The Canadian (Climate) Paradox

January 16, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Call it the Canadian Paradox. Yes, our federal government has announced our withdrawal from the horrendously expensive and utterly pointless Kyoto Protocol.

Yes, our federal Minister of Natural Resources has publicly acknowledged that once you connect the dots and take a step back so that the big picture comes into focus, the green activist agenda is rather alarming:

Their goal is to stop any major project…No forestry. No mining. No oil. No gas. No more hydroelectric dams.

This sort of political leadership is heady, inspiring stuff. And yet the idea that carbon dioxide emissions are dangerous – because the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says so – remains firmly entrenched here in the Great White North. Indeed, it remains accepted wisdom in the province of Alberta, the very epicenter of Canada’s oil and gas industry.

Last October an engineer wrote a letter to that province’s premier. Even a passing glance at the bio of Alison Redford (who is the equivalent to a US state governor) reveals that she’s one smart, accomplished human being.

Throughout her career she has served in senior capacities in our nation’s capital. She has worked overseas with both the European Union and the United Nations. More recently she ran for – and won – the leadership of Alberta’s Progressive Conservative Party, thereby becoming premier of this country’s economic powerhouse.

It is difficult to believe, therefore, that Premier Redford is unaware of the growing list of scandals associated with the IPCC – scandals that call into question the validity of that body’s findings. And yet, when the letter-writing engineer received an answer in November of last year, he was advised:

The provincial government acknowledges the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change… [bold added; see the letter here]

Similarly, when the same engineer left a comment on a government of Alberta website, he received an e-mail reply on November 28th, 2011 that read, in part:

…the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which includes more than 3,000 scientists from around the world, agrees that climate change is caused by a number of factors, including excess carbon dioxide…The Government of Alberta accepts the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and recognizes the need to reduce emissions and take immediate action to deal with the impacts of global warming. [bold added; see a cut-and-paste of the e-mail here]

This is remarkable, n’est pas? As my book-length exposé of that organization points out, the IPCC fails some basic tests. It doesn’t describe its own personnel, its own procedures, or its own reports accurately. It lacks meaningful conflict-of-interest policies. It is studded with personnel affiliated with groups such as Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund.

The government of Alberta may think the IPCC consists of more than 3,000 scientists but the IPCC itself says that only 450 lead authors plus 800 contributing authors wrote its last (2007) assessment report. That adds up to 1,250 people. Some of those people had not yet completed their PhDs – see, for example, Sari Kovats.

While the IPCC says there were an additional 2,500 expert reviewers, its guilty secret is that nothing prevented its authors from entirely ignoring those people’s views.

The fact that IPCC scientists are from around the world sounds good but actually means little, since only about two dozen countries possess the educational infrastructure to produce top-notch personnel. Moreover, it is naive to imagine that scientists who come from undemocratic regimes such as Iran, China, or Sudan are free to adopt positions that conflict with their government’s official line.

And then there’s the biggest misunderstanding of all: The question of whether or not human emissions are responsible for enough climate change to worry about has never been decided by thousands of people. That decision was made by the few dozen individuals who happened to write one particular chapter (out of a total of 44) in the 2007 report.

At no time has the IPCC ever polled all of its participants with respect to this question. At no time have IPCC participants been asked wholesale to sign a statement agreeing with that particular conclusion.

In short, the reality of the IPCC is quite different from the marketing message that governments have swallowed whole and continue to repeat to their citizenry. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, therefore, to deduce that it’s unwise to trust the IPCC’s conclusions. To quote UK Lord Andrew Turnbull in the House of Lords last week:

Over the last two years, there have been three separate reports on the IPCC. They are: the report by the InterAcademy Council, a collective of the world’s leading scientific academies; the report written by Professor Ross McKitrick, a Canadian professor of economics who for a time served as an expert reviewer for the IPCC’s fourth assessment report; and a book, The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert, written by Donna Laframboise, a Canadian journalist. Although they write from three different perspectives, in different styles, the message is the same: there are serious flaws in the competence, operations and governance of the IPCC.

So why do so many elected officials – here in Canada, as well as abroad – remain behind-the-times and out-of-the-loop?

The damning report from the InterAcademy Council was commissioned by the UN itself. It was released in August 2010. More than enough time has passed for the flaws highlighted by that report to have been noticed by the government of Alberta.

Why, then, does Premier Redford still accept the IPCC’s findings?

And what, we are entitled to ask, is the threshold? How many more similar reports will it take? How many additional scandals must surface before the politicians of the world figure out that the IPCC doesn’t deserve their trust?

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Entry filed under: Greenpeace, IPCC, World Wildlife Fund. Tags: , , , , , , .

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