Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
Today, Canada’s Thanksgiving Day, I am giving thanks for two remarkable people – Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick. Singly and together, they’ve made vital contributions to the climate debate. Calmly, politely, indefatigably, they’ve insisted on accountability in an arena in which that seems to be a foreign concept. They’ve argued that crucial global warming data should be produced – and that scientific arguments should be subject to careful scrutiny.
A brief introduction to their activities appears here. A longer (but not exhaustive) account may be found in Andrew Montford’s superb book The Hockey Stick Illusion.
M & M (as they are sometimes called, with affection) are heroes to numerous people around the world. In May, for example, I witnessed 700 conference attendees in Chicago give McIntryre a standing ovation as he approached a podium. Please help ensure that these gentlemen also receive recognition at home. The Globe and Mail, a national newspaper, is accepting nominations until November 26th for Transformational Canadians, defined as “people who’ve made this country – and the world – a better place.”
Admittedly, the formal nomination categories are a bit stodgy. There’s one for business, another for health care, a third for education, and a fourth for science and technology. Given that the latter is expected to attract nominations for people who’ve “shown innovation and leadership through the advancement of technology solutions,” the contributions made by M & M don’t fit easily into any of them.
There is an Environment category – but the qualities the newspaper thinks are important are ever-so-20th-century:
Environment: Has helped transform our understanding of, and the need for, environmental action, sustainability and consciousness.
For heaven’s sake. As if critical thinking and environmental issues never meet. This is a newspaper. It’s supposed to be a guard dog, not a lap dog. Yet with this narrow definition, no one but a David Suzuki clone has a chance of winning.
Suzuki is four decades behind the times, however. In the innocent 1970s people could be forgiven for believing the Garden of Eden had really existed – that humans had once nestled blissfully and harmoniously in the bosom of Mother Nature. After all, folks were still living in back-to-the-land communes and still believed that their example would change the world. But it was industrial society – not the communes – which survived. Because Eden is a myth.
Mother Nature has never been our friend. Indeed, human history has been one long struggle to protect ourselves from her assaults. She has taken every opportunity to torment us. Mosquitoes, fleas, black flies, ticks, lice, bedbugs, tapeworms, leprosy, polio, tuberculosis, malaria, yellow fever, scarlet fever, typhoid, syphilis, rabies, river blindness, bubonic plague, gangrene, dental abscesses, pneumonia, dysentery, rattlesnakes, pythons, venomous spiders, poisonous mushrooms, poison oak, death in childbirth, earthquakes, tsunamis, flash floods, droughts, sandstorms, volcanoes, wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, cyclones, avalanches, heatwaves, sunstroke, frostbite, locusts, lightning, hail, sleet, wolves, bears, blight, famine, quicksand.
Nature has her moments of, course. Her beauty is mesmerizing. But we forget at our peril that she’s a full-grown, snarling jungle cat – not a harmless, days-old kitten.
Putting all of this aside, the final Transformational Canadians nomination category does seem appropriate:
Community: Has worked to identify and address a community need by bringing focus, discipline and passion to effect positive change.
Our communities, from the local to the international, desperately require smart, hard-nosed thinkers. People who don’t go along for the ride. People who expect government policies to be sensible and cost-effective. People who aren’t bamboozled by slick promotional brochures, who know that the “experts” often get it spectacularly wrong.
In this era of information overload and continual distraction, we are more than ever in need of individuals who devote sustained time and attention to probing beneath the surface, to asking the hard questions that politicians want to avoid – and that the media hasn’t even thought of yet.
Focus – check. Discipline – check. Positive change – check. McIntyre and McKitrick have had an incalculable impact on the climate debate. They have set in motion a series of events that history will almost certainly regard as the beginning of the end of the global warming scare.
If the green movement is going to use science to argue that far-ranging societal changes are necessary then that science must be transparent and beyond reproach. McIntyre and McKitrick showed the world this isn’t the case. The Hockey Stick graph is a joke, assembled by amateurs and then promoted by scientific institutions that should be ashamed of themselves.
McIntyre and McKitrick have, indeed, transformed the debate. In doing so, they’ve transformed the world.
The nominees must be Canadian, but the Terms & Conditions place no restriction on who may do the nominating. Should the newspaper receive polite, articulate nominations from non-residents explaining the contribution made by McIntyre or McKitrick, it may well pay close attention.
If purchasing The Hockey Stick Illsuion from Canada, this source is quick and reliable.
h/t Pav Penna