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Your Views: Garth vs Brian: Are those predictions about climate change true?

Is New Zealand going to face major problems because of climate change?
Or are the predictions over-exaggerated?

Columnist Garth George says" If you believe all the garbage you've been reading, seeing and hearing lately about global warming, then you probably still believe the Earth is flat." Brian Rudman has countered and says: "What gets me about the climate change debate is the zealotry of the deniers."

This lively and at times heated forum debate has now closed. Here is a selection of your views on the topic.

Dom D
Can anyone come up with a good device that will fit a cow's arse, that could collect the methane emissions? This could then be converted for fuel - warming the house and fuelling the 4x4. Simple.

Chris
Garth George has it right in one. All around the world,by far and away the loudest yapping about man being responsible for climate change hails from the professional leftists.Why? Well,yet another way to attack the filthy capitalists,control industry and further the Marxist dream to control the lives of the population at large. We had global freezing in the 70's,the year 2000 was to have a computer bug causing the whole world to grind to a halt,now we have to go through this,the latest flight of pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo that is apparently based on a computer model that can't even accurately predict tomorrow's weather.

Good on you Garth,although you will now have to brave the usual leftist abuse for having rumbled all of this nonsense,terms such as being a "Global Warming Denier" being particularly popular at the moment amongst the usual suspects given to such name calling etc.

Owen McShane
Sadly, Brian Rudman fails to make the distinction between air pollutants such as particulates and sulphides and carbon dioxide which is benign gas and indeed is essential to life on the surface of the earth. As Prof Bellamy says "Carbon Dioxide is life's best friend". We are all built of carbon and that carbon comes from carbon dioxide. The plants absorb the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and we eat the plants or we eat animals which have eaten the plants. It is not toxic. Anymore than water is toxic - unless you decide to drown in it. So cleaning up air polution is guite a different and separate issue from reducing greenhouse gas emmissions. Both Brian and Garth are confused about their fireplace. Carbon from coal does contribute to "excess" leves of CO2 because it contains carbon trapped many millions of years ago. Wood is current cycle carbon and makes no difference but it can pollute of poorly combusted.

Thomas
Coming from an engineering background, I believe in cause and effect, and the vastly increased human activities, car emissions, burning hydrocarbons, etc will have some sort of impact on the environment today. Say you are inside an igloo and say you have a pound of coal and you burn it, it will definitely have an impact on your environment (ie igloo melts). Coming back to the real world, your ice caps melts, and sea level rises. That is undeniable. If you heap up more coal, fire burns more and your environment becomes warmer, and ok, you lose more land area cos of the ice melting. That's the more likely effect of human activity. But I won't go as far as to link it to a change in climate because the weather is so unpredictable and no one can predict it with a great deal of certainty.

Sean McGrath
"The lunar landings were faked." "The CIA demolished the WTC with a controlled implosion." "JFK was shot by a gunman on the grassy knoll." "The Holocaust didn't happen." "Anthropogenic global warming doesn't exist, and is a global conspiracy by scientists to attract funding through faked data." I wonder what other conspiracy theories Garth subscribes to? In typical conspiracy-theorist fashion he failed to disclose the source of his revelations. My guess is he watched Martin Durkin's 'documentary' "The Great Global Warming Swindle" and swallowed it hook, line and sinker. At any rate, Garth didn't have the intellectual capability and appropriate level of cynicism necessary to resist the bunkum he absorbed. A word of advice Garth:- When you hear a conspiracy theory, read the rebuttal before you rant at the public. You've just made a fool of yourself.

Michael T. ONeill
I have no problem accepting that the climate is changing: I do have a problem accepting that mankind is largely responsible. I have no problem accepting that pollution is increasing - but here I have no problem in accepting mankind is largely responsible. We need to accept that the climate does change, cyclically and naturally! (By the way, aren't there people telling us about mankind causing the "doom & gloom" the same lot who cannot even predict the weather?)!

Andrew Atkin
What has surprised me on this Your Views is the contempt and even hatred expressed towards Garth George. At the end of the day, regardless of whether Garth is right or wrong (and I think he's right, for the record) he has only expressed his objective opinion. So where do these people get off? You can see why eco-warriors often get called watermelons - green on the outside but red in the middle.

Colin England
Garth George, as he continually proves, is a complete idiot with his head stuck in the sand. A couple of scientists don't agree with the IPCC and that means, irrefutably, that the other 2500 are wrong?

