Methane doesn’t matter, American scientist says

Discussing ... Doctor Tom Sheahen argues there is no climate emergency at his ‘‘Methane is an irrelevant greenhouse gas’’ speaking tour, last Tuesday in Gore. PHOTO: BEN ANDREWS

There is ‘‘no way on Earth that man can change the climate’’.
That is the opinion of American Tom Sheahen, who was in Gore last week speaking about climate change.
Dr Sheahen has a PhD in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
About 170 people listened to Dr Sheahen at the Croydon Lodge during his ‘‘Methane is an irrelevant greenhouse gas’’ speaking tour.
The tour was facilitated by Groundswell NZ.
In his presentation, Dr Sheahen said methane had no effect on greenhouse gas emissions.
‘‘H2 0 is responsible for 75% of the greenhouse effect,’’ Dr Sheahen said.
‘‘Methane does not matter at all.’’

Much of his presentation was based around the research of Prof William van Wijngaarden, of York University in Canada, and Prof William Happer, of Princeton University.
Dr Sheahen said their research claimed fears of methane emissions as a driver of climate change were exaggerated.
‘‘We all recognised [their research] is a ground-breaking accomplishment.
‘‘I find it to be a tremendous breakthrough in science.’’
They also claimed all gas had roughly the same effect as methane did on the atmosphere, he said.

Climate Change Commission chief scientist Dr Grant Blackwell said the consensus of the world’s climate scientists was the Earth was warming due to greenhouse gas emissions and humans were primarily responsible.
‘‘There is no question that we need to take action to reduce biogenic methane emissions,’’ Dr Blackwell said.
In New Zealand, agriculture accounted for 91% of biogenic methane emissions, he said.
‘‘Many farmers have already started moving to lower-emissions practices on farm.’’
‘‘The sector has made progress towards measuring and reporting on-farm agricultural emissions and making sure farms have plans in place to manage their emissions,’’ Dr Blackwell said.

Farmers who attended the talk voiced their opinions on the matter.
Waikaka farmer Hugh Gardyne said there was a lot of political opposition to Wijngaarden’s and Happer’s research.
The Emissions Trading Scheme needed to be an election issue, he said.
He stressed it was imperative people protested for a change in government.
Former farmer Peter Foster said the climate issue was serious for all farmers.
‘‘A ridiculous amount of warming is supposedly caused by our livestock, ’’ Mr Foster said.
He said it was important the public knew how wrong it was.