GUEST BLOG: Geoff Simmons – Response to Peter Williams Climate Denial

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“How to Prepare a Conspiracy (Sceptical) Theory”, Volume 3469, by Peter Williams

  1. Take some scientific conclusions that you don’t like. 
  2. Carefully select a handful of facts and draw some lines between them. 
  3. Present this as an alternative scientific conclusion. 
  4. Compare them as if they are equal, regardless of the weight of evidence and expert views. 
  5. Make it look like you are making a balanced and moderate choice. 

People have long used this sort of tactic to deny ideas that they don’t like and no doubt will continue to do so. 

Peter is right: the science is never settled. He must remember that from high school in the 60s. That is, after all, the point of science. It continuously tests ideas, looking to improve. The truth is never a 100% finished product. There is always some doubt. 

Climate deniers seize on this point to show that past climate change predictions have turned out to be wrong. And that is true. Back in the 1990s, climate change was an emerging theory and some of the predictions were pretty wild. 

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But since then, modelling has become far more accurate and this is reflected in the steadily growing confidence in the international consensus. Sure, there are still some people making extreme predictions of either very little warming or catastrophic warming, but the consensus predictions are proving increasingly accurate as time marches on. The question is: when do we do something about it? 

Peter’s eagerness to deny climate change was no doubt picked up by his Facebook algorithm, which led him to some material claiming that warming is caused entirely by the sun. The material contained enough facts to give it a veneer of truthiness for people who are “researching” with “an open mind” to confirm their own bias. 

The fact is that the warming we have seen since the 50’s cannot possibly be attributed to the sun, as seen from a quick visit to the NASA site. Models estimate that natural causes have contributed about 2% of warming. Sure models can be wrong, but the probability that humans have caused more than half the warming since 1950 is 95%. Again, science is never 100% certain, but which side are you betting on?  

The future will be challenging for Peter’s grandkids, but if we act now we can probably keep our fantastic standard of living. If the world doesn’t act fast enough, things could get pretty bleak – especially for people living on Pacific Islands and even in Australia. They will no doubt want to move here. 

Shouldn’t we try to stop this? Shouldn’t we at least start to prepare for the problems it will create? 

We need to do both, as quickly as possible. Sure, we don’t want to stuff the economy, but we need to rapidly steer it in a far more sustainable direction. Even the current Government’s actions are still “tinkering at the edges” compared to what is needed. 

To enact real change, we need to shed old political party alliances and seize the balance of power. We are in a climate emergency, right? In my estimation, we are in an environmental emergency with water quality, waste, and biodiversity thrown in. We can’t afford for environmentalism to be a “left-wing” thing. That means we need a party in Parliament that has real clout and is willing to do what works – for future’s sake. 

Geoff Simmons is the Leader of TOP

42 COMMENTS

  1. When we are 100% sure the science is correct, guess what?
    It will be too f…n late sunshine!
    We will have had our (outside) chance and we will have blown it.
    Our planet will be melting down before our eyes and we won’t be able to stop it.
    Meanwhile the political right big mouths argue over technical trivialities and Trump gets votes for new oil exploration permits.
    What a mess!

    • Williams is an idiot – toadying the way toads do. They may be one of the ugliest creatures in nature – saw one in a pedestal lavatory in France once, so we found another camping ground.

      Glad TOP’s Geoff is referencing grandkids, that’s what I worry about. I’m not that fussed about the planet – if we reach the stage where it’s “melting down before our eyes” then we’re stuffed, and planet earth will take care of itself, but it will need to get rid of us to be able do so. I’m on earth’s side.

      I read one nutter big blogger this week who also maintains that climate change isn’t real, and in any case the steps NZ is considering won’t make any difference – to something that’s not happening.

      I assume Williams is on radio or television or something – I only remember seeing him reading sports reports with an over-articulating mouth, but that’s beside the point. I stopped watching television when Trump became POTUS.

  2. Peter Williams was a ex sports and news reader and now he is on the radio for the right wing fourth estate.

    He gets told what to think !!!

