A CLIMATE SCEPTIC IN BALI
by Dr Vincent Gray
17 December 2007
I have just returned from the United Nations' Climate Conference in Bali where I was part of a small delegation of climate sceptics, as members of a new organisation, the International Climate Science Coalition.
There were four people from New Zealand; myself, Greg Balle, Owen McShane, and Bryan Leyland, three from Australia, David and Joanne Evans, and David Archibald, Will Alexander from South Africa and Viscount Monckton of Brenchley from the UK.
There were some 10,000 people milling around the magnificent Conference Center at Nusa Dua in Bali. There are two large Conference halls holding 500 people, free computers and wireless, nearly a hundred publicity desks, subsidiary meeting halls, fountains and a Balinese tropical ambiance including dancers and electronic gong music. The neighbouring Hyatt Regency Hotel hosted many of the additional meetings and they extended to the next hotel along, the Inna Putri Bali, where we stayed.
The heroes of the show were the Nobel Peace Prize winners, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who had a prominent stall, and Al Gore, who turned up, attacked his own government, and was sharply disowned by them.
Almost everybody seemed to be greenwashed with the view that science has proved that emissions of carbon dioxide are harming the climate and need to be reduced, but there are many reservations about the sort of measures that are being so frequently trumpeted as necessary by every leaflet, newspaper, radio and TV programme.
When I first entered the place on Monday I was issued a leaflet by Oxfam headed "Stop Climate Poverty". They, and many other organisations present were frightened that the sort of climate mitigation measures which are being so loudly demanded will increase poverty in most underdeveloped countries.
Slogans like "Climate Justice Now" are on many stalls. They argued that the first priority for poorer countries is to encourage economic progress before they could be made to spend their limited resources on climate mitigation.
When I first entered the main conference hall I found leaflets on every seat attacking Greenpeace for discouraging the planting of forests and over-exaggerating "tropical deforestation" which accounts only for 17% of world timber production.
There is also concern about the proposal, (called REDD) to bribe Indonesian forest interests with "Carbon Credits" paid by you and me, so that instead of working they can live on charity. Many people are certain that the money would never reach the actual forestry workers, but would end up in Swiss bank accounts.
Another organisation with similar sceptical feelings about this conference as ourselves actually had a seat in the conference chamber. This was the Civil Society Climate Change Coalition which is an international body consisting of 41 member organisations in many countries. Our own Business Roundtable is a member and they have many from the USA and two in China.
They are non-scientists, mainly economists and sociologists, and they are prepared to believe that perhaps emissions of carbon dioxide might be a problem, but they are horrified by the economic and social consequences of the measures being proposed which are usually opposed to the most obvious and necessary ways of tackling the many problems of underdeveloped countries.
The Civil Society Report on Climate Change arrived late, but is beautifully written, and very persuasive.
My main interest was the IPCC. As I am one of the scientists involved, I asked the lady at the IPCC stand when I would be likely to receive my portion of the Nobel Prize. I was told that it is likely that the money will go into a charitable trust carrying out the objectives of the IPCC. I suppose most of the other scientists are doing pretty well out of the IPCC already but I will continue to live on my pension.
I have been an Expert Reviewer of the drafts of every single one of the IPCC Reports for 17 years. I wrote 1,678 comments on the Fourth Report, 16% of the total. I have done this job as a retirement hobby, for all these years just for the pleasure of science discussion and I never expected that anybody would ever know what I had said. I was therefore agreeably surprised recently when I found that an application the Freedom of Information Act in the UK had led to the publication on the web of all of the comments, so everybody can now judge whether their frequent rejection was justified.
The Fourth Report of the IPCC does not exist in printed form, and I suspect that very few people have read it and understood how unconvincing are many of its arguments. Even fewer would have the comprehensive knowledge of its contents which I have acquired over the years. The fourth volume of the current Report, the "Synthesis Report" was actually unfinished when it was launched in November, so it was not available for scrutiny by the public. The Chairman had to use a "draft" version of the "Summary for Policymakers".
The Fourth Report has been divided into four volumes. The first deals with the Science behind the greenhouse theory, the second with its Impacts, the third with Mitigation, and the fourth with a Synthesis of all of the reports.
Since the second, third and fourth volumes depend heavily on the reliability of the science in the first report I have concentrated on it. Over the years I have slowly come to realise that almost all the science is flawed, unreliable or grossly exaggerated, and for these reasons I found myself in opposition to almost everything that was going on at this conference.
