Associate, Faculty of Science at University of Melbourne

      In reply to John Troughton

      John, you may be thinking of measurements made at Baring Head by NZ scientists based at Lower Hutt. (That group relocated when NIWA was formed). Various other groups have measured CO2 from Baring head. Some of the data are at:
      http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/
      but it seems not to have been kept up to date. However
      ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/flask/month/co2_bhd_surface-flask_1_ccgg_month.txt
      gives 391 ppm for December 2012.
      see also
      http://cdiac.ornl.gov/ftp/trends/co2/nzd.dat
      and
      http://cdiac.ornl.gov/ftp/trends/co2/baring.177

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    2. John Troughton

      ANU Alumni

      In reply to Ian Enting

      Thanks Ian. From 316ppm in 1965 to 391ppm in 2012, a 23.7% increase. NZ must be worrying about what is "clean air", even if it comes over the ocean from Antarctica.

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    1. Ian Enting

      Honorary Senior Associate, Faculty of Science at University of Melbourne

      In reply to cindy baxter

      It will be interesting to see what counts as a charity in NZ. In Victoria, Australia, the Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce is taking action in the Supreme Court, to gain charity status, so as to avoid various taxes. They claim such status because they are operating "in the public interest". (Report from The Age 16/1/2014).

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    2. In reply to Ian Enting

      Comment removed by moderator.

    3. Trevor S

      Jack of all Trades

      In reply to Ian Enting

      Similarly Greenpeace, going in with whippersnippers to cut down crops grown by CSIRO for research into GMO's

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    4. George Michaelson

      Person

      In reply to cindy baxter

      Is there no restitution in law, to the costs on the individuals if they can be shown to have formed the charity solely in an attempt to avoid liability?

      I understand why corporate entities exist and offer limited liability defence, but that demands the entity exist for a stated purpose which is legal. A prior arrangement to avoid legal liability may not be either charitable, or legally defensible if it represents a conspiracy.

      (not a lawyer, I am probably using words incorrectly but I hope the sense of what I mean comes out)

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  5. Chris Booker

    Research scientist

    Unfortunately we still have a climate change-denying government in power. At various times on camera senior ministers in the National party have claimed either that climate change isn't happening, or if it is, it is natural variation. Chances are they're about to be re-elected. It seems the majority of New Zealanders just don't really care about science, conservation, or sustainability.

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    1. Craig Somerton

      IT Professional

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      I believe their willingness to believe the denialist lies is also due to laziness.

      We live in an age where a wealth of information is accessible in an instant. We are confronted with so much information, much of it complex and difficult to absorb.

      Instead a large percentage of the population just want the information pre-digested and spoon-fed into their mind without having to do the hard work of thinking deeply about it.

      Many people have lost the ability to dig more deeply and to research.

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    2. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Craig Somerton

      Craig, one of the eternal problems with communicating anything at all, is the self-evident fact that half the population has below average intelligence. Many people are actually incapable of researching the subtle details and are content to be led like sheep by populist slogans, rather than thinking critically for themselves. For those who are of average intelligence and above, there is no such excuse.
      My perception is those who are smart enough to be vocal deniers of evidence are generally smart enough to know they are spouting nonsense, but I have no empirical evidence to back my observation.

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    3. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Trevor S

      Trevor S: the Community Standards of this site require that you use your correct name. Clearly a truncated or abbreviated surname is contrary to those standards.

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    4. Liz Minchin

      Queensland Editor at The Conversation

      In reply to Trevor S

      Hey Trevor S, as Henry pointed out earlier we require full names here - I know Cory spotted a number of people using truncated names today, if he hasn't been in touch already he was going to...

      Strictly speaking we're supposed to lock accounts that don't give full names, but just in case you didn't know, please go & fix that (and read the Community Standards page). See you back on the site with a full name...

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    1. Trevor S

      Jack of all Trades

      In reply to Janeen Harris

      "I wonder if the climate change debunkers believe that their position or wealth will save their sorry backsides from the consequences of what they are doing to the planet"

      Similarly for anyone who does accept the Science and keeps emitting

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    2. Miles Ruhl

      Thinker

      In reply to Trevor S

      "Similarly for anyone who does accept the Science and keeps emitting"

      A non sequitur and plainly absurd argument if I've ever seen one. You sound foolish repeating yourself Trevor, but then that is a denier's stock-and-trade isn't it?

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    3. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Trevor S

      Shame you resort to trying to divert attention from the topic by (at best) marginally relevant comments.

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    4. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      ...and pushing for policies and processes to deal with the things that are beyond the capacity of any individual!

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    1. Geoffrey Sherrington

      Surveyor

      In reply to Adam Cardilini

      Adam,
      Have you studied the topic, deduced your own evidence for "strongly support well conducted science"?
      Any denial that is taking place is not so much about denial of climate change, but the denial of claimed legitimacy for very poor science.
      It's the poor science that is being argued, how many times does it have to be stated? It takes scientists to research the quality, not idle onlookers, no matter what their sectoral percentage is.

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    2. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Geoffrey Sherrington

      So, Geoffrey, that would be the 'poor science' that is fully endorsed by all the worldd's national science academies, the WMO, World Geophysical Union, CSIRO - hell, even people like the World Bank, IMF, US Marine Corps, German Defence Department and the major re-insurance agencies (whose actuaries are in fact very good at checking out statistics and predictive models)? Can you actually come up with a competent body or a qualified scientist researching and publishing in the field who disputes the quality of the science? Can you provide the evidence they have advanced to demonstrate their case?

      That being the case, who can you suggest is actually left to offer an expert opinion? Where are the 'scientists to research the quality' who have not already done so and supported it?

      But I do acknowledge your personal expertise on idle onlooking.

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    3. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Geoffrey Sherrington

      Geoffrey, "It takes scientists to research the quality", so you would be glad the court case was decided in favour of the scientists, instead of the disinformers?

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    4. Miles Ruhl

      Thinker

      In reply to Geoffrey Sherrington

      The science of climate and climate change has been some of the most thoroughly examined, re-examined, cross-checked and minute-detailed in the history of all sciences, and yet we still have completely unfounded accusations of 'shonky science' (to quote the clearly scientifically-minded term used).

      You could have an ENT specialist tell these people their nose was on the front of their face and there'd be claims of a left-wing conspiracy, yet they'll believe a garbage truck operator telling them it was in fact just a deviation of the normal curvature of the face.

      The mind boggles.

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    5. Miles Ruhl

      Thinker

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix, can't you see they're ALL in on it?

      Geoffrey's IS the authority on the topic, he's a surveyor for chrissakes - who better to understand the accuracy and intricacies of climate science?

      Jeez, open your eyes and see the sun for what it is - a shovel, duh!

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    6. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Miles Ruhl

      Ah, suddenly I see the light, Miles - all I had to do was whack myself just that bit harder with the shovel - thank you for saving me from a lifetime of delusion and enslavement to evil pagan lesbian commie muslim cave dwellers!

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  6. John Newton

    Author Journalist

    I've said this before but the very best way to treat Mr Inglis and his conspirators is to ignore them. Deny them oxygen (they're oxygen thieves anyway).

    There is no winning an argument with denialists. Show them facts and they reply with factoids. They are shape-shifters.

    We must simply turn our backs on them and give them a Maori salute

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    1. In reply to John Newton

      Comment removed by moderator.

    2. Trevor McGrath

      uneducated twit

      In reply to John Newton

      I promise to walk to the shops for a week (which I do anyway) as abatement. Cheers

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    3. Trevor McGrath

      uneducated twit

      In reply to Trevor McGrath

      Half of Syria is in ruins, half of its population is starving, but bad fart jokes are now being censored. Cheers

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    4. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to John Newton

      John, "We must simply turn our backs on them". I disagree: without being exposed for what they are at every turn, they would be free to continue to mislead and misinform the average bloke in the pub and that is important, because effective action on AGW will only come when it is demanded at the ballot box.

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    5. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Doug – if you have read Merchants of Doubt you will have seen what experts these people are at obfuscation, truth-twisting and outright lying.

      We see it in our own government with our prime minister's continued misrepresentation of the facts about renewable energy sources and their efficacy.

      It doesn't seem to matter how politely and with what science we confront the denialists, very rarely, as appears to be the case in New Zealand, do they pack up their tents and steal into the night…

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    6. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to John Newton

      John, you may have a point, but I would be uncomfortable about turning my back on a weasel like Goebbels and his buddies. Better to keep them where I can see them ...

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    7. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to John Newton

      I too get tired of maybe well intentioned people stating that the big problem is civility, that if you would only be nicer to others they would be more likely to come around

      This is demonstrably not true and is either a gross misunderstanding of how some people operate or merely an attempt to quiet your voice or make it easier to ignore whilst they lie and spread misinformation

      It's as annoying as when people state "Just because you disagree that doesn't mean I'm wrong" - because that's usually not the reason

      or even better "You think your right about everything" - because surely if any of us thought our beliefs were wrong....we wouldn't believe them, people tend not to believe things they think are incorrect

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  7. Greg North

    Retired Engineer

    At the risk of being labelled another doubt mongerer, first let me say that I feel that anyone or any organisation who wanted to pursue any scientific organisation through the courts to merely dispute weather reporting would have to have some sort of crank mentality.
    That said, whilst for Wellington a location 120 meters higher may record a lower temperature than at sea level and that could be due to a number of factors other than height, cleaner air with far less urban and traffic effects for one…

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    1. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg, do you seriously believe that the host of experts in the various national bureaux of meteorology and the WMO haven't accounted for the factors you mention?

      Even if there were a tiny, unavoidable error in some of the measurements, that would be so utterly, breathtakingly unimportant, indeed irrelevant, that to continue carping on about it is an infantile waste of time.

      Are you not aware of the enormous amount of other evidence, beyond mere surface temperature recording, that fully validates the case?

      Why are you wasting everyone's time with pettifogging disputes over minutiae that make no appreciable difference to reality? It's like arguing about whether you're going to be hit over the head by a lead pipe weighing 162.3 or 162.4 kg!

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    2. David Crock

      Climate science student at University of Melbourne

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg,
      A worthy point, made with refreshing reason and level-headedness... qualities that are sorely lacking from most who question the science.

      Of course there are plenty of climate/weather observations made in the big cities, and the Urban Heat Island effect is well-documented as increasing temperatures in built-up, concreted areas by several degrees at times. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_heat_island

      Similarly, measurements of atmospheric gasses and pollutants would be off the charts…

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    3. Trevor McGrath

      uneducated twit

      In reply to Greg North

      Hi Greg. I'm sure that as an Engineer you have way more maths under your belt than I do. I fell sure that the statisticians have programmes as long as your arm to correct the heat sink affects of city and urban instrument readings. Having said that your point is of even more concerning for city dwellers. If the effects of climate change are going to be amplified for most of the world's population that lives in large cities things like 2003 European heat wave which directly caused over 70,000 deaths above and beyond the normal death stats will only get worse. Cheers

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    4. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix, I expect the experts in the climate fields do have some programs for variations over both land and sea and that much measurement could these days be done from space.
      You can even find a plethora of sites that talk of averages, such as
      https://www2.ucar.edu/climate/faq/how-much-has-global-temperature-risen-last-100-years just for one to mention.
      But what I have yet to find is a site that actually gives the basis for working out the global average at any one point in time and using that as…

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    5. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      I have no doubt Mike that scientists are clever chaps and are not making things up, just as most professionals with technical training are likely to be also.
      We see no end of references to various climate research and it would be difficult enough for anyone to keep abreast of all findings or those that are predicted, it also no doubt that many people with little technical exposure will likely have less understanding of the science.
      How many people would you think with a searing summer will likely say it must be climate change without really considering Australia's known climate/weather history.
      I suspect that there are also many who are in the no man's land of belief/skeptic/disbeliever who may in fact be so because of the lack of simple information such as global averaging being effectively disseminated.
      Do you have a specific link for the basics of global averaging?

