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. … Read more

Canadian Government Press Releases = “Spin”

“An Environment Canada press release advises that Canada will provide garden hoses to fight forest fires.  The Minister of the Environment pointed out that this program will support Canadian jobs.”

No, you will not find this “Press Release” on the Environment Canada site.  Or any other Government of Canada site. The Press Release is a parody of the numerous press releases that are shovelled out every week by Government Media Relations.

Environment Canada or Natural Resources press releases all extol the wonderful efforts of the Harper Government, such as its encouragement of renewable energy, Canada’s reduction of GHG or the support of other countries fighting climate change.   Almost invariably there is a mention of a dollar figure that is impressive . . . . as long as you don’t compare it with the billions of dollars to repair damages resulting from Climate Change or the billions of dollars required to develop reliable alternative energy sources to fossil fuels.

Other frequent claims in Canadian Government press releases are:

  • the Harper government is balancing the reduction of GHG emissions with the need to support Canada’s economy, or
  • the program will produce jobs across Canada, or
  • the financing of the activity is another example of Canada’s role in the fight against climate change/or maintaining the environment.

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Canada’s four responses to AR5!

First The CBC carried a story on the Fifth Assessment Report just before its official release.  With so-called journalistic even handedness, CBC presented some conclusions in the report, and then contrasted these opinions with the views of a spokesperson for the Heartland Institute. The news media have some obligation to check out their sources of … Read more

News Flash – The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the first part of its Fifth Assessment Report today, Friday, September 27.  Earlier this summer we commented on the science that underlies this lengthy report. 

Climate Action Network Canada points out that the report shows with greater certainty than ever that climate change is real, caused by human activity and requires urgent action. The report shows that it is certain that the earth is getting warmer, precipitation pattern are changing sea levels are rising, sea ice and glaciers are melting and oceans are acidifying, with serious consequences for our communities, environments and economies.

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Small numbers this hurricane season!

There were no hurricanes this summer until Hurricane Humberto was classed as such  on September 11th.  Scientists are still debating why, in a period of global warming, there are fewer hurricanes (cyclones) spawned by the warm Caribbean waters. This lack of cyclone activity will be the subject of comment in the next IPCC Report, scheduled for the … Read more

Can science be trusted?

A recent blog commented on a draft of the Fifth Assessment Report, which is soon to be released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  Will this Assessment Report receive a better reception by politicians and members of the public than its predecessor? Many people distrust what they are being told by scientists (the … Read more

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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