A visitor from La-la Land: Garth George gets it wrong (again)

By Gareth Renowden 18/02/2010


I suppose it was inevitable that the feeding frenzy about various “gates” in the British press would attract the attention of the wise old man of Rotorua, Garth George. In today’s Herald he emerges from his sulphurous lair to add his muted sqeak to the hubbub. It’s not much different to his last few columns on the subject, though the borrowing of material is perhaps a little less obvious. He cites his source (a horrendously bad piece by Jonathan Leake in the Sunday Times) and does a proper re-write rather than just quote the whole thing verbatim. But he adds some flourishes of his own:

Their concern – as it is with the data provided by our own National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) – is about the thousands of weather stations around the world which have been used to collect temperature data over the past 150 years.

These stations, they believe, have been seriously compromised by factors such as urbanisation, changes in land use and, in many cases, being moved from site to site. This, of course, is the charge that has long been levelled at Niwa by a significant section of New Zealand’s scientific community.

Rubbish, Garth. What “significant section” would that be? The NZ CSC and Richard Treadgold’s anonymous team of “scientists”? Perhaps you counted that noted environmental scientist Rodney Hide. De Freitas and De Lange? Fringe figures of no great academic standing. You just made it up, didn’t you? Interviewed your typewriter and polled your patio pot plants, to lend false weight to a ridiculous smear campaign.

The rest of Garth’s piece repeats the main points of Leake’s article (handily debunked at Deltoid: keep an eye out for Tim’s Leakegate posts), but as he opened with some failed predictions from 1957, he closes with a prediction of his own:

So, just as Dr Kaplan’s predictions came to nought, so I believe will the scaremongering global warming predictions of today’s climate doomsayers. Perhaps 53 years from now someone will find an ancient copy of the Herald and laugh at the climate change paranoia which afflicted the world in 2010.

Of two things we can be sure: he will not be around to hear the laughter, and it will be Garth George they will be laughing at — if they’re not shedding tears of rage.