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When in doubt, blame Bush

06 Mar 2019 | OP ED Watch

Canadian environment minister Catherine McKenna recently had to cancel a Burlington Town Hall about the warming crisis because of harsh winter conditions. If you are tempted to offer a wisecrack about the lack of global warming, you might anticipate a finger-wagging response from environmentalists about how the proper term is “climate change.” No more: a lengthy CNN piece blames the introduction of the latter term on a “secret memo” in 2002 from Republican operative Frank Luntz advising GOP candidates to express fake concern about “climate change” because it scared voters less than “global warming”. So when Ms McKenna changed the name of Environment Canada to include “Climate Change” was she part of the right wing conspiracy too?

The alarmists have to do something given the failure of their predictions to come true and the refusal of the public to be scared. You might think the change from “global warming” to “climate change” was a shifty move on the part of alarmists to put their dogmas beyond the reach of evidence. Especially given how cold it is, with “brutal” winter conditions into March from Denver to Boston and Toronto to Britain. But no: apparently “climate change” is just another example of subversive right-wing PR.

The CNN article is actually somewhat disarming in its frankness about the use of language to protect doctrine regardless of evidence. For instance it quotes Naomi Oreskes, of the since-refuted claim touted by Al Gore that none among 900 representative articles on global warming disputed the alarmist case, saying that "Sure, the climate will always change, but to communicate why it is bad, I sometimes will put a qualifier word with it and will say 'man-made climate change' or 'disruptive climate change.’" The assumption being that man is evidently evil, one supposes, and that no disruptive weather ever happened prior to 1970.

The article also quoted Cambridge professor of “human geography”, Mike Hulme, that "The term 'global warming' confuses people because it triggers thoughts about warmth, and it sort of lends itself to misinterpretation when it also impacts the cold". Because of course ordinary people don’t know enough to be terrified of warmth. Furthermore “if people wanted to be really specific, ‘ocean heating’ may be a more accurate term, because 98% of the extra energy generated by human activity goes into the sea, causing serious problems. ‘But that's still quite esoteric, and I don't see that catching on anytime soon,’ Hulme said.”

Of course the claim that all the heat went into the ocean is itself under increasingly sceptical scrutiny. Still, at least he’s a scientist, right? Well, not exactly. His work, CNN says, “focuses on the way climate change is discussed in public and political conversations.” Indeed. And on how to convince people there’s a crisis no matter what the evidence says?

It’s a common problem. The New York Times recently warned, if that’s the right word, that extreme weather is rumbling ominously toward us but when it arrives we probably won’t even notice. The implication is that your failure to notice only means you’re thick: not that the problem is imaginary.

Another person CNN interviewed, Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the “Yale Program on Climate Change Communication” says "The key thing about terms like this is, they are plastic. Or, well, maybe since we are talking about the environment, we should say words are renewable organic latex or something." How about slippery and misleading?

What would be really interesting is whether science substantiates the notion that humans are causing the Earth to warm in dangerous ways. Surely we’re entitled to a reckoning on that question, in view of all the predictions we’d heard over the past few decades. As Anthony Watts recently noted, the UN predicted disaster within 11 years back in 1989, with “entire nations… wiped off the face of the Earth” and massive crop failure. You can’t do that sort of thing and, when it doesn’t happen, change the vocabulary and claim victory.

Having praised the article for its frankness in some areas it is necessary to critique it for lacking frankness in others. As Eric Worrall notes in criticizing the piece, it failed to mention “Climategate” emails about how “climate change might be a better labelling than global warming”.

Likewise, the CNN story does say “Until about the 1970s, scientists had a strong sense that human activity was changing the climate, but they debated whether the planet would get warmer or colder. Often, they would use the term ‘inadvertent climate modification’ or, scientists say, just stick with the ‘greenhouse effect.’” Which is nice in a way because it admits there was a cooling scare in the 1970s, something some alarmists now deny despite that darn Internet full of archived news and opinion stories. But in fact there wasn’t much concern that humans were causing cooling or otherwise altering climate back then; it was more reality-based worry that we were putting poisons into the air, water and food, which led to a massive practical and largely effective effort to stop doing measurable harm.

