Payette scoffs at climate change skeptics during science conference -

Payette scoffs at climate change skeptics during science conference

“Can you believe that…we’re still questioning whether humans have a role in the Earth warming?” the Governor General asked


OTTAWA – One month into her new job as Canada’s Governor General, Julie Payette is taking on fake news and bogus science.

Payette was the keynote speaker at the ninth annual Canadian Science Policy Convention in Ottawa Wednesday night where she urged her friends and former colleagues to take responsibility to shut down the misinformation about everything from health and medicine to climate change and even horoscopes that has flourished with the explosion of digital media.

“Can you believe that still today in learned society, in houses of government, unfortunately, we’re still debating and still questioning whether humans have a role in the Earth warming up or whether even the Earth is warming up, period,” she asked, her voice incredulous.

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“And we are still debating and still questioning whether life was a divine intervention or whether it was coming out of a natural process let alone, oh my goodness, a random process.”

She generated giggles and even some guffaws from the audience when she said too many people still believe “taking a sugar pill will cure cancer if you will it good enough and that your future and every single one of the people here’s personalities can be determined by looking at planets coming in front of invented constellations.”

Payette was trained as a computer engineer and later became an astronaut and licensed pilot and in 1999 was the first Canadian to board the International Space Station.

Appointed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, one of the conference-goers Wednesday noted she was now the second astronaut to be part of the Trudeau government, along with Transport Minister Marc Garneau.

Trudeau has pledged to give science a more prominent place in his government’s policy-making, appointing a chief science adviser earlier this fall and undergoing a national science policy review that reported in the spring. The government’s response to the report of the scientific review panel is still in the works.

Science Minister Kirsty Duncan speaks at the conference Thursday evening where she is expected to outline more of the government’s vision for science. Chief Science Adviser Mona Nemer addresses the gathering earlier in the day.

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Payette clearly signalled her background will play a major role in her tenure as Governor General.

She urged her former colleagues in the room to be “vigilant” and aim to make science a topic so well known and understood it is a subject of conversation at cocktail parties in the same way people now talk about the weather or the latest hockey scores.

She said the “the internet, social media, 24-hour news” have meant more and more information is accessible to the public. A learned society is a better society, Payette said, but the fake news and bogus scientific claims have to be refuted.

“Democracy and society have always gained from learned debate but we have to remain vigilant and we cannot let ourselves fall into complacency and we must be vocal, all the time, everywhere, every single one of us, so we can deconstruct misinformation and don’t end up in an echo chamber just listening to what we want to hear,” Payette said.



Payette scoffs at climate change skeptics during science conference

  1. Thank goodness. Knowledge.

  2. Money represents work. Work creates heat. You can’t make or spend money without affecting climate change.

    All our climate change plans only put a blanket tax on fuel. That doesn’t even scratch the surface.

    We have coined the term “value engineering”. It has come to mean to make a product reliably last only as long as it’s warranty. Maybe 3 years. Then there are all the disposable products and packaging. All this work, heat and climate change cycling over and over making the same cheap products. It makes the elite rich and everything else poor. Then the rich spend their piles of money on opulence, frivolity and more climate change.

    Why should a rich person be allowed, in fact be encouraged, to harm the planet more than a poor one?

    I suggest that we develop a total carbon footprint algorithm to identify every taxpayers complete carbon footprint and that we all be taxed proportionally.

    Then the 1% making 500 times the average wage would be taxed closer to 500 times the average rate. Putting the proceeds towards a living wage for everyone.

    • You obviously have the gene for ‘stupid’

    • Yours is a great post. Let’s take it a few steps further. Instead of using 2x4s or whatever to build homes and buildings to use intact tree trunks that can sustain nails without splintering as a 1 time use material. The wood could be reused for centuries. Recycle, remake, reuse/repurpose every piece of post consumer and post commercial material – glass, wood, cement board, flooring, metal, plastic and whatever else. Relatively little is recycled today and the path to sustainability is creativity and research. Drilling, mining and clearcutting is destroying our planet.

  3. Oh Boy, if conservatives ever get elected in the future and she is GG, i know the first job is going..Finally a realist, not an ideologist, someone who had more than a window seat on the space shuttle, and there lies the other problem for conservatives when it comes to intelligence like this women has, they(cons)hate smart women, especially Rhodes Scholar women.

    • And you base this on what — ???

      Harper didn’t even let your hero Paul Hellyer go. The same Paul Hellyer who for the last 68 years has been sucking from the taxpayers. That same Paul Helllyer who as a life-long Liberal thinks he’s also the supreme commander of an alien race. You know him — he consults in the Privy Council Office.

      There’s nothing much that your Rhodes Scholar can get wrong with the government. Just follow the party line.
      – comment on the PM’s socks
      – comment on Trump’s tweets
      – comment on Canada’s gender and bathroom classifications . They are more important then NAFTA you know.
      – comment on our climate 150 years in the future

      • Hellyer is a 90 year old man with dementia. How did he get into this?

        And frankly you are sounding a bit demented. What has this to do with Payette?

        PS Stephen Hawking has warned about aliens.

        • The Conservatives didn’t get rid of Hellyer with all his banana republic beliefs ergo why would the Conservatives kick the GC to the door? BTW Hellyer’s declaration of being a supreme commander of an alien race was like in the 60s. You can’t defend stupid.

