Guest opinion: Dr. Tim Ball
Every man wishes to pursue his occupation and to enjoy the fruits of his labors and the produce of his property in peace and safety, and with the least possible expense. When these things are accomplished, all the objects for which government ought to be established are answered. -Thomas Jefferson
This week I experienced first hand another example of how the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) deception and the policies it engenders is negatively impacting people’s lives. A small group of private land wood-lot operators were facing challenges to their survival created by false climate science and unnecessary and misguided government reactions. I say “another example” because much of the last 40 years involved helping people understand and cope not only with the weather, climate and climate change, but the draconian, unnecessary policies, rules, and regulations created by ignorant politicians who put on the cloak of green. It is supposedly the green of environmentalism, but that is a cover up because it is the green of tax money and the political control it provides.
Most of my work beyond teaching and researching involved working with primary producers in agriculture, forestry, mining and natural resources. For example, I served as technical advisor to the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association for 17 years as they dealt with a series of unsubstantiated charges. Leading the charge were animal rights groups and environmental exploiters including people like Jeremy Rifkin. He wrote a book and organized a campaign titled Beyond Beef published in 1994 in which he effectively blamed cattle for all the problems in western society. He conveniently ignored the 250 million holy cows in India, among many other things.
This latest group to feel the brunt is an association of private forest landowners in British Columbia. Their concern was the growing squeeze between increasing government regulations, the weak economy, and the lure of government money from carbon credit and sequestration schemes. The title of my presentation summarized the challenge. Business Today: A Balance Between Government and Reality.
I experienced the same challenge several times over the years. One involved Forage Crop producers who were struggling with low prices, poor yields caused by cold, wet, conditions and increasing and limiting government regulations. They were offered cash for participation in methane and CO2 remediation programs. This was part of the $6.8 billion Environment Canada (EC) spent while they failed to fulfill basic weather and climate forecast obligations.
EC failures caused public protest forcing them to commission an internal study and report titled “Action Plan for Climate Science Research at Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC)” prepared by a group called The Impact Group. This was obtained by Canada’s Access to Information (ATI) provision. Ken Green wrote an article in the National Post on December 12, 2003 identifying some of the issues.
The Report was devastating because it was internally organized, but told the truth because it was prepared by an outside agency, Price Waterhouse.
Elements of an “Action Plan for Climate Science Research at MSC” (obtained through an Access to Information request) indicate that Canada’s climate change science program is being driven by a predetermined political agenda with a clear disregard of scientific needs.
The Forage producers who decided to sign up to the program found themselves trapped when bureaucrats told them how to operate their farm. As one farmer told me, they wanted me to drop completely all previous practices developed over years to fit the soil conditions, soil moistures, and microclimate conditions including abandoning my tried and trusted crop rotation. Despite a desperate need for the money to feed his family, he abandoned the program to recover management control.
How We Got Here.
In a first-year university history class (1968), I wrote a term paper (essay) on the impact of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) on European history. The professor gave it an F grade with a brief comment that it was “climatic determinism nonsense”. As a mature student, I was not intimidated by the feudal academic system. I appealed the grade to the dean and received an A+. The experience, combined with my flying and weather experience over the North Atlantic and in the Canadian Arctic, was influential in directing my Masters and Doctoral work to reconstructing climate records. The result was an interest in the impact of climate change on history and the human condition. Climatic determinism exists and understanding it provides a reasonable explanation of human history.
For most of human history, we were passive recipients of weather and climate changes. Gradually, we developed technologies to increase our adaptive abilities. Fire and clothing created microclimates that technically expanded our survival regions and opportunities. Technologies as diverse as climate controlled buildings and plant breeding all provided more and more control over self-preservation. The total effect is that people are living longer in better health everywhere in the world. Indeed, through the 200-year industrial period that the AGW people decry as problematic, life-expectancy increased steadily (Figure 1).
In short, we must be doing something right. As always, a cartoon summarizes the situation succinctly (Figure 2).
As I explained in my presentation to the wood-lot group, this progress ran headlong into the new paradigm of environmentalism. This was a necessary new paradigm, but like all of them it is initially seized by a few who see political and or financial opportunity. Global warming quickly became a subset of this narrow and self-serving agenda. This effectively ended the debate and not because the science was settled. Those who even thought of opposing found themselves confronted by those using the moral high ground of pretending to care for the Planet, the future, and the grandchildren. This came with the added burden of not fully understanding the science.
