Fraser Institute pitching to students in latest attempt to cloud global warming evidence

Wed, 2008-03-19 12:51Bill Miller
Bill Miller's picture

Fraser Institute pitching to students in latest attempt to cloud global warming evidence

Having failed last year to discredit the International Panel on Climate Change, the Fraser Institute is hoping to have better luck brainwashing today’s youth. The ExxonMobil-funded organization has developed a global-warming booklet for distribution to high school students and teachers across Canada.

Allegedly aimed at “helping them understand the issue and make their own decisions about what actions are needed,” the manuscript was compiled by rookie scientists and retirees with strong ties to oil and gas pressure groups.

The Fraser Institute booklet, Understanding Climate Change, released March 6, evades debate as to whether the world is warming or to what extent warming is caused by human activity. Instead, a Fraser official said it was,

nice descriptions of what scientists know about the climate, how they are measuring it and what still remains uncertain.”

Fraser has received annual grants from oil-giant ExxonMobil and has a long history of opposing environmental laws and regulations, mainly by throwing seeds of doubt on the seriousness, consequences and solutions to global warming on behalf of the fossil-fuel industry.

The basis for the current Fraser Institute booklet, ironically, is the same 1,600-page IPCC report it sought to trash a year ago. Not surprisingly, Fraser is pitching the identical message in its current diatribe – that climate change may not be happening or, if it is happening, it may be “a good or bad thing.”

It appears the main weapon for countering the compelling scientific evidence is uncertainty!


Previous Comments

“indeed if it quadrupled from present levels plants would grow bwteen 50% and 160% faster.”

One of the benefits of denialism is that you can make stuff up.

Frank Bi, fact-addict and anti-lie bigot

“Al `Fat Al’ Gore [is fat]” – Harold Pierce

Frank Bi, one part of being an eco-warrior is swallowing climatic scare stories whole. CO2 has been researched by a number of scientists and it’s the carbon in CO2 that makes plants larger and faster - and it also has the benefit of reducing a plants requirement for water and makes evaporation from their leaves less (ie. high CO2 levels makes plants more water efficient).

Indeed American forests have been confirmed by NASA to have increased 50% over the recent past because of higher cO2 levels. Here’s some links for you to clue up on.

Link I - If CO2 levels quadrupled it would lead to 50% to 150% faster plant growth (and wouldn’t be poisonous either). See 15mins 30secs into this Video presentation.

Link II - CO2 added 30% growth to plants

You comment and its implication in my opinion isn’t really entirely true, experiments with CO2 fertilization (FACE) rings (the most realistic environmental fertilization experiments have shown ~60% increase in growth rate but growth rate does not mean total resultant fixation over a trees life (Saxe et al., 1998; Norby et al., 1999). European studies have shown a ~50% increase in growth rate. Which also found trees undergoing fertilization get bigger more quickly ie the growth rate is increased but otherwise remain the same as unfertilized trees in their overall maximum growth (Curtis, 1996; Curtis and Wang, 1998; Peterson et al., 1999; Medlyn et al., 2000)

To quote

“”Some experimental and observational studies suggest that the initial positive effects of elevated CO2 on growth rate cited above are greatly reduced or disappear as a stand matures but that more carbon does remain sequestered”” (e.g., Hättenschwiler et al., 1997).

That said, the published literature does agree with increases in about 50-60% growth rate and some increases in sequesting that was made in your statement. And no, CO2 fertilization has not been well studied as long term effects of fertilization have only just started to be considered in terms of actual publications. However, from the FACE experiments and current estimates have shown that

To quote
“”These numbers clearly indicate that sequestering a significant fraction of projected emissions in vegetation is likely to be very difficult, especially as forests are cleared to make way for agriculture and communities. While there are possibilities of storage in wells and deep in the ocean, stabilizing the atmospheric CO2””

In addition our friends at NASA also report on FACE experiments with ~500 ppm carbon dioxide that
“”Trees absorb more carbon dioxide when the amount in the atmosphere is higher, but the increase is unlikely to offset the higher levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), according to results from large-scale experiments conducted at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and elsewhere.””

