Ever read an article based on a “Scientific” Report and be unable to find out even which report it is? or Six Reasons why you should worry about Climate Change

Six Reasons You Should Worry About Climate Change

I came across the above article in the New Zealand Herald of Monday May 2.

I am interested in this subject, especially the Sea Level Rise aspect.

This is because my Local Government is currently is  starting to put pressure on 18,000 private properties which are believed (by the Local Government) to be “in danger of inundation in 100 years time” .

This action is based upon a report commissioned by my City Council which assures us that there will probably/most likely be a 1000mm sea level rise within that 100 years.

I have studied this report as well as a few others produced by the same agency. In all there are three or more reports upon which the Christchurch (NZ) City Council is using to justify their actions.

In New Zealand, each property title has a document called a “Land Information Memorandum” attached to it. This gives details of any possible hazards and town planning obligations etc. that apply to this particular title. This is essential and generally helpful reading for anyone wishing to purchase that particular property.

An brief overview of the Councils intention reads something like this :-

Initially the council wants to put an entry in the memorandums of the above mentioned 18,000 properties siting that inundation, (depending on the zone of the particular property) will happen within 50 years or 100 years.  More ominously the Council also aims to designate “Inundation Zones” on the district plan, the intention being to allow them to control development within these areas.

Most importantly,  before any significant improvements to any property in this inundation zone are allowed,  they will demand – what is known as a “Resource Consent”.

(A resource Consent is a process which both examines in depth, allows comments or objections from any persons throughout New Zealand – does not have to be a neighbor – and because of the likely requirements for expert reports and hearing/court costs etc. is also very expensive to obtain)

I should know, I spent $200,000 and a lot of my time to try to get approval for a perfectly reasonable and GREEN project and after a number of hearings and court appearances, I failed.

The Council has also stated that any resource consent on this matter will be unlikely to be approved

Most citizens of my city now easily recognize that this will not only restrict the living of the affected property owners but is the first step to start “legally” clearing residents out of these areas.

There is no doubt that, should the council have its way, there will be at least, a profound drop in property values in these areas, which in itself will cause people with large mortgages hardship and for obvious reasons probably force their exit and break them financially.

It is also thought that insurance may be impossible to attain.

Although because of a backlash and protests by the residents of the area involved, the Council has withdrawn the process for the time being. However some groups are now organizing to try and fight this heavy handedness.May these groups keep the pressure up because it is apparent that the Council is not giving up on this action but more biding its time for the best opportunity.

My research showed that key documents that the Council is relying on here can only be described as extremely shoddy and alarmist in their compilation.

First of all the current sea level rise, according to well researched academic studies, shows that  currently THE SEA RISES 1.7mm per year, which it has been since records began and NO ACCELERATION HAS YET BEEN DETECTED!

Although some of the above mentioned  reports which the Council is using as “Authority”, ( which I found generally poorly referenced as to where their information came from), actually reference these same academic studies above, they have not seem fit to mention the important little fact, that there is no empirical evidence showing acceleration of sea level rise, is stated in their text.

Therefore I was and am still intrigued about where the “facts” came from for this news paper article

Hence I wrote three times to the paper requesting the source of their article and especially this “New Report”  mentioned in the first sentence, of which one can read in the next paragraph,  was published by the Royal Society of New Zealand.

First of all, a paragraph of the newspaper Article.

why we should worry about climate change

With a historic global climate agreement about to be signed in New York, a new report has laid bare how New Zealand will be affected by climate change.
The report, published by the Royal Society of New Zealand, has found that climate change, already underway, will almost certainly accelerate this century unless drastic action is taken to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases.
Changes expected to impact New Zealand include at least 30cm and possibly more than one metre of sea-level rise this century.
The report finds it likely that the sea level rise around New Zealand will exceed the global average, which will cause coastal erosion and flooding, especially when combined with storm surges.
“Many New Zealanders live on the coast and two-thirds of us live in flood-prone areas so we are vulnerable to these projected changes,” said Professor James Renwick, chair of the expert panel who wrote the report.
Even small changes in average conditions can be associated with large changes in the frequency of extreme events, he said.
The report highlights six major effects we can expect to see.
1. It will threaten our coastlines

• It is very likely that the rate of sea level rise around New Zealand will exceed the historical rate and exceed the global average – at least another 30cm is virtually guaranteed this century but the rise could exceed 1m.
• With a 30cm rise in sea level, the current one-in-100 year extreme sea level event would be expected to occur once every year or so in many coastal regions.
*Rising sea levels mean rising coastal water tables, leading to semi-permanent or permanent inundation of low-lying areas, and the potential for salt water to get into freshwater systems.
• The implications for coastal populations will vary widely, depending on the shape of the coast, the distribution of buildings and structures at risk and their vulnerability, and the differentiated make-up of communities themselves. *However, the recent report of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment indicates that thousands of households in many towns and cities will be affected.
• These communities will need to plan for and adapt to change and some will need to decide whether to “hold the line” or relocate in response to known risks or actual climate change impacts.
2. It will bring more floods

etc.  etc.

Full article is here:   six reasons you should worry about climat change NZ Herald

So here is my polite letter to the editor

“The New Zealand Herald

Dear Sir,

I am interested in the sources of the many unsupported facts and omissions in your article

“Six reasons you should worry about climate change”.

For instance you mention “A new report” then later we find it is “ published by the Royal Society of New Zealand”.

Then later we read “Changes expected to impact New Zealand include at least 30cm and possibly more than one metre of sea-level rise this century

I find these statements puzzling because in one of the Royal Society of New Zealand’s recent publications, and I cite:- RSNZ, 2010

“Sea levels have risen throughout the Twentieth Century

“Tidal records from many sites around the globe provide clear evidence that sea levels have risen over the last century by an average of 1.7 mm/yr (± 0.5 mm/yr).6 Over the period of satellite observation, altimetry and tidal records confirm that the rate has increased, as shown in Figure 1. The rise over the past fifteen years has been 3.3 mm/yr (± 0.4 mm/yr).7

Accounting for land movement, comparable rises are seen in the tidal records for Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin, and Lyttelton where annual records cover most of last century. The rise around New Zealand has been close to the global trend. However, evidence of an accelerating rate has not yet been seen in the New Zealand tidal record.”

(Figure 1. Refers to a graph of observations and predictions. The observations source is not given)

Other sources such as J. Hannah

School of Surveying, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand in 2004 published the following;

“This new analysis supports at least two other conclusions.

Firstly, it continues to indicate that in New Zealand, at least, there has been neither a significant change in the rate of sea level rise nor any detectable acceleration”

GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 31, L03307, doi:10.1029/2003GL019166, 2004

RSNZ2010 also contains some speculative statements such as you cite in your article, but the actual truth is that;

According to all the sources I can find, there is no acceleration of sea level rise yet detected in NZ waters – and unless an acceleration, which obviously is a necessary condition in order to attain 300mm of sea level rise during the next century, is empirically detected, any prediction of sea level rising is simply pure speculation.

I would also venture suggest that if you are basing your article on a similar report to RSNZ 2010 the quality of your reporting is not in the least enhancing the reputation of your organization.


According to these sources, the sea level change in New Zealand shores is recorded as being a constant 1.7mm per annum since recording began.

In order to cause 300mm per century it needs to double and to attain 1000mm per century it needs to multiply by more than a factor of five!

The catch is that this acceleration has not yet started.

However, I am very interested in this “New Report” and I trust that you can direct me to this publication so I can assess it for myself.

I have not mentioned any of the later statements in your article which are presumably also based on this report, but it is difficult to give then credence unless there is some empirical break through which can suddenly validate these claims. Therefore I am very keen to study these.

