Anti-climate change comments no longer allowed

Anyone arguing against climate change happening can’t comment any more – don’t worry, not here, but that seems to be what Stuff are imposing on comments there.

I think that climate change is potentially a major problem facing our planet, and facing humankind. We are having a significant impact on the planet, and most probably on the climate.

I largely disagree with those who say there is nothing to worry about. We should be concerned, and we should be doing more to reduce the human impact on the climate and on the environment.

Not all climate change effects will be negative, some areas may benefit. But overall it poses a major risk, especially considering the huge and expanding human population and the need to feed everyone.

However we should not, must not close down arguments against climate change, or for natural climate change, or against doing anything. For a start, a basic premise of science is that it be continually questioned and challenged, no matter how strong the evidence is one way or another.

And there is a lot to debate about what we should be doing in response to our impact on the planet.

So censoring one side of a debate is a major concern to me. There are whacky extremes on both sides of the arguments. Why target just one side with censorship?

From The Standard: Stuff is banning climate change deniers from articles and comments

Congratulations to Stuff.  Instead of the endless on the one hand but on the other hand reporting, where on the other hand is nothing more than incomprehensible babble from the anti science right, they have adopted this policy:

Stuff accepts the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is real and caused by human activity. We welcome robust debate about the appropriate response to climate change, but do not intend to provide a venue for denialism or hoax advocacy. That applies equally to the stories we will publish in Quick! Save the Planet and to our moderation standards for reader comments.

The change in policy is accompanied by the announcement of a new series of stories and opinion pieces under the title of Quick! Save the planet which is described in this way:

Quick! Save the Planet – a long-term Stuff project launching today – aims to disturb our collective complacency. With insistent, inconvenient coverage, we intend to make the realities of climate change feel tangible – and unignorable.

This project accepts a statement that shouldn’t be controversial but somehow still is: climate change is real and caused by human activity.

Mature adults can disagree about the impact of climate change and how we should react. We’ll feature a wide range of views as part of this project, but we won’t include climate change “scepticism”. Including denialism wouldn’t be “balanced”; it’d be a dangerous waste of time. The experts have debunked denialism, so now we’ll move on.

There were 268 comments to the editorial written by Editor in Chief Patrick Crewdson, mostly supportive, but a few were clearly testing the boundaries.

Well done Stuff.

It is great that the tide of opinion is flowing towards accepting climate change as a reality and working out what needs to be done.  The question will be is this too little too late.

Maybe, but it is not great to see a banning of opposing views. That is bad for debate, bad for democracy, and bad for science.

This is just one of a number of very concerning developments in trying to shut down free speech that are happening right now.

Two contrasting comments early in the Standard discussion:

Robert Guyton:

Stuff’s sidelining of deniers is bold and decisive – good on them. I made this point at our regional council meeting yesterday, with any closet deniers who might be sitting around the table, in mind. There was a squirm 🙂

Chris T:

Totally and utterly disagree.

Deniers of climate change are blind, but to censor differing views that are being put foward (that aren’t breaking swearing rules etc), no matter how stupid they are, or no matter how they may differ from yours, on topics that are as contentious as this, is ridiculous.

There is another argument currently about whether media should provide ‘balance’ by giving a voice to whacky extremes, or at least whether they should provide a forum for minority views with significant slants – Bob McCoskrie comes to mind.

Media articles should be balanced towards factual and scientifically backed information. They shouldn’t give anyone a voice who wants to spout nonsense, or extreme views. Media can choose what they publish.

But when they start to censor comments – free speech – I think they are getting into worrying territory.

Chris T: Is there a master list of topics people aren’t allowed to disagree with or do we just make it up as we go along?

mickysavage: Claiming that climate science is a Soros funded attempt at world government would be a start, saying that scientists are engaged in scare mongering for money is another and claiming that ice cover is actually increasing and that temperature increases have stalled for years is a third topic.

Wayne: Your list, especially the last two, looks indistinguishable from censorship.

Banning arguments against “ice cover is actually increasing” is a particular worry.