JWI forest clearing is currently exceeding the rate of replacement, ie we passed the tipping point in terms of how renewable forests are…meaning they are disappearing faster than they are being replaced and thus become even worse at reducing the flux of carbon in the air. Of course this should be obvious as well, if vegetation was capable of removing the emissions of carbon from fossil fuel consumption then there wouldnt be increasing levels or carbon to start with!

Carl Szczerski
MSc Botany

Carl, the studies are many and varied (different plant groups) and show conclusive major benefits to higher CO2 levels such as increased growth rates and no known negatives.

The studies Idso 1989 & 1992, Kimball 1983, a 176 experiments on trees and other woody plants show a mean growth increase of 48% for a 300ppm increase in atmospheric CO2 in Poorter 1993; Ceulemans & Mousseau 1994; Wullshleger et al 1995 & 1997.

Higher CO2 levels help plants produce less leaf stomatal pores per unti of leaf surface, to open pores less (Woodward 1987; Morison 1987) which reduces water loss from leaves making them better able to withstand drought periods (Tuba et al 1998) enabling plants to claim back land lost to desertification (Idso & Quinn 1983).

Atmospheric CO2 enrichment helps plants cope with a number of other enviromental stresses, including high soil salinity, high air temperature, low light density, low soil feritlity (Idso & Idso 1994), low temperature stress (Boese et al 1997), oxidative stress (Badiani et al 1997) and the stress of herbivory, insect and animal grazing (Gleadow et al 1998).

In short higher atmospheric CO2 levels have a host of benefits to plant growth which has a knock on effect down the food chain - namely we all do really well.

And which plants exactly are benefitting from increased CO2 at the upper atmosphere levels, where it has impact as a greenhouse gas? Beanstalks?

Hugh Campbell, I’ve no idea, maybe you can answer your own inquirey!

In other words, JohnnyB is talking complete nonsense.

Frank Bi, fact-addict and anti-lie bigot

“Al `Fat Al’ Gore [is fat]” – Harold Pierce

Frank Bi, you’re in a minority. 8 scientists against every 1 for the IPCC disagree with man-made global warming. They have debunked every ‘fact’ if ever there was any. In fact even some IPCC scientists regard the IPCC’s Reports as junk science. The only thing you and the IPCC have left are stupid computer game scenarios which are also regarded as junk science. Get a grip of reality anf face the real climate facts. Your hot air is debunked, your science has fallen apart and the wheels have all fallen off your green bandwagon. RIP.

If you’re not a liar, you are willfully ignorant.

You have no idea? And yet you have the audacity to attempt to discuss climate change in a public forum!

JohnnyB has lost touch with reality.
He’s “not sure hurricanes do happen in summer!”
He sent me to a link at to prove “Global Warming Equals Fewer Storms”.
The link is from 2005.
The year of Katrina and her 14 brothers and sisters!
Johnny B what?

Tom, I’m fully in touch with reality thanks. I like the facts from experts. The disturbing thing is how greenies take any climatic event and unfailingly (and wrongly) every time point to global warming. It’s not only pig-ignorant but very tedious. Here’s the ‘real’ explanation for Katrina:

2006 Season,2933,233454,00.html
2007 Season

More references break the link of Hurricanes and Warming

Nowhere did I say that Katrina was caused by global warming or any other hurricane for that matter.
I’ll leave that for the experts to sort out.
You, happen to be the one who “is not sure hurricanes do happen in summer!”
That’s where the reality item comes into play.

Idso & Idso from The Center For The Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change?
Idso & Idso who have worked for the Western Fuels Association?

About Badiani et al 1997; That’s an article about Amphetamine Induced Behaviour in lab rats from the Journal of Neuroscience.

Maybe Johnnyb thinks CO2 is the same as amphetamines. Why not? He has all sorts of other bizarre ideas.

Tom, try this link for more CO2 facts (rather than the fiction)

If CO2 = life, according to the CEI, then why are they not exposing themselves to higher doses?