At the moment, for instance, we know that the climate is still cooler than that attained by the Medieval Warm Period, and other historically recorded warmings. The fact we are still cooler than the Medieval Warm Period, for instance is validated by the archaeological recovery of “Garten Unter Sandet” which is a Viking farm in Greenland which was excavated from permafrost a few years ago. http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/obj/s4/f2/dsk2/ftp04/mq22551.pdf

Another example is http://climateaudit.org/2005/11/18/archaeological-finds-in-retreating-swiss-glacier/ which discusses early artifacts left during medieval, roman and stone ages that are being discovered emerging from the ice and snow. It appears that this area has been used a short cut between North Italy and the Bernese upper country for a number of periods in early history.

Looking forward to reading your “New Report

Faithfully Yours ….”

 I sent the above email three times and only got an automated reply each time, saying that I would be contacted within three working days.

Of course I have not been contacted.

Well with no help from the newspaper, I did eventually find what must be the report in question.

Climate Change Implications for New Zealand

My apologies to the readers who tried the above link and ended up facing a log in screen.  It appears that the Royal Society didnt really want too many people to read their paper.

However I have found that I had archived the report on my own disk so here it is:-


It is a rehash of the report I mention above (RSNZ, 2010) and uses some of the same wording.

For instance

“Tidal records from many sites around the globe provide clear evidence that sea levels have risen over the last century by an average of 1.7 mm/yr (± 0.5 mm/yr).6 Over the period of satellite observation, altimetry and tidal records confirm that the rate has increased, as shown in Figure 1. The rise over the past fifteen years has been 3.3 mm/yr (± 0.4 mm/yr).7″

appears but the paragraph :-

Accounting for land movement, comparable rises are seen in the tidal records for Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin, and Lyttelton where annual records cover most of last century. The rise around New Zealand has been close to the global trend. However, evidence of an accelerating rate has not yet been seen in the New Zealand tidal record.”

is absent:-  No claim that acceleration has been detected, no mention of the current data at all.

Even worse, I cannot find any  scientific references refering to sea level rise in this article, (except Bell and Hannah part of which was quoted above), (via (RSNZ, 2010), but omitting the last key phrase.

Hannah also reiterates the above at GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 31, L03307, doi:10.1029/2003GL019166, 2004

There continues to be no evidence of any
acceleration in relative sea levels over the record

This “report” is therefore demonstrably not an authorative report, it is not a scientific report – it appears to be a summary of scare mongering rumour and should be treated as much.

An academic would describe any report, even one  with what is purported to contain life changing information for normal people, but without proper references as “fiction”

This is not even close to the standard of work worthy of an organisation that calls themselves “The Royal Society of New Zealand”

Even if we can believe such speculative predictions which the NZ Herald is thrusting on the public, sea level rise will never be a tsunami, and there will be plenty of time to enact suitable measures if and when an actual acceleration in sea level rise is detected.

We the people of Christchurch and especially the 18,000 property holders being bullied by the local government deserve better than this!

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23 Responses to Ever read an article based on a “Scientific” Report and be unable to find out even which report it is? or Six Reasons why you should worry about Climate Change

  1. Gin Janinja says:

    Don’t bite my head off I’m just asking. But doesn’t the first report say an average of 1.7 over the last 100 years. but an increase to 3.3 over the last fifteen. Just gonna do some math for a sec. So the average for 15 years is 3.3mm multiplied by 15 years. This is 49.5mm out of the 170 over 100 years. So for 85 years the sea level rose by an average of 1.418mm per year. Then around 2000-2001 it was suddenly an average of 3.3 for the next 15 years. And there is no correlating data from NZ to support this. I wonder what happened around that time then? Maybe there was a meeting somewhere?

    • rogerthesurf says:


      Thanks for commenting.

      Never could find any real data that explained the 3.3mm. If you see an authoritive paper or similar that mentions this, please send me a copy or link.



      PS For what its worth, I live by the sea and since 2017 haven’t noticed any difference yet either although one would expect a 9.9mm increase should have some visible effect. .

  2. Roger,

    You failed to mention or connect that the entire east coast of the country is on an uplift/subduction plate and that the East coasts are continually rising due to seismic activity. Just ask the Kaikoura Harbour master how worried they are about a potential, real or imagined, few millimeters of sea level change vs the 2 meters delivered by the recent earthquake.

