Friends of Science

Broken Records Define The Climate Crisis

We’re living in a time of records. More renewable energy came on stream in 2015 than ever — 147 gigawatts, equal to Africa’s entire generating capacity — and investment in the sector broke records worldwide. Costs for producing solar and wind power have hit record lows. Portugal obtained all its electricity from renewable sources for four straight days in May — the longest achieved by any country — and Germany was able to meet 90 per cent of its electricity needs with renewable power for a brief period. Clean energy employment and job growth now outpace the fossil fuel industry by a wide margin.

That’s just a portion of the good news. Oil prices have fallen so low that some more damaging activities are becoming unprofitable, a record number of coal companies are going bankrupt or filing for bankruptcy, and fewer coal mines are operating in the U.S.

Canadian Climate Denial Group, Friends of Science, Named as Creditor in Coal Giant's Bankruptcy Files

By Charles Mandel for the National Observer.

A Canadian climate change denial group has popped up in a U.S. coal giant's bankruptcy proceedings that have lifted the curtain on the funding of a sophisticated continent-wide marketing campaign designed to fool the public about how human activity is contributing to global warming.

document, nearly 1,000 pages long, lists the Calgary-based Friends of Science Society as one of the creditors expecting to get money from the once-mighty coal company, Peabody Energy.

Climate scientists and environmentalists have long suspected that the so-called “Friends” group was a front for fossil fuel companies trying to block government action to reduce carbon pollution, but Friends of Science members always declined to reveal their source of funding.

Think Facts Matter? Try Attending a Friends of Science Event Headlined by Ezra Levant

We’re only a minute into watching a brief low-budget video — one that begins by alleging U.S. President Barack Obama is a bully because he suggests that climate change deniers should be “called out” — when Ezra Levant sits down in the chair next to me.

The Rebel Commander himself.

According to organizers, he’s the reason attendance of tonight’s $45-per-head fundraiser in Calgary — casually titled “Climate Leadership Catastrophe: Carbon Taxes, Job Loss, Freedoms Denied” and organized by the so-called “Friends of Science” — spiked from 200 to 445 people after he was announced as its keynote speaker.

And he’s the same intensely controversial pundit who I met in late November at another Calgary event called “Generation Screwed” which I covered for Vice Canada while wearing a “Dreamy Trudeau” sweater.

Hey James,” he says, reaching out his hand to shake mine.

Chicken Little Meet the Friends of Science

Canada's leading climate conspiracy theorists, the Friends of Science, are out this week with a critique on climate change that would make even Chicken Little blush. 

In a press release issued Thursday, the Friends of Science state that if plans proceed to move our country away from carbon-intensive fuel sources like oil and coal, “Canada would have to be completely shut down in order to reach the emissions reduction targets, leaving millions of Canadians unemployed.”

The Friends of Science are no stranger to hyperbole, which is on full-display on the homepage of their website promoting all sorts of pseudo-scientific climate science conspiracy claims.

The FOS is also no stranger to controversy.

Breaking! Climate Deniers 'Friends of Science' Say Solutions Uneconomical

Pardon my sarcasm in the title, but I am still getting over the shock that the Alberta-based climate science attack group Friends of Science still think they are relevant.

Last week, the much discredited group issued a report attempting to throw a damp towel on Canada's tepid commitment to dealing with climate change.

Those who have followed DeSmogBlog from the beginning will remember Tim Ball, Tom Harris and the rest of the Friends of Science, a group once caught out for taking money from oil companies and trying to hide it through a convoluted series of back channels involving the Calgary Foundation and Prime Minister's Stephen Harper's fishing buddy Dr. Barry Cooper.

Friends of Science

Friends of Science (FoS)

Background

Friends of Science (FoS) is a Canadian non-profit group based in Calgary, Alberta, “comprised mainly of active and retired earth and atmospheric scientists, engineers, and other professionals” whose main concern is what they describe as “the abuse of science displayed in the politically inspired Kyoto protocol.”