Ice cover actually increases every winter. Obviously it decreases in summer. It always varies with seasons. Most science generally suggests that ice cover is decreasing overall, but even with climate change (warming) it can increase in some areas.

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64 Comments

  1. I largely disagree with those who say there is nothing to worry about….there is definitely some thing to be concerned about.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  November 30, 2018

      When you say you “largely disagree” – what do you NOT disagree with?

      Reply
      • Apologies, i had been quoting you, climate change is a worry.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  November 30, 2018

          Oh, I understand now. You should have put that in quotes, but I guess you realise that. 🙂

          I didn’t write the post. I’m not Pete George.

          Reply
          • Traveller

             /  November 30, 2018

            Most would agree that we have reached a stage on the earth where through our mass and a lack of education we human beings may start to adversely impact on the planet unless we are mindful.

            Here’s a thought. What about the UN doing something useful?

            Instead of putting countries as Chair of committees for human rights (when they flagrantly abuse every single human right there isn’t home), what about they work to restrict the number of children people have. What about they educate people to see the value in voluntarily restricting families? Use some of the wasted billions to encourage same?

            Intelligent people realise on a micro level that having too many children within a community where resources are constrained isn’t the best. They expand that to realise on a macro level that a country’s resources will be stretched. It is not good for social outcome, educational outcome and, when they do the Math, eventually our planet. There is huge irony that the people who thoughtfully limit their reproduction will diminish and, in no time, be replaced by those who actively encourage increased family numbers and who also, very often, live in ignorance.

            ( On a personal level I endeavour to eschew waste. I favour organically grown food, I recycle like a beaver, amd am very mindful of packaging. I feel that this is a separate issue to “warming” and “climate change”. I also think the “science” around “warming” is unconvincing and very much undecided.)

            Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  November 30, 2018

            Shame on the rude PDTs, downticking a new person who is simply expressing an opinion.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  November 30, 2018

              We need more girls, anyway. Hello, Sunshiny.

              Trav, I recovered a tatty 1960s chair with a blanket whose colours I really like and which had already been used to recover the sofa cushions….my mother gave me the blanket, so it was already reused.

              I recovered another one with some retro fabric that came from the Sallies and that I had been using as a tablecloth until I decided to redo the chair, and realised that I already had the material. It looks really good (and was incredibly easy)

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  November 30, 2018

              Sorry, Kavitha, I thought that Sunshiny was your user-name 🙂

  2. Ray

     /  November 30, 2018

    Of course the Greens and their anti-capitalist mates love this position .
    Just like the various communist regimes of my life time who think THEY know the answer to all our problems but really really don’t want to hear anything else and make sure no one gets to hear an opposing position.
    Though you would think it must be disappointing for the Greens that even if they reduce us to serfdom in a carbon free future, the 1.5 % that NZ produces is not going to make any difference
    But then these same Green MPs only pay lip service to these ideals as seen by there travel expenses which show reductions are only for the little people not them!

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  November 30, 2018

      But the issue is bigger than just the few people who are involved locally & internationally in trying to communicate with each other and alert & update others and discuss & share information about it at meetings, seminars – the usual places for such matters to be examined and evaluated and plans developed.

      Please explain why they should be any different from any other enterprise, individuals, or political or diplomatic representatives or entities which go gadding about on their respective local and international jaunts using all available modern, quick, efficient forms of transport – and explain why and how they should be travelling differently?

      If you say they should just have video conferences you will lose points immediately if you cannot explain why all those others can’t as well.

      Reply
      • Ray

         /  November 30, 2018

        Simply, because that is what they want to impose on the general public.
        Just as in those who want tax changes always make sure it is someone else that gets to pay more, these zealots want changes that effect everyone else except them.
        Lead by example.

        Reply
      • Gerrit

         /  November 30, 2018

        Poor excuse.

        All leaders should set examples for others to take heed off.

        If it is OK for a leader to fly to a meeting, why should the proletariat feel guilty and not fly?

        The biggest problem for the climate change advocates is not the deniers but the growth of the disinterested and detached.

        One simply tunes out, goes out and enjoys the beach, sits back to live life as best one can.