  3. peter williams had many years on tv he has had his turn why is he on radio where is the fresh blood

      • You might not like Peter Williams but one thing he’s not, and that’s an idiot. He might be to some here. But to others, a lot of others he’s not. So what’s the issue here. Peter Williams isn’t saying there’s no global warming he’s saying we don’t know what’s causing it. His argument is there has been major global warming in the past and there’s nothing to prove this is just a similar event that we are long overdue for. The scientists are saying that there hasn’t been any change in what the sun is doing that may be causing the present change. So what caused the previous warming’s?. I’m sure some bright spark will enlighten me. If no one can answer that then you might still disagree with Peter Williams on the basis we need to clean up our act regardless, but on the other hand maybe Peter Williams isn’t as dumb as some of you think. Of course when scientists can’t fill the gaps in knowledge they’re just as handy at using their unproven theories to do that as anybody else. The ancient Incas sacrificed children to appease the Gods when the crops failed I believe. Watch out Peter the mob is coming. Possibly for me as well. For the record I do believe we are contributing to global warming but at the moment we don’t know whether there are other forces at work that we don’t understand. Most people that call other people idiots are idiots themselves.

        • Yes all common argument presented by deniers cherry picking and constructing doubt the Scientists have worked over may times.

          The clock keeps showing different times all through the day and night so do you disregard the clock.

          “Most people that call other people idiots are idiots themselves.”

          Does that disqualify opinion from anyone you uses “idiot”.
          This area has nothing to do with science. You may have trouble grasping this.

          A “bright spark” may enlighten you but I suspect a lot more reading in depth of scientific, peer reviewed articles outlining the basics in climate shift will take you many months.

          The denier crap can well be examined usefully when you have enough of the basic understanding that will allow you to see the flaws in the somewhat emotive denier appeals.
          Good luck.

          Williams is paid for what he does. You may well like the man but that has nothing to do with the value of what he is saying.

          Follow the money trail right back to Business NZ, who have a history of promoting denial over several Govts in NZ.

          • I was making the point that Peter Williams believes in global warming like I do. He doesn’t happen to believe humans are the total problem given the fact that there have been previous global warming events. I believe we are contributing to global warming but don’t understand what caused the previous events considering humans weren’t around. Not quite sure what you’re saying except that any body that doesn’t agree with you is a denier.

            • New View – why did we have CO2 at these previous levels?

              Are you attempting to claim that because we don’t know why c02 spiked in the past we can’t claim to now?

              I fear you are terribly miseducated.

              1 – We know why c02 spiked in the past.

              2 – We know why c02 is spiking now.

              • Spiking as it has never spiked before with a rapid rise over the period of man’s harvesting energy from fossil carbon as well as man’s removal of forest that absorbs atmospheric carbon alond with the acidification of the seas killing coral and other organisms that previously contributed to more atmospheric oxygen and reduced CO2.
                Its a runaway situation.

                • At 0.3% of global carbon emissions Nee Zealanders must prepare for a warmer climate or die.

                  Native birds are replaced by giant spiders and kiwis get beautiful compound eyes and chitinous carapaces to fit into this new environment.

        • New View:
          Climate in the past changed due to changes in the amount of heat entering Earth’s atmosphere and how much is allowed to leave. Eg if our orbit changed so we got less heat from the sun we could get an ice age.
          If there were more greenhouse gases like CO2 or methane (eg from a volcanic eruption), more heat was trapped and we warmed up. At the moment the amount of CO2 is increasing rapidly, trapping more heat and causing us to warm up.
          Some more info can be found from https://skepticalscience.com/argument.php, which has responses to the usual arguments against climate change.

          • Thanks for the info site. I see there have been a few warm events in our past history one of which was a little warmer than they we are now but seem to have an explanation for it.

        • I wouldn’t be packing your long johns for a stay in the old hunting blind just yet… You actually have to say something to get people angry first… What you have produced here barely qualifies as wiffle waffle, so maybe a review of those Australian institute of sport IQ tests might be in order here…
          Yees, Petey isn’t stupid, but he is a member of the tory party cheer squad, so maybe a short, (or a long one in your case) review of old mate pete’s motivation for spouting pure wiffle waffle(the real stuff this time), or who’s agenda he is promoting is due…

          • Stefan. You seem to have a very high opinion of your own intellect and a very low opinion of mine. If you look at any science in the last hundred years, you find it has been rewritten and revised repeatedly. I’m sure there will be more to learn about what’s happening to the climate, but people like you will look down on anyone that dares question other possibilities and will accept the science is proven regardless. Incidentally I’m sure that among the rank and file of the Labour Party you will find those that question climate change but haven’t had the guts to come out of the closet. Or are all Nats evil deniers and all labour members believers. You think I’m dim witted and I think you are pompous so there we go

        • New View – thanks for calling me an idiot. It’s sort of sweet – and I’m hugely relieved that you’re not a Green or I could have been called a ****.

          Cheers

  4. Re the contested theory of gravity

    Time mr Mr Williams to show that this theory is still contested

    1. Climb to a very high building (make it realllly high)

    2. Go to the edge of the roof

    3. Repeat: ” gravity is just a theory”

    4. Step forward

  5. On a more serious note:

    “The amount of solar energy received by the Earth has followed the Sun’s natural 11-year cycle of small ups and downs with no net increase since the 1950s. Over the same period, global temperature has risen markedly. It is therefore extremely unlikely that the Sun has caused the observed global temperature warming trend over the past half-century.” https://climate.nasa.gov/faq/14/is-the-sun-causing-global-warming/

    Thats NASA

    what do climare chabge deniers have? Fuck all

    • They have many well paid prostitute scientist who will add their names to denial claims.
      If you can follow the money the link may be obvious.

      Claims of professional status also need to be checked. A reporter is not qualified to make scientific opinion.
      Check the critics of climate deniers and climate scientists as you may pick up leads to follow about the veracity of what is being promoted.

      The denial narrative keeps changing as new information comes to light.

      Accept nothing as factual and test all concepts as thoroughly as you can.

      There is big money behind climate denial

  6. What I always find so amazing is how these climate deniers:
    a) use science to try and say science is wrong
    b) act blase about it all – “oh yeah, it’s just the sun getting hotter, so whatever, happens every million years – no big deal

    • EP, I was lucky enough not to hear PW, but I’ve just read James Renwick’s response to him on News Hub, and I struggle to believe that anyone could be as thick as Williams appears to be – he’s being paid – as are others.

      The sort of people who listen to him are likely to be the sort who don’t bother voting anyway.

      • Sorry, but the Nats support base just adore the PW’s of this world, and vote accordingly IMO.

  7. It is a shame that Peter Williams, who many know as a respected and valid voice on NZ media, has turned into a voice for the “right wing.” He is not uniformly right wing in his views or those he airs, but clearly arranges that things be slanted in this way. He could easily change this — he could easily arrange for other views to be presented and discussed, and I am sorry he doesn’t. It is especially annoying that his “moderate” tone hides his bias.
    BUT on the other hand (and Bomber I hope you agree) we need to have some generally heard voice [such as on radio] reminding us of where our arguments are weaker.

    • ” It is a shame that Peter Williams, who many know as a respected and valid voice on NZ media, has turned into a voice for the “right wing.”

      He always was one and knew what his organisation’s view was about supporting the right wing.

      All of those presenters choose to work for the fourth estate knowing the anti left bias and still turn up for work and the huge salary.

  8. The sun getting hotter and your ‘if we act now we can probably keep our fantastic standard of living’ are equally amusing. A technological innovation that puts it off for a few more decades , maybe. A scientific solution or the political force to address the full brunt is far left field.

    Just wrote in my diary, which I don’t often do in these inter-media days, ‘so impossible — a future. H.s.s. Main thing is I’m going to see and be inundated by — don’t know which is worse — the deluge.’

