Canada being hoodwinked in UN climate process

Time for Harper government to take the lead on climate change

By TOM HARRIS

OTTAWA, ON – At the yearly United Nations Climate Change Conference now underway in Qatar, there are two sessions; one is irrelevant to Canada while the other is setting a time bomb for us.

Since our government had the foresight to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol last year, Canadians can safely ignore the first session, the 8th Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol.

The second session is another matter. Because Canada is still an active participant in the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), that body’s 18th Conference of the Parties (COP18) is something we must watch closely. At COP18, Canadian representatives will continue working with the UNFCCC to help create what is, in effect, another Kyoto Protocol.

That is not what the government is saying, however.

When announcing our withdrawal from the Protocol, Environment Minister Peter Kent said, “We want to avoid another Kyoto-like pact at all costs,”

Environment Minister Peter Kent announces Canada’s withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol

We support the establishment of a single, new international climate change agreement that includes greenhouse gas [GHG] reduction commitments from all major emitters,” the Minister has said repeatedly over the past year.

But Canada and other developed nations are being hoodwinked. Here’s how.

At last year’s U.N. Climate Change Conference, delegates endorsed the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action. Under this agreement, the Canadian and other governments pledged to work with the U.N. to establish by 2015 a global apparatus to force countries to enable legally-binding GHG reduction plans starting in 2020.

The Durban plan advances – “in a balanced fashion,” the U.N. asserts – the implementation of the December 2010 Cancun Agreements.

But Cancun has an opt-out clause for developing countries that allows them to agree to legally-binding emission cuts yet never actually carry them out. Developed nations do not have this option. Cancun states it twice. Here is one instance:

Reaffirming that social and economic development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of developing country Parties, and that the share of global emissions originating in developing countries will grow to meet their social and development needs.”

Since actions to significantly reduce GHG emissions will usually interfere with development priorities, developing countries will soon realize that an agreement based on Cancun will not limit their emissions. Such a treaty would then work in the same asymmetric fashion as Kyoto.

The only solution that makes sense for Canada is to get out of the UNFCCC that spawned the Kyoto, Cancun, and Durban agreements in the first place. The UNFCCC text lays out simple steps for withdrawal, stipulating in Article 25:

At any time after three years from the date on which the Convention has entered into force for a Party [March 1994], that Party may withdraw from the Convention by giving written notification . . .”

As June’s Angus Reid public opinion poll found, almost three in five Canadians believe that global warming “is mostly caused by emissions from vehicles and industrial facilities.” Conservative strategists have obviously concluded they must continue to play along with the climate scare until public opinion changes. Consequently, the Canadian government continues to support alarm, telling citizens that we are causing a climate crisis and that we must therefore reduce GHG emissions. That science does not support such a stance is immaterial. Government cannot lead public opinion, strategists assume.

But recent research shows this is not the case. A paper published in February in the journal Climatic Change showed that the stated positions of politicians and other “elites” in society is the major factor driving public opinion about climate change.

So, here’s what our leaders must do for Canada to avoid another Kyoto:

Purge climate alarmism from all government communications, especially those of Minister Kent. The public needs to hear a realistic perspective of climate change. Hosting a climate science conference with experts from both sides of the debate is also important. So is bringing up, in the House of Commons and interviews, the growing credibility of the worldwide skeptic movement.

The federal government needs to support adaptation to climate variability as the most cost-effective and humane approach to inevitable changes. Putting the vast majority of climate change funding into vainly trying to stop what might happen late in the century, as is happening around the world today, is irrational and immoral, Kent could say.

Canada needs serious leadership on this file. Simply waiting for public opinion to change while the government itself helps feed the fire that threatens to burn down our economy is obviously a serious mistake.

Tom Harris is Executive Director of the International Climate Science Coalition, and a Research Fellow to the Frontier Centre for Public Policy

Troy Media

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About the Author: CFACT Ed

  • jameshrust

    This is great advice for the Canadian government. Hopefully it will be heeded. From the writings of Tom Harris, I believe there may be a chance for a successful energy policy in Canada with great economic success and security for its citizens.