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    6. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Trevor McGrath

      All a great reason to be living somewhere else than in a large or even a smaller city Trevor though there are obviously some benefits too.
      Some greenery and coastal breezes does wonders for being cooler.

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    7. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to James Hammond

      With all due respect James, you have stated something which questions even more the principles of measurement, ie.
      " The fact is that even though urban temperature readings may be higher, the proportional trend (increase) in temperature has been the same for both urban and non-urban sensor stations. "
      Given that you also refer to the urban heat island effect which I agree has likely been documented on countless occasions and as I have noted temperature changes are very obvious to anyone moving into or out of a dense urban environment or even less than 100 metres away from a coast line, seeing as the UHIE will likely get greater as the urban/city environment expands in footprint and height, I would be very surprised if there there was no difference between urban and non-urban trends.
      Perhaps you can converse on that.

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    8. James Hammond

      Ecologist

      In reply to Greg North

      I won't converse on it in detail, because I am not a professional in that field of study. The point is that the UHIE is known and accounted for in climate studies. The peer-reveiwed papers explain the methodology far better than you or I could in this forum.

      In brief though, I recall that the urban data are adjusted based on the likely impact of increasing UHIE over time, which results in the correlation with non-urban data. However, as the article above attests, 'adjusted data' seem to be dirty words.

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    9. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Greg North

      Nothing you have said here responds to my comment or in any way counters it.

      You have merely inserted another distraction about global averages. The answer is the same.

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    10. andy good

      business manager and consultant

      In reply to Greg North

      As a former scientist, I am heartened by this article. However, I am amazed that many commentators fail to understand the first principles of the scientific method. I do think there is a very basic job for TV education that can be illustrated by some amazing science! Who's making it?

      The case of the Wellington temperatures is a good example. Peer review is perfect to find imperfections in a theory or faults in experimentation. All scientists are human and want to climb the ladder of their career…

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    11. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Greg North

      "....How many people would you think with a searing summer will likely say it must be climate change without really considering Australia's known climate/weather history...."

      I suspect - without any real evidence - that it is the converse that is likely to be true. That when we get a cold winter, the nut-jobs come out in force and state that because it is cold, global warming is therefore a myth. Anyone who watches Faux News, listens to Alan Jones or reads Andrew Bolt would fall into this category…

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    12. David Rennie

      IT Contractor

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg,
      GISS fully explain how they deal with issues like UHI effect here: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/
      As an example: "The current analysis uses satellite observed nightlights to identify measurement stations located in extreme darkness and adjust temperature trends of urban and peri-urban stations for non-climatic factors, verifying that urban effects on analyzed global change are small. A paper describing the current analysis was published (Hansen et al. 2010) in Reviews of Geophysics in December 2010."

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    13. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Trevor McGrath

      "Hi Greg. I'm sure that as an Engineer you have way more maths under your belt than I do. I fell sure that the statisticians have programmes"

      Engineers do a fair bit of maths but they only do one subject of statistics in my experience. It's not a type of maths that comes up very often in Engineering.

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    14. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Depends on the sort of engineering you are talking about. Chemical Engineering uses quite a lot of statistics. But Chemcial Engineers like climate scientists have to deal with much more complex and uncertain systems than greasers and dirt movers.

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    15. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Greg North

      "the NH is gripped in many places by a severe winter"

      I've got news for you Greg. The USA is not most of the NH.

      The only issue here is what does it take for you to realize that fact?

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    16. Tom Fisher

      Editor and Proofreader

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      It's not a question of whether "the host of experts" have or have not accounted for various factors, Felix, but whether they have explained them very well. The onus is always on the proponent to produce evidence and show proof.

      It is no accident that science communication is currently emerging as one of the most urgent and fastest growing disciplines, and for good reason.

      It is also no accident that, in most leading universities anyway, a student cannot begin to specialise in the various scientific fields, or in engineering or law or medicine, without first completing a broadly-based degree program to at least Honours level, preferably as some of us at least have done in fact, with a few units in Literature and English thrown in for good measure.

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    17. Tom Fisher

      Editor and Proofreader

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      This is not a peer-reviewed scientific journal, Mike, but an open public forum.

      When an argument is not clear, or very well expressed, or especially incomplete due as commonly here to restrictive word length, one is well within rights to mention other variables that may be in play.

      It's a conversation, isn't it? It's called The Conversation.

      Greg is not "letting all the scientists know", he is letting the rest of us know, the lay public, I think in a thoughtful and balanced way that indeed…

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    18. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Tom Fisher

      Tom, I realise this is not a peer reviewed journal and that we are having a conversation.

      That being said, if someone is going to make extraordinary claims they need to produce some evidence, or be able to point to some evidence, to support those claims. Just asserting them is not good enough.

      And that is the problem with claims made by the likes of Greg North. There is mountains of evidence available in published peer reviewed journals, and it is there for anyone who is actually interested…

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    19. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Tom Fisher

      Actually it isn't an open public forum.

      It is a forum run by The Conversation, and they have the right to decide what is acceptable and what they will delete.

      In my opinion it is very reasonable for a forum which promotes academic rigour and rational discussion to delete posts which totally disrespect evidence and rationality.

      Someone asking a genuine question, no matter how stupid or ignorant it may appear, should be welcome as this should be a place to educate. The mark of a troll is that no matter how much evidence is presented they never change their minds.

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    20. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Exactly, Michael. I have had removed some comments I thought very meek and mild, but posting here is a privilege, not a right, and the moderators are welcome to delete whatever they consider unsuitable, or off topic (which latter probably applies to my deletions, as often as not).

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    21. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      One of the reasons I sometimes disappear from here for a long period of time is that some of my comments about trolls and paid for comments get deleted and thus I feel that TC is protecting the trolls.

      I'm sure that I have sometimes criticised innocent people. But I'm equally sure that even this thread has sophisticated posts by paid lobbyists.

      Last year I tried to set up my own forum - http://map.boards.net/ - where trolling would be deleted with the hope that sensible discussions and thus progress would then follow. But the reality is that it is extremely difficult to get people to visit, and so I gave up developing the site further.

      So far my recent burst of posting hasn't resulted in a single deleted post :)

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    22. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      The Snowden leaks revealed that corporations working with police infilitrated NGO's and other groups such as The Occupy movement

      Some were to gather information, some were to cause trouble

      the CIA has admitted to overthrowing the democratically elected leader of Iran in 1953 by shoring up protests, providing funding, handing our propaghanda and performing false flag operations (They start a fight deliberately to justify police brutality and then the protesters gain momentum)

      Cenk Ugyar from…

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  8. Geoffrey Sherrington

    Surveyor

    One cannot come to a conclusion when but one side of the argument is presented.
    It might not be as simple as Jim Salinger, advocating his own case, makes out.
    Did TC try to get a comment of similar depth from a person with different views? Is TC backing one side of the discussion?
    The near-hysterical references to Heartland, tobacco etc are like the G&S flowers that bloom in the Spring. It is now common for cornered CAGW supporters to use the Heartland Defence (TM), whereas I prefer the Arkell v. Pressdram approach.

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    1. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Geoffrey Sherrington

      Yes where is the science from the deniers? Where is their research? Can you find any for us Geoffrey?

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    2. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      Julie, perhaps it is not that people are deniers but that some better explanations can come forth in simple form.
      And I do not necessarily mean we have a lot of simpletons in communities and you can read my thoughts above, thoughts that come from a technical mind and basic experience.

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    3. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Greg North

      Again and again Greg I ask you deniers, where is this better explanation that you imagine in a simple form? Do you mean like, God loves us so he won't make the planet unliveable? That's simple.

      So what if you have a technical mind and basic experience? Are you saying that your mind is capable of understanding things that the scientists don't?

      ROFL There is no evidence of that in any of your comments.

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    4. Geoffrey Sherrington

      Surveyor

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix & others above,
      The Judge did not adjudicate on the science. [44] “…the Court is not in a position to definitively adjudicate on scientific opinions.”
      I wrote " It takes scientists to research the quality, not idle onlookers, no matter what their sectoral percentage is." The Judge was not a scientist.
      Therefore, the judgement means little unless you are part of a cheer squad with defined preferences, one of which preferences seems to avoid mention that "Science is not done by peer or pal review, but by evidence and reason".
      You of the chattering class can chatter to your content about the processes involved, but in the final analysis we scientists are the ones who will decide if the evidence and reason was adequate.
      That has not yet been decided.

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    5. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Geoffrey Sherrington

      Geoffrey, "we scientists" implies you are a scientist, with qualifications relevant to the topic under discussion. Why do you describe yourself as a surveyor, if you are really a qualified expert in atmospheric physics, or the like? Your comments often do not come across as balanced or open minded - two qualities that could be expected of a scientist. What does your CV have to say about your qualifications, experience and published papers?

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    6. David Semmens

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Geoffrey Sherrington

      Everyone is still waiting for your evidence. A search on Google Scholar and Web of Science finds no papers that seem to be authored by you. So, as a non-scientist yourself, you might like to apply your own standard and back out of the argument now and leave it to the experts.

      Your right that the judge didn't rule (and shouldn't rule) on the science. But, that is not what the court case was about.

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    7. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to David Semmens

      Geoff's actually a geochemist ... maybe he took up surveying after his retirement. Born 16th June 1941. He used to work on a uranium quarry up in the NT. His sole involvement in actual climate science involved taking the temperature a couple of times up a tower near the pit.

      He reckons he had some role handing out research money from uranium companies to academics. Can't find anything about that.

      He has been a long-term denier appearing on Jenny Marohasy's (ex-IPA) blog since at least…

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    8. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, thanks for clarifying Geoff's status. So his "we scientists" does fail the porky test, but only in kind, not degree (if you'll excuse the pun). He has a scientific qualification in a totally unrelated discipline and that makes him an expert on climate physics. Not.

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    1. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Alan Pears AM

      Good on you for going to the trouble of checking out the reference. This confirms the "clear desire to mislead" by Jim "retired".

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  9. Pamela H.

    logged in via email @hotmail.com

    I wonder what the reaction of the masses would have been if that billboard had read "I still believe in God, do you?"

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    1. Miles Ruhl

      Thinker

      In reply to Pamela H.

      I don't think it would have lasted much of the day Pamela, let alone even been given authority to be posted, such is the religious fervour in the US.

      But I would donate even for it to be up for the morning rush hour :-)

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  10. Yoron Hamber

    Thinking

    It's clique I guess, of very wealthy companies and individuals, afraid to lose their positions, and profits, to global warming, if we now ever will do anything effective about it. It's like those slow winding horror stories where you see the victim do all the wrong things, driving you slowly mad as you watch.

    That's us, and global warming.

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  11. Alan Pears AM

    Sustainable Energy & Climate Researcher at RMIT University

    in reply to Jim Inglis

    Whoops, I accidentally wrote in my previous post that you suggested a reference was on page 7 when it was on page 8. I misread your post: you did say page 8.

    Sorry.

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    1. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Alan Pears AM

      There you are, Jim: a correction and apology when a mistake was found. I don't remember you doing that at T.C., when proved wrong by the evidence. Maybe I missed it ...

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  12. John Mashey

    logged in via Twitter

    Jim Salinger:
    great to see this!

    Indeed, the money trail is hard to follow, but people who want gory details might try
    http://www.desmogblog.com/2012/10/23/fakery-2-more-funny-finances-free-tax

    PDF p.67 H.4 Funny foreign grants - NZ, CA, AU, IN? (from Heartland)
    That was in 2007, and there was vaguer money in 2008-2009. I have no idea if any leftover money was used for this.

    At the very least, I hope the NZ charities commission at least reveals the donor(s) to this effort, one or the more inept clown-cars I've seen.

