Climate change denial shocks

Tractors take part in Friday’s Groundswell protest in Dunedin. PHOTO: MARK MCGUIRE
Tractors take part in Friday’s Groundswell protest in Dunedin. PHOTO: MARK MCGUIRE
Like many of us, I attended the Howl of a Protest on Friday, July 16, and lost count of the number of tractors and utes, many carrying farm dogs, that drove through the centre of Dunedin. It was an impressive show of solidarity by farmers and rural professionals advocating for their communities and interests.

I followed them to Mosgiel, where former Invermay head Jock Allison addressed a crowd of about 100 people and Dunedin organiser Gill Marshall read the Groundswell NZ Position statement (available from

I was shocked Dr Allison used the opportunity to promote his view that there is no climate emergency. He argued that human-caused climate change is a myth, the globe is not warming, and that, in any case, a warm planet is a much healthier place to be than a cooling planet.

I assume Groundswell NZ, or at least the Dunedin group, holds views similar to Dr Allison’s or it would not have invited him to speak.

Groundswell supporters listen as Jock Allison addresses the crowd in Mosgiel. PHOTO: CHRISTINE O...
Groundswell supporters listen as Jock Allison addresses the crowd in Mosgiel. PHOTO: CHRISTINE O’CONNOR
An online search reveals Dr Allison has a track record of denying that humans are causing global warming, so his views would have been known to the organisers.

The Groundswell NZ Position statement mentions climate change only once. It states: “The unworkable elements of climate-change policy which are crucifying farmers and growers must be withdrawn.”

There is no suggestion of any climate change policies they believe might be workable (or necessary). Indeed, there is no clear acknowledgement that climate change due to human activity is real and constitutes a real emergency that requires immediate and ongoing attention and action from all of us.

When New Zealand declared a climate emergency in December 2020, we joined 32 other countries that had already done so. The motion tabled in our parliament recognised “the devastating impact that volatile and extreme weather will have on New Zealand and the wellbeing of New Zealanders, on our primary industries, water availability, and public health through flooding, sea level rise, and wildfire”.

Farmers and rural professionals deserve our support, gratitude and respect for the hard and demanding work they do to provide us with essentials we cannot do without. They are resourceful, innovative, and highly capable. They have learned to work through adversity. They are not quitters.

In order to be able to deal with what Jacinda Ardern called “one of the greatest challenges of our time”, we are all going to need these skills and we are going to need each other. We will have to become better listeners and more effective collaborators. We will need to share the effort, knowing we will also share the sense of accomplishment if we achieve our goals.

The problem statement is clear enough. Now, we have to roll up our sleeves and get to work.

  • Dr Mark McGuire taught and researched design at the University of Otago for 25 years.


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Dr mcguire’s opinion on climate change fits with the majority of world scientists and the observable evidence going on around us.
However the same cannot be said for is opinion that NZ farmers do: hard and demanding work; are resourceful, innovative and highly capable; work through adversity and are not quitters to has been a couple of generation since that was true. All of the hard and innovative work in farming these days is done by agricultural contractors. Farmers no longer do fencing, ploughing, seed and fertiliser spreading or stock movement, stock dipping, hay making, themselves. It’s all done by ag contractors. Most stock management is done by computer. All farmers do is ride around in their giant tractors with heated cabs either favourite i-tunes playing. They don’t even get out to open gates, it’s all done by the push of a button
They certainly can’t cope with adversity, the first time they are told to solve a problem of their own making, they fold. If it even looks like rain they have their hand out, like beneficiary bludgers, looking for govt handouts, income support and tax relief.
No, dr McGuire needs to re-examine his view of the character of the NZ farmer

Mark McGuire should do his homework. Can he provide any evidence of any increase in any form of extreme weather to justify that there is a climate emergency.
All of the data from reputable sources shows that there has been no increase in any form of extreme weather over the last 30 years.
The IPCC in it 5th assessment report WG1 (science) says for each form of extreme weather that there has been no increase and that they have low confidence that there will be any increase.
Which part of that does Mark McGuire not understand.
Professor Steve Koonin, ex provost of Cal-tech ex science and energy head in the Obama presidency recently released his book "Unsettled". Koonin does not deviate from what the WG1 report actually said. What he does do is to highlight how statements of fact in the report get twisted in the process of writing the summary for policy makers (a political document loosely based on the WG1 report) and further blown out of all proportion to what was actually said by the media. Obviously Mark McGuire's information comes only from the media. Read Koonin's book, if you are an intelligent man you will realize you are barking up the wrong tree.