    This advice also applies to the government of Canada’s neighbor to the South–the United States. With the present Obama administration policy on energy development, it appears the government has blinders to prevent noticing what is happening on the planet with regard to any signs carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels are causing catastrophic global warming.

    At this time the meeting of climate alarmists in Doha, Qatar are spreading news about the record melting of Arctic sea ice this summer–no mention records are only from 1979 to present. This melting was caused by a hurricane in early August that broke up Arctic sea ice and sent it into areas of higher water temperatures with consequent greater melting. The Arctic is now experiencing record restoration of sea ice. Over 2.5 million square miles of sea ice has been reformed in 70 days. So much for global warming disaster in the Arctic. Of course, no one is told this story.

    CFACT writer Paul Driessen circulated an article yesterday that featured writings from South Africa scientist, Dr. Kelvin Kemm, who pointed out in December 12, 2007, Associated Press global warming scare writer Seth Borenstein quoted a scientist who said Arctic sea ice in the summer would completely disappear in five years. Well, the five years are up–will someone come forward and say these forecasts are stupid and lead to extremely damaging energy policies for the world.

    This is just one of numerous scare stories fed to the public that are false and retractions never told to the public. Proponents of eliminating use of fossil fuels for the purpose of climate modification are living with a monsterous lie. They will never admit to error because theirs is a religious cause–not scientific. Those aware of true science about climate change, of whom there are hundreds of thousands, must be diligent in educating the public of the damage being inflicted upon them.

    James H. Rust, Professor of nuclear engineering

  • cleanwater2

    Comments
    on Draft Technical Support Document for Endangerment Analysis for
    Greenhouse Gas Emissions under the Clean Air Act

    By
    Alan Carlin

    NCEE/OPEI

    Based
    on TSD Draft of March 9, 2009

    EXECUTIVE
    SUMMARY Alan Carlin Report March,16,2009-EPA

    These
    comments are based on the draft Technical Support Document for
    Endangerment Analysis for Greenhouse Gas Emissions under the Clean
    Air Act (hereafter draft TSD) issued by the Climate Change Division
    of the Office of Atmospheric Programs on March 9, 2009.
    Unfortunately, because I was only given a few days to review this
    lengthy document these comments are of necessity much less
    comprehensive and polished than they would have been if more time had
    been allowed. I am prepared, however, to provide added information,
    more detailed comments on specific points raised, and any assistance
    in making changes if requested by OAR.

    The
    principal comments are as follows:

    As
    of the best information I currently have, the GHG/CO2
    hypothesis
    as to the cause of global warming, which this Draft TSD supports, is
    currently an invalid hypothesis from a scientific viewpoint because
    it fails a number of critical comparisons with available observable
    data. Any one of these failings should be enough to invalidate the
    hypothesis; the breadth of these failings leaves no other possible
    conclusion based on current data. As Feynman (1975) has said failure
    to conform to real world data makes it necessary from a scientific
    viewpoint to revise the hypothesis or abandon it (see Section 2.1 for
    the exact quote). Unfortunately this has not happened in the global
    warming debate, but needs to if an accurate finding concerning
    endangerment is to be made. The failings are listed below in
    decreasing order of importance in my view:

    1.
    Lack of observed upper tropospheric heating in the tropics (see
    Section 2.9 for a detailed discussion).

    2.
    Lack of observed constant humidity levels, a very important
    assumption of all the IPCC models, as CO2levels have risen (see
    Section 1.7).

