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[April 30, 2006]
AUER EXPLAINS WHY HE BACKS CLIMATE SCIENCE COALITION
(New Zealand Press Association Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)Wellington, May 1 NZPA - Augie Auer is irritated.
The former Met Service chief meteorologist is irked by the bad science that has gone into the dire predictions about the effects of man-made global warming on the planet.
Professor Auer, of Auckland, past professor of atmospheric science at the University of Wyoming, is part of a group of leading climate scientists who have formed the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, aimed at refuting what it believes are unfounded claims about man-made global warming.
In fact, he says, if we didn't have the greenhouse effect, the planet would be 33degC colder than it is now.
``The average temperature of the planet is about plus 15degC, it would be minus 18degC if we didn't have the effect of the greenhouse warming.''
He said the whole history of global warming dated back to about the 1980s and he partly blames the media and partly scientists for the fears that have been raised.
Some journalists were ``a bit scientific illiterate'' and when scientists put out the results of what their computer modelling effort would suggest, it was usually worst-case scenarios that were reported.
``It was usually an envelope of figures, one which said the planet could warm 6deg in the next 100 years and the other end of the envelope was perhaps half a deg in 100 years.
``And you know which one would be quoted,'' said Prof Auer.
``And the scientists were, I feel, in some respects, to blame because they never came forward and said wait a minute, you took that out of context, you know there's another end to it here.''
That in turn started a rather insidious triangle in which maintaining that high danger, that crisis environment, drove the research funding, he said.
``Crises are what always drives the funding.''
Prof Auer said the issue that aroused his particular interest was what farmers called the Fart Tax.
``It was absolutely unfounded in any scientific necessity,'' he said.
But then came all the predictions regarding the dire consequences of global warming.
``If you think back, you have never heard anything positive that could come about from global warming ... everything is always negative, alarmist, fear, doom,'' he said.
``One of my favourites is the fact we talk about the oceans will rise and the wave motion will get stronger and the beaches will erode ... have you ever seen a beach build back?
``Beaches have been eroding since time began, it's what beaches do. Rocks weather in the rain and wind, they don't build back.
``People have lost track of just what is realistic about all this,'' Prof Auer said.
Then there was the attempt to impose the carbon tax.
``That's what really got me going because I thought, well wait a minute here, there's too much of this punitive correction being levelled on populations around the world,'' he said.
``Every time you pop a can of pop open and go to pour it out and all the bubbles come up you could be contributing, if you buy into this argument, to the global warming issue because that's a source of carbon dioxide.
``That's how really silly it can get.''
He said the global warming issue had been based on hysteria.
``It's been based on some very poor science and the bottom line is, that the greenhouse effect, which unfortunately the public's perception of is something that's very bad and very harmful, the fact of the matter is, it's a near miraculous process that keeps this planet liveable, inhabitable and keeps the vegetation growing on it ... it makes it really a beautiful place, not literally the third rock from the sun.''
Prof Auer said that three quarters of the planet was ocean, and 95 percent of the greenhouse effect was governed by water vapour.
``Of that remaining 5 percent, only about 3.6 percent is governed by CO2 and when you break it down even further, studies have shown that the anthropogenic (man-made) contribution to CO2 versus the natural is about 3.2 percent.
``So if you multiply the total contribution 3.6 by the man-made portion of it, 3.2, you find out that the anthropogenic contribution of CO2 to the the global greenhouse effect is 0.117 percent, roughly 0.12 percent, that's like 12c in $100.
``It's miniscule ... it's nothing,'' he said.
``So if that's the driving science, why do we need to be all concerned about CO2 and why do we need Kyoto and why do we need all the consequences from it?''
Prof Auer said that what the coalition was trying to achieve was to have the other side of the issue heard.
He said there were now many scientists worldwide -- ``and I'm pleased to say many young ones coming up through the ranks'' -- who were beginning to question the validity of global warming.
``I have always subscribed to the philosophy that good science wins out.
``I've always told my colleagues: just be patient, that the global warming argument, particularly with all the disastrous consequences that are being promulgated ... this is all a non-sustainable argument. In other words the facts will, in time, prove them to be wrong.''
The coalition has registered a website domain name, www.climatescience.org.nz, which it expects to have running within a day or two.
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