  9. It seems to be a logical career step for ex television and radio presenters and personalities to wind down their careers by becoming a front person for the political right, whatever their previous political leanings.
    An example: Chris Laidlaw used to be regarded as one of the few left-leaning presenters on public radio (National Radio in his case). He basically got arsed out of broadcasting because this didn’t sit well with the National Party Thought Police.
    Now he is Greater Wellington Regional Council chairman and is chiefly responsible for applying free market solutions to everything that moves.
    Under his leadership the electric buses have been replaced by diesels.
    So why do they always move to the right?
    Probably because the political right have more money to pay them.

    • Payment directly, use money to change life’s option or find dirt on the celebrity or family member and threaten consequences if “sweetners” are rejected

      The just have to join the club or be made a ridiculed “no one “.

  10. Want to help the environment. Stop flying and massively tax flights!

    Sadly neoliberalism seems to be doing the opposite of saving the environment actually using that as a means to take more money and not spend it on the best way to help the environment!

    Auckland petrol taxes are being wasted for the most part on upgrades and ‘safety’ maintenance for roads and construction projects and the politicians holiday highway to the airport instead of getting proper commuter rail going!

    Poor people are not flying! The petrol taxes are used to subsides richer folks who fly, the tourism industry, swanky bus shelters and in general encouraging more carbon into the environment against what the petrol tax was raised for – aka to create workable alternatives to car use with better public transport that can help Auckland cities massive population increase!

    This article shows how polluting flying is!

    Carbon calculator: how taking one flight emits as much as many people do in a year

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2019/jul/19/carbon-calculator-how-taking-one-flight-emits-as-much-as-many-people-do-in-a-year

    Note cruise ships and freight by sea is also highly polluting but they are exempt apparently from being counted!

    Air quality on cruise ship deck ‘worse than world’s most polluted cities’, investigation finds
    ‘Each day a cruise ship emits as much particulate matter as a million cars’

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/pollution-cruise-ships-po-oceana-higher-piccadilly-circus-channel-4-dispatches-a7821911.html

  11. “modelling has become more accurate” is not an argument that can persuade an honest skeptic, models being intrinsically imaginary objects they do not fail even if they include fatal logical errors.

    There is now however an abundance of concrete physical evidence, and it is global; it cannot have been cobbled together from unrepresentative local events. Glacial retreats for instance are good summary data, and widely distributed.

  12. Climate change is wall to wall on the net and in the news. Almost all attributing it to out use of fossil fuels. The forecast disaster doesn’t seem to me to stack up. But why would IPCC scientists and politicians be so on about it if it were unsubstantiated? One answer could be that the scientists employed by IPCC don’t know as much as they know they need to know to be sure what effect adding to the CO2 in the atmosphere will have, and if it turns out to be really bad they will be in the frame for having failed to warn the world. And so there is a strong incentive for them to warn of the most extreme possibilities.
    But it occurs to me that there is another that might appeal to the politicians more than the scientists.
    The people of the western world are getting restless about how they have been deceived and cheated by the noeliberal/globalised process of rip ping people and countries of their natural heritage as the 1% mops up the world’s resources irrespective of where they are. But as the masses of populations are disinherited there is less and less a market to sell everything to, so the world has adopted a system of ever expanding personal debt to keep it all flowing. But this is unsustainable in the long run so governments like ours have to impose greater and greater austerity on a population already largely reduced to poverty.
    I think the climate change trip might be essentially a device to get the populace to accept greater and greater austerity while those who can carry on using 100x their share of fossil fuel, and no constraints that effect the lives of the rich , nor any reduction in the rate of increase in the actual use of fossil fuels is seriously being attempted.
    D J S