    3.
    The most reliable sets of global temperature data we have, using
    satellite microwave sounding units, show no appreciable temperature
    increases during the critical period 1978-1997, just when the surface
    station data show a pronounced rise (see Section 2.4). Satellite data
    after 1998 is also inconsistent with the GHG/CO2/AGW hypotheses

    4.
    The models used by the IPCC do not take into account or show the most
    important ocean oscillations which clearly do affect global
    temperatures, namely, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the Atlantic
    Multidecadal Oscillation, and the ENSO (Section 2.4). Leaving out any
    major potential causes for global warming from the analysis results
    in the likely misattribution of the effects of these oscillations to
    the GHGs/CO2
    and
    hence is likely to overstate their importance as a cause for climate
    change.

    5.
    The models and the IPCC ignored the possibility of indirect solar
    variability (Section 2.5), which if important would again be likely
    to have the effect of overstating the importance of GHGs/CO2.

    6.
    The models and the IPCC ignored the possibility that there may be
    other significant natural effects on global temperatures that we do
    not yet understand (Section 2.4). This possibility invalidates their
    statements that one must assume anthropogenic sources in order to
    duplicate the temperature record. The 1998 spike in global
    temperatures is very difficult to explain in any other way (see
    Section 2.4).

    7.
    Surface global temperature data may have been hopelessly corrupted by
    the urban heat island effect and other problems which may explain
    some portion of the warming that would otherwise be attributed to
    GHGs/CO2. In fact, the Draft TSD refers almost exclusively in Section
    5 to surface rather than satellite data.

    The
    current Draft TSD is based largely on the IPCC AR4
    report,
    which is at best three years out of date in a rapidly changing field.
    There have been important developments in areas that deserve careful
    attention in this draft. The list includes the following six which
    are discussed in Section 1:

    • Global
    temperatures have declined—extending the current downtrend to 11
    years with a particularly rapid decline in 1907-8; in addition, the
    PDO went negative in September, 2007 and the AMO in January, 2009,
    respectively. At the same time atmospheric CO2
    levels
    have continued to increase and CO2
    emissions
    have accelerated.

    • The
    consensus on past, present and future Atlantic hurricane behavior has
    changed. Initially, it tilted towards the idea that anthropogenic
    global warming is leading to (and will lead to) to more frequent and
    intense storms. Now the consensus is much more neutral, arguing that
    future Atlantic tropical cyclones will be little different that those
    of the past. Comments
    on Draft TED for Endangerment Analysis for GHG Emissions under CAA •
    The idea that warming temperatures will cause Greenland to rapidly
    shed its ice has been greatly diminished by new results indicating
    little evidence for the operation of such processes.

    • One
    of the worst economic recessions since World War II has greatly
    decreased GHG emissions compared to the assumptions made by the IPCC.
    To the extent that ambient GHG levels are relevant for future global
    temperatures, these emissions reductions should greatly influence the
    adverse effects of these emissions on public health and welfare. The
    current draft TSP does not reflect the changes that have already
    occurred nor those that are likely to occur in the future as a result
    of the recession. In fact, the topic is not even discussed to my
    knowledge.

    • A
    new 2009 paper finds that the crucial assumption in the GCM models
    used by the IPCC concerning strongly positive feedback from water
    vapor is not supported by empirical evidence and that the feedback is
    actually negative.

    • A
    new 2009 paper by Scafetta and Wilson suggests that the IPCC used
    faulty solar data in dismissing the direct effect of solar
    variability on global temperatures. Other research by Scafetta and
    others suggests that solar variability could account for up to 68% of
    the increase in Earth’s global temperatures.

    These
    six developments alone should greatly influence any assessment of
    “vulnerability, risk, and impacts” of climate change within the
    U.S., but are not discussed in the Draft TSD to my knowledge. But
    these are just a few of the new developments since 2006. Therefore,
    the extensive portions of the EPA’s Endangerment TSD which are
    based upon science from the IPPC AR4
    report
    are no longer appropriate and need to be revised before a TSD is
    issued for comments.