          The GC is a Rhodes scholar woman ergo the rest of the comments.

          • No, he didn’t say that in the 60s….he was minister of defence back then

            And no that’s not the scholarship Payette got

  4. Oh Boy, if conservatives ever get elected in the future and she is GG, i know the first job is going..Finally a realist, not an ideologist, someone who had more than a window seat on the space shuttle, and there lies the other problem for conservatives when it comes to intelligence like this women has, they(cons)hate smart women, especially Rhodes Scholar women.

  5. I’m not disagreeing with her position on climate change, but isn’t the GG supposed to be apolitical?

    • If the GG believes climate change is such an impending crisis, is she willing to forego any of a number of the perks of her office that generate an outsized CO2 footprint? Is air travel now verboten? Will the GG’s residence only be heated by firewood grown on the residential property? Food only from a backyard garden? Candles for lighting? A Prius for a limo?
      Or, will she be more like some Morneau guy who’s been in the news lately? You know, the guy who thinks every “rich” person in Canada not named Bill Morneau needs to pay more taxes? Put up or STFU.

      • So….the day Germany invented cars….you’d have shot all the horses in NA eh?

        Plus, we have electric planes.

        So why on earth would you say such dumb things?

      • burning wood for heating is produces a lot of greenhouse gasses and in usually very inefficient …

    • What’s political about the existence of climate change?

      • Alt-right snowflakes have tried to make it political. Everyone else knows it’s science.

      • The federal government has introduced climate change legislation which is getting push back from some provinces. I.e., there is no provincial consensus on climate change (extent of it, best way to deal with it, whatever). That would make it political, regardless of the scientific basis for the existence of anthropomorphic climate change.

        • Should say above “anthropogenic climate change”, not “anthropomorphic climate change”.

        • Vote pandering to the ‘flakes.

  6. Yes! This is the key message of our time. How do we compete on the world stage? It’s not going to be by embracing superstition, pseudoscience, and the opinions of special interest groups. Critical thinking, learning, and discrimination are what we need from Canadians on this front, lest we wish to cede our position on the world stage as a leader in technological development and capacity.

  7. For me the story goes back to the GG’s original comments. I respect that she has her beliefs and that they may differ from mine as they do. However that does not give her the right nor should she have the forum to ridicule my beliefs. As for the PM, uh, well y’all can have, uh, the grounded foundation to, uh, extraordinarily applaud him if you want. Uh.

  8. While it is appropriate at times for social or political groups to take inflexible stances on something it is never excusable for science, and by definition isn’t science. The science is not settled – and in a much more relevant way to the public and political spheres – to the degree that it is settled it isn’t in the way Payette and others who say so think it is.

    The near scientific certainty regarding human influence on warming is that CO2 doubling from pre-industrial levels will have a direct warming effect of 1 degree. I believe it was Richard Lindzen who projected around 3/4 of a degree accounting for knock-off effects, if you will, while any other warming model projection of more than one degree is accounting for knock-on effects. There is obviously plenty of room for debate on knock-on and off effects several decades into the future when we may still be in a pause that was not predicted in previous models and appears to be the result of heat going into the ocean. Multiple classes of kids were born, grew up, and graduated during the surface temperature pause and chances are neither they or their teachers ever knew about it because of how unscientific this debate is.

    Even more relevant to social or political settlements – not on whether there is a CO2 warming effect, which literally everyone I know of who calls themselves or is called a skeptic completely agrees with – but with whether there will be a negative amount of warming including knock-on warming effects is that it doesn’t even matter what you believe. This is the truly incredible thing here. If you asked a group of economists to come up with a scientific policy on how to deal with a potential warming danger they would likely come up with large scale research and development funding as the focus. Carbon taxes are the most effective current policy and by Bjorn Lomborg’s numbers at this point they return 7 cents on the dollar by the end of the century. That makes them a lot better than regular taxes with no inherent extra value, and a lot better than most subsidization and regulation climate policies that are currently going on. And so far as I know, most skeptics would be on board with large scale R&D, which Lomborg projects to have several times their cost in benefits. In fact they seem to support it more than the very much self titled science gals and guys who apparently spend more time distracted by straw-men than developing policies that don’t push low-income people into fuel poverty, divert food for the poor into fuel for the wealthy, and otherwise waste resources for little, no, even negative gain.

    Again, regardless of whether you believe in a potential catastrophe or even more benefit than harm from warming, in terms of the actually effective policies there is no fundamental reason for differences even between the “skeptic” and “likely catastrophe” groups except in how much to invest. That this has been lost in the noise is incredible. And very, very much unscientific.

  9. Julie Payette should pay more attention to the world around her instead of listening to the echo chamber in her own head! She could start with the videos of Freeman Dyson, a respected physicist, who poo poohs climate change modelling and says carbon dioxide is good for agriculture. Then she could read the impeccable statistical research of the Gauquelins, Sorbonne trained statisticians, which shows a dramatic correlation between professional success and the ascendancy of certain planets in the horoscope. Or the evidence for the power of the mind to affect matter and effect healing through visualization, the cultivation of positive feelings, etc. As for human life, no scientist has ever shown how the intuition of sentience can be derived from insentient subatomic structures we call “matter.” Then perhaps she would have some humility instead of assuming that her personal beliefs are engraved in stone and handed down from On High. This is not science! This is scientism. Science is open minded. Scientism is a dogmatic social ideology.