University of Victoria Professor Andrew Weaver, the Canada Research Chair in Climate Modelling and Analysis, has filed suit for libel against freelance climate change denier Tim Ball.
The suit (attached below) arises from an article that Ball penned for the right-wingy Canada Free Press website, which has since apologized to Weaver for its numerous inaccuracies and stripped from its publicly available pages pretty much everything that Ball has ever written.
In the article, Ball, a former geography professor at the University of Winnipeg with an indifferent academic record and a lifetime peer-reviewed literature output of just four articles (none of them in atmospheric physics), assailed Weaver as uninformed about climate, unqualified to teach and compromised by his lavish funding, accusations for which he offered no proof whatever.
Weaver, a member of the Royal Society of Canada who has authored more than 190 papers, was also a lead author on three of the four reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climage Change (IPCC), and is lined up as a lead author on the fifth. He’s also won pretty much all the academic and teaching awards that are available to a Canadian professor who has not yet had his 50th birthday. Ball, famously slow to notice the obvious, apparently didn’t realize that he was overmatched.
The website Canada Free Press has issued a retraction and apology (full text below) to University of Victoria climate modeller Dr. Andrew Weaver for the content of an article written by Dr. Tim Ball.
Ball, whose own unspectacular academic tenure ended with a fizzle in 1996, has found a second career pretending to be a world-renowned climatologist (he once wrote to then-Prime Minister Paul Martin that he was “one of the first climatology PhDs in the world” - a statement that is purest fiction). In addition to signing on as a “science advisor” to energy industry front groups such as the Friends of Science or the Natural Resources Stewardship Project, Ball has written and spoken extensively, seldom passing up the opportunity to libel real scientists. (Though, when the going gets tough, the dishonest get going.)
One of Ball’s favourite targets has been Weaver, the Canada Research Chair in Climate Modelling and Analysis at the University of Victoria in Ball’s B.C. hometown.
Dr. Tim Ball, a man famous for lying about his resume, and for denying that he quite willingly works for oil-funded think tanks, nevertheless continues to find an audience, slandering actual climate scientists and misrepresenting - in the most manipulative way - the state of climate science.
His most recent attack is all the more stunning for having been launched during a week when the British House of Commons released a report exonerating one of Ball’s targets, Dr. Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the East Anglia University.
In one of Ball’s regular contributions to the conspiracy-theory website Canada Free Press, he begins with this:
“Few understand the extent of corrupted science produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Data was altered, or completely ignored and research deliberately directed to prove their claim that humans were causing global warming.”
Ball’s evidence for the charge of “corrupted science”? None, really. His proof that data were altered or ignored? Zero.
The deathless and - in many specific respects - completely fictional meanderings of Dr. Tim Ball have begun appearing again on right-wing blogs all over the net. At City Troll, at Convenient Untruth and at New Orleans Lady, the same tired and retreaded old climate rant paints Dr. Ball as the courageous victim of a plot to silence a well-meaning skeptic.
But Ball can’t even tell the truth about his own resume. His claim to be the first Climatology Ph.D. in Canada is a total falsehood; his degree was in historical geography - not climatology - and it was nowhere near the first ever granted to someone writing vaguely in the field. It also was granted by the university as a doctor of philosophy, not the more prestigious “doctor of science” that Ball claims in these articles.
What a great one-two punch you get from Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe and the right-wing blogsite Canada Free Press. CFP is always at the ready to run material from any climate change denier on the continent, but Jim Inhofe's outburst today is a classic.
Democracy is utterly dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed. In promoting climate change denial (and often denying their responsibility for doing so) industry has done more than endanger the environment. It has undermined democracy.
There is a vast difference between putting forth a point of view, honestly held, and intentionally sowing the seeds of confusion. Free speech does not include the right to deceive. Deception is not a point of view. And the right to disagree does not include a right to intentionally subvert the public awareness.