Friends of Science

Friends of Science (FoS)


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.”

FoS lists their goal as “To educate the public about climate science and through them bring pressure to bear on governments to engage in public debates on the scientific merits of the hypothesis of human induced global warming and the various policies that intend to address the issue.” [1]

In a January 28, 2007 article in the Toronto Star titled “Who's still cool on global warming?” the President of the FOS admitted that about one-third of the funding for the FOS is provided by the oil industry. [2]

In an August 2006 Globe and Mail feature, the FOS was exposed for hiding the fact that they were funded in part by the oil and gas sector. According to the Globe and Mail, the oil industry money was funnelled through the Calgary Foundation charity, to the University of Calgary and then put into an education trust for the FOS. [3]

Stance on Climate Change

The Friends of Science Society Position Statement (PDF) on climate change is reproduced below: [4]

“Our goal is to educate the public about climate science and through them
bring pressure to bear on governments to engage in public debates on the
scientific merits of the hypothesis of human induced global warming and
the various policies that intend to address the issue.
While FoS does not do any original scientific research, it draws on the
worldwide body of work by scientists in all fields relating to global
climate change.
It is our opinion that the Sun is the main direct and indirect driver of
climate change.
Variations in solar activity and cosmic rays correlate to temperature much
better than CO2. This may be because an electro-magnetically active sun
diverts cosmic rays from hitting the atmosphere. Cosmic rays have been
shown experimentally to assist in cloud formation. Fewer cosmic rays
result in reduced low cloud cover, which allows more sunlight to warm the
Earth’s surface.
The United Nations - IPCC reports have been misrepresented by the nonscientific
IPCC bureaucrats in preparing the Summary-for-Policy-Makers.
Recent research casts doubt on historical data used by the IPCC. Urban
effects have contaminated surface temperature data. Some measured CO2
levels of the past 180 years appear to be in excess of present levels.
Current climate computer models are unsuitable for making reliable
climate forecasts mainly because they assume without justification that
CO2 is the major driver of climate. The cosmic ray effects on clouds are
ignored. The input assumptions are adjusted to make the temperature
projections match recent temperature trends, thereby grossly exaggerating
the effects of CO2 on the climate. The models, in response to CO2, predict
a distinctive temperature profile in the atmosphere, which is totally absent
from the observational record. “

According to Friends of Science, there are six things everyone should know about climate change: [5]

  1. “The earth is cooling.”
  2. “The Sun causes climate change.”
  3. “Al Gore was wrong about CO2.”
  4. “Violent weather isn’t getting worse.”
  5. “It's been hotter.”
  6. “Climate computer models are proven wrong.”
The Friends of Science provided more detail on their motivations in a 2009 membership newsletter (read below, emphasis added):
“Public support for an alarmist driven agenda has been waning as evidence for a warming atmosphere has not materialized. But still Canadian media such as the CBC and the Globe & Mail continue to stress the coming climate disasters: rising sea levels, greater incidence of malaria, extensive droughts, etc….
The Friends have lobbied politicians in an attempt to encourage a debate between the two sides of the climate change issue. But we have failed. It has become clear that our “leaders” are reluctant to adopt a stance which they fear is politically incorrect. If change is to be accomplished it must be driven by the “man on the street”. We won’t change the way politicians act until we change what the majority of Canadians believe.
The Friends feel that steps should be taken to make the Canadian public better aware of actual climatic events which render IPCC predictions unacceptable as a basis for government policy. To that end we are planning two projects: a Canada-wide speaking tour by Lord Christopher Monckton and a radio blitz which will direct the listener to the Friends of Science web page.” [6]
The Friends of Science produced a presentation describing wind farms as “A tragic waste of resources (PDF).”


The Globe and Mail reported that FoS has taken undisclosed sums from Alberta oil and gas interests. The money was funneled through the Calgary Foundation, to the University of Calgary and on to the FOS though something called the “Science Education Fund.”  [3]

The following from SourceWatch: [7]

In the course of an internal review and audit begun in March of 2007, the University determined that some of the research funds accepted on behalf of the Friends of Science “had been used to support a partisan viewpoint on climate change” and had returned unspent grant money on September 10, 2007, according to a Calgary Foundation statement (PDF).