Finally, CNN notes that “The media and some scientists sometimes used the term ‘global change,’ but really started picking up on the term ‘global warming’ much more often after covering James Hansen's testimony at a Senate hearing in 1988 research shows. ‘Global warming has reached a level such that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and observed warming,’ the NASA scientist famously told the Senate.” But if that’s the case, 30 years ago, surely the observed warming should by now be, well, observable.

Otherwise the theory is starting to look highly suspicious. As is the rhetoric.

4 comments on “When in doubt, blame Bush”

  1. Earth's climate is constantly changing, thanks to the sun. No other influence comes close to the effect the sun has on our climate. That's why we have night and day (ever notice that it's a lot cooler at night?), and winter and summer. And for those environmental activists who fear-monger the notion that anthropomorphic activity is accelerating the rate of climate change, take note: for the vast majority of earth's existence, there have been no polar ice caps. We're living right now through the end of another ice age, and not surprisingly, as the ice continues to recede, our planet will warm up. As it has numerous times in the past, long before we were around. It's a human conceit to think we're responsible.

  2. I often ask climate activists what the level of CO2 in the atmosphere is.
    No one knows.
    When I tell them it is about 0.04%, they stare blankly, because they do not understand the number.
    A century ago it was 0.03%. So an increase of 33 %.
    That sounds like a lot.
    But a large relative increase of a small amount is still insignificant.
    as in: the annual rainfall in the Sahara has gone up 33 %, namely from 3 mm to 4 mm. To fully understand this, one needs to know what a millimeter is. Most graduates these days do not know this. The result of the disastrous educational system we have let develop.

    Can someone with access to a lab do this test: take 1 cubic meter of air, measure the temperature and the CO2 level ( that should be about 0.04% ) and then increase the CO2 level to 0.05%. Measure the temperature again, and you will have an idea of how much warmer it will be 100 years from now. All else being equal.
    I bet it will be an insignificant amount.

