'I totally support my government' - Macleans.ca

‘I totally support my government’


Maxime Bernier posts some of his interview with La Presse.

Question: Should the scandals involving the IPCC serve as a reason for the Canadian government to abstain from doing anything until we know more about the issue?

Answer: I quoted Prof Patterson who said this. I believe however it would be unrealistic to do nothing, for many obvious political reasons. My position is that we should be cautious instead of ambitious when tackling this issue. That’s why I totally support my government, which has shown caution even if it brought us criticism and condemnations from environmental activists.


‘I totally support my government’

  1. It's called…

    I bow to Prentice.

    As it should be.

  2. O.K

    Someone answer me this…

    Why is tree-ring data a good proxy for Global, or Northern Hemisphere temperature before 1960… but not after.

    I await with baited breath.

      • So the data used to prove global warming is unreliable and contradictory …(long pause)… but that, in itself, is simply more evidence of global warming?

        I gotta admit, that circular logic has a pleasing symmetry about it.

        • "that circular logic has a pleasing symmetry about it."

          I have learned what atheists must feel like when trying to debate a religious person (I am slightly religious).

          As just one example, snow fall during winter – over the past few years a lack of snow proved the world was warming and, also, this winter I have seen a few articles about how a lot of snow also proves agw.

          Scientists want to start over with weather data but people are still claiming nothing to worry about, the 'science' is proven, numbers are reliable.

          "After the firestorm of criticism called Climate-gate, the British government's official Meteorological Office has decided to give its modern climate data a do-over.

          At a meeting on Monday of about 150 climate scientists in the quiet Turkish seaside resort of Antalya, representatives of the weather office (known in Britain as the Met Office) quietly proposed that the world's climate scientists start all over again on a "grand challenge" to produce a new, common trove of global temperature data that is open to public scrutiny and "rigorous" peer review."


        • What part of "divergence problem is unprecedented, unique to the last few decades" and "are reliable before 1960, tracking closely with the instrumental record and other independant proxies" give you trouble?

          Let's see if I can find an analogy you might understand.
          You can usually use your gas guage as a reasonable measure of how far you'll be able to go in your car. Start adding water to your tank, however, and you'll find it becomes less reliable. Does that mean it was less reliable before, or that what it's measuring has changed?

          • What part of [This] and [That] give you trouble?

            The part where assumption is stacked on top of conjecture.

          • Really? So what's the assumption in "divergence problem is unprecedented, unique to the last few decades"?

            What's the conjecutre in "are reliable before 1960, tracking closely with the instrumental record and other independant proxies"..

            Are you saying it's conjecture that there was an instrumental record before 1960? That we only took temperature with stones and hawk-feathers before that?

            Are you saying it's assumption that only in the last few decades has there been any evidence of the divergence? And that all the charts and data we had before that don't actually exist? A vast conspiracy of science over a couple hundred years?

            Or are you saying you simply don't want to be bothered with facts when they don't agree with your ideologic blinders?

          • Why do you keep asking me what I'm saying instead of simply reading what I'm saying?

            I understand the talking points that you have cut and pasted, I simply don't give them much credence.

            Just to be extra clear: the conjecture is the theory that tree rings were an accurate proxy for a thousand years… up until 1960, and the assumption is that some man-made effect (global warming, possibly?) caused the divergence between the two variables post 1960.

          • Except it's no conjecture.. unless all the OTHER methods we use to look at temperature over the past thousand years were also inaccurate in exactly the same manner.

            Too bad that that assumption (I'd call it a hypothesis) isn't actually present in the statement you claimed had an assumption in it.

            Again, if you'd take off the ideological blinders and actually read what's presented, luck might have it that you learn something.

          • Your first statement is wrong, your second statement is silly, your third statement is ridiculous & redundant.

          • Prove it.

          • For point one, see http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conject

            Main Entry: 1con·jec·ture
            Pronunciation: kən-ˈjek-chər
            Function: noun
            Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin conjectura, from conjectus, past participle of conicere, literally, to throw together, from com- + jacere to throw — more at jet
            Date: 14th century
            1 obsolete a : interpretation of omens b : supposition
            2 a : inference from defective or presumptive evidence b : a conclusion deduced by surmise or guesswork c : a proposition (as in mathematics) before it has been proved or disproved

            Has the proposition been proved? No, it has not. It is, therefore, "conjecture."