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  13. Steve Hindle

    logged in via email @bigpond.com

    Thanks for sharing an enlightening experience. You have used the tobacco industries campaign against the anti smoking activists as a comparison for those groups denying AGW. But there is an important difference that raises more questions.
    What is their motive? Are they a front for industries that are defending there patch or are they like minded scientists that really believe that climate scientists are overstating AGW. With Big Tobacco the motive was easy to see, money! With the exception of a coal chemist, most of the founding members of the "New Zealand Climate Science Coalition" come from a wide range of fields.
    And just to nitpick one point with this article, the title is misleading. I thought that this account was from an "insider" who had been inside one of the climate denier organisations. Similar to the story of the insider played by Russell Crowe from the Tobacco industry.

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    1. Phillip Johnstone

      Research Fellow at Science-Policy Interface

      In reply to Steve Hindle

      I agree that motive is important. Understanding the agenda helps to understand the methods and the messages.

      I suspect that the 'climate change deniers' are basically people and organisations that are doing OK (or have done OK) out of 'the old economy' - that is the carbon based economy fueled by non-renewable resources. While an alternative economy, in which carbon is not a 'free good', could be very successful, it is the act of changing that scares people.

      The fundamental basis of conservatism is to avoid change, to keep on doing things as they have been done before because it has worked before. Part of this is that to accept the need for change can be thought of as an admission that what they have been doing in the past, and their values etc, have been 'wrong' in some way. That can bruise some egos quite badly.

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    2. Rick Fleckner

      Student

      In reply to Steve Hindle

      Yes, I agree with you. The sub editing here is done much the same as most media outlets. I also assumed an insider from the loony side of the argument. It seems that sub editors don't often read the articles they put headers on and mostly try to make the header appear as some kind of 'humorous' pun. Very disappointing.

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    3. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Rick Fleckner

      And this makes exactly what difference, Rick?

      Is that really all you have to be 'disappointed' about?

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  14. Comment removed by moderator.

  15. Victor Jones

    Freelance

    Scott Peck's book People Of The Lie covers this psychological issue, that people will go to extraordinary lengths to protect their mental laziness (bordering on evil), rather than question and change it to fit with reality.
    He argues that the American government going to war in Vietnam is a perfect example. If People Of The Lie was updated today, I'm sure climate change denial and court cases like this would be used as examples.

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  16. Matthew Thredgold

    Software Engineer/Secondary Teacher

    I find the NZCSET actions unforgivingly disgusting and they should not be allowed to liquidate without paying all costs first, even if they claim the coffers are empty. Trustees including Bryan Leyland, Barry Brill and Terry Dunleavy should personally repay the money to the NZ taxpayers.

    I note their links to the ACT and National parties. National and it's ACT puppets do not deserve to have any MPs in NZ's Parliament after instigating such deceptive subterfuge on the NZ public (Yet amazingly they're the government.)

    And the donors to the trust should all be made public.Especially the foreign players who are messing in New Zealand's domestic politics without any disclosure.

    Without transparency it absolutely stinks.

    This isn't a matter of left or right, this is deception and lying on a grand scale. All heads up to the prime minister deserve to roll.

    Scumbags.

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  17. Katy MacDougal

    Research Officer

    While this kind of distortion of data and scientific credibility has been done for decades, it illustrates something that has been disturbing people for a while - the lack of public understanding about what scientists do and how incredibly complicated it is. Since it is very easy for people to have a public platform now, this profound ignorance is seen on the internet and in the mainstream media. While it's the job of scientists to do the science, they should be accompanied by powerful marketing and are now using forums such as this to inform and educate to a wider audience. I suspect the role of the scientist is shifting because the quiet, careful, cautious voice of reason is now being completely drowned out by groups with big mouths and big wallets. Scientists, start shouting!

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  18. Doug Hutcheson

    Poet

    "evidence can trump doubt-mongering in the long run". Our problem, of course, is we don't have 'the long run' available for prevarication. "It’s taken a 15-year court battle with the US government to reach this point" with the tobacco companies, not counting the many prior years of active disinformation campaigns. We just don't have the luxury of another 15 years of business as usual, before having to change our ways: every day we are paralysed by contention is another day of irreparable damage to future climate.

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  19. Geoff Henley

    Research Associate in Health Statistics at Flinders University

    Oh my! How easy it is to give the appearance of winning a debate when you only publish articles from those on one side of the debate!

    So will the editors of the Con allow a response to this article from someone from the other side of the debate or will they, as usual, allow articles here to go completely uncontested?

    The amount of funding received by organisations espousing sceptical views is a mere pittance compared to the billions of dollars in funding foisted upon those resorting to scary…

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    1. Philip Impey

      Architect+Urban Designer

      In reply to John Mashey

      Great choice of words John- lets have the gory details of the money trail on both sides of the argument. The trade in carbon credits also has some gory details- like Blood and Gore and the CCX. As well,
      Gore and Blood, the former chief of Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM), co-founded London-based GIM in 2004. Between 2008 and 2011 the company had raised profits of nearly $218 million from institutions and wealthy investors. By 2008 Gore was able to put $35 million into hedge funds and private…

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    2. Trevor McGrath

      uneducated twit

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      I'm afraid that you are wrong there. Sceptics attack each and every paper submitted for publication in any reputable journal. The "Junk Science" does not make to publication. So there is no bias against climate change deniers in science journals, just a inability to get their papers past the sceptics. Cheers

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    3. Craig Myatt

      Industrial Designer / R&D

      In reply to John Mashey

      I have found that sometimes in life we miss the obvious, that is we overlook the details, causing us disbenefit. It may be astonishing for people to learn that fraud (in Queensland at least) covers something as simple as deception which causes somebody to do something they would not normally do. You don't have to make a police complaint to point out that their conduct is fraud: that is free. From the Qld Criminal Code:

      408C Fraud
      (1) A person who dishonestly—
      (f) induces any person to…

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    4. Geoff Henley

      Research Associate in Health Statistics at Flinders University

      In reply to Trevor McGrath

      You resort to a gross generalisation here.

      Sceptics do not attack each and every paper submitted for publication in any reputable journal. They merely point to flaws contained within some published papers.

      In case you haven't noticed, there have been numerous papers questioning some of the tenants of CAGW which has been published.

      "The "Junk Science" does not make to publication." This is simply not true. A recent study showed that when papers containing deliberate errors were sent to several journals a significant proportion were cleared for publication. Besides, Stephan Lewandowsky's horribly flawed so-called moon-landing hoax paper made it to publication. Enough said.

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    5. In reply to John Mashey

      Comment removed by moderator.

    6. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      I challenge you to write, find or invite an article of the kind you suggest.

      Do you have any evidence that such an article has been submitted and rejected by the editors.

      Remember - absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence.

      By the way, I think you'll find that, generally, the amount of funding going to actual competent scientific research - inadequate as it may be - probably should be greater than that going to fantasies.

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    7. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      Geoff if I am at war with the devil and the devil gives me money to help with my campaign.....I'm a take it, those who wouldn't are fools

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    8. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      How do you define 'top' climate scientists, Geoffrey?

      So, if the AGU receives some funding from fossil fuel industries but continues to speak the truth, that tends only to indicate that they are honest and credible.

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    9. Geoff Henley

      Research Associate in Health Statistics at Flinders University

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Here are two peer-reviewed papers which contradict the CAGW hypothesis.

      http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com.au/2014/01/new-paper-finds-solar-and-lunar-tidal.html

      http://www.c3headlines.com/2013/12/peer-reviewed-study-indisputable-megafossil-evidence-confirms-roman-medieval-warming-greater-modern-period.html

      There are numerous other published papers similar to these.

      Welcome to the real world.

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    10. Geoff Henley

      Research Associate in Health Statistics at Flinders University

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      "So, if the AGU receives some funding from fossil fuel industries but continues to speak the truth, that tends only to indicate that they are honest and credible."

      So if a pro-CAGW organisation recieves money from fossil fuel companies that's OK, but if a sceptical organisation recieves money from fossil fuel companies, then there fossil fuel industry shills.

      I've rarely encountered such perverted logic.

      Whether or not AGU speak the truth is a point of debate.

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    11. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      "...Here are two peer-reviewed papers which contradict the CAGW hypothesis...."

      Gee Geoff, you really should read the things you reference before making foolish claims about them. Neither of those papers contradict the 'CAGW hypothesis' at all.

      The first one suggests that the solar forcing drove the temperature of Alaska over the past 1,200 years. So what? In what way does that contradict AGW? And if you weren't such a lying denier who trawls his ideology from denier websites, you would…

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    12. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      ".... but if a sceptical organisation recieves money from fossil fuel companies..."

      Geoff, you are misusing the term 'sceptical organisation'. Universities are 'sceptical organisations', because they are full of scientists. You meant to say 'denier organisations', because they aren't sceptical at all. You can easily tell that because of the dross they publish - which indicates clearly that they are just regurgitating ideology and cherry picking the bits they wan't, and ignoring the bits that don't fit.

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    13. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Henley's second reference is to a climate crank website which then links to a another climate crank website (welcome to the denier echo chamber). It is not at all obvious which paper is being referred to so I doubt whether Henley has even read it.

      I am guessing that this is the paper that is being referred to and which again is entirely consistent with climate science.
      "Ecological tree line history and palaeoclimate – review of megafossil evidence from the Swedish Scandes"
      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bor.12003/abstract

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    14. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      Geoff I hate to be a quibbler but could you explain to me in words that a simple tiller of dirt might comprehend exactly how that first study contradicts the global warming/co2 hypothesis?

      Now as to the second paper I should point out that this is not actually appearing i n a peer reviewed journal but in the curiously odd journal CO2 Science run wholly by the Idso clan with funding from Peabody Coal. Now I'm sorry Geoff but if you check their website you'll find that this journal is not peer reviewed ... it's reviewed by the Idsos.

      I'd be interested in your comments.

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    15. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      Geoff, do you get your science from the scientific journals, or from curiously contrarian sites like hockeyschtick and c3headlines? Let me guess ...

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    16. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      What I'm saying is that if someone receives money and speaks truth that may not be favoured by the donor it suggests they are genuinely independent. If someone takes money and speaks lies that are favoured by the donor it suggests they are not independent.

      The distinction is between telling the truth and lying as the indicator of credibility and integrity. I guess that must be perverted logic.

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    17. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      And these, or articles by these authors, were submitted to and rejected by The Conversation?

      I once wrote a poem about my dog but the Conversation hasn't published it. Does that prove that they hate dogs or are trying to silence me?

      Welcome to the real world.

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    18. Tom Fisher

      Editor and Proofreader

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      You raise the spoilers in this matter, Geoff, being the doomsayers and hysterics who do nothing to forward the debate but themselves beyond attracting their counterparts, the "deniers", like dolphins to a school of panicked herring.

      Way past time these matters were normalised, and brought into mainstream discourse.

      Then the extremists, and the party hacks and activists and wannabes out on either tail might just back off a tad, though after all these years of seeing project after project destroyed by them, and now in semi-retirement, I'll not hold my breath waiting.

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    19. Geoff Henley

      Research Associate in Health Statistics at Flinders University

      In reply to Michael Hopkin

      "rest assured that The Conversation does not publish "one side of the debate", but rather we consider all of our climate science coverage on its academic merits."

      Somehow, I find this statement rather hard to believe. This site continually publishes articles that criticise and attack prominent sceptics and sceptical organsations. None of these sceptics or organisations is ever given a right of reply.

      Recently, you published an article by David Karoly criticising a peer-reviewed and published paper which questioned the CAGW hypothesis. The author of this paper was given no right of reply.

      What constitutes 'an attack on climate science' is purely a judgement call on your part. It appears you only publishes articles with which you personally agree and in doing so you create a distorted picture of the true climate change debate.

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    20. Tom Fisher

      Editor and Proofreader

      In reply to Michael Hopkin

      Your current policy on this matter, Michael, is fine but has not long been the case. Many of us had to fight tooth and nail to achieve it, often bloodied by the abuse we copped in the process.

      There are still areas that need improving, in particular the mindless hate campaigns against men and boys posted by the feminists and the motherhood lobby, but those of us now auditing the thing will no doubt continue to make our views known on a case by case basis.

