Key Points:

While the nation obsesses over the trade deal with China, the parliamentary finance and expenditure select committee is hearing 200-plus submissions on the Climate Change (Emissions Trading and Renewable References) Bill.

The committee will be in Auckland next week, so it is a good time to remind ourselves that the bill is not only unnecessary but would quickly void any benefits due from from our China trade.

For, as the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change held in New York City last month announced in its conference theme: "Nature, not human activity, rules the climate."

The conference was attended by 500 scientists and researchers in climate and related fields, economists, policy-makers and business leaders, and included three New Zealanders - Dr Vincent Gray, of Wellington, and Owen McShane, of Kaiwaka, both of whom were speakers; and Auckland's Terry Dunleavy, founding chairman of the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC).

In its Manhattan Declaration on Climate Change, issued after the meeting, the conference declared: " 'Global warming' is not a global crisis."

The declaration was written by Mr Dunleavy, assisted by Tom Harris, of Canada, newly appointed executive director of the ICSC, and Viscount Christopher Monckton, a retired British international business consultant, policy adviser, writer and inventor.

The declaration affirms that scientific questions should be evaluated solely by scientific methods and avers that the global climate has always changed and always will, independent of the actions of humans, and that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant but a necessity for all life.

It says it recognises that the causes and extent of recently-observed climatic change are the subject of intense debates in the climate science community and that assertions of a supposed "consensus" among climate experts are false.

It affirms that attempts by governments to legislate costly regulations on industry and individual citizens to encourage CO2 emission reduction will slow development while having no appreciable impact on the future direction of global climate change.

Such policies, it says, will markedly diminish future prosperity and so reduce the ability of societies to adapt to inevitable climate change, thereby increasing, not decreasing, human suffering.

And, it notes, warmer weather is generally less harmful to life on Earth than colder.

It declares that plans to restrict human-produced CO2 emissions are a dangerous misallocation of intellectual capital and of resources that should be dedicated to solving humanity's real and serious problems.

"There is no convincing evidence that CO2 emissions from modern industrial activity has in the past, is now, or will in the future cause catastrophic climate change," the declaration says.

"Adaptation [to climate change] as needed is [much] more cost-effective than any attempted mitigation, and a focus on such mitigation will divert the attention and resources of governments away from [the] real problems of their peoples."

The declaration recommends that "world leaders reject the views expressed by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as well as popular, but misguided works such as [Al Gore's discredited movie] An Inconvenient Truth".

And, it concludes, all taxes, regulations and other interventions intended to reduce emissions of CO2 should be abandoned forthwith.

The declaration has received more than 400 signatures so far from scientists and other experts from around the world, and more are signing each day.

Now why this forthright declaration did not receive prominent coverage in the press anywhere in New Zealand, including this newspaper's vaunted Green Pages, I have no idea. It was, after all, a Kiwi initiative.

It seems that so-called global warming has created an international hysteria, encouraged by scientists and politicians who are talking through their pockets, and that no amount of common sense will divert the doom-sayers from their misguided and deeply dangerous path.

You would think that in pragmatic New Zealand at least, the Manhattan Declaration, and others like it, would be greeted with great relief and joy.

Except that our politicians, who seriously miscalculated the cost of Kyoto Protocol carbon credits, are scrabbling to dig themselves out of the cowshit.

Meanwhile, we will continue to export to China (and elsewhere) lots of our coal and oil. Our vast reserves of coal alone would keep us warm and dry and powered up for thousands of years.

But we can't use them because we signed, without thinking it through, the ridiculous Kyoto Protocol.