Rewi Kemp
This is the 4th world report. In all three of the previous reports we were given a minimum expected temperature rise -(pushed by Governments and Industry),the average expected rise, and the highest expected rise (supported by Global warming experts). Every one of the previous three times the actual measured result has been the maximum rise. Wake up! It's going to be the maximum or worse this time! Why? Because they have refused to acknowledge the enormous loss of sea ice. This will accelerate the heating but the Augies of the world pretend this is natural. The problem is the vested, moneyed selfish political and industrial interests that will do anything to prevent or dodge the essential changes that must be made by all.

Ben Picard
CO2 is soluble in water, when the climate cools the Earth's surface, 70 per cent of which is water, will 'inhale' CO2 from the atmosphere, when the climate warms the Earth's surface will 'exhale' CO2 into the atmosphere. Global warming causes CO2 increases in the atmosphere. We are being asked to believe the reverse that CO2 increases cause global warming, and in addition we are ordered discount CO2 contributions by volcanic eruptions.

Kevin O'Brien
Global warming is not to be confused with good housekeeping keeping the neighbourhood clean where we live. Global warming advocates have to explain why we were expected to freeze to death on 1975 forecasts. Then science was subject to the scrutiny of common sense. Now,some have the pride to believe that our puny existence can cause massive climate change. Have they forgotten bacteria and rotting plant life, which produces even more CO2 than volcanoes? If we mattered,how is it that most of the present warming cycle occurred before 1945? A real "inconvenient" fact is that CO2 levels follow temperature To act as if computer predictions of 20 years hence are true is folly that no government has a mandate for. Kyoto should be scrapped.

Mel
Judging from these letters, the public level of understanding about climate change is terrifyingly low. When people can't understand the simple difference between 'climate' (long term averages) and 'weather' (short term change) then it's probably not surprising that they also think global warming is going to turn New Zealand into a balmy tropical paradise and that there's some kind of sinister government and scientific conspiracy to - what, line the pockets of MPs and meterologists?! Isn't it obvious that the loudest voices protesting 'global warming' as a fallacy happen to be earning billions of dollars from high use of fossil fuels, or receive money from those who do? Wake up. Climate change isn't going to mean pleasantly warm winter evenings, it's going to mean more floods, droughts, severe storms, higher winds and other unappealing conditions, and the people who don't want to consider the strong evidence for this are largely a) the ones who stand to lose the most money if we implement controls and taxes, or b) the same kind of layman scientific 'experts' who think Intelligent Design is a proper scientific theory.

Gerald
Climate change is real but do you know how to control millions of people, you divide and conquer, which means you create a problem and let the masses fight over it while you carry on with the real agenda. Its simple and has worked for thousands of years.

Ipipiri
Whats new? Climate chance been happening since time began.

Lee
The theory of man-made Global Warming has all of the authenticity and legitimacy of the Y2K bug.

Geoff
Totally agree with Mr.George. Of course climate changes, but not due to human influences. (the fancy 'anthro' word is used here by socialist politicians and the "scientists" who survive on Government "research" grants and salaries.) Anyone checked out the suns influence lately, or the current output of the worlds volcanoes. Be very afraid of 'sustainability'

NE
Garth George argued that people who believe the extensive scientific research in global warning probably still believe the earth is flat. In fact, on the contrary, those who understand science are the ones who first accepted the earth nor the centre of the universe was not in fact flat, despite the stringent opposition of the church and other similar groups. Similarly, those who understand science know that evolution is an undeniable fact, despite the stringent opposition of many fundamentalist Christians. It's the very same thing with climate science. The science is clear in this matter. It's only those who oppose the science for ideological reasons that refuse to accept it. Some people have argued that because weather prediction remains an unreliable field, climate science must be all bunkum. This just shows how little these people have thought about the issues. There is a big difference between predicting trends, and predicting precisely what the weather is going to be lik e. Similarly some people have argued that because the IPCC is full of uncertainty, we should ignore it. But of course, science always operates on uncertainty. Any scientist who tells you something will definitely happen is the one you should ignore.

Jeff
As someone who has a qualification in geography, I can say that Garth is correct and with what I know about climates worldwide from my studies i cringe when I read these predictions made that the earth is warming up, I say it's just scientists making money and making a name for themselves,believe me what they are saying has no truth whatsoever.

Grant Harding
How can anyone in their right mind believe that human beings are not having a significant negative impact on this planet? Seriously.