As a consequence, the University advised FoS “that it would no longer accept funds on the organization's behalf”, according to an email from University legal counsel Elizabeth Osler sent on December 24, 2007 (PDF)

On February 17, 2008, CanWest News Service reported that UofC officials had shut down Cooper's “'Research on Climate Change' trust account”, and were about to advise Elections Canada of the University's ongoing review of the matter. [8]

SourceWatch also provides a grant history of the Calgary Foundation (PDF). 

Key People

Scientific Advisory Board

Members of the Friends of Science Scientific Advisory Board, last recorded as of July 2014 were: [9]

The Friends of Science no longer appear to list a Scientific Advisory Board on their website. 

Past Members, Scientific Advisory Board:


Source: [11], [12]


SourceWatch documented the FoS Board as of May 1st 2007:

  • Douglas Leahey — President.
  • Eric Loughead — Vice President
  • Giles Wilderman — Secretary
  • Lloyd Flood — Treasurer
  • John Leeson
  • Leonard F. Maier
  • William Howell
  • Norm Kalmanovitch
  • Charles Simpson — Past President.

Other People

Morten Paulsen of the international PR and lobby firm, Fleishmann-Hillard, was listed as the media contact for the Friends of Science until July, 2006. [13]

Paulsen was senior vice president and general manager of Fleishman-Hillard Canada, and was also a “spokesperson for the Conservative party in the last federal election and co-chaired the 2006 Alberta Provincial PC Convention.” He was registered as a lobbyist for the Friends of Science as well as two oil and gas companies in 2006 along with his associate at Fleishmann-Hillard, Bryon Thomas. [14]



Friends of Science have a “annual luncheon,” often hosted by prominent climate change skeptics promoting the view that man-made carbon dioxide emissions are not contributing to climate change taking place in Calgary, Alberta.

According to the Friends of Science event description, 
“Dr. Shaviv explained and demonstrated that the sun is an important climate driver but it is missing from the standard climate analyses. As a consequence, the standard (i.e. IPCC) models have a much higher climate sensitivity than the real Earth has, such that future climate response to anthropogenic forcing will be “much more benign” than what alarmists claim.” 
Nir Shaviv is a regular speaker at the Heartland Institute's International Conferences on Climate Change, and appeared on “the Great Global Warming Swindle” documentary film. 
Ross McKitrick's talk was titled “The 'Pause' in Global Warming: Climate Policy Implications.” McKitrick is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Guelph and a senior fellow at the Libertarian Fraser Institute (a group with connections to the Koch Brothers). 
The Friends of Science press release for the event said,
“Citing Europe’s ‘green obsession’ and inflexible, failed climate policies as key reasons why so many EU economies are faltering on the brink of bankruptcy, Dr. Benny Peiser shocked his audience with images of EU forests ravaged by energy-poor citizens in search of fuel. Friends of Science say climate change and global warming policies should be based on scientific evidence, not apocalyptic computer modeled forecasts.” 
Dr. Benny Peiser is the director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), an “all-party and non-party think tank and registered charity” founded by climate change skeptic Nigel Lawson.
The title of Donna Laframboise's speech was “The UN's Climate Change Panel: Activist and Untrustworthy.” Laframboise holds a degree in women's studes, and is the founder of
The title of Ian Plimer's talk was “Human Induced Global Warming: Why I am Skeptical.”  Ian Plimer is a professor of Mining Geology, and author of two climate change denial books. 
Plimer has been a director of numerous mining companies including Ivanhoe Australia, a subsidiary of Bob Friedland's Ivanhoe Mines, CBH Resources, Kefi Minerals, Silver City Minerals, Ormil Energy Ltd, TNT Mines, Niuminco Group and Lakes Oil.
The title of John R. Christy's Talk  was “Global Warming: Where’s the Alarm?” John R. Christy is a meteorologist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
The title of Timothy F. Ball's talk was “Recent Theoretical and Observational Evidence for Atmospheric Cooling.” Tim Ball is a past professor of geography. He has affiliations with the now-defunct Natural Resources Stewardship Project (NRSP), is a past scientific advsior to the Friends of Science, and also has associations with the Frontier Center for Public Policy (FCPP)
Patrick J. Michaels's presentation was titled “Global Warming: Some Convenient Facts.” Michaels is the director of the Cato Institute's Center for the Study of Science, and a regular commentator at Fox News and other conservative news outlets.
Timothy R. Patterson's powerpoint presentation was titled “Cosmoclimatology: A Possible Paradigm Shift in Our Understanding of the  Primary Drivers of Climate Change.” Timothy Patterson is a past chairman of the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC).