Second sentence of the second paragraph from “Acquittal of Carbon Dioxide.”
“Notwithstanding that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, atmospheric carbon dioxide has neither caused nor amplified global temperature increases.”
Strange thing to say wouldn’t you think?
What does Dr Gavin Schmidt (who happens to have the expertise in this field) think about Dr Glassman’s ‘paper’?
“That’s pretty confused. He neither understands the physics of CO2, nor the implications of the Vostok record, nor the concept of positive feedback. We’ve discussed each of these issuses before, and I would refer you there.-Gavin”

Tom, did you and Dr Gavin Schmidt miss the next few sentances after.. “Increased CO2 has been an effect of global warming, not a cause. Technically, CO2 is a lagging proxy for ocean temperatures. When global temperature, and along with it, ocean temperature rises, the physics of solubility causes atmospheric CO2 to increase. If increases in CO2, or any other greenhouse gas, could have in turn raised global temperatures, the positive feedback would have been catastrophic. While the conditions for such a catastrophe were present in the Vostok record from natural causes, the runaway event did not occur. CO2 does not accumulate in the atmosphere.”

Dr Schmidt of course has co-authored the Hansen et al computer modelling of CO2 for the IPCC that Dr Glassman has punched huge holes through the accuracy and flapping around with changes. Dr. Schmidt doesn’t appear to be too good at peer reviewing or being critical of fatally flawed computer models as does Dr Glassman does he?

First I point out a stupid statement and then you drag another stupid statement into the mix.
CO2 does not accumulate in the atmosphere.”
Have you told NOAA this?
They seem to think CO2 has managed to “accumulate” to almost 390 ppm (it’s actually over 390 at Alert, Nunavut, Canada) and is increasing by over 2 ppm/year.

By the way, if “CO2 does not accumulate in the atmosphere.”, how do you explain your statement:”In short higher atmospheric CO2 levels have a host of benefits to plant growth which has a knock on effect down the food chain-namely we all do really well.”


What Dr Glassman means by “CO2 does not accumulate in the atmosphere” is that some scientists and IPCC models assume once CO2 is released into the atmosphere from natural (96%) or man-made (4%) emissions that CO2 then ‘hangs around’ in the atmosphere for 400 to 1,000 years. Glassman says the CO2 cycle (emission, atmosphere and finally re-absorbtion primarily into sinks like the oceans or absorbed by vedgetation) lasts approximately 4 years.

That doesn’t stop the overall level of CO2 in the atmosphere rising from say 380ppm to 400ppm it just means the CO2 doesn’t accumulate, it still cycles.

Further when the concentration of CO2 increases, additional CO2 becomes less and less important according to the feedback mechanisms and a shift in the sensitivity in either direction according to Prof. Richard Lindzen of MIT, a world leader on the sensitivity issue. This decreasing exponential tells you how much radiation at the critical frequencies is able to penetrate through the CO2 and leave the planet.

So with CO2 levels, there exists nothing such as a “runaway effect” or a “point of no return” or a “tipping point” or any of the similar frightening fairy-tales promoted by Al Gore and IPCC computer models. Lindzens CO2 formula does not allow you more than 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming from the CO2 greenhouse effect.

Namely if we go from 380ppm to just over 550ppm as we are predicted to do (due to human population growth rise from 6.2bn to over 9bn by 2050) then we will not see continual temperature rise. Lindzen thinks any CO2 warming contribution to the Earth has already been reached I believe. That we could go through the 1,000ppm CO2 barrier and CO2 would not have any further greenhouse effect.

Regarding CO2 benefits, it is a fertilizer of plant growth. Experiments and real life studies show higher CO2 levels increase the rate of growth in plants (up from 380ppm to 1,500ppm increases plant growth by 25% to 140%). Higher atmospheric CO2 levels in America are already credited by satellite monitoring with increasing American forest growth by 40% over the past 50 years. Studies show benefits in many species from grasslands, wheat, corn and especially beneficial to tree growth.

CO2 is a fertilizer and also the building block for plants to grow. If plants grow faster there is more food for animals, insects, birds, man and many sea creatures. All living things grow from eating the carbon in plants, It is the building block for protein, fat, all living tissue and plants are animals only source of carbon.