        Bit like the 0.02% carbon emissions New Zealand makes. Knocking that back to 0.00% will make the beach less sunny? Will that reduction halt climate change?…no, so why bother?

        For on an individual bases, it does not make sense to be a denier. Makes much more sense for ones own well being to be dispassionate about caring for something that is not going to make a blind bit of difference.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  November 30, 2018

          Utterly pathetic. Downticked, and lose points as well. Those involved are those most likely to be advocating for the urgent development of alternatives to fossil-fuel travel. Tortuous argument. And also completely fails to address the travel issue in the context of how they could otherwise undertake necessary travel which others do.

          Reply
          • Gerrit

             /  November 30, 2018

            Yes teacher. How wise and great thou are.

            Travel to Wellington by train for all Auckland/North Island based Green MP’s. Get Jonesy to spend a million or so on sleeping/buffet/ rolling stock, add wifi and the Green MP’s no longer need to travel by air. That would be setting an example to the proletariat.

            Reasons people become disinterested?

            Conflicting information. Did Stuff publish this

            https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/antarctic-sea-ice-reaches-new-record-maximum

            No, but they did publish this

            https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/104687180/grim-future-on-the-horizon-as-antarctic-ice-melt-triples

            So who to believe?

            Think I will go to the beach and catch a few waves. Set the long line and catch a few fish for dinner.

            Reply
            • robertguyton

               /  November 30, 2018

              Why bother going out, Gerrit; the beach will come to you 🙂

            • Gezza

               /  November 30, 2018

              Who to believe? Given the constantly contested majority scientific opinion, and failure of extreme flooding predictions – depends on your biases.

              Enjoy the fishing. I might go down to the stream and feed some eels soon. But I can’t catch & eat any that are native New Zealand longfins. They’re rare and declining, and protected in all of Wellington’s waterways.

            • Gerrit

               /  November 30, 2018

              Yes the beach will come. Only 20 or so metres to go. Not in my, my children, my grand children or my great grand children time will the sea rise that much.

              So will go to the beach as it is now and enjoy.

              We used to catch eels as a post war nutrient supplement (not in NZL). Yummy.

              Problem for the New Zealand native long fin is the size they grow. They eat the young so only a few big ones are around. In the creek behind the factory are some huge ones, easily 100mm round and about 1.5 metres long, but no little ones.

              Must stop feeding them their daily catfood and nature may kill the large ones and let the little one procreate better.

            • Gezza

               /  November 30, 2018

              Oh yes. That’ll be why they’re rare and declining. Because they’ve always eaten up all their young. And that’ll be why only two of mine are four footers and the others are all a range of sizes. :/

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  November 30, 2018

              Should someone tell them that if they eat all their children, they will become extinct ?

  3. Reply
  4. It sounds like a religion:

    Allowing deniers equal time is a serious abdication of responsibility by media whose role in the face of potential disaster is to serve the public, not deceive them. There’s no question that deniers are endangering us all.

    https://thestandard.org.nz/stuff-is-banning-climate-change-deniers-from-articles-and-comments/#comment-1555660

    The word ‘denier’ currently appears 113 times on the post and through comments.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  November 30, 2018

      Just an aside – but I’ll be visiting this one, posted late last night, later today. This is a complex issue and Louisa Wall’s perspective is but one. But that’s not say they can’t just decide to hate on & want to shut down any folk with different views.

      Reply
    • alloytoo

       /  November 30, 2018

      Why does a solid scientific hypothesis need to be defended with the tactics of religious young earth creationists?

      Reply
  5. Treuddyn Ted

     /  November 30, 2018

    Early in this piece is ‘our’ planet.
    Since when was Planet Earth ‘our’ planet? Disregarding for a moment the different theories on how the planets were formed, not one of them points to Planet Earth being ‘our’ planet, ie, no human invented it nor it’s highly complex climate/weather system.

    As for Stuff, that low quality website has not even one journalist worth his/her salt – it’s a worthless rag. So they’ve banned certain deniers free speech? WTF? What’s next? Ban anti-govt comments? Ban anti-green?

    If Stuff management want to grow their readership, they need imho, to reverse that. Perhaps get a discussion going on reducing man-made pollution – something we can all do something about because we sure can’t alter Planet Earth’s highly complex climate/weather system now or ever.

    Reply
  6. Stuff has said, and I quote them for accuracy, that they ” do not intend to provide a venue for denialism or hoax advocacy”. Denialism and hoax advocacy. Quite specific. And they give their reason for doing so: “Including denialism wouldn’t be “balanced”; it’d be a dangerous waste of time”. A dangerous waste of time . Good on Stuff, making such a decision, as they have the right to do, for the benefit of all. Poor wee deniers and hoax advocates will just have to suck it up!
    You’re a bit slow off the mark, Pete: The Standard explored this issue thoroughly yesterday.
    https://thestandard.org.nz/stuff-is-banning-climate-change-deniers-from-articles-and-comments/

    Reply
    • alloytoo

       /  November 30, 2018

      They’ve never shied away from Hoax advocacy before.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  November 30, 2018

        Calling people climate change deniers makes it sound as if they are denying the change, rather than the cause. I am not convinced that people can do much to change it, although I am a firm believer in reducing waste for its own sake and reuse, recycle and the rest of it myself. Instead of taking a fruit bag at the supermarket, I take a breadbag with me. And so on. I don’t buy garden ties or cleaning cloths; old clothes like t-shirts do the job just as well.

        But, given that climate change has always happened, I am dubious about people being able to do much about it.

        Reply
  7. robertguyton

     /  November 30, 2018

    “We welcome robust debate about the appropriate response to climate change”
    Stuff

    Reply
  8. PDB

     /  November 30, 2018

    Stuff: “This project accepts a statement that shouldn’t be controversial but somehow still is: climate change is real and caused by human activity.”

    That comment is straight out lies & therefore destroys the basis of their position. Even if you believe human activity to be the major cause of climate change today (still unproven 100% therefore should still be able to be debated) to say ALL climate change is caused 100% by human activity ignores basic science & climate history.

    Reply
    • robertguyton

       /  November 30, 2018

      They don’t say “ALL”. If you stand behind your claim, please post the quote that proves you’re not just blowing smoke.

      Reply
      • PDB

         /  November 30, 2018

        Their statement says it all – there is no ‘climate change is predominantly caused by humans’ in it at all just a straight up ‘climate change – caused by human activity’. Can’t you read?

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  November 30, 2018

          Yes he CAN read. But I have noticed issues with his reading FOR COMPREHENSION. I have commented to him about this. I am hoping for improvement.

          Reply
        • robertguyton

           /  November 30, 2018

          So… they don’t say, “All” then? You can’t prove your (false) claim.
          In light of this, Gezza might like to explain how my comprehension is faulty.

          Reply
          • PDB

             /  November 30, 2018

            Now you are just being silly – the ‘ALL’ is what can only be deduced when someone makes the unequivocal statement: “climate change is real and caused by human activity.” My claim is correct.

            Gezza is right – your comprehension is very poor.

            Reply
            • robertguyton

               /  November 30, 2018

              Ordinarily, I’d despair at the shallowness of your thinking…but in this case I just don’t care.

            • PDB

               /  November 30, 2018

              Probably why you bothered answering again then…

            • robertguyton

               /  November 30, 2018

              …whatever…

            • Gezza

               /  November 30, 2018

              Fair enuf too. These are the sorts of exchanges where, if they happen to me I eventually just decide to leave it, and soar above it all like a pukeko.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  November 30, 2018

              Why is it so muddy ? Its white frillies are BLACK. I hope it’s not one of yours.

            • Gezza

               /  November 30, 2018

              It’s probably not muddy, it’s more likely the camera’s light setting because their feathers are a matt jet black, like it’s head in that photo. It has its coat tail tucked down over its white frillies because they are fluffy and produce aerodynamic drag. Because they are fluffy they can also be easily compressed by its tail feathers to eliminate that problem. They lift and lower their tail feathers often depending whether they want to display their frilly knickers or hide them. They seem to feature a lot in signalling. They are prominently exposed in certain situations for varying lengths of time. Agitation and wariness or alarm, for example, is always evidenced by their black tail feathers rhythmically flicking up and down, flashing their knickers.

