Monday, April 10, 2006
Canada's new Conservative prime minister, Stephen Harper, has been urged by more than 60 leading international climate change experts to review the global warming policies he inherited from his centre-Left predecessor.Really good to see some scientists willing to put their heads above the parapet.
In an open letter that includes five British scientists among the signatories, the experts praise his recent commitment to review the controversial Kyoto protocol on reducing emissions harmful to the environment.
"Much of the billions of dollars earmarked for implementation of the protocol in Canada will be squandered without a proper assessment of recent developments in climate science," they wrote in the Canadian Financial Post last week.
..... "If, back in the mid 1990s, we knew what we know today about climate, Kyoto would almost certainly not exist, because we would have concluded it was not necessary." Despite claims to the contrary, there is no consensus among climate scientists on the relative importance of the various causes of global climate change, they wrote.
"'Climate change is real' is a meaningless phrase used repeatedly by activists to convince the public that a climate catastrophe is looming and humanity is the cause. Neither of these fears is justified.
"Global climate changes all the time due to natural causes and the human impact still remains impossible to distinguish from this natural 'noise'."
Here is the letter in question. An impressive list of signatories.
A random Google search on one of these signatories, turns up a 'Dr. R. Timothy Patterson, professor, Dept. of Earth Sciences (paleoclimatology), Carleton University, Ottawa' who is presumably 'Prof Tim Patterson' who has worked for Friends of Science which is currently featuring this letter at http://www.friendsofscience.org/ .
FoS has been employed by APCO Worldwide (see http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Friends_of_Science).
SourceWatch notes about APCO Worldwide that 'on behalf of the tobacco industry and other corporate clients, it has created a number of industry front groups, including The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition and the American Tort Reform Association.' and notes (at http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=The_Advancement_of_Sound_Science_Coalition) that:
'The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC) is a now defunct industry-funded PR front group run by the APCO Worldwide public relations firm which worked to hang the label of "junk science" on environmentalists. Created in 1993, TASSC began as a front for Philip Morris which was attempting to discredit ETS (Environmental Tobacco Smoke) research as a long-term cause of increased cancer and heart problem rates in the community -- especially among office workers and children living with smoking parents.  (http://www.electric-words.com/junk/pmdocs/2024233677.html) It advanced industry-friendly positions on a wide range of topics, including global warming, smoking, phthalates, and pesticides. Later still, they extended the role of TASSC to Europe using Dr George Carlo. '
Needless to say, the clients of APCO Worldwide include oil and nuclear intersts (see http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=APCO_Worldwide#Clients).
Am I supposed to believe that this person is disinterested? How many others on this list have links to corporate interests with the money to buy phoney research?
Maybe Dr Alister McFarquhar who blogs for the Adam Smith institute? That's two hits out of two...
Perhaps you should take advice from the Anonymous who commented on Lord Bonamy.
That an unknown participant on Sourcewatch has accused an organisation somebody worked for as having been a "front" for an attempt to discredit the claim that passive smoking is a health threat doesn't discredit anybody. The evidence for passive smoking damage is pretty easily discredited.
Of course this would also mean that you think that anybody who has ever worked for any organisation which has ever supported global warming, passive smoking, the approaching new ice age etc can never have anything useful to say. I think that is a little unreasonable. Since our, & most other, governments have supported this rubbish anybody who has ever worked for governments, or for involved industries (or obviously for Greenpeace or any other eco-fascists) can have no valid opinions.
Just you & me Anonymous eh (except I have blogged on the ASI) so just you?
Well, try telling that to doctors. See the BMA report ‘Behind the Smokescreen: the myths and the facts’ available at
“It is now widely accepted that second-hand smoke harms health. The International Agency for Research on Cancer reviewed all the available evidence on second-hand smoke and cancer. This independent panel of international
scientists from 12 countries, convened by the World Health Organisation, concluded that second-hand smoke is carcinogenic to humans and exposure to other people’s smoke increases the risk of lung cancer in non-smokers
by 20-30 per cent and coronary heart disease by 25-35 per cent.
In 1998, the Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health (SCOTH) concluded that exposure to second-hand smoke causes lung cancer and heart disease in adult non-smokers, and a variety of conditions including respiratory disease, cot
death and middle ear disease in children. In November 2004, the Committee published an additional report summarising research published since 1998, and concluded that knowledge of the health hazards associated with exposure to passive smoking has been consolidated over the past five years and that recent evidence strengthens earlier estimates of the magnitude of the health risks.
And documents the references as:
16 WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer. Monograph on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans, Volume 83: Tobacco smoke and involuntary smoking, Lyons, World Health Organisation International Agency for Research on Cancer, 2002.
17 Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health. Report on the Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health, HMSO: London, UK Department of Health, 1998.
18 Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health. Secondhand Smoke: Review of evidence since 1998. Update of evidence on health effects of secondhand smoke. HMSO: London, UK Department of Health, 2004.
My argument is about fake campaigns organised by big business using names directly or indirectly on their payroll. The tobacco industry has paid for quite a few in their time and it is no surprise that the nuclear industry is now doing the same.
The others you mention are also funded by a committed party (ie government) while you have assured us you believe that anybody linked to anyone committed to anything (ie the ASI) is untrustworthy.
The only way this circle can be squared is if you seriously believe that the ONLY person who can ever be automatically trusted is someone whos says "I'm from the government & I'm here to help you" & that fake campaigns organised by government are above reproach.
On this we must differ.
That is what is called a reasoned response.