The joint conference of the Geological Association of Canada (GAC) and the Mineralogical Association of Canada (MAC) included a DenierFest sideshow worthy of the Heartland Institute, with guest speakers flown in from as far away as Australia and Europe in an effort to address one organizer’s concern about an “unbalanced debate.”
Notwithstanding the manipulations of the deluded University of Toronto geologist Dr. Andrew Miall, the conference featured a full helping of honest-to-goodness science. There were occasions galore during which knowledgeable people spoke about matters with which they have legitimate expertise.
Then there were the sessions that featured the likes of Australians Bob Carter and Ian Plimer, people who do no actual work in climate science but who are only too delighted to tell you that everything we understand about human influence on global warming is a carefully constructed fiction. Organizers even brought in the Danish astrophysicist Henrik Svensmark - a man who will clutch his chest and fall to the ground rather than offer a straight answer as to why he insists the sun is causing climate change when the sun has been in a long weak cycle even as the earth continues to overheat. (The “heart attack,” reported above, was later confirmed to be a stress reaction.) This - all extremely well covered recently by the good folks at Friends of Gin and Tonic - is an embarrassment to the Canadian geological community. While the American Geophysical Union (AGU) has taken the trouble to actually check the science and come to an official position on climate change, the backwoods Canadian geologists are still prepared to entertain compromised confusers such as the oil patch geophysicist and Friends of Science director Norm Kalmanovitch.
The conference also featured the past president of the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists, A. Neil Hutton, whose abstract suggests that because CO2 was much more plentiful in the atmospher during the Cambrian period than it is today, we have nothing to worry about the current carbon spike that is occurring as a result of the burning of, well, petroleum. (Can’t someone please tell Dr. Hutton that the Cambrian period was 500 million years ago - a time when the sun was markedly cooler, and when the earth was still going to evolve for, uh, 500 million years before it would be habitable for humans?)
If you needed any further evidence to suggest that this whole exercise was either an oily put-up job or a mindless ideological intervention, undermining the reputation (and ambient IQ level) of the collected geologists, look no further than the National Post, the Canadian handbook for denier narratives. Its coverage of the conference came courtesy of Tom Harris, with no mention that Harris is an oily public relations guy who helped launch the Friends of Science, who created the energy industry front, the Natural Resources Stewardship Project, and who now fronts for something called the International Climate Science Coalition.