Editor's Note: Members' keyboards have
been clattering over the subject of global warming. The letters
are in response to the Alberta government's stance on the
Kyoto Protocal, APEGGA's policy to remain neutral on climate
change, and a Readers' Forum letter supporting the use of
the precautionary principle in addressing the issue. We've
published the letters separately on this page, the second
page of letters in this month's Readers' Forum.
Fear Mongering Over Science
Re: Erring On Side of Caution, Readers' Forum,
I believe a more appropriate headline for the letter from
David J. Parker, P.Eng., would be Erring On the Side of Insanity!
The global warming theory, with its resultant fear-mongering,
has no scientific basis. It is strictly a political ploy similar
to the ozone hole hoax (read the book Global Warming, The
Rest of the Story, by Gerd R. Weber) and the "sustainable
This is why, in a serious scientific debate, supporters of
the global warming theory have to admit that it has no scientific
basis. But as soon as it has been docu-drama'd on CNN, we
should regard them as credible scientists and "err on
the side of" their propaganda.
The Weber book, as well as an article by APEGGA member Kenneth
V. Allen, P.Geoph., in the July 2000 issue of The PEGG, show
that there is a close correlation between sunspot activity
and the rise and fall of the Earth's global temperature, but
no such correlation involving concentrations of carbon dioxide
or other "greenhouse" gases.
With respect to the simple-minded conclusions that global
would create catastrophic increases in sea levels, read an
article in the summer 1998 issue of 21st Century magazine,
titled There's No Truth to the Rising Sea-level Scare, by
Dr. Richard D. Terry. Dr. Terry, now retired from a career
in marine geology, received his PhD in marine geology from
the University of Southern California.
One key source of environmentalist fear-mongering is the World
Wildlife Fund. Human population control is the goal of the
WWF. The Kyoto Protocol is just another tentacle of this beast.
We do not have a world overpopulation problem, we only have
a world underdevelopment problem. Having worked in the deserts
of Libya and Algeria, I have seen, first-hand, how prolific
those so-called wastelands can be.
Without a speck of fertilizer, but with adequate watering,
plants and trees grow rapidly. Because the Saharan region
has no real winter season, it could conceivably grow up to
three crops per year, something impossible in the farming
areas of Canada and other industrialized nations. Yet, our
faming industry (up until recently) has been thriving.
How much better could farming (and economic well being) be
in Africa with industrialization, versus the environmentalists'
mantra of "sustainable agriculture" - a policy for
permanent poverty. All that is needed for the Sahara to become
green is a concerted water development program -- and the
will to carry it out.
Mr. Parker states that climate change "is technologically
created and can only be resolved through technology."
But nowhere in his letter does he even hint at what technology
he advocates as a solution to this (mythical) crisis.
I suggest that we convert to producing energy (home-heating
and electricity) exclusively from nuclear sources, ASAP. It
is insane to burn hydrocarbons (a depleting resource) for
energy, when hydrocarbons are the only feedstock for essential
industrial products like petrochemicals and fertilizers, whereas
energy can be efficiently and cleanly produced from nuclear
power plants. If we don't make that conversion soon, we will,
before long, freeze in the dark.
I agree with Mr. Parker that APEGGA should become more politically
active. The most immediate and reasonable political action
for APEGGA is to endorse a worldwide, aggressive economic
development policy as a cure for the insanity of "sustainable
Bill Bohdan, P.Eng.
Group Promotes Alternative View
The debate on the Kyoto Protocol has deteriorated from science
into politics and economics. Environment Canada is on record
as saying that it does not wish to discuss the science. Recent
regional closed meetings with "stakeholders" provided
no opportunity for those who did not take the politically
correct position to state their case.
In view of this, a number of Calgary APEGGA members, mostly
earth scientists, have formed an organization under the Alberta
Societies Act, named Friends of Science, to bring alternative
science views to the attention of politicians, the media and
Our main arguments are:
· Climate change has been a regular feature of our
planet for many millions of years.
· Earth has been warming since the end of the last
glacial period about 20,000 years ago; there have been smaller
undulations since: the Medieval Warm Period, when vines grew
in Yorkshire and the Vikings farmed in Greenland and Newfoundland,
and the Little Ice Age, which put Europe in the deep-freeze
between 1300 and 1700 AD. We have been warming ever since.
·Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere rise and fall
with temperature increases, not the other way around. In fact
the CO2 level trails temperature increases by some 600 years.
Human-induced CO2 is therefore only a very small contributor.