      In the meantime, and mindful of the…

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    21. Geoff Henley

      Research Associate in Health Statistics at Flinders University

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      "I am guessing that this is the paper that is being referred to and which again is entirely consistent with climate science. "

      Nonsense!

      Comments from the main author of the study.

      “Historical tree line positions are viewed in relation to early 21st century equivalents, and indicate that tree line elevations attained during the past century and in association with modern climate warming are highly unusual, but not unique, phenomena from the perspective of the past 4,800 years,” Kullman found…

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    22. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      Geoff the problem is there isn't a "debate" ... not amongst those studying the stuff. There's a mob of well-funded flat earthers who run around making stuff up, inventing their own data, their own physics, their own facts, spreading smears and scandal and accusing outfits like the BoM of being corrupt and conspiratorial ... but this is not in fact science ... this is ratbag politics.

      They are trying desperately hard to create a debate - not in the science but in the public arena. If they wanted…

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    23. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      "The major findings of this study completely contradict Mann's hockey stick and similar studies."

      No they do not.

      They examine the tree line in the Swedish Scandes. That is here.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scandinavian_Mountains

      The hockey stick looked at the paleo-climate record for global temperatures.

      Here is a list of the major papers that confirm the basic hockey stock shape of the record.
      http://environmentalforest.blogspot.com.au/2013/10/enough-hockey-sticks-for-team.html

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    24. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      OK Geoffrey if you complain there is a one-sided debate, simply organise your own article or get one of your contacts to do so.

      If you do not want or can't do that you have nothing to complain about.

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    25. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      The big question I have is whether Geoff believes what he wrote.

      Anyone fully informed about a debate should be able to represent the other side. Of course they won't agree with what they are saying, but they should know the other sides arguments well enough to have a pretty good stab at presenting them.

      I think I would make a pretty good climate change denier if I had to.

      One of the main pretences of the trolls is the idea that the other side is all new to them. And the main reason that…

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    26. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      Mr Henley is correct that there are two sides to the debate.

      All the observations we have, however, lead only to one side, whereas Messrs Inglis and Henley seem to be on some other side.

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    27. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      "...This site continually publishes articles that criticise and attack prominent sceptics and sceptical organsations. None of these sceptics or organisations is ever given a right of reply...."

      No it doesn't. The Conversation allows sceptics (ie scientists) and sceptical organisations (ie universities) to publish articles all the time. It just doesn't allow the evidence-free lies and spin from denier organisations.

      "....you create a distorted picture of the true climate change debate...."

      The true climate debate is among scientists - deniers are just creating noise and getting in the way.

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    28. Geoff Henley

      Research Associate in Health Statistics at Flinders University

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      "It just doesn't allow the evidence-free lies and spin from denier organisations."

      But it does allow the evidence free lies and spin from John Cook, Stephan Lewandowsky and others.

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    29. Geoff Henley

      Research Associate in Health Statistics at Flinders University

      In reply to David Arthur

      "All the observations we have, however, lead only to one side"

      And which observations would they be. The lack of warming for well over a decade. Record ice extent for the Antarctic (Including the major embarrassment of Chris Turney's ship of fools getting stuck in the ice they arrogantly though wouldn't be there). No increase in the rate of sea level rise for decades. Doomsday forecasts based almost entirely on dubious models and not supported by empirical data. etc etc etc.

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  20. Bob Holderness-Roddam

    University Associate at School of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania

    So, what happened to the precautionary principle? Healthy scepticism has its place in a democratic society, but these fruit cakes are simply endangering the continued existence of higher life forms on our planet!

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    1. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Bob Holderness-Roddam

      "... but these fruit cakes are simply endangering the continued existence of higher life forms on our planet!"

      I wonder how these 'fruit cakes' intend to account for themselves to their children and grandchildren?

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  21. andy good

    business manager and consultant

    Glad Conversation picked this story up and can disseminate it more widely. The honesty and integrity of the scientists involved shines. As a former scientist I really appreciated it.

    On the wider issue of public policy, I believe many young people will just copy the daily disrespect and stay away from science in their education. Wasteful opportunity. We will end up having fewer engineers, agriculturalists and mineral experts and only have to recruit from Asia or elsewhere in future. Our wealth creating businesses will be further starved of another source of the innovation it desperately needs.

    I also reflected on all the fuss about red tape for business. This article illustrates how a few peoples poorly argued campaign has wasted huge amounts of tax payers money. One persons red tape is another's best practice and just another way for society to influence how we want our institutions to behave.

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    1. Maureen Minchin

      infant feeding researcher

      In reply to andy good

      David Michael's book, Doubt is their Product: how industry's assault on science threatens your health (OUP 2008) should be read by everyone who needs to understand the reality of doubt-mongering. Which really, is everyone.

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    2. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Maureen Minchin

      Not to mention "Merchants of Doubt", a 2010 book by the American historians of science Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway.

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  22. Hugh McColl

    Geographer

    So when can we see the actual names of the people who set up the NZ Climate Science Education Trust? What's wrong with a bit of naming and shaming? Are these people active in business and politics or are they just the usual bunch of angry old white guys with nothing better to do but spend their pension cheques on dud tabloid newspapers whilst listening to the usual climate cranks shovelling swill and regurgitating yesterday's offal on tabloid commercial radio?

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    1. Matthew Thredgold

      Software Engineer/Secondary Teacher

      In reply to Hugh McColl

      Here are three:

      Barry Brill former National Party MP stood for ACT New Zealand in Northland in the 2011 general election.

      Terry Dunleavy was national co-ordinator of Bluegreens, now the NZ National Party’s advisory group on environmental issues. (The Bluegreens is a bit of a joke IMHO, as they are Blue not Green and they are expert in DoubleSpeak. Telling us how great clean air is, and then delaying from 2013 to 2016 the introduction of clean air standards for NZ cities to comply with, all whilst 56% of NZ home are heated with wood, and NZ childhood asthma is 6 times the world average)

      Bryan Leyland is an electrical engineer.

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    2. Steve Hindle

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Hugh McColl

      I don't know about the "naming and shaming" bit, sounds like a modern version of "tar and feather". But the founders of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition which set up the trust make no attempt to hide themselves.. The link in the article gives the founding members and their web site gives many current members. There is no suggestion of sinister motives, just a collection of people with alternate views backed by some pretty dodgy evidence.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_Climate_Science_Coalition
      http://nzclimatescience.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogsection&id=12&Itemid=45

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    3. Matthew Thredgold

      Software Engineer/Secondary Teacher

      In reply to Steve Hindle

      They are well connected individuals. They're doing politics, not science, and they have links to the current government, so the government should be answering in parliament why they (ortheir close friends) are trying to use the courts to undermine science, (and government funded science at that) .

      NZ is a pretty small place, and all the political class are not far from all the other ones. It's quite inbred, old school tie, and closed shop. It's not a meritocracy.

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    4. Steve Hindle

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Matthew Thredgold

      "They're doing politics, not science, and they have links to the current government."
      You may be right, but but this is vague enough to apply to a wide range of people in many different professions. It is also quite legal. Unless there is clear evidence that their professional opinion has been "bought" we can only assume that they genuinely believe their alternate views.
      What is important is that they are held to scrutiny on their evidence and are not given a free ride by the media when their evidence is weak.
      Unfortunately the media often give both sides of the story in an attempt to look balanced and create entertaining disputes. But when the ratio of scientists is around 97% to 3% in support of the main AGW theories, giving both sides of story can be very misleading. A good journalist will make this clear within the article, but many journalists are more concerned with ratings.

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    5. Ross Barrell

      Aikido Student

      In reply to Hugh McColl

      I was looking forward to seeing a rebuttal of the points in this article from the principals of the NZ Climate Science Education Trust somewhere in this Conversation. They've obviously kept their heads down.

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  23. Tim Mulligan
    Tim Mulligan is a Friend of The Conversation.

    logged in via email @gotalk.net.au

    It has got to the point where I now rarely read the nonsense of Jim Inglis et al, although it is unfortunatley still important that people like David Karoly do take them to task now and then.
    Jim has certainly been jumped on in the commentary here as a bad messenger with dodgy rationale, and although one shouldn't shoot the messenger there comes a time when the honesty, character and beliefs of the messenger deserves scutiny.
    It was instructive some time ago to hear Nick Minchin speak on his position of denial with comments that strongly suggested he couldn't accept global warming because it didn't accord with his religious beliefs. There are many in the Coalition, in particular, and many more in the Tea Party who can't/won't accept science when it clashes with their religious or ideological beliefs. I think Jim may be another one.

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  24. Gordon Angus Mackinlay

    Clinical Psychologist

    I find a great deal of the comments made by people in regard to comments made by others extremely offensive.

    One of the principles when the Conversation set up was to allow informed discussion from all, with the concept that "respect the others belief". Which it is painfully obvious in these comments that the majority do not!

    Scientific evidence is without a doubt manipulated. I have over the years been involved in a number of cases of what can only be described as deliberate forgery of information…

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    1. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Gordon Angus Mackinlay

      Your diatribe doesn't make the point you think it does

      basically the whole thing boils down to "Scientists are humans and humans sometimes make mistakes"

      ahem......yup, that doesn't disprove or cast doubt on climate change anymore than it does the theory of gravity

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    2. Katy MacDougal

      Research Officer

      In reply to Gordon Angus Mackinlay

      "One of the principles when the Conversation set up was to allow informed discussion from all, with the concept that "respect the others belief". Which it is painfully obvious in these comments that the majority do not!"

      ... Welcome to the internet :-)

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  25. Alex Serpo

    Garbologist

    These guys were attacking NZ scientists on climate change, but weren't paid by the fossil fuel industry? That's stupid on stupid.

    Why not just go to Gina, or Clive or Peabody or Kock and ask for some money? I am sure they would have sent it to them in a bucket. In fact, given how the NZ taxpayer is footing the bill, they almost have a moral obligation to go ask for it.

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  26. John Troughton

    ANU Alumni

    Jim, in 1965 the CO2 concentration in the air at Wellington was measured at 316ppm. What is it today?

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  27. John Troughton

    ANU Alumni

    Jim, the 23.7% increase in CO2 in the atmosphere over Wellington between 1965 and 2012 plus the 0.9% increase in temperature must have an impact on agricultural production in NZ. Is that factored into the productivity measurements?

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  28. Michael Shand

    Software Tester

    Maybe one of the best articles The Conversation has ever posted

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  29. Blair Donaldson
    Blair Donaldson is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Researcher & Skeptic

    Apart from the precious research time lost to scientists countering the climate change denialism of ideologues driven by greed, faith and ignorance, the public invariably pays for the delaying tactics, inaction and legal trickery employed by denialists.

    It's time climate change denialists and their media and political lackeys were held to account. If they don't have the peer-reviewed, evidence-based science to support their arguments, they should be regarded as no different to the average flat Earth proponent, alleged UFO abductee or anti-vaccine crank.

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  30. Rachael Sharman

    Lecturer in Psychology at University of the Sunshine Coast

    Thank you Jim,

    One of the finest articles I've read in a long time. Reminds me of an editorial that similarly pointed out the time, money and effort wasted in mopping up the autism/vaccine scaremongering (Leask, Booy & McIntyre, MJA, 2010 - sorry can't seem to cut and paste the link easily). So much funding and high-level scientist time wasted on placating public fears that could have gone into... oh, I don't know... working on a cure perhaps?

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  31. Ian L. McQueen

    Retired

    Such a huge amount of hand-waving! I just skimmed through the comments and don't think I saw a single one with real numbers in it, let alone any discussion of what we are supposedly trying to prove.
    All the time we see numbers, like 280, 400, etc., with the "ppm" hidden away. What is the reality? These numbers are all PARTS PER MILLION. So, a rise from 280ppm to 400ppm really is a rise from 0.00028 of the atmosphere (the air we breathe) to 0.00040 of the atmosphere. Is there anyone in their right mind who will say that a change of 0.00012 is going to make a lot of difference?

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    1. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      A greenhouse effect denier!