Chris de Freitas is an Associate Professor at the School of Geography and Environmental Science, University of Auckland. He is best known for his role as editor of the Climate Research journal where a number of questionable papers were published that caused the resignation of several editors. 

Salllie Baliunas's presentation was titled “Witches, Whiskey, and the Little Ice Age (Is Global Climate Change Really Caused By Humans?)” Baliunas is the editor of the World Climate Report, a blog published by Patrick J. Michaels's New Hope Environmental Services, “an advocacy science consulting firm.”
Timonth F. Ball's presentation was titled “What You Haven't Heard About Global Warming and Kyoto.” 
June, 2015
The Friends of Science released a controversial digital billboard campaign to debut at the Montreal Grand Prix from June 5 - 7, 2015. The billboard features messaging “Climate Change Is Influenced the Most By You… Or the Sun?” In the wake of their controversial billboard campaign in 2014, the message is comparatively subdued. Friends of Science faced claims that their billboards were “misleading and not based on valid scientific evidence.” [15]
April 7, 2015
In response to a recent “Acting on Climate Change” (PDF) report by over 70 Canadian scholars, supported by the Trottier Institute of McGill University, Friends of Science issued their own “evidence-based rebuttal” titled “Reality Vs. Climate Change Uncertainties.”
“Canadian premiers will converge on Quebec City April 14, 2015 to discuss climate change policies and Friends of Science want them to make decisions based on evidence, not emotional climate change rhetoric like that of numerous eco-groups that are planning mass demonstrations on April 11th, as reported by CTV Montreal, March 15, 2015.” [16]
March 3, 2015
As reported in a Friends of Science Press Release, The FoS sent a letter to Charles Bolden, Cheif Administrator of NASA, asking him to retract the claim of a 97% consensus regarding climate change. They cite a FoS research paper — “97% Consensus? No! Global Warming Math, Myths & Social Proofs” (PDF). [17]
May, 2014
The Friends of Science issued a letter to the Association for Psychological Science, asking them to retract a paper by Lewandowsky et al (2013) titled “NASA Faked the Moon Landing - Therefore, (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science.”
According to the Friends of Science, “it would seem to have been self-evident that, in the contentious world of climate science, such a title would immediately subject any dissenting climate scientist or individual to public humiliation.” [18] 

November, 2014

The Friends of Science targeted the Alberta Wilderness Association, having supporters write to the Canadian Revenue Agency. Global News Edmonton reported (“Friends of Science tackle Alberta Wilderness Association”). [19]

“We think there are some questions that should be asked of the CRA,” Friends of Science spokeswoman Michelle Stirling said.

This was in response to the Association's refusal to print a rebuttal article by FoS in the Wilderness Association's newsletter. The Wilderness Association had previously published an article critical of a billboard rented by the FoS (pictured at the top of this entry) where the FoS said the sun was the cause of climate change as opposed to greenhouse gas emissions.

“Groups like the Friends of Science prey on our values and comforts,” said the Wilderness Association article.
“They tell our luxury Lexus LX 570, 5.7L SUV owner, as she speeds by the billboard driving the kids to school, that all is well. To follow this group’s message will deliver this and future generations a fate no better than that of the children who followed the Pied Piper of Hamelin.”

“The Sun is the main driver of climate change. Not you. Not CO2,” the billboard reads. The FoS billboard was also criticized by Slate  in an article titled “With Friends Like These.” [20]

John Bennett at the Sierra Club of Canada describes the billboards as a “classic disinformation campaign to counter important global talks on reducing greenhouse gas emissions that got underway this week in Lima, Peru.” [21]

The wilderness association filed a complaint of its own against Friends of Science president Len Maier with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Albertas. Urquhart said Maier has distorted the results of studies contrary to professional ethics.