James Lomax
Well to be honest its a good thing were actually doing something about pollution, but do I believe in global warming. Come on please people its just as bad as the magic bullet that killed JFK. Climate Change is a far better way to describe the weather at this time. Im not saying that pollution is not having an effect on the environment just thats global warming is just propaganda to get people to do what we already know we should be. In case you havent noticed, weather runs in cycles. Just about everything does. We may have just come out of a cold cycle into a warmer one. We have no idea how hot or cold it was 2-300 years ago let alone thousands. We know there have been ice ages but that is an extreme temperature change climate change is very small change. Were the ice ages caused by humans? I doubt our little camp fires back then would have that much of an effect. Volcanic eruptions have a huge effect on the ozone and its hole (for which we have no idea if its always been there the hole may have been there as long as the earth has existed. We need to stop treating theories as fact . Remember a theory is just brainy persons talk for "a good guess" until it has been proven as fact. But after all is said and done we need to do more to protect the environment we live in we just need to stop the bull.

Stan Coveney
Mr Rudman resorts to a personal attack on the religious views on Mr George that are totally unrelated to his views on the warming hypothesis. Mr Georges Christian belief is also a hypothesis. He has faith, not evidence, that hypothesis is valid. One could equally attack Mr Rudman's political views but they are also unrelated to his belief in the warming hypothesis. His belief is also an act of faith. But I digress. The fear factor is driving the climate change debate. Mr Rudman articulates that fear. Fear is always almost used by the centre left to oppose anything. All this fear is fuelled by the media who need the next story and the headline to retain and increase market share on the day. Politicians respond accordingly with 2 seconds sound bites. Take nuclear power for example. "What about Chernobyl and Three Mile Island?" is the mantra. What about them I ask? 3 Mile Island was a contained accident. Chernobyl was a disaster but now plants, people and other and animals are thriving in and around the dead zone with no ill effects-unlike the poor souls who went in to quell the blaze. Jim Smith of Britain's Centre for Ecology and Hydrology is reported to have said "The misperception of radiation risks has caused serious economic, social and psychological problems for the population," These are known identifiable and measurable effects that can be controlled and managed. The same cannot be said of the hypothetical risks posed by alleged man made global warming.

Glenn Ayo
Face it, Garth George has found a way to make the headlines. By simply flying in the face of logic, denying global warming and playing devils advocate, he gets himself a higher profile, makes more money for guest appearances within self interest commercial groups and laughs all the way to the bank. Not to be taken very seriously at all.

ChrisB
Brian Rudmans ad hominem attack on Garth George is very typical of what happens when somebody dares to display the slightest skepticism towards the global warming dogma. Its all just a bit hysterical frankly. My personal belief is that "environmentalism" has become the hobby horse of all Marxists and anarchists whose beloved socialism was discredited at the beginning of the 90s by the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. They desperately need this idea to be true.

Kate Larsen
Whether or not climate change is happening, what Mr George unfortunately neglects to discuss another related, and extremely important point. In his enthusiasm for his car usage and wood burning fires, he forgets that it is not only carbon that is emitted, but particle polluting emissions. These emissions, soot, are harmful in themselves, whether or not carbon emissions are. They not only smell and frequently colour the air and our skies unattractive colour, but can be the cause of acid rain, asthma, lung cancer, and many other diseases. Let's not let debate about whether climate change is really happening distract from the work still needed to ensure skies are clean from decreased vehicle, home, industrial and other emissions reductions. The alternative is the horrendous skies those of us living in Asia face every day; where we can't even go for a run in the morning as it is hazardous to our health; due not to carbon emissions but all the other noxious gases and particles.

David
I'm with Brian: Garth is just a silly old crank, getting more myopic by the day. His treatment of any side in an argument is a blessing for those he attacks, since he makes himself and his arguments appear ridiculous by his one eyed bombast. The Herald, however, seems to treasure that kind of obnoxious, studied ignorance: surely there are better commentators out there somewhere.

Grant
Brian Rudman's column used the term "believe" with regard to anthropogenic climate change. There is an awful lot of belief in this 'phenomenon' and a great deal of pseudo-science, which sets out to try to prove that belief. What irks me is the dishonesty of those who hold so passionately to the belief in man-made climate change, who so insistently claim that their opinion is based upon science. Ask them to show you the data and they will bluff and bluster. Ask a "climate scientist" to use their models to predict weather for tomorrow or next week, and they will launch into a diatribe on how weather is different from climate yet faithfully believe they can predict the climate in 100 years time. What if we moderate our climate through reduced discharges of CO2 (assuming that is the cause of the warming from 1970 to 1998) and we over compensate and start a global cooling?