The group had already received lectures from government bureaucrats as part of the Climate Action Plan of British Columbia. Look at the participants of the Committee, including Andrew Weaver, IPCC Lead Author on four Reports (1995, 2001, 2007 and 2013), now Leader of the Green Party in BC and elected member of the Provincial Legislature. (Disclosure; Weaver filed a lawsuit against me five years ago and nothing has happened since.) The wood-lot producers were introduced to the application of the climate portion of Agenda 21 set out by the BC Government.
Exploitation of environmentalism and global warming made growing, pervasive inroads into every aspect of society. It was reinforced by the unrelenting bias of the media.
A summary of some of the problems the wood-lot people faced explains why the siren song of government subsidies was attractive. They were increasingly burdened by rules and regulations from all levels of government including Municipal, Provincial, and Federal. They were confronted with decreasing returns because of the weak economy. They were confronted by local environmental activists opposed to business of any kind but especially those resource based. This despite the fact it is in their interest to maintain a healthy forest. Money is increasingly difficult to get as lending institutions have a growing list of environmentally driven requirements. They are generally remote from markets. They are viewed unfavourably by the giant forestry companies. Finally, they have little opportunity for adding value to the raw product.
So the question is how would you address their concerns? Remember, they only know what the media feed them about climate. It would be an easier task if they knew nothing. Discussing all the problems with climate science will achieve little. I have discussed this challenge of explaining the skeptical view to the public on many occasions. Three main themes set the stage for saying you now know enough to see there is no scientific basis for the policy, but that is only a minor part of your decision to become involved in a government subsidy. The three themes require;
· Explaining the severe limitations of the deliberately restricting definition of climate change given to the IPCC by the UNFCCC of only considering human causes. Conclude this with the statement that you cannot determine human causes if you don’t know or understand natural causes.
· Explaining the fallacy of the claim that the world is warmer than it has ever been. Show how they got rid of the Medieval Warm Period because it contradicted that claim. In this case, I showed the following slide because it is related to their understanding (Figure 3). They understood the temperature increase necessary for a tree to grow to those dimensions at that latitude.
· Explaining that science is about the ability to predict and that if your prediction is wrong, the science is wrong. Then show slides of the failed weather and climate forecasts of Environment Canada and the IPCC.
At this point, it doesn’t matter if they understand or accept the problems with the science. They have to make a real-world decision. Here is a brief summary of the issues they must consider.
1. The science doesn’t support the call for action. While this doesn’t affect your decision now, it is necessary to keep in mind because as the public and politicians learn and change your decision will be affected. For example, this could change quickly if Trump is elected.
2. CO2 is not causing warming or climate change. It became the focus to blame industry and developed nations. The agenda was political from the start as exemplified by these quotes.
Ottar Edenhofer Co-chair U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change working group on Mitigation of Climate Change from 2008 to 2015.
“One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy,” “We redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy.”
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change.
“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.”
US Senator Timothy Wirth (Later at the UN).
“We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing …”
Christine Stewart, Canadian Minister of the Environment
“No matter if the science of global warming is all phony… climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.”
3. Plants need more CO2 not less. Commercial greenhouses inject up to 1200 ppm of CO2, three times the current atmospheric level of 400 ppm to achieve four times better yield with less water use.
4. Polls show global warming and climate change are not an issue among the public.
5. Despite this, the pressure for CO2 control will continue because politicians see taxing and control opportunities and are still afraid of being accused of not being ‘green.’
6. If you participate, know the real cost. Find out what happened to other businesses that participated in such programs. Be extremely careful and determine how many strings are attached to the cheque. Check with a lawyer if necessary.
7. The main attraction is the investment in carbon credits but be aware that most carbon credit markets have failed. You need to know that Canadian Maurice Strong, the mastermind of the entire IPCC scam, was on the Board of the now defunct Chicago Carbon exchange. He also chaired Ontario Hydro and drove it into the ground taking the Province with it by applying the energy policies based on the false science.
The good parts of the trip was the opportunity to provide a different perspective and a trip from Victoria to Campbell River with a day at a superb Canadian fishing lodge. My final comment was the same I give to any group, including students going to university, if you can do it on your own it is always better.