            For points two and three, see your previous comments.

          • If my gas gauge was subject to all different variety of factors (drought, nutrients, sun exposure), to determine the reading of my gas level…

            I wouldn't rely on it at all.

      • I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not, but if not, its a silly argument. Everyone knows that trees, and all plants, grow better when there is more available CO2. That is a good thing.


        • The problem with CO2 is that it acts as a greenhouse gas, way, way up in the sky where no trees grow.

        • You need to look beyond Fox News for science reporting.

      • I'm having trouble with that link.

        After reading your comment, I'll assume it blames the problem on drought, and global dimming.

        Without the link, there is no data to back that up, and it sounds pretty lame on the face of it.

        Can you give me a good reason why they don't just get rid of the tree-ring data sets altogether?

        It seems to be causing them PR headaches (at the very least).

        If the other data stands alone without it, and it has been found to be problematic, why include it at all?

      • Thwim,

        Even thou I used a bit of a perjorative "lame on the surface", I would be legitimately interested if you could provide me with that link again (it's not working).

        A name of a scientist(s)/institution/study, would also be enough to point me the right way.

        If you can provide that sometime for me, I promise to read it with an open mind.

        I am interested in truth, not gotcha questions.


    • Hears hoping your breath was bated… bait breath is truly awful.

      • And technically you can't "hear" this gentleman, either. :)

      • I should have said beer breath.

        The hockey game was… AWESOME.

    • Even after reading Thwim's reply to your question this discrepancy does make me a little uncomfortable. OTOH, I have some sympathy for climate scientist regarding the challenges involved with identifying correlations in datasets, attempting to understand the actual causes and so on, so I'm not yet prepared to declare the entire AGW issue an elaborate hoax or similar.

      But let's assume that ALL climate data derived from this tree ring data does turn out to be completely invalid: would you then say that the forgone data is enough to thoroughly discredit any other evidence that exists that supports AGW?

      • Answer to your last question (in Prentice like form)…


        I'd just like to have some solid answers, before I decide the world is about to end.

  3. Just a taste of what being written on the Dutch websites chatrooms concerning the deniers of scientific research mistakes:

    said the surgeon to the family after the patient had died: "Your family member didn't lay still during the operatoin!"

  4. Btw, I think Mr.Bernier is onto something. He might be the next Al Gore in reverse!

    • Think about this guys, Mr.Bernier being the next Al Gore in reverse:

      whereas Al Gore lost in politics first, then went on to entangle himself (and us) in climate change to "set the record staight", it is Mr.Bernier who could untangle climate change (for us) first and then win big in politics.

      Now we're dreaming!

  5. I really don't understand what Bernier means when he says to be cautious. If he says we should do something about it, then I assume he acknowledges that there could be an issue. And caution might be warranted if we were relatively unsure about what to do or how to do it, but the economics on carbon emissions have been fairly well established – you put a price on carbon, ramp it up slowly to reduce consumption of high-carbon emitting processes or products.

    We wouldn't be the first ones to try it either, not by a long shot. Sweden's had a carbon tax for almost two decades now and far from economic collapse, their economy has been doing fine and they now have 1/3 the per capita emissions, despite being just as cold as we are. AHA, you say, but they're a smaller country and they don't produce oil! Well, while our country's big, most of us live in concentrated areas and Norway, which produces far more oil per capita than we do (ours is dirtier – but not that much dirtier) still has about half the per capita emissions we do. I mean, if we set a target for 2025 of cutting our emissions to double the per capita emissions of Sweden, it would still represent a cut of about 33%, well above our current targets and something we're fully capable of doing without much damage to the economy.

    So again, I don't know what Bernier means when he says to be cautious. I'd like to ignore the cynic in mean which says by "be cautious" he means "stall to avoid doing anything of consequence", but I'm having trouble seeing the alternative.

    • Really you don't know? He means we don't need to sell all the farms in the quest to conquer something that might be natural!!! Yes, let's look at the science (and I use that term loosely) behind climate change but not drink the Kool-Aid in the quest to be popular on the world stage. There are many, many things that Canada can and should do to improve our environment (clean water, clear air, reducing garbage and trash that we generate, etc. etc., protecting endangered species – things that any sensible individual should be on-side with) but handing over billions of dollars to unaccountable developing countries – most of which will end up in numbers Swiss bank accounts – is not cautious.

