Bali Conference Highlights Global Warming Divisions

Bali Conference Highlights Global Warming Divisions
February 1, 2008

I have just returned from the United Nations' Climate Conference in Bali, where I was part of a small delegation of climate skeptics. While there, we became members of a new organization, the International Climate Science Coalition.

Gore, IPCC in Spotlight

The media "heroes" of the show were the Nobel Peace Prize winners: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which had a prominent exhibit, and Al Gore, who turned up, attacked his own government, and was sharply disowned by United States delegates.

Almost everybody seemed to be greenwashed by the view that science has proved emissions of carbon dioxide are harming the climate and have to be reduced. But there were many reservations voiced about the sort of measures being advocated to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Alarmist Agenda Questioned

When I first arrived at the conference I was issued a leaflet by Oxfam, headed "Stop Climate Poverty." Oxfam and many other organizations present were frightened that proposed climate mitigation measures will increase poverty in underdeveloped countries.

Slogans such as "Climate Justice Now" were displayed on many stalls. They argued that the first priority for poorer countries is to encourage economic progress before they could be required to spend their limited resources on climate mitigation.

Upon entering the main conference hall I found leaflets on every seat attacking Greenpeace for discouraging the planting of forests and for over-exaggerating "tropical deforestation."

Concerns were also expressed about proposals to bribe Indonesian forest interests with "carbon credits," paid for by Western nations, so that they will no longer cut down Indonesian forests. Many people expressed the highly plausible concern that the money spent on carbon credits would never reach the actual forestry workers but would instead end up in Swiss bank accounts.

IPCC Experts in Attendance

My main interest at the conference was the IPCC. 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.

Nonetheless, I never expected that anybody would ever know what I had said. I was therefore agreeably surprised when I found that an application under the Freedom of Information Act in the UK had led to the publication on the Internet of all of the comments, so everybody can now judge whether IPCC's frequent rejections of my comments were justified. (See http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/comments/wg1-commentFrameset.html.)

At the IPCC stand I met two contributors to the IPCC report. I also met Jose Marengo from Peru, and I believe I went far in persuading him that my views are correct.

UK Activists Take Risk

At the UK Met Office stand I met Richard Betts. The UK Met Office has a new pamphlet which has two interesting features. First it shows officially, for the first time, the globally averaged temperature of the Earth has not only been almost constant for seven years,but has in fact recently declined.

Betts' explanation for this is "natural variability." It seems this explanation applies only when the temperature goes down, however. 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 in the future that nobody alive today will likely be able to check whether the IPCC is right. The UK Met Office has dared to predict the temperature only 10 years ahead, which means many who read this will have the opportunity to assess for themselves the validity of alarmist global warming predictions.

Alternative Views Not Allowed

The International Climate Science Coalition produced many pamphlets dealing with the different aspects of climate science and policy that contradict IPCC. We had not managed to book a stall, so 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 sympathized with our interpretation of the science, and he took several pamphlets.

Skeptics Speak Up Anyway

We managed to organize several lectures and a press event where we distributed copies of DVDs of the BBC program The Great Global Warming Swindle. The lectures were given by Lord Christopher Monckton; David Evans, an engineer who from 1999-2005 built carbon emissions models for the Australian government; and Bryan Leyland, chair of the economic panel of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition.

Lord Monckton, 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, and that the consequences of increased carbon dioxide are actually negligible.

Evans drew attention to the fact that alarmist computer models predict firmly 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 generated wide media attention and several at-length interviews. It was given particularly wide TV coverage in China, Malaysia, and Japan.

Science Victories

I attended several of the many breakout sessions. One very influential one was from an NGO composed of the most prominent climate scientists in China. Among the listed names were those of Yihui Ding and Weijie Dong of the Beijing Climate Center. They 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, PowerPoint slides.

I regarded the whole lecture as an attempt to emphasize that the "science is not settled." They would not answer a question on the attitude of the Chinese government, but it was clear the united attitude of the scientists involved was one of caution.

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 give comfort that our visit was worthwhile.

It is still amazing to me, though, that so many people believe in this greenhouse myth, for which there is no sound scientific foundation.


Dr. Vincent Gray (vinmary.gray@paradise.net.nz) is a New Zealand-based climate scientist and a founder of The New Zealand Climate Science Coalition.