An intelligent man would believe in the 97% of scientists who know that climate change is happening or in NASA which now has solid prove that it is real and not what someone who wants to make money selling books says.
The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) said 7,348 major disaster events occurred between 2000 and 2019, claiming 1.23 million lives, affecting 4.2 billion people, and costing the global economy some $2.97 trillion.
The figure far outstrips the 4,212 major natural disasters recorded between 1980 and 1999, the UN office said in the report, The Human Cost of Disasters 2000-2019.
The sharp increase was largely attributable to a rise in climate-related disasters, including extreme weather events like floods, drought and storms, the report said, adding that extreme heat is proving especially deadly.
And things have only got worse since this report was written. You will not see the truth Peter if you keep your head in the sand. It is absolutely real and it is happening now.

A New Book Manages to Get Climate Science Badly Wrong, In Unsettled, Steven Koonin deploys that highly misleading label to falsely suggest that we don’t understand the risks well enough to take action.
Nothing to see here, just the usual misdirection.

Koonin is not a trained climatologist, his methodology in compiling his arguments for “unsettled” has been shown to be unscientific and his straw man arguments are drawn primarily from research that was superseded in the 1990’s.
If you’re looking for a book that will fill your needs as a climate change denier then “unsettled” is for you but don’t expect it to present any facts on the topic.

A team of scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) had predicted in 1972 that humanity's current civilization is likely to end in the mid-21st century. While the report was heavily criticized at the time, new research reveals that the predictions have been eerily correct so far, forecasting that the collapse of society is on track to happen by 2040 if we continue business as usual.
We must all do more to advert this looming disaster.

The truth is very inconvenient for these guys. Driving their big machines around like real men! Guess who paid for those? I am so grateful as you make snide remarks you think are smart and rip me off while poisoning the whole country. Backbone of the country? More like the septic toe.

Why do anthropogenic climate change believers INSIST WE ALL BELIEVE their doomsday scenario?
Some believe in the gods. Some believe in a god. Some believe their way of living gods will, is the only way. Some believe there are many genders. Some believe there is a wholesome way to live, that betters society. Some believe the worlds fiat will be sealed in 12 years, the 'science' is always correct and we will colonize Mars. Some believe sun activity dictates climate, others planetary orbits, ocean currents, volcanic activity, CO2 levels, ozone, atmospheric pressure, duo dynomatic forces between earth and sun, cosmic rays and meteorites, to name a few.
Personally I believe every living thing needs to eat, have clean water, fresh air, a place to live, be with its own kind and breed.
I hope everyone can agree on these fundamentals, RESPECT the wonder of our planet, life, the universe and our species, also that they can APPRECIATE that being alive now, is considerably better than 100 years ago and this has happened because of science, energy, industrialization, commerce, hard work, considerable personal sacrifice and a free society.

Let farmers have agency.
Why these denialist speakers are rolled out is a mystery.

"I was shocked Dr Allison used the opportunity to promote his view that there is no climate emergency" why?, he is as much entitled to his view as you are to yours.

I think everyone needs to lighten up. When you consider the brilliant job our nations people and governments have done in handling the COVID-19 pandemic I’m sure we will do just as well with climate change - nothing to worry about. If only the billions of poor and disadvantaged people around the world would follow NZs example and stop wasting their resources, then everything will be tickety boo? There’s a Toyota Leaf for everyone.

Easy to say when you are not drowning or being cooked to death by extreme heat!

Dr McGuire's piece would make good reading at the UNO but just fails at so many levels. Because Jock Allison spoke up stating his own beliefs and the farmers, some of whom adhere to one very short statement in "The Groundswell NZ Position statement" on climate, it hardly condemns them all or puts them in the same basket as Dr. Allison.
Nor does it bring any credit to the scientific community for some to claim there is no discussion to be had because it is claimed the science is sealed, it's over! You cannot discuss or contradict the set position of science (so called.) Well, we are told we should not contradict, not while science continues to adhere to the doctrines of political forces who control the purse strings. Follow the money. Dr McGuire versus his straw man, Dr Allison who is put up as a protesting farmer's shill. I know who my money is on and it is not on the one being paid to speak on behalf of the present government.

I've been speaking with farmer protesters on social media, since the protest. The subset of the protesters that is active on Facebook and Twitter shows a majority of climate change deniers. These are I believe the least thoughtful of the farmers and of course it would be very convenient for them if climate change were not true. Groundswell having been started by ex-politicians from Advance NZ, it follows all the conspiracy theories - climate denial, anti-vax, anti-1080, Agenda 21 and 30, and accusations that our somewhat right of centre PM is a communist.

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