  3. wshofact says:

    Has this made main news over there?

    Welter of legal claims on New Zealand coast by Maori organizations

    What do you think has caused the “welter of legal claims”.

  4. spangled drongo says:

    I would expect NZ to be “enjoying” the same amount of SLR as the east coast of Australia and after checking the highest summer king tides at our old seafront home site in Moreton Bay for the 6th successive year I can report that they are (as usual) about a foot lower than they were 70 years ago.

    We know about the adjustments in satellite altimetry and no one has yet done a geodetic audit on the world’s tide gauges but in stable parts of the world there is nothing happening, as Morner states.

    The highest tide at Fort Denison in Sydney harbour was in 1974.

    • rogerthesurf says:

      Spangled Drongo,
      You are quite right.
      In New Zealand, the best empirical evidence comes up with a 1.7mm/year. (Regional sea level trends in New Zealand
      John Hannah1 and Robert G. Bell 2012)

      The same as Australia I believe and close to what is found in the US. https://www.epa.gov/climate-indicators/climate-change-indicators-sea-level

      What is most important is that in ALL cases, NO ACCELERATION has yet been observed.

      If you look on my blog at the post on the UN headquarters, you may come to the conclusion that the United Nations is soewhat ambivalent about preparing for inconvenient sea level rise as well.

      Thanks for visiting.



      • spangled drongo says:

        Thanks, Roger. People of great knowledge when it comes to SLR are families who have run boat slipping businesses for generations who would kill for some SLR as it enables their business to expand. Any I speak to simply say, if only….

        Be interesting to speak to some knowledgeable Kiwis in this field.

  5. Manfred says:

    I’ve just encountered your site for the first time. Thank you for your valuable work.
    Shortly before the COP 21 Paris (2015) the mayor of Dunedin, Mr Cull, aided and abetted by TV&Radio NZ pronounced that South Dunedin was a ‘canary’ for the country, that climate change was chiefly responsible for the steadily rising risk of repeated flooding and inundation. A quick look at data from the local tide gauge in addition to data regarding the subsidence of South Dunedin (built on a reclaimed coastal marsh) showed a relative SLR of some 3mm pa, approx. half from each source. This published data goes back several decades and there are no surprises, save the obvious, that the Dunedin City Council must have known this information. The question appears to then become one of culpability, and an apparent reluctance to attend to the evidence and to invest by taking appropriate and timely mitigating steps or even simply keeping the drains clean and pumps functional. Instead as the evidence suggests, as devotees of UN globalisation, they opportunistically seize any political platform and weather event to further promote UN globalisation policies that advance UN post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda and UN Urban Agenda (Habitat III), as they have done by their enthusiastic embrace of UNEP divestment strategy.
    New Zealand is sometimes said to be 15 years behind the times. If we have to wait 15 years for our Trump moment, we’ll be economically DOA.

    • rogerthesurf says:


      Nice hear from you.

      In my view, what we need is a local Donald Trump.

      However it seems very unlikely that such a person could ever emerge here.
      Certainly the current PM and his inhereted team most certainly do not exhibit conservative values, capitalism and low taxation.

      In fact the reason why they are in power is because they have taken a step to the left, and have soaked up a reasonable number of the left leaning on the way.

      The Labor Party has been forced, or taken the opportunity of taking a further step to the left, which unfortunately appears to be a step to far for many.

      However the point is that there are a considerable number of free market, capitalistic, low tax supporting and freedom believers who simply have no where to go. It could be that these people, like in the US, are increasing in number.

      Therefore where is our Donald Trump?



