We welcome Readers’ Forum letters of interest to the professions. Send them to George Lee, email@example.com. Keep them to 300 words or less — longer letters published at the editor’s discretion. Letters represent the opinions and not necessarily the expertise of writers. The PEGG reserves the right to edit or reject any letter.
I am writing this letter to the editors of The PEGG in my role as chair of the APEGGA Public Interest Issues Committee. The committee takes no issue with the current editorial decisions of The PEGG editors regarding the ongoing expression of opinion on the climate change issue.
However, the Public Interest Issues Committee is concerned that the tone of some recent Readers’ Forum submissions on this issue has been disappointing. Expression of opinion is not the practice of the professions, and is therefore not subject to APEGGA’s Code of Ethics.
However, APEGGA is a professional organization and has a reasonable expectation that members who express their opinions in an APEGGA publication will do so in a professional manner. We encourage the give-and-take of opinion, but would like to see it occur in a courteous and respectful manner.
Members are also reminded that The PEGG is not a learned publication.
Members who wish to share the results of their scientific research or conclusions on a topic such as climate change are encouraged to seek a properly peer-reviewed or refereed publication to publish their work.
Thank you for the opportunity to raise this concern with our members.
Jim Beckett, P.Eng.
Chair, Public Interest
Moore’s Points Don’t Stand Up
Re: Australian Academic and Many Others Do Not Support the IPCC Stance, by Barry Moore, P.Eng., Readers’ Forum, The PEGG, July 2009.
Mr. Moore refers to a paper by John Nicol in an attempt to refute anthropogenic global warming. Dr. Nicol, however, did not bother to look at the measured infrared absorption spectrum of CO2 when he wrote his non-peer reviewed paper. Consequently, the absorption bands that are actually responsible for most of the anthropogenic global warming are not included in his analysis.
Mr. Moore also reiterates the myth that the “consensus up to 1975” was an impending ice age. I checked the scientific literature of that time, and the vast majority of it was on impending global warming. The small number of papers that expected an ice age were based on a flawed model. Once the error in the model was corrected, it predicted global warming.
Mr. Moore correctly points out that the world did not self-destruct when CO2 levels were in the thousands of parts per million, but it is worthwhile to point out that sea levels were 70 metres higher than now, and relatives of crocodiles and hippopotamuses lived in the Arctic.
There is no evidence of cooling since 1998 except from a highly contested satellite-based record of atmospheric temperatures produced by John Christy (University of Alabama in Huntsville). Well-documented studies trying to replicate this analysis invariably find more warming than is evident from Dr. Christy’s record.
Mr. Moore argues that the sun is the main driver of the global warming of the last 100 years. But solar radiation and sunspots, the potential culprits, show an 11-year cycle that is about as strong as the overall trend in the last 100 years. If the sun was the main driver, you would expect an 11-year cycle of about half a degree in the global temperature record.
The fact that such a signal is not in the temperature record shows that the sun’s contribution cannot be more than 20 per cent.
Dr. Alex De Visscher, P.Eng.
Canada Research Chair in Air Quality and Pollution Control Engineering
Schulich School of Engineering
University of Calgary