    • Really you don't know? He means we don't need to sell all the farms in the quest to conquer something that might be natural!!! Yes, let's look at the science (and I use that term loosely) behind climate change but not drink the Kool-Aid in the quest to be popular on the world stage. There are many, many things that Canada can and should do to improve our environment (clean water, clear air, reducing garbage and trash that we generate, etc. etc., protecting endangered species – things that any sensible individual should be on-side with) but handing over billions of dollars to unaccountable developing countries – most of which will end up in numbers Swiss bank accounts – is not cautious.

      • 1) It's not natural. CO2 concentrations have risen well 100 ppm, or more than 33%, since the start of the industrial age and there is no doubt that this is a direct result of burning fossil fuels (as gaseous CO2 is a direct byproduct). That's simple chemistry. The fallout of that change is debatable, some things more than others, but that's a whole other debate (and not one I'm inclined to engage you in, since you've already starting throwing around the term Kool-Aid). Suffice it to say, if Bernier believes we should be doing something about it, he's admitting that there is a potential problem to be addressed and his suggestions should come from that starting point.

        2) Of course we shouldn't sell the farms. That's my point – we don't need to in order to address the problem, or at least to start addressing the problem in a meaningful way. As for giving money to developing countries as they agreed to in Copenhagen, I'm flat against it (at least at this juncture), and I suspect the major motivators behind those moves had far less to do with sound environmental policy than they did politics.

  6. There has been enough said about the global warming issue to cause people to wonder if this thing is a manufactured hoax in an effort to shift the balance of economic power from the West overseas.

    Bernier simply offered his personal viewpoint which many agree with and many will not agree with. However, he is entitled to his opinion.

    The government on the other hand has stated its position and will through its actions show their committment. It will never be far enough or fast enough for the alarmists but we are talking about Canadian jobs and livelihoods.

    Get it wrong and we could destroy the economy of the country. Any government who does that will be defeated no matter how many Canadians believe in global warming.

    • "Get it wrong and we could destroy the economy of the country." Evidence? Any studies not produced by dishonest think tanks?

      What is with this economic alarmism?

      • It's the standard first step on the run to the global government conspiracy conclusion.

        • Along with the 'made-in-my-tinfoil-covered-room' conspiracy theory about shifting economic powerbase from west to east. Harper/Bush mindthinkers began THAT process with their hollusbollus corporate lackyism to the walmarts of the world, which took all their job creation responsibilities and farmed it to asia penny-to-the-dollar.
          'Destroying the economy' is the new version of 'you're with the terrorists'… Same script, just different hair-on-fire words.

    • Well said!
      It should be noted that energy conservation can be a righteous goal regardless of whether one accepts AGW or not.

  7. With all the orchestrated controversy over climate science, the carbon industry and its economic and political friends have certainly achieved their goal of promoting inaction by creating confusion and uncertainty around climate change science. The real question now is whether this PR campaign will delay action beyond the small window of opportunity we have for acting to prevent the worst effects of climate change.

    My bet is that, given the natural human inclination not to make immediate sacrifices to avoid time-distant risks, and the structural resistance of our political and economic institutions to protect anything resembling "the commons", the campaign to promote inaction will be successful until it is way too late to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

    As an oldster, of course, I'm personally relieved I won't have to suffer through the worst of it, though I am embarrassed and regretful to have to count myself a member of what may eventually be viewed as history's most catastrophically stupid and venal generation.

    On the upside, if it's any consolation to anyone, there is at least good reason to believe that planet earth will eventually bounce back just fine once humanity has downsized itself to sustainable levels through famines, migrations and war.

    Not much of an upside, but it's something.

  8. ex-president fo IPCC Prof. Robert Watson, is suggesting to put up a sort of Wikipedia website for an active climatechange exchange. Most everyone, including scientist, will be able to make entries onto the site. He's asked Al Gore (inventor of the internet) to help him in this endeavour.
    Oud-IPCC-chef wil Wikipedia voor klimaatverandering
    Professor Robert Watson, oud-chef van het IPCC, wil een soort Wikipedia voor klimaatverandering maken naar aanleiding van.

