New Zealand Scientists Protest Royal Society’s Alarmist Statement

Published October 9, 2008

The Royal Society of New Zealand (RSNZ) in June 2008 issued a special statement designed to clear up the “controversy over climate change” and “possible confusion among the public.”

The statement from the Society’s Climate Committee asserts, “The globe is warming because of increasing greenhouse gas emissions” and “human activities” are to blame.

The statement reinforces the New Zealand government’s position that in order to prevent climate disaster, legislation must be passed to force the public to make personal sacrifices and reduce their consumption of energy.

Statement Stirs Controversy

According to its Web site, the Royal Society is an independent, national academy of sciences representing nearly 20,000 scientists, technologists, and technicians. They administer science and technology funds worth $40 million to $50 million for the government, publish science journals, offer advice to government, and promote science and technology. The society operates on a budget of more than $5 million per year.

In response to the Climate Committee’s statement, a longstanding member of the Royal Society, Dr. Vincent Gray, resigned. Dr. Gray, a climate consultant and expert reviewer of all four of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Reports, said his resignation was in protest against major inaccuracies in the society’s climate statement.

His concerns include the fact that the globe is now cooling, not warming, and that there is “no evidence whatsoever for a human contribution to the climate.”

‘Biased and Inadequate’

The society’s climate change statement also drew strong criticism from the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition.

The coalition was founded in 2006 by a group of climate experts (including the late atmospheric science professor at the University of Wyoming, Augie Auer) who had become increasingly alarmed about the misleading information being disseminated about climate change and so-called anthropogenic (man-made) global warming.

In a detailed response to the Royal Society, the coalition stated, “It beggars the imagination that an expert committee can launch a public statement about climate change that is so partial in its arguments and so out of date in its science.”

Conflict of Interest

The coalition document says the society has a major conflict of interest in benefiting from global warming alarmism.

“Six of the eight members of the expert committee carry the conflict of interest that they work for institutions that garner research funds to investigate the human influence on global warming. … Five members are employed by NIWA [the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research], one member works within a global change research institute and one is associated with ‘carboNZero’—which is a ‘greenhouse gas emissions management and reduction scheme offering carbon credits.'”

The coalition statement continues, “Incredibly, the committee contains not a single person drawn from research agencies other than NIWA, nor any independent climate scientist rationalists. The chairman of the committee—through senior positions that he holds at NIWA and within the IPCC—also advises government on climate change. … In view of such manifest conflicts, it is not surprising to discover that the RSNZ statement on climate change is both biased and inadequate.”

Dr. Muriel Newman ([email protected]) is founder and director of the New Zealand Centre for Political Research. This article was first published on the group’s Web site and is reprinted with permission.