climate science

Climate Scientist Andrew Weaver Wins $50,000 in Defamation Suit Against National Post, Terence Corcoran

The B.C. Supreme Court awarded $50,000 in damages to climate scientist Andrew Weaver in a ruling Friday that confirms articles published by the National Post defamed his character.

The ruling names Terence Corcoran, editor of the Financial Post, Peter Foster, a columnist at the National Post, Kevin Libin, a journalist that contributes to the Financial Post and National Post publisher Gordon Fisher.

Four articles published in 2009 and 2010 refer to Weaver, now MLA for Canada’s Green Party, as an “alarmist” who disseminates “agit-prop” and a “sensationalist” that “cherry-picked” data as “Canada’s warmest spinner-in-chief.” Weaver was previously a lead author on a number of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment reports.

In the damages section of the ruling (attached below), Madam Justice Emily Burke notes, “the defamation in this case was serious. It offended Dr. Weaver’s character and the defendants refused to publish a retraction.”

Justice Burke concluded the defendants “have been careless or indifferent to the accuracy of the facts,” adding, “they were more interested in espousing a particular view than assessing the accuracy of the facts.”

Weaver told DeSmog Canada he’s “thrilled” with the ruling.

Study: Google Trends Show Climate Search Decline, Need for Solutions

climate change, environmental issues in Canada
Climate scientists and environmentalists need to revamp their messaging and get more involved in public debate if they want to stop what appears to be a plunging online interest in global warming, say observers of internet research trends across Canada and worldwide.
“Many in the public feel tired of hearing about global warming because they feel unempowered by how they can deal with it,” Andrew Weaver, leading Canadian climate scientist and B.C. Green MLA, told DeSmog Canada.
“We need more reporting on the solutions, but in order to have more reporting on the solutions, we need those solutions to be out there for people to actually see and discuss. And to do that we require people, we require a political will to allow these to come forward.” 
Weaver was responding to a new study, “Public interest in climate change over the past decade and the effects of the ‘climategate’ media event,” that shows a marked decline in worldwide public interest in global warming during the past seven years.

Study Dismisses Geoengineering Quick Fix For Global Warming

Politicians should not look to science and engineering for a relatively quick fix to effectively deal with climate change caused by rising greenhouse gas emissions, a new academic study has determined.

The only solution to global warming is a massive rejection of toxic fossil fuels, vastly improved energy efficiency and substantially altered human behavior, found the recently released study — An interdisciplinary assessment of climate engineering strategies.

In light of their limitations and risks, climate engineering approaches would best serve as a complement to — rather than replacement for — abatement, and the latter should remain a focus of climate-change policy for the foreseeable future,” said the study written by six academics in the U.S. and Canada.

There is No Scientific Debate on the Science, so Why is There a Public Debate on the Science?

Climate change debate

The Antarctic ice sheet is falling into the ocean, $1.1 trillion of investments are at risk due to a carbon bubble and the U.S. President is saying climate change is already affecting his country — by all accounts, you'd think the debate over global warming would be settled once and for all.

Yet it rages on. Recent polling shows public concern over climate change has fallen in Canada, the U.S., Britain and Australia over the last several years.

If there’s agreement among the world’s experts, why on earth is their disagreement among the world’s non-experts? And why is that disagreement so deeply polarized?

In a recent public lecture about polarized public discourse, DeSmog Canada founder and president Jim Hoggan posed the question: “Why are we listening to each other shout rather than listening to what the evidence is trying to tell us?”

This is not a rhetorical question.

Federal Science Cuts Stall Climate, Mercury Research

Arctic sunset

Two world-renowned research institutes faced elimination in 2012 — and then were saved — but what happened to the scientists' ongoing research on the impacts of melting permafrost and mercury pollution in fish?

"A World That We Have to Avoid At All Costs": Gabriel Levy Interviews Kevin Anderson

tar sands smokestacks and emissions by kris krug

This is a guest post by Gabriel Levy and was originally published on the blog People and Nature. This post is Part 2 of a two-part interview with Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. You can read Part 1 here.

Gabriel Levy: What happens if the 2 degrees target is missed?

Kevin Anderson: Increasingly I hear murmurs from some policymakers and scientists that 2°C is too challenging, that we can’t do it – though such concerns are typically expressed away from more public fora. And I can certainly can understand why they are saying this. So what about a 4°C rise? That sounds more viable. The carbon budget is larger and hence the rate of emission reduction is much less challenging.

But what exactly does a 4°C increase in global surface temperature mean? Most of the surface of the earth is water, which heats up more slowly. So it relates to a 5-6 degrees increase in average land temperature. This area of science is very uncertain, but the Hadley Centre [climate change research centre at the Met Office] estimates that, on the hottest days, the temperature would be 6-8 degrees higher in China, 8-10 degrees in Europe and 10-12 degrees in New York. Such unprecedented increases would give rise to host of issues about how the aging infrastructure of our cities could deliver even survival-level services.

Kevin Anderson: "Scientists are Cajoled into Developing...Politically Palatable Messages" on Climate

Sun in the Alberta tar sands by Kris Krug.

This is a guest post by Gabriel Levy and was originally published on the blog People and Nature. This post is Part 1 of a two-part interview with Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Centre. You can read Part 2 here.

The reality about the greenhouse gas emissions cuts needed to avoid dangerous global warming is obscured in UK government scenarios, climate scientist Kevin Anderson has said.

The most important measurements, of total carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, are pushed into the background – and scientists are pressured to tailor their arguments to fit “politically palatable” scenarios – Anderson told a Campaign Against Climate Change conference in London on 8 June.

The government’s scenarios assume that rich countries such as the UK will reduce emissions by some distant – and effectively meaningless – future dates, Anderson explained to more than 200 trade unionists and environmental activists at the conference.

Between conference sessions, Anderson, deputy director of the Tyndall Centre, the UK’s leading climate change research organisation, and professor of energy and climate change at the University of Manchester, gave this interview to People & Nature.

Industry Money Corrupts Science at University of Calgary Research Centre

Oil and gas industry funding has corrupted research at the University of Calgary's Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy (ISEEE), according to former head of the centre, climate scientist David Keith.

In an interview with CBC, Keith said the research institute has been unable to balance corporate interests with its environmental research. Keith also told the CBC that the University of Calgary removed one of its academic employees after bowing to pressure from Enbridge.

“That just fundamentally misconceives the university's role,” said Keith, who now works at Harvard University.

Canadian Scientists Must Speak Out Despite Consequence, Says Andrew Weaver

If people don’t speak out there will never be any change,” says the University of Victoria’s award-winning climate scientist Andrew Weaver. 

And the need for change in Canada, says Weaver, has never been more pressing.

“We have a crisis in Canada. That crisis is in terms of the development of information and the need for science to inform decision-making. We have replaced that with an ideological approach to decision-making, the selective use of whatever can be found to justify [policy decisions], and the suppression of scientific voices and science itself in terms of informing the development of that policy.”

After 25 Years, It’s Time To Stop Spinning Our Wheels

By David Suzuki
In 1988, hundreds of scientists and policy-makers met in Toronto for a major international conference on climate change. They were sufficiently alarmed by the accumulated evidence for human-caused global warming that they issued a release stating, “Humanity is conducting an unintended, uncontrolled, globally pervasive experiment whose ultimate consequences could be second only to a global nuclear war.”
They urged world leaders to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2005. Had we heeded that warning and embarked on a campaign to meet the target, Canadians would now be healthier (because of reduced air pollution), have greater reserves of energy and more jobs. We’d also be a world leader in renewable energy and could have saved tens of billions of dollars.

Subscribe to climate science