The IPCC stand gave away free copies of printed versions of all four volumes. The first three of these handouts contained only the "Summary for Policymakers" and "Technical Summary" of each full Report, but not the rest. The "Synthesis Report” appeared in full for the first time. It was still subject to further correction, and the hurry in which it had been produced was evident in the fact that the main report was without coloured ink.
I met two contributors to this Report, both of whom had read my comments, and , presumably, rejected most of them. At the IPCC stand I met Jose Marengo from Peru, and I believe I went far in persuading him that my views are correct.
At the UK Met Office Stand I met Richard Betts. The UK Met Office have a new pamphlet which has two interesting features. First they show officially, for the first time, that the globally averaged temperature of the earth has not only been almost constant for seven years, but that it has recently declined. Betts' explanation for this was "natural variability". It seems that this explanation applies only when the temperature goes down. When it goes up it is "global warming"
The other feature of his pamphlet was really courageous. Predictions of future warming made from the IPCC are so far ahead that nobody alive today is likely to be able to check whether they are right. The UK Met Office has dared to predict the temperature only ten years ahead, so many who read this will have the opportunity to find out whether the greenhouse theory actually works. I earnestly hope that I will be around, but I am currently 85 years old.
The International Climate Science Coalition produced many pamphlets dealing with the different aspects of climate science and policy with which we disagree which got distributed around the conference building together with the many others from every kind of organisation which sometimes caused a paper glut.
We had not managed to book a stall, so I tried being a cuckoo, I found a comparatively unoccupied stall and displayed my pamphlets on it. I had two interested customers before the owner returned. It turned out he was a sympathiser (an organisation called "One World") and took several pamphlets.
We managed to organize several lectures and a press event where we distributed copies of DVDs of the UK Channel Four programme, "The Great Global Warming Swindle" which is yet to be publicly shown in New Zealand, although it created quite a sensation in Australia. The lectures were given by Lord Monckton, David Evans and Bryan Leyland.
Lord Monckton who is a former advisor to Margaret Thatcher, is a brilliant lecturer who has worked hard on climate science. He is also an accomplished mathematician, and he launched his latest mathematical analysis of the IPCC calculations on the climatic consequences of doubling carbon dioxide. He showed conclusively that they have grossly exaggerated this effect so the consequences of increased carbon dioxide are actually negligible.
David Evans drew attention to the fact that computer models predict firmly that there should be a "Hot Spot" in the lower atmosphere for which there is no observational evidence.
We carried out a "stunt" in front of the main conference entrance when six of us dressed in lab coats and dark glasses displayed a banner saying "Kyoto 2 is not needed". This created wide media attention and several at-length interviews. It was given particularly wide TV coverage in China, Malaysia and Japan.
I attended several of the many subsidiary meetings. One very influential one was from an NGO composed of the most prominent climate scientists in China. Amongst the listed names were those of Yihui Ding and Weijie Dong of the Beijing Climate Center who invited me to Beijing last year as a Visiting Scholar, where I delivered three lectures to appreciative audiences.
The presentation, by five scientists, was very impressive, They spoke perfect, understandable English (unlike many lecturers elsewhere) illustrated by clear, readable, power point slides. I regarded the whole lecture as an oriental attempt to emphasise that the "science is not settled", as much emphasis was placed on the inadequacy of current climate data and understanding, and the lack of understanding by Chinese rural people of the issues involved. They would not answer a question on the attitude of the Chinese Government, but it was clear that the united attitude of the scientists involved was one of caution.
It is some 30 years since I last visited Bali. I took a tour that showed how the roads are now lined with shops and enterprises. The people live behind them often by a narrow passage, only negotiated by motor bikes. So everybody rides motor bikes, which are bigger than those common in Vietnam.
Bali is truly a tropical paradise with the most beautiful vegetation and beaches. the people are gentle and born artists. Every object is a marvel of artistic design and it extends to the ingenious architecture of the hotel I stayed at, the Inna Putri Bali.
The partial deadlock in the negotiations, the rejection of Al Gore by his own government and the refusal of the Americans to be railroaded into the economic disasters demanded by the vociferous activists gives comfort that our visit was worthwhile. It is still amazing to me, though, why so many people believe in this greenhouse myth, for which there is no sound scientific foundation. The earth's temperature is not increasing, and is currently falling (as we all know in New Zealand). Sea Levels are not increasing, as shown by the recent Australian study on Pacific Islands. Malaria is not a tropical disease. Polar Bears and penguins are not "endangered". Carbon dioxide is not a "pollutant" but the very staff of all life. Current climate events are not caused by warming, but by age-old and well-known inadequacies in government concern and lack of economic development.
Climate Truths will eventually prevail, particularly after temperatures continue to fall.