Russell
The youngster Garth calls on to cut out his article will be breathing the fumes from his car, airline flights and woodburner. Garth's statements are appallingly selfish. It is no-one's right to consume as much non-renewable resource as you want. It would be a much better world if people like Garth would just show a little consideration for others.

Tim Saunders
I agree with Clair Haringa that God has given us the world to look after. But this provides no support for Garth George. Alas, the still small voice of Our Lord has clearly been drowned out by the throbbing of his V8 engine, and the miasma of his Bush-inspired principles. Methinks I see him standing before the Judgment Seat and being told "Why didn't you listen to the bloody scientists?"

Dom D
When will a respected body advise uneducated NZrs what climate change really means? We have to stop this 'bring it on, I want to sit on the beach with better sun and warmer temperatures' attitudes - because the rest of the world is giggling. Climate change won't mean things will be warmer, it's going to mean extreme weather and the start of the end of the golden period we have enjoyed for decades....wake up.

Barrysoo
Why waste time on reading George Garth views. He is not a known knowledgeable and credible person in this field. He speaks for himself and just a waste of column space. I am just surprised how his views can even appear in the Herald!

Glenn Andersen
Using conditions of the atmosphere far in the past as justification for using it as a trash can today is certainly disingenuous. There have been periods of great volcanic activity, and apocalyptic asteroid impacts. The earth is over 4 billion years old, but there has been enough oxygen in the atmosphere for land animals for less than 1/10th of that time. The inconvenient truth is that within a very short period of recent time, human activities have caused drastic changes in the composition of the atmosphere.

Ben
New Zealanders uneducated and incredulous views astound me yet again. How can any of you say that climate change isn't happening at least the protagonists have done some research and have qualifications in a climate science related field. Climate change is very likely to be occurring and with it comes a wide range of disastrous effects. If enough CO2 goes into the atmosphere that positive feedback mechanisms start to activate, the point at which humanity can mitigate the effects will be gone. An example of this feedback is as the world warms and the icecaps melt the reflective effect of the ice (with reflects solar energy back into space) will be replaced by the absorptive effect of a darker surface such as land or ocean, subsequently leading to more climatic heating. And this is just one of the many effects that may eventuate as our climate warms, others include loss of huge carbon sinks such as the northern hemisphere permafrosts and carbon sequestering marine organisms due to ocean acidification. So change your behaviour today, read a bit and use your car less, become scared as I have, don't wait for the point in which we can do nothing.

Phil Stevens
1-2 degrees difference in the surface temperature of the tropical Pacific causes significant shifts in weather patterns over a large part of the globe. Are all the climate change deniers here ready to bet that an additional 1-2 degrees on top of this won't be trivial? If so I will take your money. Point: People who don't understand non-linear systems should not be so quick to make assumptions about things like climate. And maybe some of the loudest ones ought to shut up for a little while and listen to the scientists who have actually done the research, collected the data, and run the models. The changes are already taking place, and we need to deal with them.

Ian
I'm amazed that anyone is still reading this far down but congratulations to anyone who's stuck with it - obviously some people do care. I think Brian is right but Garth will win the argument. After all, what politician on a 4 or 5-year term is really going to do anything about a problem with a 100 year timescale. On previous posts there have been a lot of mentions of other "hyped" event that failed to meet "doomsday" expectations. The reason that Y2K, acid rain, BSE etc didn't have as big an impact as originally predicted was that a lot of people spent a lot of time & money resolving those problems before they got completely out of hand. What's wrong with doing the same about climate change?

Steve
I reject this statement: Scientists cannot predict the weather for the next week, how can they predict the weather for the next 40 years? From a mathematical perspective it is very difficult to predict short-run random variations, however if one looks at annualized data then trends can be identified. It should also be noted that NZ's variable temporate climate is not representative for the rest of the world. In other regions of the planet short-run weather forecasts are more accurate.

Cam Stewart
I am on of those scientists ,who have been trying to alert the Govt to the economic dangers of Global warming . It has taken 30 years to even get them to listen. Quite a few people in this column think it's all a Govt. conspiracy,well ,that is really worth reading for the laugh. Govt doesnt really want to know,it will cost money to alleviate our greed and Govt doesnt want to pay. Dont fall for US bull they have the biggest vested interest of us all.