CO2 is 1 of the 3 building blocks essential to all living things on Earth. CO2, Oxygen and Water. CO2 is all good. There is no known bad-effects of CO2 or higher CO2 levels which have been over 10x times higher on Earth.

More simpleminded hogwash. Do any of your sources point out that the oceans absorb CO2, which makes them more acidic and kills much of the life in the ocean?

CO2 is all good. There is no known bad-effects of CO2 or higher CO2 levels which have been over 10x times higher on Earth.”

Lies. Look up Lake Nyos. Look up ocean acidification.

VJ, do you know at what level CO2 makes the ocean so acidic it kills life? CO2 provides exactly the same fertilizing properties to the ocean (ie. to photoplankton) as it does to plants. CO2 levels have been 20 tmes higher in both atmosphere and oceans and life has ‘got through’ or there wouldn’t be life in them now!

Once again you don’t know your facts, just swallow scare stories like some gullible kindegaren kid.

From my Webster’s Dictionary:
to heap up; to collect; to grow into a mass; to increase.

Agree with Johnnyb Kids should be left alone and should not have to worry about impending doom or dying by 2012 as I hear so many of them stating so.
Telling kids the Antarctic ice caps are melting at an Unprecedented rate without adding that this will take about a 10,000 years is counter productiive…I know they might do some think Unthinkable like asking questions.

Funded by Exxon ..Working with Manufacturers of Automobiles and Commercial Industrial Engines on research and development programs that could yield fuel economy improvements in internal combustion engines by as much as 30%, with lower corresponding emissions.

Supporting the Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP) at Stanford University with a charge to accelerate the development of commercially viable energy technologies that can lower greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale. GCEP’s focus includes hydrogen production, storage and use; biomass and solar energy; carbon dioxide capture and storage; and advanced transportation and coal technologies. ExxonMobil helped launch the $225 million project in 2002. GCEP is the largest privately-funded, long term research program of its type in the world.

Mitigating Greenhouse Gas Emissions Through Efficiency and Best Practices with steps taken to improve energy efficiency at our facilities since 1999 that have resulted in the avoidance of 11 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions last year alone - the equivalent of taking about two million cars off the road.

Partnering with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions in its aim to save more than six billion gallons of fuel annually in the U.S. freight transport system through the EPA’s “Smartway” Transport Partnership.
ExxonMobil was the first petroleum company to join and recently became a charter member of EPA’s Natural Gas Star International Program which expands to international operations the technologies and practices that have reduced methane emissions in the U.S. by six percent over a 1990 baseline. In addition, through a 2003 industry-wide commitment by the American Petroleum Institute, ExxonMobil is improving the efficiency of its refining operations, to gain a 10 percent or more improvement between 2002 and 2012.

Partnering with the European Commission to study Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

are these not all environmental programs?

If global warming is a myth anyway, then what do we need all these programs for?

Oh wait, denialist “logic” doesn’t have to make sense. QED.

Frank Bi, fact-addict and anti-lie bigot

“Al `Fat Al’ Gore [is fat]” – Harold Pierce

Wilbert – who’s worrying about dying by 2012? Is that kids? You’re talking to many of them who say that’s what worries them? Is there somewhere I can read about this problem?

Once again JohnnyB, computer model uncertainties are unrelated to the known science of climate change, just to the risk coupon attached with paying to mitigate and adapt.

For example, no computer models predicted the Mountain Pine Beetle would overwhelm the Province of BC so quickly. In fact, due to global warming and unsustainable forest management practices, the Mountain Pine Beetle might even sweep through all of Canada’s Jack Pine boreal forest. Here, the computer models were too timid.
Suppose we had a strategy to stop the MPB, like say, cutting up Canada’s boreal forests with prescribed burns or clear cutting so that it won’t spread beyond the cuts? If we listen to computer models, we shouldn’t use the strategy to preserve Canada’s remaining boreal forest. Uncertain computer models are used in many physical *sciences*; the uncertainty works both ways.

Your efforts and those of the rest of the Neoconservatives and coal/oil lobbyists, are and will continue to result in more future civilians dying preventable deaths, all for greed.