      You do not see them much any more as the science has been around for nearly 200 years.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Fourier#Discovery_of_the_greenhouse_effect

      The change in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is a 40% increase since pre industrial times. Around 35 billion tonnes of CO2 are pumped into the atmosphere by human activity every year.

      "About 40% of the extra CO2 entering the atmosphere due to human activity is being absorbed by natural carbon sinks, mostly by the oceans. The rest is boosting levels of CO2 in the atmosphere."

      http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11638-climate-myths-human-co2-emissions-are-too-tiny-to-matter.html#.UuB9iRB9Ls0

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    2. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      So might I remind you that 0.04 alcohol means you are drunk and that 1 degree difference on your body temperature means you are either hypothermic or hyperthermic

      AKA - 1 degree body temp difference means you are very near death

      Also, your calculations about ppm are incorrect

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    3. George Takacs

      Physicist

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      Ian,

      This is the first time I have seen this claim, that the ppm is hidden away to obscure the fact that the concentrations are low in absolute terms. If you really think that low concentrations ensure low impact, one experiment you should not try to test this is to ingest enough arsenic to give you 50 ppm in your blood plasma. I repeat, do not try this.

      To deal with the issue of why such low relative concentrations can be significant you need to be aware of two things. One - the effect of…

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    4. Blair Donaldson
      Blair Donaldson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher & Skeptic

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      Ian, why do you believe you know more, or better, than climate scientists who have been studying the subject for decades in many cases?

      Why do you believe the cherry picked claims from people with vested interests in maintaining the status quo rather than deferring to those who have based their comments on established science, the same science we use in other fields that goes unchallenged? The physics of gases and liquids are employed every day in all sorts of areas from hydraulics to food processing yet you don't seem to be challenging the science in these areas, only as it relates to climate? Why cant you see your double standards?

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    5. Craig Myatt

      Industrial Designer / R&D

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      I suppose we could apply the same type of reasoning as the 280ppm = 0.00028 to the level of current passing through the human body, which is likely cause dangerous physiological effects: anything over ~20mA. That is .020 Amps.

      Doesn't sound like much! But I don't think you would wish to fool with the decimal place in this example, would you?

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    6. Steve Hindle

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      Ian please consider this, ozone makes up only 0.6 ppm of the atmosphere. It is only a tiny fraction of a percent of the CO2 in the atmosphere. Yet that incredibly tiny amount of ozone blocks successfully blocks dangerous amounts of UV radiation from reaching ground level. The much larger amount of CO2 should not be discounted simply because it doesn't sound like much.

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    7. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      Yes, Ian, there are. They are called scientists. They understand that the impact of any change is based on its potency or criticality, not it's absolute percentage.

      By the way, what is the magic number of significance?

      Would the weight of your kidneys as a percentage of your total body weight be on the right side of that magic number? If not, woul dyou be happy to have them removed? Would you be happy to drink a dose of strichnine that was just 0.00012 of your total body mass? Given how much smaller than you an ebola virus is, I'm sure you wouldn't be scared of them...

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    8. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      "Is there anyone in their right mind" after breathing "0.00012" of Hydrogen Cyanide"?"

      Fixed your question for you Ian.

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  32. Fatima Karroun

    Mother of 8

    The hypocrisy is astonishing.

    You complain of people taking you on with no evidence.

    Then you state that Heartland is involved with no evidence.

    I'm suprised you didn't blame Big Oil and Big Coal too !!!!!!

    And then the clanger:

    "The judge was particularly critical about retired journalist and NZCSET Trustee Terry Dunleavy’s lack of scientific expertise"

    I suppose you support the decision by the UK High Court that found that climate scientist Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" was riddled with factual errors?

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    1. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Fatima Karroun

      Fatima, by "you" do you mean Jim Salinger?
      "Just to be clear: there is no evidence that the Heartland Institute (set up by the Koch brothers, notorious anti climate change oil baron activists) helped fund the NZ court challenge", in the past, "providing funding to the NZ Climate Science Coalition", but in regard to the "New Zealand Climate Science Coalition Education Trust" which brought these claims to court, the author at no time blamed Heartland, he stated the opposite.
      Perhaps you could read the detail again?

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    2. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Fatima Karroun

      Fatima, you referred to "climate scientist Al Gore". Al Gore is not a climate scientist, never has been, never will be (unless he is studying and I haven't heard about it). He is a wealthy man. He caused a film to be made. Some people like the film, some don't, but any factual errors in it were not made by a climate scientist.

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  33. Ian L. McQueen

    Retired

    Hit a couple of wrong keys and one's posting gets sent before one is finished. To continue.....

    When the claim is made that the temperature one year is "the greatest since xxx", how many degrees difference is that? Is it one degree? Half a degree? A hundredth? Since temperature data are only to the nearest degree, how meaningful is a hundredth of a degree? (If you know anything at all about statistics you will know that a hundredth is meaningless.)

    Then there is the question of just how reliable…

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    1. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      "s for "emissions", the alarmists have done a wonderful job of popularizing this term while ignoring the fact that there is zero proof that the amount of CO2 in the air has any noticeable effect on climate"

      Yeah....NASA, NOAA, CERN, ANU, MIT, Griffith Uni, Melb Uni, CSIRO, National Academy's of science (NAS) Australia, NAS UK, NAS US, NAS Canada, Oxford Uni, Standford Uni, Havard Uni, Sydney Uni, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera all disagree with you

      In light of the fact that those qualified to make this judgement all disagree with you, do you think it might be worth re-considering your position?

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    2. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      The claims you make have been comprehensively debunked so many times they do not merit further discussion.

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    3. David Rennie

      IT Contractor

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      Ian,
      Temperature records are measured to one tenth of a degree. So when there are multiple measurements from each station each day and more than a thousand stations used i is not hard to see that the calculated average can be more than one decimal point.
      The scientists also provide error parameters that are not reported in the simple press reports.
      A temperature rise of one degree per century represents a one hundredth of a degree increase each year averaged over the entire century. That…

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    4. George Takacs

      Physicist

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      Ian,

      Okay, with your chemical engineering degree you ought to know that you don't need a computer model to tell you that adding CO2 to the atmosphere leads to absorption of radiation. You just need a spectrometer covering the wavelength range 2 microns to 20 microns.

      To go from that to how much warming happen, does, as you point out, require a computer model. But that is because of the variety and complexity of feedbacks in the system. If you have a better way of doing this then publish away.

      In the meantime if you have an aversion to computer models then I hope you or no-one you care about ever has a cancer which requires radiotherapy (actually, I hope this regardless of your attitude to computer models). Imaging of the location of that cancer relative to healthy tissue will require some application of computer models, as will planning of the radiation treatment.

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    5. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to George Takacs

      Now you have drawn my attention to it I tend to look on Mr McQueen's Chemical Engineering education with a jaundiced eye. I have practised the profession for a number of years and have used mathematical models to describe all sorts of energy and mass transport systems. Originally they were done with horrendously complex derived equations with pencil, notebook and slide rule. We then moved on to punched cards and IBM S360 and S370 mainframes in their own sealed rooms (we had to compete with the accountants) and now they're manipulated with laptops and horrendously complex models. All along the models did not "only reflect the beliefs of the programmer" but were based on the solid "science" in the increasingly horrendous equations that we we able to handle.

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    6. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      Personally Ken I have never trusted any numbers generated magically by computers or calculators ... not since September 14th, 1967. They just can't be trusted ... all those assumptions about number theory... numbers plucked from nowhere in the blink of an eye ...sounds right but does anyone ever really sit down and check what the cube root of 4,272.0457 is in actual fact ... no we just take their blinking screens as ultimate truth!!! Even slide rules are suspect unless manipulated in the presence of qualified High Priests.

      Here at the Woolibuddha Institute for Intuitive Science we eschew all such gadgetry and insist on chalk and slates... pure unadulterated brain power boyo ... nothing else can be trusted - and no one ... particularly the swarthy foreign types who manufacture computers and calculators.... Who is this Casio fella really? Lord only knows what lies and fibbery they are hiding in their magickal boxes. And we can only guess to what ends they aspire!!!

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    7. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      Ken you shot yourself in the foot when you claimed;

      "zero proof that the amount of CO2 in the air has any noticeable effect on climate"

      You can't simultaniously claim expertise and at the same time profess such great hieghts of ignorance.

      Again I ask, if NASA, CERN, NOAA, MIT, ANU, NAS, etc all disagree with you.......do you think it worthwhile to re-evaluate your position?

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    8. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Chalk doesn't work on my slate. I need a proper slate pencil. Now that you mention it, I might go away and check the computer's answer for the cube root of 4,272.0457 (is that decimal 0457 or just another comma) against my slide rule and then do it the proper way on my slate. You can't be too sure.
      The only problem I run into occasionally is that a decent sized Excel spreadsheet won't fit on these small slates

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    9. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Um. I think you just hit the wrong person over the head. i never argue climate science in forums like this. I believe in a paraphrase of the old saying "Never argue with a climate science denier. They will drag you down to their level and beat you wilth experience"

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    10. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      Ken, "The only problem I run into occasionally is that a decent sized Excel spreadsheet won't fit on these small slates." The solution is to choose a piece of chalk with a smaller point size, but then you have to be careful of the font you write with, because some become ille - iileg --illegiti - unreadable at tiny sizes. Take it from me, I are a writer, so I are a expert.

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    11. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Chalk won't work on my slate and I always keep my slate pencil sharpened to a fine point. Plenty of concrete close handy. With the state of my penmanship, the last thing I have to worry about is the size of the font. Am I allowed to correct your grammar? Is there any need for the comma?

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    12. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      Ken, I had extra commas left over from the last comment, so sprinkled a few in. Feel free to decomminate my comma'ed comment to your heart's desire.

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    13. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Neville Mattick

      The constant bickering about the details of climate change are designed to avoid exactly this question - what if the modelling is correct.

      Another meme bushed by the lobbyists is that we can wait until it is absolutely proven, and then act.

      What Melbourne experienced last week was with only 0.8 warming and without an El Nino. Even if the world stopped all its emissions tomorrow, the world will keep warming up to about 1.4 degree (I forget the exact figures). And the latest research suggests that El Nino's might double in frequency.

      So even if we stopped emissions tomorrow we are in for a very interesting ride.

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    14. Neville Mattick
      Neville Mattick is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grazier: ALP Member at A 4th Generation Grazing Station

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      I agree Michael; on The Land here I can see the damage done, uncontrollable fire, drying of the environment from all the stored energy in the surface soil, rocks and trees leads to rapid moisture loss.

      Under this stress plants (Native Grasses we depend on for sustenance) turn yellow and wither.

      As a child this only happened for short periods during a true Drought, but now we have double the warming of forty years ago or so, it is a very scary future indeed.

      Crikey, a chap can't follow a Black and Tan Kelpie across a paddock on the bike 48 hours after rain without a choking dust trail these days.

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    15. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Neville Mattick

      I'm sure that most on the land has seen some rather significant changes over the last 30 years.

      Unfortunately when they have troubles I find myself thinking - who did they vote for? - and as it is probably LNP or ALP - that they deserve this.

      But given the appalling leadership on this from the two major parties, a distorted media, and even many environmental groups giving the impression that Labor have a reasonable answer, it's not surprising that most people don't know any better.

      So it is wrong to blame them.

      But admitting that it is wrong to blame them means that it shows we are no longer living in a true democracy because a democracy relies on an informed electorate.

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  34. Derek Bolton

    Retired s/w engineer

    It seems wrong that NZCSET were allowed to get that far without adequate funds to cover losing the case. I thought there were legal procedures by which this could be prevented.

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  35. Patrick Maher

    Retired Doctor of Psychology and Academic

    I was struck by the argument's line of reasoning and just how it resonates with the line taken by the Alcohol interests in their denial of the effects of alcohol and their indignant rush to protect the rights of drunks and bullies and steroid junkies. They also ignore the medical evidence related to the effects of alcohol on the human nervous system, including the brain, and on it's very real connection to mouth and throat cancer.