Mark Fitzpatrick
I am currently studying environmental science and could write thousands of words proving the existence of human induced Global Warming and the consequences. Unfortunately I only have 250 to work with, so I shall place my non scientific hat on for this response. My big question is "Who has the right to decide what we will do in order to preserve the planet?" I am 27, and I now appeal to all in my generation to look to all those 60 yr olds and above, and say not you! We have inherited this situation from you, therefore we should have the say, and the precautionary approach is the only approach that should be taken. If there is just a small risk, that what we're doing could create the damage that is spoken of, should we not act before it's too late? Or will we continue down this path, and look back after the problems have occurred, and in our 60's sit our grandchildren on our knees and tell them what it was like to be in amongst nature? There is a risk they may never get to find out for themselves. It is the attitude of Mr Garth George, one of selfish, greedy perspectives, of wanting to "keep on driving my 4-litre Falcon, use as much water and electricity as I want" that has put us in this situation. It is time for those people to take a backseat, and understand that their way is no longer the right way.

Phyllis Kalivoda
It is interesting to me as I remember that in school I learned that the only source of heat for our planet "Earth" is something called "The Sun", that big ball in the sky. And that there are only two sources for cooling, clouds and precipitation. Man can neither effect nor cause these things to happen. If we could we could stop tornados and hurricanes. We wouldn't have droughts. However, sun spots and other storms on the sun effects what happens on earth. The distance and angle of the sun is the cause of our seasons. Cycles of warming and cooling have always been a factor on planet earth. CO2 is what makes plants grow. More CO2 might just make the deserts thrive. How can this be bad. I think this whole hoax is designed for the government to have more control over our lives and another ruse to raise our taxes and to force us to change the way we live. In other words "take away our freedoms". They seem to think that if someone famous says it then it must be true. I can't believe how stupid some people can be. They keep proving it every day.

Mike Hutcheson
Water vapour, in the form of clouds is by far the most prevalent greenhouse gas. Clouds form a blanket which help keep the earth's temperature reasonably constant. The giant nuclear fusion reactor called the sun is what heats the planet. Research evidence indicates a reduction in cloud cover due to increased solar wind disturbing the normal pattern of cloud formation thereby allowing more solar radiation to reach earth's surface is the major contributor to climate change. Man-made carbon emissions have precious little to do with it.

Rohan Lowe
I think George is an egocentric idiot. If he had bothered to research his piece he would know that the vast majority of peer-reviewed research supports the hypothesis that climate change is occurring in conjunction with rapid CO2 buildup. Nay-sayers simply haven't published their research, reducing their input to opinion, not science. I guess if George just writes opinion pieces in order to stir up pubic reaction, then he isn't obliged to behave as a journalist. Keep up the blog Garth, you are lucky to be paid for it.

Ross
George & Rudman have certainly stirred some emotion, but more importantly, has their little "tis"..."tisn't" spat actually increased readers stock of information on the subject? I suggest the most relevant thing to emerge is that the Herald editor would do better to have his/her reporters out and about reporting facts and events, and a lot less time spent sitting behind a desk typing up their own opinions. Given enough reliable information, readers can establish their own informed opinions...or is such thought offensive to modern journalists?

Conal Tuohy
Garth George's complacent idiocy is a convenient cover for his callous indifference to the fate of young people who will have to live with climate change as it deepens. In 33 years' time his stupid opinion piece will be long forgotten, but sadly, the real environmental damage which he promotes will probably persist for hundreds of years, if not longer.

Jack Neill
The ad hominem attacks on Garth George show where the emotion lies on this issue. Fight the issue not the man! The Global Warming hysteria is all about creating: jobs for United Nations bureaucrats; a vote catcher for unprincipled politicians; taxes and restrictions for Governments; and a scaremongering topic for TV airheads. And if it were true, it would just mean Invercargill becomes the big city of New Zealand, and Auckland regresses into an uncomfortably hot, dope-growing, backwater. And Garth could comfortably relocate to his birthplace.

Geoff
For those of you with broadband, paste this link into your browser and watch "The Great Global Warming Swindle" - 1 hr 15min. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4340135300469846467
I would be interested in any logical(rather than emotive)arguments that refute the points made in this film.

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