  9. The cautious thing to do is invest in energy efficiency because it will improve our standard of living, and reduce the cost of producing goods, but the Liberals and Conservatives have adopted a different kind of caution, the caution advised by oil producers who are interested in liquidating resources as quickly (and cheaply) as possible.

  10. Guess again. Some scientists claim more snow in America is proof of agw and we have Suzuki up here claiming a lack of snow is proof. It is very rigorous.

    "But rising temperature is only one effect of climate change. Probably more crucially, warmer air holds more water vapor than cold air does. The increased evaporation from land and sea leads to more drought but also to more precipitation, since what goes up eventually comes down. The numbers aren't trivial — global warming has added 4 percent more moisture to the atmosphere since 1970. That means that the number of "extreme events" such as downpours and floods has grown steadily; the most intense storms have increased by 20 percent across the United States in the past century." Washington Post, Feb 14, 2010
    "Suzuki said the lack of snow on Cypress is a graphic illustration of the global warming trend.

    "I've watched in horror as the snow has just melted away from Cypress Mountain and it's even more horrifying to me to think of helicopters airlifting snow from Manning Park to fill it back up again." CTV, Feb 4, 2010

    Science magazine (Feb 2010) interview with Phil Jones:

    Q: Let's pretend for a second that we threw out the CRU dataset. What other data are available that corroborate your findings about temperature rise?

    P.J.: There's the two other datasets produced in the U.S. [at NASA and NOAA]. But there's also a lot of other evidence showing that the world's warming, by just looking outside and seeing glaciers retreating, the reduction of sea ice … overall, the reduction of snow areas in the northern hemisphere"

    AGW believers are very rigorous, don't you know. All you have to do is look out your window, see weather, and it proves that agw is happening. More snow, less snow. It is all good.

    • Ah, fair enough, thanks. Although (with the exception of the Suzuki quote), it sounds like there is some rigor and data behind those comments.

      Any word on the glaring lack of integrity presented by the deniers, or are you moving on to McKitrick's next faceplant?

  11. And I can't read your link to NOAA study but I am guessing I am not going to find it very persuasive. It sounds like NOAA investigated itself. Imagine my surprise that NOAA claims " …. that not only do urban stations not report false high temperature readings, they actually report slightly lower temps than they should."

    I will look forward to explanation of how sensors a few feet from asphalt in California parking lots are under-reporting how hot it is.

    • Here you go, link corrected: http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ushcn/v2/month… . Your "explanation of how sensors a few feet from asphalt in California parking lots are under-reporting how hot it is" is contained within.

      "I am guessing I am not going to find it very persuasive."

      What would you say to a climate scientist who made up his mind in advance like that?

      • I have not made up my mind and scientists should be skeptics – I am not a big fan of incurious scientists.

        You Can Run But You Can't Hide – NCDC ghost "talking points" rebuttal to surfacestations project

        By Anthony Watts, Watts Up With That


        Watts can answer for himself why NOAA is not to be trusted since they wrote that paper in response to Watts work on exposing NOAA's shoddy efforts.

        • I don't understand how a blog post written *before* the release of the NOAA paper is relevant.

          Any comment on the content of the NOAA paper? Did you even open it? You seem to be claiming that NOAA tinkered with the data to cover up some mistake on their part. Perhaps you could back that up.

          And then you can tell me whether or not you agree with NOAA's "explanation of how sensors a few feet from asphalt in California parking lots are under-reporting how hot it is"

          "Watts can answer for himself why…"

          Watts isn't here. I'm asking you.

          • "I don't understand how a blog post written *before* the release of the NOAA paper is relevant."

            If you took time to read the stuff you link to, you would see the article was submitted for comment last summer. Watts got a hold of a copy.

            I don't believe NOAA at all – they have ignored there own rules for where sensors should be located are now issuing reports about themselves to say everything is just great and there is nothing to be worried about and I am supposed to impressed.

          • "article was submitted for comment last summer."

            Right. So if Watts raised issues with the paper, were they addressed prior to publication? Watts' article in isolation is irrelevant.

            You're free to believe whatever you want, but it's pretty rich for you to dismiss a peer-reviewed paper published by scientists in a real scientific journal based on your preconceptions of the author's organization.

            In other words, you've crammed your fingers in your ears and clamped your eyes shut.

