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Paul Little is a Herald on Sunday columnist

Paul Little: Reality - humans are to blame

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Rachel Smalley should have known whether her mic was off or on. Photo / Dean Purcell
Rachel Smalley should have known whether her mic was off or on. Photo / Dean Purcell

To deny the reality of climate change and the need to do something about it is to ally oneself with the witch burners, cancer cure peddlers and purveyors of cars that run on water. The science is in and complete. The planet is at serious risk from man-made global warming.

The latest report from those Satanists at the United Nations, who go by the name of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), was more apocalyptic in tone than ever. To sum up its conclusions: we're munted.

Unless, of course, we do something. However, it's such a daunting task that the climate change deniers have plenty of listeners happy to be told they don't need to worry, especially in the corridors of power.

We made this mess and, being the clever mammals we are, we can probably unmake it. But that depends to some extent on accepting that our actions are contributing to climate change, which is a sticking point for the deniers.

A recent review of 2258 peer-reviewed papers on climate change, representing the work of more than 9000 authors, found only one that rejected the notion that climate change is our fault.

Yet there are those who maintain that the thousands of scientists behind those papers are in some cabal hell-bent on tricking us into believing a falsehood.

To see the absurdity of this you have only to ask: why? How does that benefit them? Scientists live to prove their fellows wrong. That's how you make a name for yourself. And that's how science - and therefore humanity - advances. By discovering the new, not by blindly insisting on the old.

We don't need to differentiate the scientists crying doom by calling them "mainstream" . There is no mainstream in science. There is only science on one side and error and superstition on the other.

New Zealand's attitude is abysmal. Climate change minister Tim Groser's response to the IPCC report included the advice that "we must be prepared to adapt". What does he have in mind? Relaxing dress codes to allow tank tops to be worn at work? Free ice buckets? Compulsory convertibles? How the other ministers must envy the light workload of his portfolio.

Yet this is one of those cases for which New Zealand could throw its moral weight around and take a global leadership role. There's a great opportunity there for the job of International Voice Crying in the Wilderness.

Meanwhile, US philosophy professor Laurence Torcello has said that the danger represented by deniers goes beyond scientific scepticism and is criminal negligence, putting lives at risk and that for this they should be arrested and charged.

That's unlikely to happen. But it's possible future generations may look back and wish it had.

When Rachel Smalley failed to notice that her microphone was still on and shared with the world her view that the women of this country are heifers and lardos Twitter exploded - which of course is all Twitter knows how to do. When did you last hear that "Twitter reflected" or "Twitter considered carefully"? But, the immediate issue of women-hating aside, the incident does no credit to how our broadcasting schools are going about their business. It's been obvious for some time that they no longer waste energy teaching their students about the importance of clear vowels and finishing one word before you begin the next. But you could reasonably have expected that on the first morning of day one of Radio 101 they would have taught the radio hosts of the future how to tell the difference between on and off.

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- Herald on Sunday

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