Cited environmental benefits of Meridian Energy’s proposed Project Hayes wind farm were based on misleading scientific information, an Environment Court appeal hearing in Cromwell was told yesterday.
Prof Bob Carter, of Queensland, Australia, appeared as a witness for appellant Roch Sullivan to give evidence at the hearing on issues of climate change.
Prof Carter said the Government’s justification of its support of Project Hayes – in order to reduce global warming – was a waste of time and money.
“No significant increase in global average temperature has occurred since 1998 despite an increase in carbon dioxide over the same period of about 5%.”
Information used by Meridian and the Government to justify the relatively expensive development of wind energy was based on reports made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which suggested fossil-fuelled energy generation created global warming, he said.
The IPCC’s processes were flawed and there was a large body of independent scientists around the world who discounted its policies on climate change, Prof Carter said.
“There are alternative, very soundly based views on the effects of carbon dioxide and warming of the climate.
“A human effect on global climate change has not yet been distinguished and measured . . . meanwhile, global temperature change is occurring, as it always naturally does, and a phase of cooling has succeeded the mild late 20th century warming,” he said.
Prof Carter said the available scientific data on global warming did not justify the belief carbon dioxide emission controls could be used as a means of managing or stopping future climate change, which the Government believed Project Hayes could do.
Therefore, the Government’s notion of global warming, which prompted its 10-year moratorium on new fossil fuel power stations, would cost taxpayers dearly for no additional environmental benefit, he said.
Changes in temperature preceded parallel changes in carbon dioxide and, therefore, carbon dioxide could not be the primary driver of global temperature change, he said.
“Natural climate change will continue with some of its likely manifestations, such as sea-level rises and coastal change in particular locations. Adaptation to that will not be aided by imprudent restructuring of the world’s energy,” he said.
By Rosie Manins
29 July 2008
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding