Poles Apart – wrong process, right conclusion?

Poles apartA new climate change assessment book, Poles Apart by Gareth Morgan and John McCrystal, was launched at Parliament on Tuesday. The audience contained representatives of both sides of this debate. The main speaker was Dr Nick Smith, Minister for Climate Change Issues.

This is a somewhat unusual contribution to discussion on this issue. It is not, itself, produced by climate scientists. Nor does it come from well reconginsed sceptics of climate change – although the authors admit to seeing the IPCC reports as “alarmist.”

Morgan, a well known New Zealand financial advisor, and his co-authoir set out to find their own answers. He paid around $500,000 to hire two teams of scientists – the climate change “Alarmists” and “Sceptics”, to put their arguments to him as he sought to make sense of the debate surrounding global warming and its causes.


The climate change science case was presented Dr Dave Lowe, Dr Lionel Carter, Dr Andy Reisinger and Dr Peter Barrett – all from the Antarctic Research Centre at Victoria University Given the declared “agnostic” attitudes of Morgan and McCrystal, the climate scientists were “apprehensive abnd knew there was a risk in taking part in this project.” However, the project was clearly going ahead and the authoirs had been briefed by  climate change “sceptics.” As Peter Barrett says:

“We knew that your average Kiwi bloke reads Gareth Morgan and trusts his opinion,. We figured that if we could convince him of the robustness of modern climate change science he would send a powerful message to New Zealanders in this book.”


“Quite a few mainstream scientists aren’t happy about the book and the way the authors rip into the IPCC process, and Dave has had a few harsh comments for his participation in the book research process.  Basically some of our scientific colleagues didn’t think that an economist could make sense of a complex subject like the science of climate change.  We disagree. Not perfect sense, of course, but sufficient sense to come to his own conclusions that are in the end not very different from those of climate scientists.”

I’m hoping to get a review copy of this book so will be able to pass on my own judgement soon.


See also:
Poles Apart website: for information on the book and the epxert reports used
Dr Reisinger: Wrong process, right conclusion in Morgan book
Gareth Morgan’s “alarmists”: Poles Apart was worth the effort

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12 responses to “Poles Apart – wrong process, right conclusion?

  1. Prof. Barrett and the person your wikipedia link points refrred to as Peter Barrett are different people: correct? The wikipedia link might be wrong? 😉


  2. You are right – I should have checked.


  3. Was there a post about the more popular ‘climate change’ book, “Con Air” by Ian Wishart? If so, I don’t recall seeing it. Wishart and Morgan were being interviewed by Leighton Smith on NewsTalkZB last week – was quite interesting.


  4. Heraclides

    Wishart being the crank he is opposed to Morgan who seems reasonably level-headed and able to take silliness in a decent way, I imagine he’d have had laughed at some of Wishart’s claims if they were anything like the things he writes on-line or in that religious/conspiracy rag of his.


  5. Never heard of this Wishart fellow until he was brought up here.
    What a bizarre person.
    He’s your classical science denier.

    Denies not only global warming but also as major problems with modern biology.
    This man is ignorance personified.
    Yet he firmly believes that all of the world’s scientists are involved in various global conspiracies to bamboozle the public for their own secret ends.
    There is a live-wire link between the crowd that denies the theory of evolution and the crowd that denies global warming.

    The same moronic thinking that allows you to deny science in one area will allow you to deny science in other areas.

    Here’s a collection of blog responses to this Wishart nonsense.
    Talk about a thrashing.



  6. Ross – this post was not about Morgan’s book but the attitude of the scientists he consulted.

    However, I managed to get a review copy of “Poles Apart” and will shortly post a review. Perhaps I should also attempt to get a review copy of “Con Air”. Then I can make an informed judgement of it.

    Do you think Wishart will give me a review copy?


  7. Pingback: Beyond the shouting « Open Parachute

  8. I see Wishart’s blog carrying a youtube segment for a documentary about his book


  9. Gunther – I get the point. You wish to advertise Wishart’s book.

    If you have contact with him ask him why he ignores my offer to review his book. I did review Poles Apart (see Beyond the shouting) – but despite twice contacting Ian offering to review his book I have had no reply. This is in sharp contrast to the Poles Apart publishers who sent me a copy within 48 hours.

    I got the impression Wishart is being selective about reviewers – particularly scientific reviewers.


  10. Ken – not quite sure who Cedric Katesby, is/was. As soon as someone/anyone uses the term ‘denier’ in any context I become instantly suspicious of their motives.

    Interesting to see the outcome of the debate on Close Up tonight, Wishart 77%, Morgan 23%.

    And Morgan’s KiwiSaver funds are the worst performing in NZ. Isn’t he an ‘expert’ in this area too?

    “If you have not changed your beliefs in the last few years, check your pulse as you may not be alive”.


  11. What’s your point, Hardly? I didn’t see the interview – but so what? My understanding of climate change is not based on opinions. It is derived from the evidence and analysis to the extent I can follow them ( I am a chemist not climate scientist). I also listen to the experts.

    I am always open to changing my assessment as new evidence comes in (Wishart certainly can’t be trusted in this area). Changes of mind are common in science . As I have pointed out I am not a “believer” in climate change or any other scientific issue for which evidence abounds.

    Now there are issues here to do with the shonkey analysis the denier groups have done on NIWA data. Wishart has been promoting that fraud (despite the fact that it conflicts with his thinking – but he is happy to promote hostility to science as his support for creationism shows).

    I have a post on the denier/sceptical terms later this week which will clarify my attitude to these terms. Briefly, I only use denier for people who don’t have a truly scientific sceptical view. Who don’t care about evidence. They have their beliefs or convictions and little things like evidence don’t influence those. Therevarebolentybifvoeople sceptical on global warming who aren’t deniers. Wishart isn’t one of them.

    By the way, I did review Poles Apart – quite a good book. I am currently reviewing Air Con – not in the same class I am afraid. But I don’t think I expected any objective analysis from Wishart anyway. Not after his other shocking attempts.

    Glad you liked my quote on changing one’s mind. I think it is very apt. Sent from my iPod


  12. As soon as someone/anyone uses the term ‘denier’ in any context I become instantly suspicious of their motives.

    Then that means there are no deniers!
    How about crackpots?
    Is there ever a time and a place to call somebody a raving crackpot, or will you defensively become suspicious of the person using the term?


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