    It is also a line of reasoning that is strangely similar to the 'faith v reason' argument used by religious zealots and crazies - whose only test of reason falls back on its denial and a jump to 'faith' as a the ultimate argument - to justify all kinds of atrocities committed in God's name. If She existed She would be appalled.

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    1. ian cheong

      logged in via email @acm.org

      In reply to Patrick Maher

      The scientific method depends on independent verification and not on original authors' justifications of why their reasoning is correct.

      Climate science has some problems because there are no independent experiments on the single earth and the access to the single dataset of historical temperature records has been controlled by the climate science community.

      Of course there are always vested interests wishing to act for their own benefit. But mainstream climate science is just as guilty of this given the billions spent on global circulation computer models and a distinct lack of evidence verifying the models produce "correct" and scientifically validated results.

      The scientific debate is a long way from settled, and that is the nature of science. Scientific truth will prevail in the end.

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    2. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to ian cheong

      Ian, "access to the single dataset of historical temperature records has been controlled by the climate science community". Really? Guarded so carefully that they make it all available on the internet? Sounds like a conspiracy, to me.
      "a distinct lack of evidence verifying the models produce "correct" and scientifically validated results". By averaging many, many runs, the outcomes have been shown to be accurate enough to allow us to use projections with some confidence, provided the error bars are taken into account. What extra scientific validation are you demanding? Proof? Science does not provide proofs, only probabilities.

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    3. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to ian cheong

      ian is again being a clever troll.

      ian knows perfectly well that there are many independent sets of data to show warming - for example see the post by Jim Salinger below.

      Though every article on climate change at the Conversation includes many untrue comments from deniers, just look at this article for wrong claims that are debunked by others - ian can't point to even one good example of climate science just telling plain lies to act in its 'vested interest'.

      ian also knows that the very big picture of climate change is settled.

      But if ian is genuine in his doubt, perhaps he will enlighten us all with his big picture - how and why have so many scientist, in all countries, over decades, all been so wrong?

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    4. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Ah! Reassurance, like the statement ot the girl "keep rubbing your tummy with vanishing cream and the swelling will disappear" - that kind of reassuring? Woolibuddha sure sounds like it does sciency stuff: when are they going to publish a paper and have it reviewed by their peers at WUWT?

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    5. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Sadly the spelling and grammar brings us a tad undone publication-wise Doug ... we of course abhor the secretive manipulations of word processors with their auto-corrections and spell checkers ... that's the same sort of lazy convenience adopted so uncritically by the BoM! But sadly even Anthony Watts refuses to publish reports arriving in boxes stacked with slates and chalky scribblings regardless of font size. Keeps sending them back.

      Don't worry - I've put his name into the security hotline a few times as well ... just in case he's joined the global plot.

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    6. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, Anthony has always been part of the conspiracy. He is not a real person: the site purporting to be his is really a honey trap, to attract The Unbelievers. As soon as the last one makes a post there, they will all be rounded up and put to the sword. If I were you, I'd break my stone tablets - er, slates - and hide the evidence under my mattress.

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    7. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to ian cheong

      ian your third paragraph is simply a lie.

      I refer you to Sir Paul Nurse, just for starters (but one could list qualified, publishing respected scientists until one's fingers grew weary from typing before one ran out of people who could tell you the truth if you actually wanted to hear it).

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    8. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Yes there are some subtle trolls and deniers on this site Michael. They tell untruths, make comments calculated to distract or derail discussions, the whole gamut, anything to prevent a conversation which moves on to solutions- as most of the rest of the world has done.

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    1. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Alan Luchetti

      So they don't want to pay costs because their case is in the public's interest. They should have to substantiate this claim. By not financially being able to cover the costs of their legal case, they are abusing the process of the court, and New Zealand taxpayers.
      What a rubbish group.

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    2. John Mashey

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Alan Luchetti

      Actually, rather unlikely that Heartland will help them out.
      Heartland is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public charity in US, so donors can deduct gifts to it. Such entities can make grants overseas, but only to entities registered as approved charities (or with equivalent approval from IRS). Before 2007, Heartland had not made foreign grants, then suddenly started throwing money out there. See pp.66-67 of PDF @.http://www.desmogblog.com/2012/10/23/fakery-2-more-funny-finances-free-tax
      Basically, the got a big slug of money from Barre Seid for a few years and were doing something new to them ... of a nature the US IRS tends to frown upon, i.e., funneling tax-free money abroad for possibly-naughty purposes. In 2008/2009 they got vaguer.

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  36. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

    Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

    We all know that there are some proven cases of scientific fraud. But does such fraud invalidate all other scientific papers? Of course not.

    So if the New Zealand figures were found to be a case of deliberate fraud, what difference would this make to the science of climate change? Would this fraud invalidate all the work of thousands of other scientists? Would it invalidate all the other data collected? Of course not.

    This shows that those fighting the science are not seriously trying to show…

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  37. Jim Salinger

    Honorary Research Associate in Climate Science, School of Environment at University of Auckland

    It always fascinates me that the marine record is totally ignored in these discussions! I did a paper with Chris Folland (Hadley Centre, UK Met Office) titled "Trends and Variations in South Pacific Island and Ocean Surface Temperatures", J Climate Vol 16 2003 2859 - 2872 which tracks temperatures from 1870 - 1998. As well as 'island surface temperature' we used optimally interpolated sea surface and night marine air temperature data. We conclude "The results also extend previous work showing that annual and seasonal surface ocean and island air temperatures have generally increased by 0.68–1.08C since near 1910 throughout a large part of the South Pacific southwest of the South Pacific Convergence Zone." For the New Zealand region SSTs increase by 0.6 C, night marine air temperature by 0.6 C. These are totally two independent data sets to the land surface temperatures. In short, the surface oceans warm as does the surface land in the New Zealand region - nut a surprising result.

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    1. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Jim Salinger

      Great work.

      And proof that even if the NZ land measurements had been found to be improper, that there is other evidence that this part of the world has warmed and thus climate change is a real threat.

      And I bet that there is other independently gathered evidence from other techniques (tree rings, recent ice cores, etc) that also proves that NZ has warmed.

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    2. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Jim Salinger

      Fantastic work but this sort of stuff ideally needs to be out in the mainstream media to counteract the misinformation brigade.

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  38. Tom Fisher

    Editor and Proofreader

    I have to say, at severe risk of being roundly abused by the usual gathered peanuts; most of them entirely unsalted, that I yet disagree with the thrust of this argument. Scientists are no more above reproach than anyone else; no more or less free of challenge than anyone else. It's how our society works.

    That was the crux of the objection, yet whenever anyone demands that they not only maintain the highest standards they must also explain anomalies, suddenly people are labelled deniers and subject…

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    1. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Tom Fisher

      Okay so the science already goes through peer review, the idea that this science is unchecked personal opinion is insane on it's face and demonstrates a lack of understanding of the scientific method

      This is just a giant strawman, do you think there is a reason NASA, NOAA, MIT, CERN etc are all in agreement about the basics of climate science

      There is also public confusion surronding the theory of evolution - it doesn't therefor follow that we should spend hundreds of thousands of dollars investigating this topic when it has already gone through peer review

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    2. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Tom Fisher

      There is a huge difference between the climate change deniers and those wanting to learn more.

      The scientific world has done an an excellent job of giving big picture views at a level that the average person can easily understand.

      And pretty much every major report - IPCC, Gaurnat, Stern, etc has an easy to read introduction.

      Tom is trying to sound like an average person who has come into this debate without having followed climate change much. But such a person would never write such a…

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    3. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Tom Fisher

      Tom, "It needs to be explained fully in a prompt and timely manner, not years after the fact and in the event through complex and expensive litigation". Exactly what information was being suppressed and was only brought out through the legal proceedings? Are you saying the information was deliberately hidden, for some nefarious reason, or was it just too boring to be published on the front page of the Daily Rubbish, or whatever newspaper you prefer?
      I'm sure CERN would love newspapers to publish accounts (accurate, of course) of their research, but, no, the papers only published the astounding news that the Higgs boson has been found, whatever a Higgs boson is and wherever it had been misplaced.

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    4. Matthew Thredgold

      Software Engineer/Secondary Teacher

      In reply to Tom Fisher

      A law court with vexacious ideologically motivated litigants is a witchhunt, not a valid of process of review. It adds nothing of value and is a waste of time and money. Science has its own review process. It's own way of dealing with fraud and errors. Trial by idiot, is not worth a dime.

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    5. John Sayers

      Designer

      In reply to Tom Fisher

      I agree Tom. May I add that NIWA is a government institution and ALL government institutions must be accountable to the taxpayers who fund them and typically government departments have specific groups within their department to handle this kind of situation.

      Posters here keep claiming this is all peer reviewed - its not. In 1996 the BoM via Torok and Nicholls adjusted the 224 stations that comprised our temperature record, and later via Della-Marta in 2004 and most recently in 2011 the BoM reduced…

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    6. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to John Sayers

      John, What is your big picture view about all this?

      Do you disagree with the consensus science that climate change is a major threat and thus preventative action should be urgently taken?

      If not, you need to provide a much better reason than just questioning the data from BoM. You also need to say how and why almost all the scientists, in every country, for decades have got it so wrong.

      Discussing details about Observatory Hill proves nothing.

      And I have NEVER seen on The Conversation a posting like yours convince someone who posts here regularly in support of the science to change their minds. So another very interesting question is why are you posting here?

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    7. John Sayers

      Designer

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Consensus science you say, "I believe the earth is flat, all the scientists believe the earth is flat, even the Pope believes the earth is flat, therefore the earth must be flat.

      This is an article about a group of scientists, yes the climate coalition is made up of scientists, questioning the temperature data base used by the NIWA that they claim was scrutinized by the BoM. Therefore I suggest my post pointing out the BoM's lack of clarity in their climate data adjustments is entirely relevant, in fact it's more relevant than your post questioning my post.

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    8. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to John Sayers

      John, "the climate coalition is made up of scientists". Climate coalition - what's that? Who are they? What are their relevant qualifications? What exactly are they questioning?

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    9. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to John Sayers

      John, there's scientists and Scientists. Have a squizz at the sort of scientists attached to these denialist "think-tanks" ... geologists, chemists, engineers .. but not one boasts any background or training in climate... not a single one. No publications in the field in the lit... now if these blokes (pretty much all blokes) had some serious science to throw about they'd be getting their stuff into the literature and having a serious debate about methods, data or the like. But they don't. That's…

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    10. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to John Sayers

      John, you pass another troll test. You have failed to answer my questions.

      So once again I ask:

      What is your big picture view about all this?

      Do you disagree with the consensus science that climate change is a major threat and thus preventative action should be urgently taken?

      If not, you need to provide a much better reason than just questioning the data from BoM. You also need to say how and why almost all the scientists, in every country, for decades have got it so wrong.

      And by consensus I mean well over 90%.

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    11. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to John Sayers

      From wikipedia (not always exactly right, but a good start):

      The ICSC self-identifies as "a non-partisan group of independent scientists"[5] However it has been described as "less to do with science than with public relations".[6] Geochemist and National Science Board member James Lawrence Powell [7] contrasts the mission and principles of the ICSC with those of the American Geophysical Union. In Powell's opinion, the ICSC is a "denier organization" that "know[s] the answers and seek[s] only confirmation that they are right. One group of minds is open; the other closed".[8]

      Perhaps John Sayers should do some research on the IPCC for comparision.

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    12. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to John Sayers

      John, I understood the article - did you understand my questions? They have been eloquently answered by Michael Wilbur-Ham:
      What is it? A denier think tank.
      Who are they? AGW deniers.
      What are their relevant qualifications? Less to do with science than with public relations.
      What exactly are they questioning? Anything threatening their anti-science ideology.
      See - not a hard quiz, was it?

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    13. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Yes, Peter, a totally reliable collection of multiply-gifted polymaths, with a depth of understanding of climate science unrivalled even by the sum of all contributors to the IPCC. You really shouldn't mock. Not.

