Fury over 'unethical' warming website

By Angela Gregory

New Zealand climate scientists are upset their names have been used by an American organisation wanting to challenge the increasingly accepted view that climate change is human induced.

Among the five scientists is Niwa principal scientist Dr Jim Salinger, who said he was annoyed the Heartland Institute was trying to use his research to prove a theory he did not personally support.

The institute describes itself as a non-profit research and education organisation not affiliated with any political party, business or foundation.

Dr Salinger said he was never contacted about his work which was being mis-used to undermine support for the idea that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities, largely fossil fuel burning, was warming the globe.

"I object to the implication that my research supports their position ... they didn't check with me."

He said that he and the other New Zealand scientists all felt their work had been misinterpreted.

"We say global warming is real."

Along with Dr Salinger they were Associate Professor Chris Hendy (University of Waikato), Dr Matt McGlone (Science Team Leader, Landcare Research), Dr Neville Moar (retired DSIR) and Dr Peter Wardle (retired DSIR, FRSNZ).

The Heartland Institute named them in a paper it published on its website in a list of 500 scientists whose published research it was argued undermined the theory that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities was a cause of global warming.

But Dr Salinger said the scientists fully endorsed the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as to global warming and its causes.

Dr Salinger said while supporting the idea that climates had fluctuated in the past and had at times been warmer than now, that did not in any way weaken the conclusions reached by the IPCC about recent changes.

"This group of scientists is actively involved in programmes on climate change research leading to greater definition of the impacts on New Zealand, so that measures can be taken to adapt to the risks of climate change."

His own research had shown that temperatures in the seas around New Zealand and the south Pacific had risen in the 20th century, and glaciers had lost mass, both evidence of climatic warming.

Dr Salinger said other eminent scientists around the world, also included in the list of 500, had publicly distanced themselves from the Heartland statement.

Greenpeace said it was a sign of how desperate climate sceptics were that they had used the names of eminent New Zealand scientists to falsely back their cause.

Simon Boxer, Greenpeace climate campaigner, said the Heartland Institute was a US-based neo-conservative think-tank which had emerged over the past year as the ringleader of global warming denial, and was partly funded by Exxon Mobil.

Mr Boxer said the incident came just as a New Zealand sceptic Owen McShane, linked to the Heartland Institute, yesterday put his case to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee on the Government's emissions trading scheme.

"If this latest incident is any indication of the veracity of sceptics' case, let's hope the select committee paid no heed to his submission."

Heartland paid for Mr McShane to attend a conference in New York and also helped him and a fellow member of the NZ Climate Science Coalition, Bryan Leyland, to travel to the recent UN climate conference in Bali.

Mr McShane confirmed to the Herald he had his airfares to New York paid for by Heartland.

But he said he was often provided with such assistance to attend conferences all over the world.

WHAT THEY SAID
How some international scientists reacted to the claims that they were sceptical about global warming:
* "I am horrified to find my name on such a list. I have spent the last 20 years arguing the opposite." - Dr David Sugden, Professor of Geography, University of Edinburgh
* "I have no doubts ... the recent changes in global climate are man-induced. I insist that you immediately remove my name from this list since I did not give you permission to put it there." - Dr Gregory Cutter, Professor, Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Old Dominion University.
* "Please remove my name. What you have done is totally unethical!!" - Dr Svante Bjorck, Geo Biosphere Science Centre, Lund University.

- NZ Herald

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