The following letter appeared in the New Zealand magazine “North and South” from a Christchurch geologist Dr Gerrit van den Lingen
A scientist wonders
In your September issue Pete Hodgson wrote about “The Kyoto Question”: “The scientific argument is over and the world, with the Kyoto Protocol as a starting point, is beginning to act”.
One wonders where Hodgson got his scientific advice. The scientific argument is far from over.
I am a geologist and paleoclimatologist belonging to an international discussion group where about 250 well-qualified scientists discuss the science behind Kyoto in great depth. Most of these scientists are highly critical of the politicisation of the climate change discussion, as highlighted by the actions of the UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The debate is not whether there has been some warming since the end of the Little Ice Age, but whether this warming is part of a natural cycle or caused by man-made greenhouse gases. The scientific case for man-made global warming has not been made, whatever the hype. In recent times several scientific audits have been carried out on some of the most important pillars of the IPCC hypothesis, the most important being the so-called “hockey stick” graph.
This graph is supposed to show that the last decade of last century was the warmest in over a thousand years and that 1998 was the warmest year. The audit revealed that faulty statistical methods had been used and that such methods would always produce a hockey stick shape, even when using random data.
For Pete Hodgson to say that the world is ready to act on (imagined) man-made global warming and that the Kyoto Protocol is a starting point, is nothing but wishful thinking. At the UN climate change conference in Buenos Aires last December it became abundantly clear that an agreement for a new protocol after the present one (which ends in 2012) is highly unlikely. Major greenhouse-gas-producing developing countries like China and India, who are now exempt from Kyoto, made it clear they would have no bar of joining future protocols.
After the recent debacle with carbon credit accounting, which will cost New Zealand taxpayers dearly, I can only hope that the new government will revisit the carbon tax and Kyoto. Politicians should be aware that according to article 27 of the Kyoto Protocol, New Zealand can resign from the protocol three years after it came into effect. That will be in February 2008, still in the present government period. Let’s hope that the new coalition partners will see to it that this will happen.