A reader from Morningside (an area of Auckland which contains at least two Fundy Post readers and therefore could be considered a demographic cluster for this blog) draws my attention to the latest utterance from Owen McShane, prompting the question "why does the Herald publish this crap?"
Mr McShane's intent is to to discredit Brian Rudman, one of the few remaining Herald commentators inhabiting a mental space this side of barking, for his opinions about climate change. Mr Rudman made the modest suggestion that it is hardly necessary for Parliament to revisit the emissions trading scheme, given that the scientific questions are settled. Not so, says Mr McShane. You see, global sea-level rises are no more than a statistical artifact, an offing that does not apply in New Zealand, where tectonic plate and earthquake movements (apparently, these are not the same thing) are more important. What's more, "local sea levels are falling rather than rising."
Now, correct me if I am wrong, but does not the world 'global' mean global? And does not water always find its own level? Allowing for the differences caused by tidal pulls, is it not the case that, if sea levels are rising, they are doing so everywhere? What I mean to say, if I have not made myself clear, is that all the seas are connected and that any increase in the amount of sea will be distributed throughout the seas. Of course, I may be wrong; I am but an humble architectural historian. But something tells me, something connected with those school science experiments with beakers of water, that Mr McShane is talking bollocks again.
Or do local conditions mean that New Zealand is exempt from global changes, that our local conditions mean we can continue to have beaches and baches while the rest of the planet drowns? This is an important question, particularly if the Maori Party wants Parliament to revisit the Foreshore and Seabed legislation. After all, if global conditions prevail, there may be a lot less Foreshore and a lot more Seabed before too long. However, if Mr McShane is correct, we will still have a lot of coast to argue about.
Of course, there is a lot more to Mr McShane's argument than water. He notes that carbon credit trading was invented by Enron. It is important to note in this respect that margarine was invented by order of Napoleon Bonaparte. Moreover, Hedy Lamarr invented frequency hopping.
Mr McShane also notes that the previous Climate Minister relied on the evidence of "a small beltway group that controls climate issues within Niwa, the Royal Society of New Zealand, and most of our country's input into the UN's IPCC;" a small beltway group of climate scientists, that is. The Minister disregarded the evidence of independent climate experts, by which presumably he means such men as the Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley. Incidentally, I was at Prep School with the 3rd Viscount's younger brother, a fact which almost makes me an independent climate expert.
Given my new-found status, I feel I should report to Mr McShane my own observations of local sea-levels. Although they do fall every day, they always rise again. However, I find I am still unable to answer the question I posed at the beginning of this paper: why does the Herald publish this crap? Perhaps I should ask a critical thinker.