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    14. John Sayers

      Designer

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      ah - as expected, the usual predictable ad homs from the team on this site :)

      Exactly what is a climate scientist? Nils Morner has studied sea level rise for over 30 years and has written over 500 papers on the subject - he's surely more qualified in that aspect of climatology than a computer scientist/mathematician such as James Hansen, reputed to be the father of climate science.

      You say there are no scientists yet when I point you to a list of them you write them all off because they disagree…

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    15. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to John Sayers

      Not ad homs John - just pointing out that the ione characteristic that links these fellas on the self-styled "Climate Science Coalition: is the utter lack of any form, expertise or training in the subject, Now oil exploration ... that's another matter entirely.

      Tim Flannery doesn't pretend to be a climate scientist John - he was appointed to explain other folks' science to the community and policy makers. He doesn't do science he translates it.

      These fellas on the other hand do indeed pretend to be "climate scientists" - expert enough to attack those who are in fact qualified and work in the field, expert enough to accuse the BoM of a conspiracy and of distorting data and evidence. Yet they do not publish, they do not engage with the science at all... they simply attack it from without ... without any basis in fact or science.

      And yet people shoose to believe them ... accept their claims of expertise ... but for whatever reason eludes me, Why so you John?

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    16. John Sayers

      Designer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I'm sorry Peter but some of them continue to produce science papers - you really should keep up and leave your obvious contempt for anyone who disagrees with you at the door - that's not how science is done.

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    17. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to John Sayers

      So John, what is the big picture?

      Why and how have so many scientist in every country for decades got it so wrong?

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    18. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to John Sayers

      John, "some of them continue to produce science papers". Which ones? How many? Do their papers get published in respected, peer-reviewed science journals? Are their papers on topics relevant to AGW? You're telling the story, so should be able to answer such a simple quiz with your eyes closed.

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    19. John Sayers

      Designer

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      I have no idea Michael. The Big Picture as you call it is that the science is NOT settled and scientists from all aspects and disciplines are free to contribute to it otherwise we end up as we are, that it's a closed shop and anyone who disagrees with the so called "consensus" is ostracized.

      Have any of you actually researched where the figure of 97% actually came from? I thought not.

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    20. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I would add one additional crucial item. Not one of them has ever produced a report, either peer reviewed or not, on any original work done in climate science by them. All of ther contributions are either analyses or commentaries based on other peopls original work or reviews of reports written by others.
      Now, in the real world I live in this sort of analysis/commentary/review is done by people who have done original work of a certain standard in the field,

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    21. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to John Sayers

      John ...
      "Science papers" on what and where?

      Science papers - as opposed to sciencey papers - get published in the scientific literature relevant to the subject - where they are processed through informed peer review.

      I would be astounded if any - ANY - of those charlatans attached to the Australian Climate Science Coalition have ever had a single paper published in any peer reviewed climate science journal. Do let me know if I'm wrong ... please include the name of the article and the publication so I can have a look.

      This is actually how Science gets done John - not through blogs and campaigning denial websites hell-bent on attacking the science and the scientists doing the real work.

      Like I said - point me to these "science papers".

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    22. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to John Sayers

      John, sorry, but in any reasonable debate your answer is just not good enough.

      The IPCC reports are an accurate description of the consensus science. If you want to claim otherwise you need to put up not only why it is wrong, but how so many scientist got it so wrong.

      And yes, those who take part in these discussion do know where the figures for consensus come from. Stop pretending that you are saying anything new.

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    23. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to John Sayers

      @John Sayers says "Have any of you actually researched where the figure of 97% actually came from? I thought not."

      Actually it comes from here. Obviously you do not read much science if you missed it.

      "A University of Queensland researcher’s work has been ranked 11th in a listing of the world’s top 100 most talked about academic papers of 2013.
      Global Change Institute researcher John Cook’s paper on the scientific consensus on climate change was edged out of Altmetric’s top 10 by a paper on sudoku.:"
      The paper has been downloaded more than 124,000 times, more than any paper published by the Institute of Physics, a group that publishes more than 70 peer-reviewed journals."
      http://www.uq.edu.au/news/node/112877

      And referenced by NASA
      http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus

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    24. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to John Sayers

      Ah yes Dr Donna ... outstanding.

      I had a look at the Journal of Coastal Research that you provided ... now look John just because an article mentions the holocene doesn't mean it turns climate science upside down. And even then I cannot see any of the purported "climate experts" from the Climate Science Coalition" on the list ... is this what you think constitutes their continuing "science papers"? Seriously?

      You don't design anything potentially life threatening do you ... bridges or the like... maybe chairs?

      Please John you're just being silly.

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    25. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to John Sayers

      Once again John I ask you for the big picture. How and why have so many scientists got it wrong.

      Given your track record I'll not waste time looking up Laframboise.

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    26. John Sayers

      Designer

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Try typing "john cook, 97% consensus debunked" into google.

      John Cook's climate credentials is a Bsc.

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    27. John Sayers

      Designer

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      well that just shows how blinkered you are - Donna did comprehensive research on the references quoted by the IPCC - she found 30% weren't peer reviewed, many were articles written by Greenpeace and WWF. Some of the authors didn't even have a PhD and one didn't even have a masters.

      So much for the credibility of the IPCC.

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    28. John Sayers

      Designer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      You asked me for papers published by the scientists on the Climate Science Coalition, I directed you to a 2013 paper where an author was Nils-Axel Mörner, who is on the list.

      I'm sorry - I can't be responsible for your lack of comprehension.

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    29. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to John Sayers

      John,

      What is it about the Australian Climate Science Coalition that you don't comprehend... these are the charlatans I'm talking about... these are the charlatans you claimed were still publishing "science papers".

      Now this Nil;s chap is probably a very nice bloke ... I wouldn't know he's a Swede ... a paleogeophysicist... you can find out about him here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nils-Axel_M%C3%B6rner Incidentally you'll notice that his booklet rejecting sea level rises as a problem…

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    30. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to John Sayers

      "Farmer Peter: here's one"

      by Nils-Axel "tilt-the-graph" Morner.

      Say no more.

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    31. John Sayers

      Designer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      here you go at random.

      http://www.unis.no/35_staff/staff_webpages/geology/ole_humlum/olepersonal.htm

      Ole Humlum as well as his teaching and academic duties also runs the wonderful website Climate4you where he lists all the climate data which updates continually from the original source. He probably knows more about climate science data than anyone else.

      He has 581 results in Google Scholar and 18 returns since the start of 2013.

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    32. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Now that stumped me for a bit Chris . but I tracked it down eventually ... here: http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/Articles_2011/Winter-2010/Morner.pdf

      Now for those of you who might not know 21st century science and technology isn't exactly a peer reviewed bit of science - it is in fact published by Lyndon La Rouche ... ooooh dear we're wandering into the deep end of the swamp here folks: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/21st_Century_Science_and_Technology

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    33. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to John Sayers

      John, that's really interesting. I know about how the NZ warmists tinkered with their records and then " lost" the methodology, or just made it up, as in the station changes around Wellington. I didn't realise that the metadata from OH was available. I thought the BOM keep that under a tight lock.

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    34. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Could be the same reason that so many medical scientists got stomach ulcers wrong for so long. They were following the peer reviews and the money. Could be tulip mania syndrome. Who knows? Who cares? The models. Are wrong. Time to start again.

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    35. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to John Sayers

      Too much random John ... he's a Norwegian geographer ... again probably a lovely chap but still nothing whatsoever to do with the Australian Climate Science Coalition - none of whom have ever had a paper published in the literature on climate.

      I'll give you one more shot at answering with your claimed streams of science papers" published by these fraudsters. But please no one from Denmark or Ghana ... someone from the expert panel of the local chapel of the Climate Science Coalition - just one, anywhere, any time.

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    36. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      "stomach ulcers"

      And the Nobel prize winning paper showing the real cause of global warming (not AGW) is going to be published any day now, any day.

      You'll see.

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    37. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      No No No Chris ... there is NO Warming!!! there are no ulcers. There can be no cause. Well no cause beyond the lies and plotting of the Bureau of Meteorology and its weatherman henchmen.

      That's the whole point here you realise. These folks - the guests we have with us today - are convinced that CO2 is not doing a thing, that there is NO WARMING - not that we've got the wrong explanation.

      Of course there are other denialists who adopt a different approach - that it's the sun, or even better we get the one's who say it's been hotter before but for this lot no the whole thing is a LIE.

      It's just that they can't say why it's happening. Or won't. Because it sounds mad when they say it. Because it is.

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    38. John Sayers

      Designer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, I've never mentioned the Australian Climate Science Coalition - I've always referred to the International Climate Science Coalition so don't try to shift the goalposts.

      Ole Humlum is on the ICSC science advisory board.

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    39. John Sayers

      Designer

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      They do keep it locked up Mark. I just happened to come across one of their ftp folders that had it stored. The fact that it's locked up should ring alarm bells as taxpayer funded organisation's data and methodology should be freely available to all.

      When they were approached under an FOI to reveal their methodology for the High Quality Data set they refused to release it saying they don't use it anymore as they use the new ACORN data set therefore it wasn't necessary but that example I gave you for Observatory Hill is typical of the adjustments made throughout the data base.

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    40. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to John Sayers

      And he has views on the Australian Bureau of Meteorology's methodology. I am and have alkways been discussing the local charlatans of the Australian Climate Science Coalition John ... so were you initially.

      So here's the statment to which you would object: The "experts" on the Australian Climate Science Coalition have never, ever not once published a single paper in the scientific literature that has been subjected to peer review. Rather they pitch their message through the Marohasys and Novas and Alan Jones which is apparently how you believe "science is done".

      In short they play to an audience of the ignorant, the hopeful, the wishful thinkers who seek reassurance and the promise that all this dreadful warming business is just a plot.

      Now try and find me a single paper from any of our local "experts". Or is it perhaps they are less expert than you'd like to believe.

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    41. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Tom Fisher

      I'm sorry Tim, I missed the bit where you justified defaulting on debts to the taxpayer even if you had some justification for dishonesty. Could you just point out the sentence or two where you did that?

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    42. John Sayers

      Designer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Now hold on there Peter - you said:

      "Tim Flannery doesn't pretend to be a climate scientist John - he was appointed to explain other folks' science to the community and policy makers. He doesn't do science he translates it."

      So do Joanne Nova, and Jennifer Marohasy (who also publishes BTW). Why do you say their readers are ignorant yet somehow Tim Flannery's are not - sheesh - the bad predictions Flannery has made is disturbing but you'll support him but not Jo Nova who ranks the No1 blog in Australia. Joanne spent five years touring Australia with Shell Questacon Science Circus and running the show - she is a professional science communicator.

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    43. John Sayers

      Designer

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      I'm well aware of the initial adjustments made to UHA temperature record, it was new science and Dr John Christy and DR Roy Spencer have always shared their methodology and data and made it available to anyone wishing to examine it, unlike the BoM.

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    44. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to John Sayers

      "I believe the earth is flat, all the scientists believe the earth is flat, even the Pope believes the earth is flat, therefore the earth must be flat."

      Yet another person who appears to believe the myth of the Flat Earth: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_the_Flat_Earth :

      "The myth of the Flat Earth is the modern misconception that the prevailing cosmological view during the Middle Ages saw the Earth as flat, instead of spherical. During the early Middle Ages, virtually all scholars maintained the spherical viewpoint first expressed by the Ancient Greeks. From at least the 14th century, belief in a flat Earth among the educated was almost nonexistent,"

      The denialists seem to have an endless supply of people who believe this myth.

