Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, the marine biologist who led the IPCC’s Ocean chapter, is a full-blown environmental activist. He recently wrote a politicized foreword to a WWF brochure, and has a long history of employment with both the WWF and Greenpeace.
In approximately six hours, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will release a new Summary for Policymakers at a press conference. We’ll be told that that document highlights the key findings of the 30 new chapters that represent the Working Group 2 section of the IPCC’s latest climate assessment.
Richard Tol, who specializes in the economics of climate change, has asked that his name be removed from the Summary. Rather than representing an even-handed analysis, he thinks it emphasizes doom and gloom. Among the individuals whose name will remain is the Australian marine biologist, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg.
The fact that he has spent his career cashing cheques from Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) was no impediment to him participating in the latest IPCC assessment. The geniuses there decided he wasn’t merely lead author material, but that he deserved to be placed in charge of a chapter. Its called The Ocean. You can download a leaked copy of it here.
Hoegh-Guldberg’s close affiliation with organizations that raise hundreds of millions by scaring us witless isn’t a thing of the past. WWF Australia recently published a spiffy, 16-page brochure to mark yesterday’s Earth Hour. It’s titled Lights Out for the Reef. Hoegh-Guldberg’s photo and biographical sketch are one of the first things you see:
In the foreword, he says that unless we “increase our commitment” to caring for the Great Barrier Reef, it “will disappear.” He tells us that:
The scientific consensus has concluded that further increases in CO2 and average global temperature are almost certain to destroy the coral communities of the Great Barrier Reef for hundreds if not thousands of years. [bold added]
It is highly unlikely that coral reefs will survive more than a 2 degree increase in average global temperature relative to pre-industrial levels. But if the current trajectory of carbon pollution continues unchecked… [bold added]
He talks about our failure to “take action on climate change,” says the Great Barrier Reef may be approaching “the point of no return,” and in the very next sentence refers to “that final point where it will be too late to save the Great Barrier Reef.”
Three sentences later, he yet again warns:
If we don’t act now, the climate change damage caused to our Great Barrier Reef by 2030 will be irreversible.
In other words, Hoegh-Guldberg is a full-blown activist. He doesn’t employ the careful, measured language one expects from a scientist. He knows what the future holds – and he knows it’s apocalyptic.
Not content to merely express his own opinions, he presumes to lecture the rest of us. We need to “take action” and “act now.” We need to “deal decisively with climate change.”
He thinks we should all read the WWF brochure as well as the IPCC report (he doesn’t mention that he himself helped write the latter). He tells us we should take part in Earth Hour in order to “build momentum towards action on climate change.”
Behind all of this, of course, lurks a threat: if we don’t follow his advice, we’ll be really, really sorry.
This is the sort of person who gets appointed to prominent positions at the IPCC.