      • Manfred says:

        Thank you Roger. Couldn’t agree more. It’s been a long time since anyone energized and invigorated New Zealand in a manner that spanned or obliterated traditional political divisions or expanded the national imagination, independence and resilience and defeated the absurdly transparent lie that all is resonating peaches and cream in the ‘Godszone’. Were NZ a single, small compressed city of 4.5M along the lines of the vision promoted by UN Urban Agenda Habitat III, I shudder to think what it might look like. The identity of this young country is yet to coalesce and in the present, regrettably appears to quintessentially personify and articulate the word ‘no’ at every level in every field. The edifice of regulation and bureaucracy, taxation and levies, social manipulation and compliance, together with impoverished expectation is so pervasive and burdensome it truly constrains prosperity and freedom. Few appear to publicly express it, possibly because political correctness sedates most under a convenient mantle of government sanctioned social narcosis.

        Maybe its too late for New Zealand. If the Marxist eco-globalists win in the short term (they can never in the log term) then it may become very politically incorrect to seek a national identity or step outside the formally constructed boundaries of things like the ‘partnership’ lie of the TPP. Fortunately DJT is a focal push back, as is Brexit and as seems to be fermenting elsewhere, France for example. Germany will not be far behind.

        I have searched high and low on the internet for a DJT Administration supporting forum in New Zealand. I identified none by this means, though I don’t trust the search algorithm of Google to permit me to identify if said group exists. That it doesn’t is a social red flag. Using other search engines does not help, suggesting perhaps that such a group may indeed not exist, which I find improbable. Repairing to Facebook, which I prefer to avoid, one thankfully finds https://www.facebook.com/NZTRUMP/ so there may just be hope yet?

  6. asybot says:

    Roger just woke up and heard about the Quake , are you alright and how is the town?

    • rogerthesurf says:

      Asybot, thanks for your query. There appears to be no damage in Christchurch although there was a tsunami alert and it appears that there was a serious evacuation. Fortunately we are already more than 40 meters above sea level so we stayed in bed. However we hear there is serious damage in Kaikoura and surrounding areas including slips and crevasses. Wellington CBD according to the news is closed until any hazards are dealt with.
      We certainly felt the main shake though.

  7. observa says:

    “We [CSIRO] have used a combination of historical tide-gauge data and satellite-altimeter data to estimate global averaged sea level change from 1880 to 2014. During this period, global-averaged sea level rose about 23 cm, with an average rate of rise of about 1.6 mm/yr over the 20th Century. The sea level record indicates a statistically significant increase in the rate of rise from 1880 to 2014.”
    But now let’s look at the geology of Hallet Cove a southern suburb of Adelaide in a very old, weathered and stable continent-

    Click to access HallettCoveBrochure.pdf

    and what do those very special rocks reveal to us all-
    “During the Recent ice age about 20 000 years ago, sea level was about 130 metres lower than today and South Australia’s coastline was about 150 kilometres south of where Victor Harbor now is. The ice cap started to melt about 15 000 years ago. Sea level began to rise and reached its present level about 6000–7000 years ago.”
    Simple arithmetic shows us that could be an average sea level rise of 16.25 mm/year for EIGHT THOUSAND YEARS. Over TEN times what the globe experienced over the 20th century. What was that caused by? Aboriginal cooking fires and their well detailed tradition of burnoffs to flush out game, or are the current crop of alarmists denying the science?

    • rogerthesurf says:

      Thanks for the comment. Maybe the increase over the last 6-7000 years was caused by sword sharpening in the northern hemisphere 😉

  8. Hi

    You are no doubt aware of NOAA tides and currents web site


    The NZ sea level increase is tiny and shows no sign of acceleration. I do not know the topography of your country and whether or not your land is rising or falling. The land level changes are often greater than the actual physical sea level changes. As you can see from the map there are many places in the world where sea level is falling and others where sea level is rising rapidly. In official reports everything is often ‘averaged’ out to give a global figure which is no use whatsoever in calculating the local trends.


  9. Andy says:

    There is one paper that I know of that claims a “significant” acceleration of 0.013 +- 0.006 mm yr- 2

    This is Church and White 2006

    The problem is, I have used their numbers and I can’t reproduce the end result (i.e the predicted 100 year sea levels) from the inputs they give.

    Either they are using a different set of assumptions not mentioned in the paper, I have made a mistake, or they have

    Work in progress…

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