            • Gezza

               /  November 30, 2018

              If you mean, why do it’s legs not look a bright orange but a browny light burnt orange, that is their natural colour.

              You can see the tail edge of its back feathers wafting up a bit in the slipstream. This is because their feathers are varying densities and those are body feathers.

              Their flight feathers are more rigid than their body feathers, and there are relatively few of those. The black body feathers are shorter and more wispy than their flight feathers, and their finest, most delicate feathers, also the densest, are those of their blue lower body plumage, which is like very long down.

            • Gezza

               /  November 30, 2018

              *its legs

              (I blame PG)

  9. The Consultant

     /  November 30, 2018

    Unthinking Identity Politics Mouthpiece

    I’m a Leftie but even I’m finding the Dom Post’s recent transformation into unthinking Identity Politics mouthpiece unbearable. Given the liberal sensibilities of Wellingtonians, they’ve presumably decided a crusading PC narrative is the way to arrest declining readership.

    I must say I’m amused at the increasingly high-pitched screaming, when there are various prominant Lefties – Danyl Mclauchlan and Chris Trotter come to mind – who have concluded that nothing major is going to be done on this issue, by Green-Labour or anyone else.

    Danyl M, Step one: accept people don’t, and may never, give a toss about climate change

    CM: Where is the Mass Movement Against Climate Change

    Perhaps the powerful, intelligent and informed Dom Post can turn this tragedy around.

    Reply
  10. David

     /  November 30, 2018

    It really shows that the warmists are scared of defending their outlandish modelling. There are few people who dont agree that man and pollution has an effect on the climate and the planet and we should wherever possible minimize the damage.
    The problem with the debate is that the warmists went to an extreme forecast which hasnt happened and probably wont and then when anyone questions them they are called a “denier” with all the connotations so there is very little debate but away from the children in the media politicians and scientists and business are dealing with real environmental issue and improving the atmosphere in practical and cost effective ways.
    The biggest fall in greenhouse emissions has come from country that rejected the terrible Paris deal that imposes no restrictions on China or India until 2030 is America and the huge improvement has come from the switch to natural gas that fracking has made easier and more economic to extract. No one is using beautiful coal anymore.

    Reply
  11. The view that climate change is occurring is uncontroversial – it’s a bit like saying that weather exists. The notion that humans contribute to this change is also uncontroversial. That the change appears to be, based on past data, a warming trend, undeniable. If that was all that was implied by the ban, then nobody would be too bothered I expect.

    The problem is that there is plenty beyond that which is disputed. How fast is the warming occurring? How much are humans contributing to the warming? How much will this warming affect the planet and human life? And what is the best response?

    Add to that the proven deliberate falsification of data by some climate scientists, the unreliability of their modeling, and its failure thus far to accurately predict the change that has already occurred, and censorship of divergent views presents a real problem.

    Personally, I see no credible evidence thus far that the warming is significant, nor that humans make the greatest contribution to it, nor that it will make human life more difficult. And most importantly, even if I am wrong about all that, I don’t see government restrictions or intervention in human economic activity as any sort of solution. The honest, best solution is private sector adaptation to whatever the science may be warning us is coming. Living here in Texas, 40°C weather in summer is normal. If Texans can handle it, I’m pretty sure anywhere else it happens will be okay too.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  November 30, 2018

      If Texans can handle it, I’m pretty sure anywhere else it happens will be okay too
      Why? Is Texas like everywhere else that could get to 40°C in Summer?

      Reply
  12. Zedd

     /  November 30, 2018

    Anyone who seriously thinks Climate change is just a myth.. (not mentioning names) needs to start adding some context/data… not just because they dont like the idea (head in the sand) OR are just jumping on the MrT & Co. bandwagon

    I heard today that the last 4 years are ‘the hottest on record’ & that in the last 20 years nearly every year has seen large increases in Greenhouse gases.

    Just look across the ditch; massive flood in Sydney; worst in 100 years with one months rain fall in about 1 HOUR. Also massive bushfires sweeping across Q-land

    Even here in Otago, they said the recent rains have also topped previous records, for November

    “Believe it OR NOT ?!” 😦

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  November 30, 2018

      Typical case of alarmist strawman – very few people argue ‘climate change’ doesn’t occur, what is up for debate is how much climate change is driven by humans.

      Zedd: “Just look across the ditch; massive flood in Sydney; worst in 100 years with one months rain fall in about 1 HOUR.”

      News.com.au: “So much rain has fallen, Sydney has had its wettest day for three years and its wettest November day in 34 years.”
      BBC: Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said it was the region’s wettest November day since 1984.

      Reply
      • Zedd

         /  November 30, 2018

        Yes lets just ignore it PDB.. then all hope it will just go away… NOT !

        “WAKE UP & smell the B-S.. from your comments”

        Reply
      • Zedd

         /  November 30, 2018

        “Yes, yes I hear you well… I think you have the wrong man !” 😀 😀 😀

        thus spake zimmy

        Reply
    • It’s hard to take climate change alarmists seriously when their main argument consists of “Climate change is a serious problem, because of [insert recent extreme weather event here]”.

      Extreme weather does not necessarily correlate to anthropogenic climate change. It has happened from time to time and place to place all throughout history. Even assuming we could control the world’s climate like offices control their air conditioning, you would still get extreme weather. There’s no idyllic point in time where ancient civilizations had low carbon footprints and never had a flood, hurricane, blizzard or heatwave. Quite the opposite! Planet Earth is a dangerous place, and always has been.

      Reply
  13. Treuddyn Ted

     /  November 30, 2018

    “No one is using beautiful coal anymore”
    Actually there’s probably more coal being used nowadays than ever before.A fair bit I imagine in the manufacture of carbon fiber for modern transport, aeroplanes, rockets and wind turbines..

    This site may not be ideal, but if for a moment we could stay with the topic of pollution – consider:
    Production of an average petrol car will involve emissions amounting to the equivalent of 5.6 tonnes of CO2, while for an average electric car, the figure is 8.8 tonnes. Of that, nearly half is incurred in producing the battery.
    Despite this, over its whole lifecycle, the electric car would still be responsible for 80% of the emissions of the petrol car.

    Electric cars – clean and green, good for the planet?
    I’m afraid not.

    And with Julie Anne Genter dishing out thousands of brand new cycles to school children, she conveniently overlooks the emissions pollution in their manufacture.
    Sorry kids, walking or riding to school on horseback for you.

    Reply
  14. Alan Wilkinson

     /  November 30, 2018

    Journalists are now just opinion-mongers. Opinions masquerading as facts are the epitome of fake news.

    For a local example: Robert Guyton.

    Fact: at the current rate of sea level rise it will take a century to rise one foot.

    Fake News: sea levels are rising at an alarming rate due to human CO2 and methane emissions.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  November 30, 2018

      How long in the century before the periods they’re measuring from now did it take to rise one foot?

      Reply
    • PDB

       /  November 30, 2018

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  November 30, 2018

        Seems very well up on the frequently-fulfilled predictions that global warming-related climate change produces apparently contradictory local freak weather extremes. Have you emailed to ask him for his views on the New Zealand economy?

        Reply
  15. Alan Wilkinson

     /  November 30, 2018

    Interesting how the Dutch plan to manage water and New Zealand “plan” to run away from it.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  November 30, 2018

      Of course the RMA means no other plan is realistic here. Nothing sensible could ever be approved in time.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  November 30, 2018

        1ewes item tonight. The focus is now shifting to what can be done to soak up carbon dioxide. In South Wales researchers have discovered mining slag positively drinks the stuff when scraped out of the slag heaps and mixed in with soil; also strongly promotes plant growth.

        In the US they are discovering ground up volcanic rock is a fantastic plant growth additivie & fertiliser (any farmer or horticulturalist from my rohe of Taranaki already knows this). They are speculating that it may also be a great carbon sink & research has begun on this.

        Reply
  1. More on Stuff’s climate change conversation control | Your NZ

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