November, 2009

FoS ran a “radio advertisement blitz” in 15 Canadian cities with the purpose being to “… demonstrate the futility of policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions… .that global warming stopped about 10 years ago, and that the Sun is the primary cause of climate change.” [22]

September 29 - October 8, 2009

Friends of Science, in association with the Frontier Centre for Public policy (FCPP), sponsored Lord Christopher Monckton's cross-Canada speaking tour (See FoS PDF Brochure) from September 28 to October 8, 2009. [23]

June, 2009
As reported at RealClimate, Ken Gregory of Friends of Science may have contributed to a “suppressed” document meant to discredit the EPA Endangerment finding about man—made carbon dioxide emissions.  Authors also included Alan Carlin and John Davidson. 
According to RealClimate, “parts of the Carlin and Davidson report appear to be lifted directly from Ken’s rambling.” Patrick Michaels's website World Climate Report may also have contributed to the report. [24], [25]

September 22, 2006

FoS sponsored Tim Ball's presentation at a Conservative party gathering in Victoria. “The breakfast speech was organized by Conservative electoral district associations in Victoria, Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, and [Natural Resources Minister Gary] Lunn's Saanich-Gulf Islands riding.” [26]

August 12, 2006

Globe and Mail feature article by Charles Montgomery,  titled “Mr Cool,” revealed that the Friends of Science had taken undisclosed sums of money from Alberta oil and gas interests. 

According to the Globe and Mail, the oil industry money was funnelled through the Calgary Foundation charity, to the University of Calgary and then put into an education trust for the FOS[3]

May, 2006

Tom Harris of the High Park Group arranged a meeting between Tim Ball and federal conservatives in Ottawa where Ball “gave his slide show to a half-dozen federal Conservative MPs and a clutch of Tory staffers.” [3]

April, 2006

According to a May, 2006 FoS newsletter (PDF), Tim Ball made “an eye opening presentation … to members of the Alberta PC Calgary Caucus … The Calgary Caucus is an influential body, and we were pleased that several Ministers, including Energy Minister Greg Melchin, were in attendance. That presentation on the lack of science underlying Kyoto has lead to another presentation to be held this month in Edmonton to the Standing Policy Committee on Energy.” [27]

January, 2006

Before and during the 2006 Canadian federal election campaign, the Friends of Science ran a series of anti-Kyoto radio ads targeted at key Ontario ridings.

The ads were funded through the Calgary Foundation and a University of Calgary “climate change research” trust fund controlled by professor Barry Cooper.

The January, 2006 FoS newsletter (PDF) describes the campaign:


“Our campaign is working. Before and during the election, Friends bought radio advertising in 5 major Ontario markets. Our message was that voters have not been given the facts on climate change, and that candidates need to be questioned on their intentions to spend billions on global warming theories…

“The response was intense. Some radio stations faced pro-Kyoto interest groups who actually demanded that our ads be pulled! We received a great deal of hostile mail from activists stunned that we would challenge the pro-Kyoto status quo. At the same time though, positive mail poured in, and hits to our website soared into the stratosphere. We registered over 300,000 hits to our website in the first 12 days of January alone.” [28]

April, 2005

FoS released a video directed by Mike Visser entitled “Climate Catastrophe Canceled” in conjunction with Professor Barry Cooper of the Politics Department of the University of Calgary. A second version of the video was released on September 13, 2007. FoS has stated that it “invested $400,000” into the video Climate Catastrophe Cancelled. [29]

The PR contact is listed as Sheila Roy of APCO Worldwide Canada. [30]

The video was funded through the Calgary Foundation and the University of Calgary, and it was revealed that one of the largest donors was Talisman Energy.

The video features among others:

    Tim Ball
    Sallie L. Baliunas (credited as being from Tech Central Station)
    Ross McKitrick
    Prof. Tim Patterson

Feb 10, 2005

Charles Simpson, President of Friends of Science at the time, and Tim Patterson appeared as expert witnesses before the House of commons Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development.