  3. The Canadian Minister, Environment and Climate Change Canada, has called CO2 “pollution”. This statement makes her either a dangerous demagogue or a fool. And she’s not the only one. The Canadian government is infested with former members of activist environmental NGOs (often foreign funded by the likes of George Soros and foundations such as Tides, Hewlett, etc.). These people have no knowledge whatever of genuine science, but they are skilled and articulate in propagating the totally disproven reports from incestuous and corrupt bodies such as the UN IPCC. If they had any knowledge of our climate and atmosphere, they would be celebrating our CO2 emissions because CO2 is the most important life sustaining gas in the atmosphere, and it has been in steady decline for the last 500 million years. It is dangerously scarce!
    The following is a list of Canadian government departments with positions held by former biased [corrupt?] environmental activists who clearly have a conflict of interest.
    1. Office of the Prime Minister
    Right Honourable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
    Gerald Butts, Former Principal Secretary (resigned as cartoon above)
    • President and CEO, World Wildlife Fund Canada (2008-2012)
    Lisa Laventure, Media Advance
    • Volunteer Coordinator, Sustainable Concordia (2011)
    Alex Tetreault, Special Assistant
    • Community Organizer for Clean Energy Outreach, Ecology Ottawa (2015-2016)
    Sarah Goodman, Deputy Director of Cabinet & Legislative Affairs
    • VP (2009-2012) and Senior VP (2012-2014) of Business Development and Strategy, Tides Canada
    2. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change
    Minister Catherine McKenna
    Marlo Raynolds, Chief of Staff
    • Board Member, Canadian Wind Energy Association (2013-2015)
    • Vice President of Market Development, BluEarth Renewables Inc. (2012-2015)
    • Executive Director (2004-2010) and Senior Advisor (2011-2012), Pembina Institute
    Kyle Harrietha, Director of Parliamentary Affairs
    • Communications Manager (2013) and Program Administrator (2008-2013), Cumulative Environmental Management Association in Fort McMurray, AB
    Julia Kilpatrick, Director of Communications
    • Communications Director, Clean Energy Canada (2015-2017)
    • Communications Director (2013-2015), Communications Manager (2012-2013), and Media Manager and Communications Lead (2009-2011), Pembina Institute
    • Endorsed on LinkedIn by David Dodge (Producer, Green Energy Futures)
    Clare Demerse, Senior Policy Advisor
    • Senior Policy Advisor, Clean Energy Canada (2014 - present)
    • Endorsed on LinkedIn by Dale Beugin (Executive Director, Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission), Mark S. Rudolph (President and CEO, justenvironment), Aaron Freeman (Founder and President, GreenPAC)
    Claire Seaborn, Senior Advisor, Legal and Regulatory Affairs
    • Legal Clinic Member, Ecojustice (2012-2013)
    3. Ministry of Natural Resources
    Minister Amarjeet Sohi
    Zoe Caron, Chief of Staff
    • Senior Policy Advisor, Clean Energy Canada (2015)
    • Former Specialist, World Wildlife Federation (2009-2015)
    • Environmental Consultant in Climate Change Partnerships and Engagement, Government of Nova Scotia (2008-2009)
    • Project Coordinator (2005-2007) and Chair of the Board of Directors (2008-2010), Sierra Club of Canada
    • Project Manager, Harrop-Procter Watershed Protection Society (2005)
    • Editor, Energy Action Coalition (2005-2012)
    • Founding Member, Canadian Youth Climate Coalition (2006-2009)
    • Co-author (with Green Party Leader Elizabeth May), Global Warming for Dummies (2014)
    Sandra Schwartz, Director of Parliamentary Affairs
    • Board Member, Nature Canada (2014-2016)
    • VP of Public Affairs, Canadian Electricity Association (2010-2016)
    • Director of Policy and Government Relations, Canadian Wind Energy Association (2006-2007)
    • Policy Advisor, Office of the Minister of Environment (2003-2006)
    • Director of Toxic Substances Programme, Pollution Probe (2000-2003)
    • Director of Environmental Programs, Canadian Institute of Child Health (1998-2000)
    Cheryl Cardinal, Director of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
    • Board Member, Environmental Refuelling Systems Inc. (2016-2018)
    Erin Flanagan, Director of Policy
    • Program Director of Federal Policy, Pembina Institute (2015-2018)
    • Technical and Policy Analyst for Oilsands, Pembina Institute (2013-2015)
    4. Ministry of Agriculture and Agri-Food
    Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau
    Geordie Summers-Lubar, Special Assistant
    • Delegate, North America Youth for Water Parliament (2014)
    5. Ministry of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism
    Minister Pablo Rodriguez
    Pablo Rodriguez, Minister
    • CEO, Ecolomondo (2011-2014)
    6. Ministry of Families, Children and Social Development
    Minister Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos
    Marjorie Michel, Director of Parliamentary Affairs
    • Council Member, RECYC-QUEBEC (2016-2017)
    Michael Brewster, Senior Policy Advisor
    • LinkedIn Bio: “Young professional with a strong environmental background. I currently work in politics in Ottawa while studying to complete my Masters in Environmental Practice. I am interested in corporate sustainable responsibility, green tech and public policy”
    • Masters in Environmental Practice, Royal Roads University (2017)
    Matthew Pollesel, Special Assistant - Parliamentary Affairs and Communications
    • National Organizer and Party Official, Green Party of Canada (2004)
    7. Ministry of Finance
    Minister Bill Morneau