Phillip, I wouldn’t run my business on computer model predictions I knew didn’t represent real scenarios. That’s what the IPCC and some Govts are asking us to do with the future of the world. The scenarios, such as sea level projections, temperature projections based on CO2 forcings are unreal and unreliable. A scientist at MIT calcuated to model Earths climate (inc water vapour, clouds, gases, the sun, orbital factors, ocean and land sinks, El Nino cycle etc etc etc) would take 10 Billion years of super computer time to project to 2050.

Take away these computerised scare stories and there’s no science left to support AGW. In fact all the observational science is now pointing toward peaking temperature in 1998 (despite increasing CO2 levels). Nothing in the AGW fact file adds up to real facts. It’s a theory that doesn’t work. And it’s political policies that won’t work too. It’s a dead end.

Meanwhile, the Wilkins Ice shelf is falling apart sooner than was predicted. Looks like global warming is indeed having effects on Antarctica.

I’ve been watching that, too. For the press release direct from the horses’ mouths, here’s the URL for the NSIDC: (it’s in the news column on the right, 25 March)

Fern Mackenzie

VJ and Femack, ice breaks off ice sheets and has done for 1,000’s of years. You think it’s proof of global warming you’re fools to yourselves. The experts in Antartica will tell you, as will the IPCC Reports, that Antartica has been stable for over 50 years. Face facts or get off those tablets, they’re clearly screwing with your logical reasoning!!

have a look at
These guys qualify as “experts in Antartica (sic). Face facts, JohnnyB.

Fern Mackenzie


Just what is a ‘fact’ to you Fern, can I establish that?

Say your kitchen is freezing (-20) but your kettle is boiling (+88). Is your kitchen hot or cold?

I just want to establish here do you look like a blinkered nut at your kettle and say ‘it’s warm, it’s definately warming’ or do you take in the wider picture that your kitchen is -20 below. Which is fact?

I’ve posted loads of substantial scientific references that Antarctica unequivicably, even according to the IPCC, has had no temperature change in 50 years. The Americans have I think 7 ice-stations in Antarctica and the best satellite coverage and they say Antarctic temp is static and the ice sheet is thickening.

You do know the West of Antarctica where this ice sheet is located is the same area of Antartica as the previous big ice breakaway, the Larsen B (2% of Antarctica), some years ago and there’s another ice sheet in the same Western localle also looking like crumbling. That’s because Western Antarctica is the most exposed to warm Southern Ocean currents. It also has a volcano under it which doesn’t help stability!

So Fern, what’s the facts. Is Antartica warming or cooling?

As of the release of the last IPCC report, the research was inconclusive and often contradictory re: the Antarctic continent, and this is stated in the IPCC report. Since that time, further, more detailed and specific studies have been concluded, including:

H. D.Pritchard, and D. G. Vaughan (2007), Widespread acceleration of tidewater glaciers on the Antarctic Peninsula, Published by the American Geophysical Union; BBC article on the study here:

Recent Antarctic ice mass loss from radar interferometry and regional climate modelling, Eric Rignot, Jonathan L. Bamber, Michiel R. van den Broeke, Curt Davis, Yonghong Li, Willem Jan van de Berg & Erik van Meijgaard, 13 January 2008, abstract here:

… and others are currently under way. You may be surprised to know that the scientists ARE aware of that pesky volcano, and have actually reckoned it into their analysis of the situation (aren’t they clever? 20 January 2008, abstract here:

I prefer to get my information (facts) from the most current research and analysis by qualified scientists who have direct knowledge, rather than cherry-picking data and quoting out-of-date studies that are being superseded at this very moment.

Oh, and BTW – here’s a bit of empirical observation for you, a propos your question about my kitchen & the kettle: it is -8C outside right now with a relative humidity of 60%, but the snow is decaying in the strong spring sunlight, the process of sublimation = reduction of mass without an ambient temperature above zero degrees C. Chew on that for awhile.

Fern Mackenzie

Nice work, Fern! Nothing JohnnyB can refute there! Way to stay up to date, too, rather than tracing back to the “global cooling” myth of the mid-1970s (which has since been rebutted by William Connolley and others).


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