The FoS witnesses testified that Kyoto should not be implemented “until a national public scientific debate has been held on the science underlying climate change,” because their view is that “the curent scientific evidence” suggests climate change is naturally caused. [31]

Related Organizations


  1. About Us,” Friends of Science. Archived October 24, 2011.

  2. Peter Gorrie. “Who's still cool on global warming?“ The Star. January 28, 2007. Archived June 18, 2015. 

  3. Mr. Cool: Nurturing doubt about climate change is big business,” Globe and Mail, Aug 12, 2006. Republished at Charles Montgomery journalist. Archived May 3, 2011.

  4. Friends of Science Society Position Statement” (PDF), Friends of Science. Archived August 13, 2015.

  5. Homepage, Friends of Science. Archived August 13, 2015.

  6. FOS MEMBERSHIP QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER No. 22 (PDF),” Friends of Science. June, 2009. Archived June 18, 2015.

  7. Friends of Science,” SourceWatch Profile.

  8. Elections Canada to investigate anti-Kyoto group,” Canwest News Service. Republished at, February 17, 2008. Archived July, 2014.

  9. SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY BOARD,” Friends of Science. Archived July 2, 2014.

  10. Scientific Advisory Board,” Friends of Science. Archived July 15, 2007.

  11. FOS Membership Quarterly Newsletter” (PDF) No. 28, December, 2011.

  12. FOS MEMBERSHIP QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER No. 45 (PDF),” Friends of Science, March 2015. Archived June 18, 2015.

  13. Contact Us,” Friends of Science. Archived January 16, 2006.

  14. Anti-Kyoto campaigner volunteer member of Tory election team,” Canwest News Service. February 21, 2008. Published at Archived June 18, 2015.

  15. New Friends of Science Climate Change Billboards Welcome Montreal Grand Prix Revellers,” PRWEB (Press Release) June 5, 2015. Archived June 19, 2015.

  16. Friends of Science New Report Challenges claims by Canadian Scholars on Climate Change Policy and Power Generation in Advance of Climate Confab in Quebec,” PRWeb, April 7, 2015.

  17. Friends of Science ask NASA to Revise 97% Consensus Statements on Climate Change and Global Warming,” PR Web, March 3, 2015. Archived August 13, 2015.


  19. Bob Weber. “Friends of Science tackle Alberta Wilderness Association,” Global News. November 14, 2014. Archived June 18, 2015.

  20. Phil Plait. “With Friends Like These…“ Slate. June 12, 2014. Archived June 18, 2015.

  21. John Bennet. “Here comes the sun, but I say…” John Bennett's Blog (Sierra Club of Canada, December 4, 2014. Archived June 18, 2015. 

  22. Friends of Science 2009 Radio Ads,” Friends of Science. Archived August 13, 2015.

  23. Lord Christopher Monckton Canadian Tour,” Friends of Science. Archived August 13, 2015.

  24. Buybkes.” RealClimate, June 26, 2009. Archived May 9, 2015.

  25. EPA's Alan Carlin channels Patrick Michaels and the Friends of Science,” Deep Climate. June 28, 2009. Archived September 4, 2014.

  26. Minister distances self from global-warming skeptic,” Canwest News Service, September 22, 2006. Archived June 18, 2015.

  27. FOS Membership Quarterly Newsletter No. 10 (May, 2006)” (PDF), Friends of Science. Archived August 13, 2015.

  28. FOS Membership Quarterly Newsletter No. 9 (January, 2006),” Friends of Science. Archived August 13, 2015.

  29. Friends Of Science Critiques The Evidence For Man-Made Climate Change,” Daily Oil Bulletin. June 12, 2006. Archived June 16, 2006.

  30. Climate Catastrophe Cancelled: What You're Not Being Told About the Science of Climate Change,” Friends of Science. Archived December 20, 2005.

  31. FoS Presentation to House of Commons (PDF), Friends of Science. Accessed December 24, 2011.

  32. Richard Littlemore. “Discredited Friends of Science Re-emerge as the Natural Resources Stewardship Project,” DeSmogBlog, October 12, 2006. 

  33. Friends of Science: They’re back!“ Deep Climate. July 16, 2009. Archived June 18, 2015.

Other Resources