Counting influences of oceanic absorption and release, deep
sea methane upsets and volcanic eruptions, the human factor
· Greenhouse gases make up about three per cent of
our atmosphere. Of this tiny amount, water vapour accounts
for 97 per cent. Even Sir John Houghton, one of the British
originators of the Kyoto campaign, has acknowledged that water
vapour and clouds constitute the largest uncertain factors
in climate modelling.
· NASA's James Hanson, who led the campaign in the
U.S. and was the great proponent of human-induced CO2 as the
culprit in global warming, reversed himself last year.
· Climate changes have been recognized to occur as
a result of changes in solar radiation. This radiation changes
with the excentricity of the earth orbit, the tilt of the
earth's axis, the precession of the axis and sunspot cycles.
All of these factors have their own well known periodicities
which vary from 100,000 to 11 years. Milankovitch was in 1930
one of the first investigators to mathematically add these
"wave functions" and to come up
with a curve that fit the glacial periods over the last 600,000
very well. His work has since been fine-tuned, but the principle
· The evidence used by Environment Canada rests primarily
on computer generated general circulation models, or GCMs.
Environment Canada loves computers. They are also used to
provide you with your five-day weather forecast. Computer
simulations depend on a set of assumptions as basic input.
These values are often uncertain, incomplete and in some cases
GCMs are like a house of cards. They can even be manipulated
to provide the answer that one desires. In industry we used
to refer to these efforts as "Monte Carlo simulations."
Don't take my word for it. Visit our website, www.friendsofscience.org,
check us out and support us if you can.
Albert F. Jacobs, P.Geol., M.Sc.
Precautionary Principle Is Simplistic
Re: Erring On Side of Caution, Readers' Forum,
I disagree with the positions taken by David J. Parker, P.Eng.,
on both global warming and the precautionary principle. There
are at least as many scientists who disagree with the Kyoto
Protocol as there are in favour of it. Kyoto is currently
based more on politics than it is science and APEGGA should
not be taking positions on political issues other than those
that impact our ability to continue to be a self-regulating
The "precautionary principle" is an overly simplistic
way of saying: "I can't clearly substantiate my position,
so let's just assume I'm right until maybe I can." Frankly,
I would much rather assume that we're likely to have another
Ice Age since the effects would be more disastrous for Canadians
than global warming.
I further suggest that Parker's inclusion of the Kyoto Protocol
along with such things as fire alarms, emergency exits and
pressure relief valves is beyond belief.
For those that wish to see how use of the "precautionary
principle" can lead us astray, I suggest they read Aaron
Wildavsky's book, But Is It True? It outlines the facts behind
the various scares such as asbestos, PCBs, Love Canal, saccharin,
alar, CFCs, acid rain etc. These and others are also discussed
in the recent book, The Skeptical Environmentalist, by Bjorn
Al King, P.Eng.
Former APEGGA Councillor
Re: APEGGA's stance on Kyoto.
APEGGA represents a large number of professionals, but we
don't maintain a standing "climate change committee,"
staffed with all the appropriate experts to respond to Kyoto
initiatives. So it's fair to say that APEGGA doesn't hold
one position or the other. I agree with Mr. Parker, though,
that justifying a neutral stance on the basis of all the individual
positions held by our members can look weak to the public.
People expect us to take a position, whether this is fair
The public can handle the truth and we can trust them with
it. We can simply tell them that APEGGA hasn't commissioned
any studies on Kyoto - yet -- but that our long standing policies
of protecting the environment and promoting conservation still
back up our guiding principles.
As far as being responsible, I believe that APEGGA members
are some of the strongest friends of the environment in the
province. But that does not mean that being responsible must
translate into support for the Kyoto treaty. Mr. Parker and
many others are mistaken in thinking that there is a scientific
consensus on this issue. And no wonder, from the frontal assault
mounted by the media, Dr. David Suzuki and the UN.
Before we do anything foolish, we could listen to some wise
advice from the growing army of credible scientists who oppose
Kyoto. A good starting place is the Oregon Petition, sponsored
by Dr. Frederick Seitz, past president of the National Academy
of Sciences. It's on the web at oism.org/pproject/s33p36.htm.
More than 17,000 scientists signed on in support of this;
it's no fringe movement. This well-documented report pretty
well buries the global warming hypothesis.
Based on the evidence, APEGGA should oppose Kyoto, and should
present to the public the arguments that disprove the link
between global warning and manmade CO2. There is no need to
"err on the side of caution" here; in fact no need
to err at all. The precautionary principle does not apply
because we have no convincing proof of additional risk.
Let's spend the money instead helping our poorer neighbours
in cost effective ways that measurably improve their lives.
And let's send the UN and federal bureaucrats back where they
came from - where they can help the people they abandoned
by climbing onto our backs.
W.G. Whitney, P.Eng.
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