Oiling The Machinery Of Climate Change Denial And Transit Opposition

This is a guest post by David Suzuki.

Brothers Charles and David Koch run Koch Industries, the second-largest privately owned company in the U.S., behind Cargill. They’ve given close to US$70 million to climate change denial front groups, some of which they helped start, including Americans for Prosperity, founded by David Koch and a major force behind the Tea Party movement.

Through their companies, the Kochs are the largest U.S. leaseholder in the Alberta oilsands. They’ve provided funding to Canada’s pro-oil Fraser Institute and are known to fuel the Agenda 21 conspiracy theory, which claims a 1992 UN non-binding sustainable development proposal is a plot to remove property rights and other freedoms.

Researchers reveal they’re also behind many anti-transit initiatives in the U.S., in cities and states including Nashville, Indianapolis, Boston, Virginia, Florida and Los Angeles. They spend large amounts of money on campaigns to discredit climate science and the need to reduce greenhouse gases, and they fund sympathetic politicians.

Why It's Not Enough To Be Right About Climate Change

Polar Vortex wind currents from earth.nullschool.net and the washington post

A couple weeks back, I found myself enmeshed briefly in a local debate here in Calgary regarding the validity of the argument that a continent-wide spell of frigid weather raised a serious challenge to the scientific foundations of anthropogenic climate change. In the depths of the cold snap, a rookie city councillor, Sean Chu, tweeted:

I replied:

The exchange and other snarky dismissals of Chu’s line of reasoning got picked up by the Calgary Herald, which ran a news item on its blog and a follow-up piece defending Chu against “anthropogenic global warming religionists” on the op-ed page.

As we were engaged in our local rhetorical joust, climate change deniers continent-wide were re-enacting the same little drama on stages big and small, eventually inspiring one of those killer rapid-fire round-ups of TV news talking-head idiocy on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. “Apparently decades of peer reviewed study can be, like a ficus plant, destroyed in one cold weekend,” Stewart concluded.

In itself, any given one of these minor foofaraws (or are they argle-bargles?) is barely worth wasting the pixels contained in this sentence. But as a whole — as a tenaciously consistent, recurring pattern of discourse — they actually illustrate a singular challenge to concerted and sustained climate change action. So if you’ll stick with me, let’s unpack the mess a bit and take a look.

Enemies of Science Want to Confuse You About The 97-Percent Consensus Study

Earlier this month, John Cook of Skeptical Science and his team of volunteers at the Consensus Project released the latest definitive study of global warming scientific consensus, revealing that 97 percent of peer-reviewed papers with a clear view on the subject agree that global warming is occurring and that humans are the primary cause.

Ever since, we've seen the predictable pushback from fossil fuel industry apologists and climate deniers.

The loudest response comes from the Alberta-based Friends of Science, a shadowy non-profit with a history of Canadian oil company ties, which DeSmogBlog has covered extensively over the years.

From their press release:

The Daily Show Notes Irony of Koch-Funded Study Affirming Global Warming is Real

Last night's entire first segment of The Daily Show focused on the recent study funded by the Koch Brothers that confirmed (again) that climate change is indeed a reality - an ironic twist given the Kochtopus' track record of fueling the climate change denial echo chamber with upwards of $55 million.

As described in an earlier piece on DeSmogBlog, “The [Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST)] paper, an effort to confirm or debunk whether the urban heat island (UHI) effect was skewing climate records, has affirmed - again - that global temperature records are accurate and worrisome.”

In a manner that only John Stewart and his Daily Show team can, they unpacked the hilarious irony of the whole situation. The segment, roughly ten minutes long, is well worth watching for the laughs alone, especially the McRib-ing of the mainstream media's pathetic coverage of climate science and fixation on corporate advertising ploys. And Aasif Mandvi's interviews, of course. Watch the video below:

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