Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lies of the Climate Commission part 9-the cargo cult continues

The government's climate propaganda unit, its climate commission, has released a new report on the Health Impacts of Climate Change.
The report was written by Lesley Hughes and epidemiologist Tony McMichael and reviewed by the Commission's uncritical reviewers.

Tony McMichael features in a Climate gate email exchange (see below) with Mike Hulme commenting about the work of respected epidemiologist Paul Reiter. According to his Wikipedia entry Paul Reiter is a specialist in the natural history, epidemiology and control of mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever, West Nile Virus, and malaria. He has been critical of the IPCC process. In a 2005 statement to the UK Select Committee on Economic Affairs Reiter outlined problems with the IPCC health assessments and concludedThe natural history of mosquito-borne diseases is complex, and the interplay of climate, ecology, mosquito biology, and many other factors defies simplistic analysis. The recent resurgence of many of these diseases is a major cause for concern, but it is facile to attribute this resurgence to climate change, or to use models based on temperature to "predict" future prevalence. In my opinion, the IPCC has done a disservice to society by relying on "experts" who have little or no knowledge of the subject, and allowing them to make authoritative pronouncements that are not based on sound science. In truth, the principal determinants of transmission of malaria and many other mosquito-borne diseases are politics, economics and human activities. A creative and organized application of resources is urgently required to control these diseases, regardless of future climate change. 
Despite his expertise, surprisingly no work by Reiter was cited in the climate commission's  report on Climate change and health. The commission has presented only one side of a complex argument.
The lies of omission are the greatest lies of all. The commission's report is another example of cargo cult science in action. It is clear that the commission has no intention of fulfilling its charter to Explain the science of climate change and the impacts on Australia. It is purely a political body. I have no doubt the ABC in its coverage of this report will once again fail in their duty to ask the hard questions.

From the Climategate emails (note I have trimmed the email addresses and phone numbers)

date: Sun, 23 Jun 2002 04:23:10 +1000
from: "Tony McMichael" 
subject: RIF: Paul Reiter
to: "Mike Hulme" , "Sari Kovats" 

You've probably already had colourful comment from Sari and Jonathan.  Paul Reiter is, in my view, smart, confrontative and inflexible. He has been leading the charge of the (mostly US) professionally-affronted field epidemiologists, who think:
1. That if IPCC says that climate change is likely to affect VBD transmissibility, then it is also saying that this is happening already; and
2. That if climate is invoked as a causal influence, then it seems that the silly IPCC epidemiologists don't understand that there are a few other influences that are more important.
Paul's documentation that, historically, malaria was often more serious in Europe during relatively cooler times is very interesting - but is essentially irrelevant for the second reason above. Those historical times also coincided with other major shifts in social, economic, nutritional and political circumstances.
Well, it helps to keep us on our toes.
 -----Messaggio originale----- 
 Da: Mike Hulme [mailto:m.hulme@xxx.xx.xx] 
 Inviato: ven 21/06/2002 1.25 
 A: Tony McMichael; patz@xxx.xx.xx; Sari Kovats 
 Oggetto: Paul Reiter
Tony, Jonathan, Sari, I engaged in robust conversation with Paul Reiter last night at an Institute of Ideas debate on climate change - he is clearly very unhappy about the IPCC health chapter and contributed to the public debate a rather dismissive comment about IPCC in general as a process of 'citizens science'. I've not come cross the guy before. Is there something I need to know? Mike
Hulme's inquiry followed this email from Paul Reiter that explains some issues related to human health and climate change (note the difference in tone from Reiter).
date: Thu, 27 Jun 2002 15:33:49 -0400
from: Paul Reiter 
subject: Climate change and mosquitoborne disease
to: m.hulme@xxx.xx.xx
Dear Mike, Enjoyed meeting you last week. Attached are a couple of papers I mentioned. The review in Environmental Health Perspectives is the most comprehensive. As an example of the sort of thing I tried to explain to you, try the paper by Harvell in Science, June 21. I have never heard of any of the authors, yet they write with authority on dengue and malaria. I ran the bit on bird malaria past my Director, Duane Gubler. He worked on bird malaria in Hawaii in the 1960s. Even then it was a major cause of death in wild birds. He agreed: there is no reason to believe that climate change has been relevant in recent years. Then there is the bit in the Conclusions: The most detectable effects of directional climate warming on disease relate to geographic range expansion of pathogens such as Rift Valley fever, dengue ... I assure you, there is absolutely no evidence for either. RVF shows no change in range. Pandemics of dengue (and yellow fever) were once common in the USA and Europe. The first epidemic of dengue ever described was in Pennsylvania in 1780 (it was colder then!) and the disease occurred as far north as Boston. YF has been transmitted in Dublin and Swansea. Dengue has expanded in range since the 1950s-60s, when there was a major effort to eliminate the vector by DDT treatments. As the vector has returned, so has the virus. So, as I tried to explain, in my field there is a lamentable dissemination of unsubstantiated statements that are not supported by any observations. In answer to your questions re the IPCC: I dont make comments on the climatology, but if the statements are in any way of the same ilk as those in my field, then I think the situation is lamentable. Hope we get a chance to discuss some more. Best wishes Paul Attachment Converted: "c:\eudora\attach\Reiter_clim_chge_mos_dis.PDF" Attachment Converted: "c:\eudora\attach\Shakespeare.pdf" _________________________________ Paul Reiter CDC West Nile Project Harvard School of Public Health _________________________________
McMichael reveals his political leanings as he responds to a request to lobby the Australian Government about the IPCC head.

date: Mon, 8 Apr 2002 18:37:24 +1000
from: "Tony McMichael" 
subject: RE: Bob Watson
to: "Mike Hulme" , "Andy Haines" 

Andy and Mike,

I plan to speak with Ian Noble about this this evening. Ian has good political connections here (but remember, ours is routinely the first government to endorse whatever Bush says/does on climate change!). 

I will be meeting with the Acting Director of the Australian Greenhouse Office next week, and will explore a bit further.


Prof. A.J. McMichael
Director, National Centre for Epidemiology & Population Health
Australian National University
ACT 0200

-----Original Message-----
From: Mike Hulme [mailto:m.hulme@xxx.xx.xx]
Sent: 08 April, 2002 6:33 PM
To: Andy Haines; Tony McMichael
Subject: Re: Bob Watson


I have followed the news, and seen a copy of the February 2001 memo from 
Exxon to Bush that started this thing rolling.

I take a rather relaxed view of this.  Watson does not have an unalienable 
right to chair IPCC and a change may be good anyway.  Pauchari from TERI in 
India, anyway, seems unlikely to me to 'let USA off the hook'.  The 
upsetting thing of course is the lobbying by Exxon and the giving way to it 
by Bush, but we have known this all along is a problem with the Bush 

Susan Solomon who is likely to end up chairing WGI from the USA is a top 
quality scientist and will let the 'science speak loud and clear' I believe.

The outcome of all this should be known after the Geneva Plenary in 10 days 

All the best,


At 19:56 05/04/02 +0100, Andy Haines wrote:
>Dear both,
>You will no doubt have seen the news about the intention of the Bush
>administration not to support Bob in his role as chair of IPCC
>apparently as a result of lobbying by Exxon Mobil. Tony , can you lobby
>the Australian govt and major scientific bodies in Australia to express
>their concern about and opposition to this action? Mike , I will contact
>Ian Gibson and Robert May but you may have other suggestions

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