    Not
    only is some of the science of the TSD out-of-date but there needs to
    be an explicit, in-depth analysis of the likely causes of global
    warming in my view. Despite the complexity of the climate system the
    following conclusions in this regard appear to be well supported by
    the available data (see Section 2 below):

    A.
    By far the best single explanation for global temperature
    fluctuations appears to be variations in the PDO/AMO/ENSO. ENSO
    appears to operate in a 3-5 year cycle. PDO/AMO appear to operate in
    about a 60-year cycle. This is not really explained in the draft TSD
    but needs to be, or, at the very least, there needs to be an
    explanation as to why OAR believes that these evident cycles do not
    exist or why they are so unimportant as not to receive in-depth
    analysis.

    B.
    There appears to be a strong association between solar
    sunspots/irradiance and global temperature fluctuations. It is
    unclear exactly how this operates, but it may be through indirect
    solar variability on cloud formation. This topic is not really
    explored in the Draft TSD but needs to be since otherwise the effects
    of solar variations may be misattributed to the effects of changes in
    GHG levels.

    C.
    Changes in GHG concentrations appear to have so little effect that it
    is difficult to find any effect in the satellite temperature record,
    which started in 1978.

    D.
    The surface measurements (such as HADCRUT) are more ambiguous than
    the satellite measurements in that the increasing temperatures shown
    since the mid-1970s could either be due to the rapid growth of
    urbanization and the heat island effect or by the increase in GHG
    levels. However, since no such increase is shown in the satellite
    record it appears more likely that urbanization and the UHI effect
    and/or other measurement problems are the most likely cause. If so,
    the increases may have little to do with GHGs and everything to do
    with the rapid urbanization during the period. Given the discrepancy
    between surface temperature records in the 1940-75 and 1998-2008 and
    the increases in GHG levels during these periods it appears even more
    unlikely that GHGs have as much of an effect on measured surface
    temperatures as claimed. These points need to be very carefully and
    fully discussed in the draft TSD if it is be scientifically credible.

    E.
    Hence it is not reasonable to conclude that there is any endangerment
    from changes in GHG levels based on the satellite record, since
    almost all the fluctuations appear to be due to natural causes and
    not human-caused pollution as defined by the Clean Air Act. The
    surface record is more equivocal but needs to be carefully discussed,
    which would require substantial revision of the Draft TSD.

    F.
    There is a significant possibility that there are some other natural
    causes of global temperature fluctuations that we do not yet really
    understand and which may account for the very noticeable 1998
    temperature peak which appears on both the satellite and surface
    temperature records. This possibility needs to be fully explained and
    discussed in the Draft TSD. Until and unless these and many other
    inconsistencies referenced in these comments are adequately explained
    it would appear premature to attribute all or even most of what
    warming has occurred to changes in GHG/CO2
    atmospheric
    levels.

    These
    inconsistencies between the TSD analysis and scientific observations
    are so important and sufficiently abstruse that in my view EPA needs
    to make an independent analysis of the science of global warming
    rather than adopting the conclusions of the IPCC and CCSP without
    much more careful and independent EPA staff review than is evidenced
    by the Draft TSP. Adopting the scientific conclusions of an outside
    group such as the IPCC or CCSP without thorough review by EPA is not
    in the EPA tradition anyway, and there seems to be little reason to
    change the tradition in this case. If their conclusions should be
    incorrect and EPA acts on them, it is EPA that will be blamed for
    inadequate research and understanding and reaching a possibly
    inaccurate determination of endangerment. Given the downward trend in
    temperatures since 1998 (which some think will continue until about
    2030 given the 60 year cycle described in Section 2) there is no
    particular reason to rush into decisions based on a scientific
    hypothesis that does not appear to explain much of the available
    data.

    Finally,
    there is an obvious logical problem posed by steadily increasing US
    health and welfare measures and the alleged endangerment of health
    and welfare discussed in this draft TSD during a period of rapid rise
    in at least CO2 ambient
    levels. This discontinuity either needs to be carefully explained in
    the draft TSD or the conclusions changed.