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    45. David Rennie

      IT Contractor

      In reply to Tom Fisher

      Tom,
      How absurd, if climate scientists were in any way fabricating their data the first group to complain would be other scientists. For most societies science is a pretty fixed budget and if one group gets more funding other groups get less.
      If climate science consisted of the dishonest bunch of deceivers that deniers would have us believe, the rest of the science community would let us know quick smart. Instead every major science institution world wide supports the science of climate change .
      Deniers trot out anecdotal evidence that has no credibility. If you hadn't already decided that the climate scientists were wrong,the evidence they provide would seem reasonable and easy to comprehend. Science doesn't have to work in words of one syllable to be right.
      Taking the issue to court, without discussing the evidence with the scientists, is a disgraceful tactic to waste the time and money of the of the scientists.

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    46. John Sayers

      Designer

      In reply to John Sayers

      Seeing as you are so smart Chris find me the adjustments made between these two images of US temperatures from the GISS data base, one on the left from 1998 and the other from 2008.

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    47. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to John Sayers

      If you're referring to me then I'm not claiming to be smart but then you certainly can't either.

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    48. John Sayers

      Designer

      In reply to David Rennie

      "How absurd, if climate scientists were in any way fabricating their data the first group to complain would be other scientists"

      classic David - obviously you never read the climategate emails.

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    49. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to John Sayers

      "I'm well aware of the initial adjustments made to UHA (sic) temperature"

      The adjustments have continued up until 26th June 2013. Obviously you're not as well aware as you think you are or could be if you could be bothered actually reading the information (heaven forbid!).

      "Dr John Christy and DR Roy Spencer have always shared their methodology and data and made it available to anyone wishing to examine it"

      Go tell that to RSS.

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    50. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to John Sayers

      The Climate Gate emails have been addressed many times before and it turns out to be nothing but normal human behaviour, no conspiracy

      If you can demonstrate that someone else is wrong - you get rewarded in science

      it's all based on independent peer review, you can't escape peer review

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    51. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to John Sayers

      And I wonder who appointed Jo and Jen to "explain" the science... trouble is they don't explain the science - they attack it ... they promote the more insane flights of fancy of the sort of folks who reckon the BoM are some sort of secret plan to er well do something really awful for some unknowable reason... yes indeed.

      What Flannery tried to do - badly - was to try and explain the mainstream peer reviewed science - what Jen, Jo and to a much lesser extent yourself do is to attack that science…

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    52. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      " know about how the NZ warmists tinkered with their records and then " lost" the methodology, or just made it up,"

      Did you read the article?

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    53. John Sayers

      Designer

      In reply to Michael Shand

      It's not what the reviews have said - like science, it's about the original data - read them again.

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    54. John Sayers

      Designer

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      RSS shows a more dire temp data the UHA. they show cooling - is that where you want to go?

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    55. John Sayers

      Designer

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      I agree - but I simply asked you to show me the data adjustments in my graphic. Not brain surgery to knowall like you.

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    56. John Sayers

      Designer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Jees - Joe and Jennifer appointed themselves to attack the science because some one should!
      You boofheads that follow the line are really boring. why don't you get out and investigate the world and get a life?

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    57. John Sayers

      Designer

      In reply to John Sayers

      Com'n, I've kept you luddites amused for 54 posts - time you grew up and realized this assault on science is dangerous to our society and our precious science.

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    58. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to John Sayers

      So you're denying that Melbourne's dams have not refilled.

      No wonder you're in denial of reality.

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    59. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to John Sayers

      "RSS shows a more dire temp data the UHA (sic)."

      So you lost the arguments about adjustments to UAH and about Spencer freely sharing his data and methodology and you're attempting to hide those losses by moving the goalposts to something else: https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/special-pleading :

      "Humans are funny creatures and have a foolish aversion to being wrong. Rather than appreciate the benefits of being able to change one's mind through better understanding, many will invent ways to cling to old beliefs. One of the most common ways that people do this is to post-rationalize a reason why what they thought to be true must remain to be true."

      You are a very funny creature John.

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    60. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to John Sayers

      "my graphic"

      I haven't the slightest interest in viewing spam. And that doesn't take being a knowall like you.

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    61. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to John Sayers

      The above marked as personal abuse. If the moderators have any consistency at all then they will delete it.

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    62. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      Rubbish Mark, there were always people in the field who were working on alternative hypotheses about stomach ulcers and eventually the explanation was found.

      There are always climate scientists working on finding alternative hypotheses about climate change but they are not finding anything that challenges the existing consensus.

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    63. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to John Sayers

      Jim why do you put such a lot of faith in certain people rather than the facts that the many accept. Do you see these people as smarter than scientists? And you base this judgement on your vast experience of scientists and how they go about their work?

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    64. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to John Sayers

      I totally disagree with that John, you do need as much knowledge about psychology as you can get. Some self-insight would do you a world of good.

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    65. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to John Sayers

      In a proper scientific post the source of the data and its provenance (to borrow a term from the arts) are always identified. This keeps the combatants honest. There is no sign of this in your post.

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    66. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to John Sayers

      Your lying John, no charges have been bought, investigation has been concluded, no fraud, no inaappropriate fiddling of data you are just lying

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  39. Jim Salinger

    Honorary Research Associate in Climate Science, School of Environment at University of Auckland

    And more corroborative evidence I need to add is the New Zealand glacier story. The key points are:

    Temperatures more important than precipitation for ice loss;
    * Ice mass growth occurs with lower temperature, southwest flow & troughs (-ve SOI);
    * Ice mass loss occurs with higher temperatures, reduced southwest flow & blocking especially to the east (+ve SOI);
    * There has been a 30% reduction in Southern Alps ice volume over the 36 years 1976 - 2012;
    * Most long-term change due to ongoing warming coupled with changes in storminess.
    * Compared with 1890, the New Zealand Southern Alps only have 20% of the permanent snow and ice volume now

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    1. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Jim Salinger

      Hi Jim, might as well take this oppertunity to say Kudos on the book as well, waiting for my copy in the mail

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  40. andy good

    business manager and consultant

    Anyone looking in on this forum would be amazed, not so much at the content, which lets face it is all out there anyway. This has not changed the consensus against the denialists. The real issue is the tone of the contributors! So many people, so angry and so many passionate about their work feeling utterly disrespected either by trolls, pedants or others with an ideological agenda.

    In this sense it has been a success. As such it has offered mild therapy but I wonder how much communication is occurring and how much shouting across the fence again. Really quite neighbourly.

    Wearily, I am turning this one off.Thankyou.

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    1. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to andy good

      Sometimes in the darkness heat can bring light - that is, just because a discussion is heated, it does not therefor follow that it is unconstructive or not worth while

      I think you might be in danger of false equivilancy here

      also, I have heard this call for politeness before - we are not lacking in manners in this world - that's not the issue threatening our species

      not engaging with others who disagree also benefits no one, I personally try my best to stay as polite as possible as I see…

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  41. John McKeon
    John McKeon is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Teacher (of English; to Refugees)

    My profound thanks to Jim Salinger for his work and for this article of good news. Although it is indeed good news, it is about a nasty contrivance, a real conspiracy against the public interest, of the kind examined by Naomi Oreskes & Erik Conway in 'Merchants of Doubt'. Not only is it of the same kind but some of the same actors would seem to have been at 'work' in NZ as in the USA.

    The activities of the trolls and the counter responses of the commentators of good will are fascinating and exhausting to read. My thanks also to 'The Conversation' for providing this excellent forum.

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  42. John Mashey

    logged in via Twitter

    I love the "We don't know everything so we know nothing, so wait" arguments, pioneered (for climate anti-science) ~1990 by Seitz, Jastrow and Nierenberg, 3 of the 4 main characters in Oreskes & Conway's "Merchants of Doubt".

    Science is about recognizing, quantifying and reducing uncertainty, and sometimes effective public policy decisions(like many business decisions) need to be made in the absence of perfect information, using real data, and the best estimates of the most expert ... who are generally…

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  43. trevor prowse

    retired farmer

    My response to this article is the assumption that the BOM act to tell us what the weather will likely be in the next 7 days and record that data ,but have in the last few years have become advocates in roles that have changed their charter .My experience has been that thy refused to plot their own data over a 20 year period ,because the data showed no increase in the air temperatures recorded at their tidal stations around Australia. In most of their reports, they do not mention their own data that shows on average over 100 years that rainfall has a slightly increasing trend. I think that the BOM should not have the responsibility of being held responsible for the policies that dictate climate action. If they were relieved of those responsibilities , they may have been less reluctant to report the air temperature trends in Australian tidal stations.

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    1. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to trevor prowse

      What a load of nonsense. Surely the BoM should be researching weather and future climate. They have never been held responsible for any policies about climate action - but surely they should have the responsibility of telling us what has happened and what is likely to happen.

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  44. Liz Minchin

    Queensland Editor at The Conversation

    Dear all - we can't moderate around the clock, so if too many people simply want to shout at each other (rather than actually discuss the article) then we will have to close the comments.

    There have been a lot of abuse notifications about this article, from all "sides". So I'd remind everyone *again* that it is possible to make your point strongly, without calling each other names.

    To those who can't help but slip in a dig or term of abuse - please, stop it. You're wasting our moderator's time…

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    1. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Liz Minchin

      Thanks Liz for deleting my post saying why I thought Jim was a troll.

      Clearly you believe that he is a genuine poster and that his posts are more valuable than my attempts to show people why he is wasting everyone's time.

      And why the thanks - because if the trolling is welcome then I'm wasting my time here, so now I'll go and do something else.

      Bye all for now - and as Douglas Adams said, thanks for the fish.

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    2. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Liz Minchin

      "if too many people simply want to shout at each other (rather than actually discuss the article)"

      I'm surprised you allowed comments in the first place because this article is prime (climate-science-denying) troll bait.

      It would have been better to not have allowed comments in the first place.

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    3. Ian Alexander

      Reader

      In reply to Liz Minchin

      When you see an idiotic comment from a climate denier, it is fair to call that person an idiot. When you can see an outright lie from a climate denier, it is fair to call that person a liar. If you don't like the fact that people respond badly to denier trolls then don't post the trolls comments. Look at the reddit science forum for guidance:

      http://grist.org/climate-energy/reddits-science-forum-banned-climate-deniers-why-dont-all-newspapers-do-the-same/

      As The Conversation editors, it is time you guys 'grew a pair'. You know these pathetic old deniers are just here to spoil the thread yet you let them continue. You know the crap they peddle is lies and misinformation but you keep posting it. Are extra hits and posts that important to you?

      False balance is no balance.

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    4. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Liz Minchin

      The fundamental issue here Liz is that The Conversation does not live up to its charter in the way comments are moderated.

      You charter says
      "Give experts a greater voice in shaping scientific, cultural and intellectual agendas by providing a trusted platform that values and promotes new thinking and evidence-based research."

      It should say
      "Give climate cranks and conspiracy theorists a greater voice in abusing experts by providing a platform that allows them to post evidence free rants and…

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  45. Comment removed by moderator.

  46. Rick Sullivan

    Vast and Various

    People, people, people. Do yourselves a favour. Before you bother to read or comment on any of "Greg North's" posts, go back over his previous posts and get a bit of a profile on him - if it is a him. You'll notice he'll back anything the current bunch of clowns in the federal government say. Don't waste your time. Discuss the issues with people who'll give you a real conversation. Cheers.

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  47. Ray Butler

    logged in via Facebook

    Since the world is full of amateur scientists who deny climate change, I'd like to offer my amateur psychology expertise to dissect them.

    There are 3 possibilities to the behaviour of deniers;

    1) They are idiots. This may be true for a lot of them, but there are a number who present their arguments in a rather educated, albeit mis-informative, manner, so that takes me to...

    2) They are being paid by people who have Capital interests in the industries that will primarily be effected by action…

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    1. In reply to Ray Butler

      Comment removed by moderator.

  48. Comment removed by moderator.

  49. John Nicol

    logged in via email @bigpond.com

    This is an interesting story.

    One of the things I find most puzzling when weather recording stations are moved from one environment to another, is that the original station is not, at least as reported, to have been maintained. This would allow useful comparisons to be made in real time without the need for significant estimation of what the changes might mean in the situation described here, where the temperature rose by 0.91 C. Did it rise by that same amount at the original site. I guess…

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