By Lethbridge Herald on August 1, 2019.
in spite of the facts
For almost 30 years, I have watched the alarming idea of human-induced global warming (AGW) evolve from an interesting scientific hypothesis to widely accepted, almost religious dogma. Following the circus of the global warming conference of 2010 in Cancun, I optimistically believed that the mania had reached its nadir. Unfortunately, I was wrong. After its Paris conference in 2015 the AGW cult issued an impressive statement that, although it lacked teeth, signified a common objective of its 195 signatories.
After three decades of relentless evangelism, AGW has been accepted as scientific fact by most of the media, Wikipedia, all Canadian political parties, several multi-national corporations and, shockingly, the executives of most scientific institutes and professional associations. In general, the poobahs of scientific organizations do not require consent of their members to make pronouncements. During my 30 years of professional practice I belonged to a half dozen associations and scientific institutes. I don’t recall ever having been polled on anything.
People generally join professional organizations for recognition of their qualifications, to receive technical bulletins and for contacts with their peers. Most are too busy working in their fields to spend much time worrying about the day-to-day policy decisions of those who speak for them. With western society being threatened with an apocalypse, perhaps the rank and file should be paying attention.
The myth that 97 per cent of scientists believe that evil humans are causing climate change has been thoroughly debunked but it has become a permanent part of warmist folklore. It has become professionally dangerous to question the idea that the Earth’s thermostat can be adjusted by public sacrifice and technological regression. Many skeptics have learned to keep their heads down because radical warmists tolerate no dissent, and non-conformists risk being branded as “kooks” or “tools of Big Oil.” Even safely tenured or retired academic giants, the Gretzkys and Howes of academia (eg. Z. Jaworowski, F. Lindzen, D. Bromwich, W. Gray et al.) have been mocked and denigrated.
Even the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA), after having informed a prominent member that he would receive its prestigious Summit Award in 2019 in recognition of his contributions to the profession and the community, was informed by council that the offer was rescinded, presumably because of his harsh public personal criticism of climate hysteria and of greenism in general. Decades of outstanding service was trumped by failure to conform. We uns ain’t got no truck wif hairytiks.
Since 1880, there has been a net global temperature increase of about one degree centigrade but there isn’t a scintilla of confirmable evidence that this is due to increased CO2 in the atmosphere. In fact, notwithstanding a fairly constant increase in CO2 concentration, average land and sea temperature has risen erratically. It has twice fallen in two periods totalling 63 years, risen quite sharply for 62 years in three periods and was essentially flat during a 14-year hiatus.
“Global climate” is an imaginary construct. Climate is a regional geographic phenomenon. For example, in North America the Arctic has warmed significantly but the Great Plains from Texas to about 53 degrees north latitude has experienced no recent climate change. There have been a few hot, dry years (not surprising in a semi-arid area) but nothing remotely comparable to the heat and drought of the 1930s dustbowl when hundreds of thousands of climate refugees left the prairies. The temperature hit 44.4°C at Emerson, Man. in 1936 and an all-time Canadian record of 45°C at Yellow Grass and Midale, Sask. in 1937. Conversely, the terrible winters of 1886-87, 1906-87 and 1946-47 have never been surpassed. It’s human nature to always think of current bad weather as the “worst ever.”
Readers afraid that Alberta may be overwhelmed by rising seas should take comfort in the knowledge that sea levels are increasing by about 2.5 mm annually. (That’s 10 inches per century.)
Canada’s widespread forest fires in 2016 to 2019 were not unprecedented. The great Miramichi fire of 1825 covered about 1,600,000 hectares, destroyed two towns and took at least 160 lives. In 1919, fires in Saskatchewan and Alberta scorched about 2,500,000 hectares. In Ontario from 1911 to 1922 major fires consumed 568,000 hectares of forest and caused 341 deaths. In 1950 the Chinchaga fire in northern B.C. and Alberta burned about 1,700,000 hectares. The disastrous 590,000-hectare Fort McMurray fire in 2016, although by far the most costly in Canadian history, wasn’t physically unique.
To all those who passively accept “climate emergency” dogma because “the science is settled,” I commend the words of Anatole France: “If 50 million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.” Or, more pointedly, Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (121-180 CE) opined, “The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.”
Lee Morrison of Calgary is a retired mining geologist, engineer and a former Member of Parliament.