Friends of Science

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:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Weathering Fights
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook

Urban Heat Island – Favorite Skeptic Myth Debunked Again, This Time By Koch-Funded Science

Climate skeptics are once again proven wrong, and this time even Koch money can't skew the facts.
 
Have you heard the one from climate deniers that the “Urban Heat Island” effect has ruined all the weather stations and made the data they collect completely useless? The deniers claim any warming trend seen from these temperature recordings is from concrete buildings and asphalt roads – and that climate change is therefore a myth?
 
That would be false. Says whom, you ask?  How about a new Koch-funded scientific study?
 
An investigation by the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project released yesterday once again thoroughly dispatches the skeptic myth about the “Urban Heat Island” (UHI) effect.

Many global warming skeptics have long claimed that the urban heat island effect is so strong that it has skewed temperature measurements indicating that global warming is happening. The skeptics argue that efforts to curb global warming pollution are therefore unnecessary, citing their pet theory that surface temperature stations were swallowed by, or moved closer to, cities, thus skewing surface temperature records on the whole.
 
The BEST papers – which still must go through rigorous peer review – confirm what climate scientists have correctly stated previously, demonstrating without doubt that “very rural” temperature stations miles from any new “UHI” towns or cities have also recorded warming at 0.9 degrees Celsius over the last century. 



To put it plainly, even the Kochtopus denial machine will have a tough time trying to twist this Koch-funded project’s findings. It looks like the Kochs backed the wrong horse here - one wonders whether they thought Hadley CRU would be proven wrong?

Talisman funded Friends of Science skeptic film

Calgary oil company Talisman Energy has been outed as the major funder behind a Friends of Science video series that falsely tried to claim legitimacy by tacking a University of Calgary logo on its opening credits.

Postmedia reporter Mike De Souza has an excellent article in the Calgary Herald, exposing Talisman as the largest donor in a complicated campaign to sluice cash through the Calgary Foundation and the University of Calgary to finance phony “education” projects. The University has long since distanced itself from the Friends of Science, although it never disciplined Prof. Barry Cooper, the political scientist, climate change skeptic and Calgary Herald columnist who set up the fake U of C Education Fund to launder oil money that was being used to finance climate denial films, radio ads, political advocacy and public campaigns.

But even after exposing all of its own dirty laundry in an audit, the University continued to protect the funders, keeping donors such as Talisman out of their reports. De Souza, to his credit, finally wedged the name loose in a Freedom of Information request.

Albert Jacobs

Albert F. Jacobs

 Credentials 

  •  M.Sc.
  •  P.Geol.

Source: [1]

 Background

Albert F. Jacobs is a Geologist and a retired oil-explorations manager. His is also the co-founder, spokesperson, and former director of the Friends of Science (FoS). [2]

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