    Ben Chin, Chief of Staff
    • Vice President of Communications, Ontario Power Authority (2009-2011)
    • Vice President of Energy Conservation Incentives, Air Miles for Social Change, Loyalty One (2011- 2012)
    8. Ministry of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
    Minister Jonathan Wilkinson
    Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister
    • Executive in Residence, Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre (2014-2015)
    • CEO, BioteQ Environmental Technologies (2011-2014)
    • Senior VP Business Development, Nexterra Systems Corp. (2009-2011)
    • VP Business Development (1999-2001) and President and CEO (2001-2008), Questair Technologies
    Alexis McIntyre, Chief of Staff
    • Manager of Environmental Science and Policy, Canadian Electricity Association (2013-2016)
    • Program Manager, Cumulative Environmental Management Association (2008-2009)
    Jocelyn Lubczuk, Press Secretary
    • Communications Officer, Sustainable Prosperity (Jan-Feb 2016)
    • Communications Officer, Ottawa Institute of the Environment (2014-2016)
    • Social Media Assistant, Green Energy Doors Open (Oct 2015)
    Fiona Simons, Special Assistant, Pacific Desk
    • Consultant, Sustainable Prosperity (2016)
    9. Ministry of Health
    Minister Ginette Petipas Taylor
    Kirsten Strom, Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff
    • Executive Assistant to the Director of Communications, Green Party of Canada (2015)
    10. Ministry of Indigenous Services
    Minister Seamus O’Regan
    Jeffrey Copenace, Special Advisor
    • Senior Vice President of Indigenous Partnership, Pacific Future Energy (2014-2015)
    Kevin Deagle, Policy Advisor
    • Research Assistant, Environmental Governance Lab at Munk School of Global Affairs, UofT
    11. Ministry of Infrastructure and Communities
    Minister François-Philippe Champagne
    Mathieu Bélanger, Director of Policy
    • Acting Country Representative for Rwanda, Global Green Growth Institute (2015)
    12. Ministry of International Development
    Minister Maryam Monsef
    Louis Belanger, Director of Communications
    • Media Coordinator/Spokesperson, World Wildlife Fund (2013-2014)
    13. Ministry of International Trade Diversification
    Minister Jim Carr
    Zara Rabinovitch, Senior Policy Advisor
    • Programs Manager, Wild Culture Ltd. (2013)
    Matthew Robertson, Departmental Advisor
    • Trade Commissioner for Clean Technology, Government of Canada (2016-2017)
    14. Ministry of Public Safety
    Minister Ralph Goodale
    Laura Friedrich, Senior Policy Advisor
    • Corporate Management Analyst, Environment Canada (2008-2013)
    John Gazo, Policy Specialist for Medium-Term Policy and Planning
    • Graduate Student, Ottawa Institute of the Environment (2017-Present)
    Jamie Gesualdo, Policy Analyst
    • Policy Analyst, Environment Canada (2016)
    Ryan Schwartz, Policy Development Manager
    • Senior Policy Analyst and Manager, Environment and Climate Change Canada (2013-2018)
    15. Ministry of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility
    Minister Carla Qualtrough
    Dylan Wooley-Berry, Special Assistant, Operations
    • Project Assistant, EOS Eco-Energy (Jun-Aug 2016)
    16. Ministry of Science and Sport
    Minister Kirsty Duncan
    Kirsty Duncan, Minister
    • Professor of Meteorology, Climatology and Climate Change, University of Windsor (1993-2000)
    17. Ministry of Seniors
    Minister Filomena Tassi
    Jude Welch, Chief of Staff
    • Manager of Policy and Programs, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (2014-2016)
    Lars Wessman, Senior Policy Advisor
    • Communications Coordinator, Ecology Ottawa (2013-2014)
    • Associate Executive Director, Ottawa Riverkeeper (2014-2016)
    18. Ministry of Small Business and Export Promotion
    Minister Mary Ng
    Simon Robertson, Director of Policy
    • Special Assistant, Office of the Minister of the Environment (2004-2006)
    • Managed a youth engagement initiative
    • Member of a team that liaised with the United Nations and other stakeholders to plan and execute the United Nations Climate Change Conference (CoP11)
    Arthur Lam, Senior Advisor
    • Board Member, Sierra Club (2012-2013)
    19. Ministry of Transport
    Minister Marc Garneau
    Shane McCloskey, Senior Special Assistant
    • Instructor, Concordia University (2012-2016)
    • Developed and taught undergraduate courses including climate change science and policy, natural disasters and paleoclimatology
    • Postdoctoral researcher, University of Auckland (2007-2009)
    • Conducted original research on climate and growth of Agathis australis with particular emphasis on intra-annual patterns of tree-ring development. Taught courses on environmental science and biodiversity issues
    20. Treasury Board
    Minister Jane Philpott
    Edward Rawlinson, Senior Advisor
    • Analyst (Clinton Climate Initiative), Clinton Foundation (2008)
    21. Ministry of Veterans Affairs
    Minister Lawrence MacAulay
    Philip Jansson, Director of Parliamentary Affairs
    • Documents Coordinator (2011) and Policy Analyst (2014-2016), Environment and Climate Change Canada
    22. Ministry of Women and Gender Equality
    Minister Maryam Monsef
    Saleha Assadzada, Executive Assistant to the Minister
    • Research Assistant, Environment Canada (2010)

  4. Gordon: Incredible! I can't imagine how much work it was to compile the list.
    The only hope is that with a change in government that most of the 'environmental' left winger and zealots will vanish back into their foxholes, hopefully to starve in the cold.

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