All posts tagged denialists

  • wg1cover
    Peter Jones - December 30, 2013

    Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

    The recent IPCC Assessment Report concluded as a “virtual certainty” that Greenhouse Gases were the principal cause of climate change.

    In a previous commentary we anticipated the response of denialists. We observed that:

    • cautious language in the Report would lessen its impact on public opinion;
    • the use of the qualifier “virtual” – after all these years of study some lay persons might expect a direct statement that either GHG are a cause or they are not!
    • climate models projected an increase in the world average temperature as a consequence of increased GHG emissions. Denialists point to a pause in global warming over fifteen years while emissions have increased.

    To avoid interminable discussion over the significance of “virtual”, 4RG has a different approach.   Yes, until new observations are made and further studies carried out there is a “doubt”.   But the world must not wait until every last “doubt” is resolved.

     “The Science is very clear and the debate is over. Climate change is happening now, it’s getting worse and humans have caused the majority of it,” said Christian Holz, Executive Director of Climate Action Network Canada. “Climate scientists have done their job – again – in making this clear beyond any reasonable doubt and now the issue is in the hands of societies and their leaders to fix.”

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  • Peter Jones - October 1, 2013

    What PR Problem?

    “Climate’s Big PR Problem” is the title of Margaret Wente’s column on the 5th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  This just-released report sets out the physical science behind climate change.

    Ms. Wente claims that the world has stopped warming up, which she describes as “a monumental PR headache for the IPCC. “

    Ms. Wente has overstated the case.  The world has not stopped warming up. The correct statement is that there has been no significant increase in the world’s average temperature over the last fifteen years.  The 5th Report stresses that this observation does not invalidate the conclusion that there is  a continuing warming trend.

    As described in our blog “News Flash – the IPCC 5TH Assessment Report, the correct conclusion is:  “It is certain that the world is getting warmer.”

    In an earlier blog we anticipated that the conclusions in the 5th Assessment Report of the IPCC could not put an end to the speculations of Denialists. Still, as it is balanced, reasonable and comprehensive, this Report is likely to be given more credibility than the preceding 4th Assessment report of 2007.

    As to the central conclusion in the 5th Report, not even Ms. Wente disputes this.  In her column she stated: “The only consensus that exists is the well-establishing fact that human activity is contributing to global warming.” When a card-carrying denialist makes this admission, it is obvious there is no PR problem.


  • Peter Jones - August 23, 2013

    A Commentary on The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “took a hit” when it released its Fourth Assessment Report in 2007.  That Report contained one significant error (the claim that Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035).  Soon after the report was issued, the “Climategate” controversy broke out.  Critics suggested that factual statements in the report had been edited to support a global warming theory.

    Although independent peer reviews confirmed these “edits” were appropriate, the tag “Climategate” stuck.  Denialists attacked subsequent IPCC analysis of climate change issues by linking the analysis to alleged deliberate misrepresentations in the Fourth Report. To Denialists, Climategate was proof of a underlying unscientific bias that undermined any IPCC conclusions.

    For further commentary on ClimateGate go to
    Durban Day 8: Climate Change Strikes Again!
    Discussions with friends about ClimateGate
    Does it Matter?

    If one can judge by the commentary on the draft text of the soon-to-be- released Fifth Assessment Report, the IPCC has attempted to avoid controversy over this report.  The language in the report is temperate even if the global warming crisis isn’t.

     In this soon-to-be-released Report the IPCC will claim “as a virtual certainty” that human activity – the burning of fossil fuels – is the cause of global warming. The use of the term virtual is consistent with the empirical nature of the evidence on which the Fifth Report relies. Yet the public will not appreciate the reason for the qualification implicit in that word.  The use of such language will create doubt, a legacy of Climategate.

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  • Peter Jones - June 3, 2013

    More Fodder for Denialists!

    Extract from the evidence of Dr. Richard Peltier before the Canadian Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources.

    There are careers to be made by proving that any particular piece of this argument concerned with the global warming process is wrong. . . .  any legitimate argument . . .  is investigated . . .  by legions of different scientists seeking to prove or disprove the validity of the argument . . . [Science] is a highly competitive process in which all ideas are tested because it is in the best interests of any scientist who can [demonstrate]. . . generally accepted wisdom . . .  to be untrue. . .”

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  • Peter Jones - May 5, 2013

    A slight misunderstanding?!

    Just the other day we read a commentary on Earth Day by Tom Harris, a contributor to the website Canada Free Press.  This Website is a source of denialist (anti-climate change) “information (!)”

    One paragraph in this commentary referred to a statement by President Obama on Earth Day:

    “Obama often labels carbon dioxide (CO2) as “carbon” and “pollution”. Anyone who remembers their grade 5 science knows that this is a serious mistake. CO2 is an invisible, odourless and naturally-occurring substance essential to plant photosynthesis and so to all life on Earth. It is anything but a pollutant.”

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  • Peter Jones - April 22, 2013

    Coal Fired Electricity Generation

    Canadian public opinion is solidly against environmental pollution that directly impacts personal health.  Greenhouse gases (GHG), generally referred to as pollutants, cause global warming over the longer term but do not directly affect personal health.  So the public is less concerned by higher levels of GHG.

    Many commentaries by government and non-governmental organizations frequently focus on environmental pollution caused by use of fossil fuels for industrial activity, ignoring the longer term consequences of global warming.  These commentaries do not distinguish between direct public health consequences and longer term risks.

    A recent study of the Ontario Green Energy Act published by the Fraser Institute was in this category.  Based on a 2005 consultant’s paper, the study concluded that the environmental goals of the Act, including reduction of GHG, could have been met by more effective pollution control equipment on coal-fired electricity generating plants.

    The Ontario Environmental Commissioner immediately issued a rebuttal of the study under the caption “Fraser report on the Green Energy Act misses the mark.”  

    The Commissioner, who is very familiar with Ontario legislation, observed that a key purpose of the Green Energy Act was phasing out of the use of fossil fuels in energy generation.  The Act was not directed at industrial pollutants from coal fired plants, although a side benefit of phasing out this form of energy generation would be a reduction in these pollutants.

    The author of the Fraser Institute study, Ross R. McKitrick, a Professor of Economics at the University of Guelph, referred to “climate change” only twice in a 42 page study, and then without commentary on climate change issues. As Professor McKitrick is a denialist this failure to characterize properly the fundamental purpose of the Green Energy Act is not surprising.

    The Canadian public deserves better information. For further commentary of direct and indirect effects go to Climate Change and Public Health.