            This is exactly what I was talking about in my first response above – a complete lack of rigor makes life easy for deniers like you, who demand perfect rigor from scientists. You wouldn't accept such behaviour from a non-denier, would you?

          • Lets do a thought experiment – Harper PMO is discovered doing bad things and decides to investigate itself. A few months later, PMO releases report and says not only were we not breaking the law, we were folowing the law too vigorously.

            Would you be persuaded?

            And if you were not persuaded, would it be reasonable for me to claim that you "crammed your fingers in your ears and clamped your eyes shut" because you questioned report?

            I can't respond anymore, need to focus on other things for a while. I do enjoy our talks, though.

          • Politics and science are very different. If Harper's investigation were subject to the same scrutiny as the NOAA paper, it would not suffice to dismiss it out of hand. One would have to make a substantive rebuttal, which you refuse to do.

            Again: if deniers held themselves to scientific standards, there would be no deniers (of global warming or evolution).

            Yup, I gotta work too.

  12. There is no question Bernier is speaking the truth on this issue. The Harper government floated the idea of openly rejecting the science behind climate change very early but strategically moved away from that position publicly. They brought in super-genius Baird whose favorite quote on the subject when like "global warming is like having the world on fire and we have to put some water on that fire" . With Baird and his rhetoric, they adopted a stalling tactic first using China and India, now the US as political cover. Max is amazing, I really don't see any upside to coming clean for the Conservatives. The intelligent among their base understood what they were doing and why… the morons among their base are morons and feeding them some law and order bills would keep them happy. Hopefully Max will be photographed near Harper in the near future so Feschuck can use the photo in his next contest.

    • On second thought, it would be better if Max started bringing along a well dressed, photogenic companion and a snapshot was taken of the 3 of them.

      • But we'd have the same old problem — which one is the bigger boob?!

  13. Very good comment, with one small exception: "the science is settled" is actually a denialist phrase which the scientists do not like to use.

    "…The reason why no scientist has said this is because they know full well that knowledge about science is not binary – science isn't either settled or not settled. This is a false and misleading dichotomy. Instead, we know things with varying degrees of confidence – for instance, conservation of energy is pretty well accepted, as is the theory of gravity (despite continuing interest in what happens at very small scales or very high energies) , while the exact nature of dark matter is still unclear. The forced binary distinction implicit in the phrase is designed to misleadingly relegate anything about which there is still uncertainty to the category of completely unknown. i.e. that since we don't know everything, we know nothing…"


  14. The precautionary principle should apply…what we really should be debating is just how much precaution and what kinds of precaution make the most sense…the no brainer stuff should be a given, like energy conservation/efficiency.

    • I still say it's too late for precaution. We've passed natural tipping points, with natural methane release in the arctic being discovered by Russian scientists. The focus now should be on adaptation. We need to start figuring out how the hell we're going to grow enough food to feed all these people, how we're going to handle the diseases that will come along with the warmer climate, and what kind of social arrangement we're going to establish to deal with the increasing number of climate related refugees. And this may mean taking and using our mineral resources even faster for a short time.. if we use them wisely.. in preparation. Building things like vertical farms and emergency infrastructure.

      • I'm utterly confident that the pentagon is already on to these things…but just in case maybe we oughta ship out the deniers on the planned mission to mars…that should solve some of the food problem, and make the rest of our lives a little more peaceful…if somewhat duller.

          • I suggest the soilent green option. A kermit shake would go well right about now!

        • Why would you send us to a planet that is experiencing warming itself???? Those Martians need to control themselves or Gore will need to lecture them as well! As far as the food problem, if the planet warms, MORE land in the northern/southern regions will be MORE conducive to growing crops!

          • You do realize that crops grow where they do because of soil content as well as temperature? Change one or the other too quickly and the plant dies.

  15. I prepose should the worst effects of GW prove a reality…the deniers should immediately be banished to the Maldives or Seychelles. If it's all a hoax/fraud then all us warmers should get to spend the rest of our days in same locales.

    • I just suggest they be the first in line when we start having to look at Soylent Green as a food source.

      • Wonder how that's gonna go down with ketchup…what! There wont be any tomatoes…waaaah!

      • Wonder how that's gonna go down with ketchup…what! There wont be any tomatoes…waaaah!

    • Ah, Heads I win, tails you lose.

      The AGW alarmist way.

      ; )