This is a guest post by Gus Van Harten, professor at the Osgoode Hall Law School and author of Sold Down the Yangtze: Canada's Lopsided Investment Deal with China. This post originally...
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Co-author (with Jim Hoggan) of the award-winning Climate Cover-up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming, Richard has been Editor of the DeSmogBlog since its inception in 2005. Originally a newspaper reporter (the Ottawa Citizen, the Winnipeg Tribune, the Vancouver Sun), Richard has, since 1995, split his career between magazine journalism, activism and politics and corporate communications. On projects specific to climate change, he wrote the David Suzuki Foundation’s first public information package on global warming in 1996, was vice-chair of the Greater Vancouver Regional District's Air Quality Committee in 1996 and 1997 and sat as a delegate to the Canadian government's (failed) Kyoto Implementation Process from 1997 to 1999. Richard is a regular speech writer for many business and academic leaders.
In a recent post in The Citizen.com, Dr. Robert C. Balling, director of the Office of Climatology at Arizona State University, launches pseudo-scientific attack on Al Gore's move, An Inconvenient Truth.
As with a clutch of other industry-funded academics who quibble over climate change, Dr. Balling is happy to use his Ph.D. and his title to suggest expertise and to imply scientific objectivity. But readers might be better able to judge the quality of his input if they knew that he has been the eager recipient of funding from such philanthropic organizations as ExxonMobil, the British Coal Corporation, Cyprus Minerals and OPEC. Per the link above, Sourcewatch lists his take from these sources at a little over $400,000 in the last 10 years.
There was a rumour, about a month ago, that the feds had decreed that all references to Kyoto should be removed from publicly accessible websites “effective immediately” - presumably to conform to the federal Conservatives' hostile new approach to Kyoto and the political preference to cozy up instead to the do-nothing crowd in the Asia Pacfic Partnership on Clean Development and Climate.
Although the source of the rumour was “usually reliable,” the notion seemed entirely too Orwellian.
But now we have this: The feds' own climate change site once offered a verbose, but realistic analysis of the problem and a high-minded, but unconvincing account of what the government was doing about it (see the full text, appended at the bottom).
Now it says merely:
The Government of Canada is committed to the development and implementation of a Made-in-Canada plan for reducing greenhouse gases and ensuring clean air, water, land and energy for Canadians. The Made-in-Canada approach will be effective, realistic and focus on achieving sustained reductions in emissions in Canada while ensuring a strong economy. The Government will develop solutions that have clear environmental benefits to Canada and improve our ability to market new technologies around the world.
Never mind removing a reference to Kyoto; the words “climate change” have been expunged from everything except the website title. It might be worth checking back in a week or two to see if the (melting) iceberg in the picture is actually getting bigger.
The front page of the UK’s Independent asks, “Are you wondering why it’s so hot today?”
In the feature, Peter Stott of the Met Office’s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research states:
“As you get a warming trend in temperatures, which is what we are observing, the risk of exceeding extreme temperatures increases dramatically.”
“This is what we saw with the European heatwave of 2003. When we analysed it, we found that the rise in average temperatures over the previous century of about one degree had doubled the risk of an extreme event like the heatwave of that year.
“And, as we go into the future, the risk of what was quite a rare event rises dramatically. We think by 2040, a summer like 2003 will be a regular event; the chances of it happening will increase from one in 250 all the way to one in two.” He added: “We have an increasing amount of confidence that we are observing rising temperatures caused by human-induced rising greenhouse-gas concentrations. Unless the world changes what it is doing, we are going to see these extreme temperatures very much more.”
Predictably, this will all be brushed aside by the skeptics as “alarmist” and anecdotal.
A tortured post by Ian Murray of the Competitive Enterprise Institute concludes that “The Kyoto Protocol, which (Al) Gore enthusiastically supports, would avert less than a tenth of a degree of warming in the next fifty years.”
I take from this:
1. That the CEI acknowledges warming is occurring.
The “Friends of Science” climate campaigner Dr. Tim Ball embarrasses himself today in the National Post with an article praising the prospect of global warming. Ball has been on a privately funded, cross-country tour arguing that climate change is either not occurring or occurring regardless of the activities of humankind. Now, apparently because he used to live in a town with a chilly winter (Winnipeg), he acknowledges that warming is happening and suggests its a good thing.
Here's another in the recent Friends of Science (FOS) flurry, a story in the Daily Oil Bulletin (DOB) that (surprise!) takes issue with the science of man-made climate change.
It raises a series of questions. If FOS cares about science, why does it expend all its energy and a huge anmount of money on politics and public relations?
Friends of Science scientific advisor Dr. Tim Ball, who has been criss-crossing the country in a campaign to undermine public support for the scientific proof behind human-caused climate change, advertises himself as “the first Canadian PhD in Climatology.” The FOS website boasts that, “He has an extensive background in climatology, especially the reconstruction of past climates and the impact of climate change on human history and the human condition.”
Now that the dust has settled over the Skeptics Society conference, the Environmental Wars, it's easy to see it as a microcosmic skirmish in the ideological war that is subsuming the U.S. (and increasingly the Canadian) debate about climate change.
We at the DeSmogBlog are guilty of sometimes oversimplifying this debate by suggesting that it is occurring between the most accomplished climate scientists in the world (as exemplified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and a band of self-interested dissemblers who will do anything to defend the profitable status quo (as exemplified by ExxonMobile and Peabody Energy).