      • Wasn’t a bad first attempt was it SS, if I do say so myself. Maybe I’ll take up conspiracy theorising as my new hobby.
        A deserving target though a eh!
        But it was more a muse than a conviction. Once you start to doubt what is being presented to us as science though, it does strongly beg the question of why ; and who’s interests it would serve.
        My scepticism is a very recent development though. I have sort of in-laws who have spent their lives and earned their livings in academia ; who were onto this when I met them 40 odd years ago. Nearly 40 years ago I was looking for a commercial fishing boat that I could sail to avoid contributing to the coming calamity. I accepted the narrative . After all we are burning in a couple of hundred years stuff that has taken hundreds of millions of years to accumulate.
        But now when I come to want to understand the machinery and put it all into a kind of perspective , and discuss it with my academic friends I find they are very defensive of their position and challenged by my questions and to my surprise are not aware of facts that I have felt I needed to know to start to understand. And I strongly suspect that they are absolutely typical . A hell of a lot is being said ,and lots of verbal abuse and ridicule is being shared around with precious little examination of the actual scientific facts entering the discussion.
        Would you like to tell me this… If the whole sea warmed by 1 degree centigrade for reasons unrelated to CO2 emissions ,what effect would that have on the CO2 content of the atmosphere ?
        D J S

        • Never having got beyond 5th Form Science, David, I have to rely on what the scientists decide among themselves. And, yes, in the past they were full of human-ness. But the figures always go ahead of the forecasts.

          Ups to you for being able to blow air up their arses and discover for yourself this generation of scientists’ humanness.

          Love your sailing trawler. I encountered a 1990 copy of National Geographic with a climate change cover recently in a GP waiting room. You were aware 10 years before, on the basis of finite resources.

          Let’s not trend to what suits in our beliefs — leave it to the self-interested ‘friends of power’. They do it so superbly.

  13. You rely on NASA data to “prove” your point, despite them having been shown to have doctored data in the past. So, mkay.
    https://principia-scientific.org/how-noaa-nasa-doctored-temperature-data-to-get-record-warm-years/
    The science isn’t “settled” whatsoever imo. The man-made “Climate Change” argument has been pretty much entirely co-opted by political interests at this stage. While we never had much/any science coming from pundits and the media, it seems far too many of the scientists themselves are now little more than cogs in a politically motivated machine. All imo of course.
    There are a few voices of reason out there – I urge everyone here, despite your feelings, to read and fully take in what this article says. Try and read it without pre-conceived feelings or opinions, you know, like a scientist is supposed to do.
    https://www.thegwpf.com/putting-climate-change-claims-to-the-test/

    • Can sumbody tell why CC is a hoax by sumone else? Why for? WTF is there to gain. Illogical rubbish from the right IMO.

      • Business NZ have several Hoax machines, running in organisations, media, parliament and many local bodies.

        Their main aim is to cause confusion and slow or illuminate change.

        They whistle the same tune which becomes familiar to the public. Some rely on it as they have bought into various aspects of denial

  14. The TV channel One is aimed at about 10 year-olds for the most part.

    I have quit TV. I felt Jessica’s embarrassment the night she had evidently been asked (told) to wear a skirt split up to the crotch. Nobody with self-respect needs that.
    The news is appalling, sexing up the dossiers, stripping the presenters, all behind the Walt Disney Big Screen with its assumptions of viewer stupidity.

    Three is better but there are no captions .

  15. ‘Sure models can be wrong, but the probability that humans have caused more than half the warming since 1950 is 95%.’

    The global population in the fifties was 2.5 billion. Now it is 7.7 billion, living longer and consuming as none have ever consumed before. The great die off will occur and Mother earth will roll on. The giant reptiles were a better bet than humans excepting aboriginals and a few others.

  16. Finally someone respected in the media has been able to present the realist truths that have been unsaid for so long. We have been lied to by the far left who want to take us down the road fo economic disaster. The science was hijacked years ago and it was flimsy at best. The worst result of this giant hoax is that our children are marching in the streets calling for zero carbon. Don’t their science teachers teach them about the important role that carbon dioxide plays in the very existence
    Of life on this planet. Co2 makes up a small fraction of the atmosphere and we could do with a lot more of it as it is plant food and has nothing to do with our changing climate.
    It is frightening how successful the alarmists have been in brainwashing the entire world.
    climate and the part played by mankind is negligible

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