David Suzuki insults, but won?t debate

Source: Financial Post

David Suzuki -- anti-science alarmist

By David R. Legates

As the climate scare fizzles, Canada?s celebrity environmentalist resorts to ad hominem attacks

[To see who is really being paid off:

 http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/blog_watch/the_money_trail.html?Itemid=0  and  http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/climate_money.html?Itemid=0  ]

David Suzuki has never met, debated or even spoken with my colleague, scientist Willie Soon. But as more people dismiss Mr. Suzuki?s scare stories about global warming cataclysms, the more he has resorted to personal attacks against Mr. Soon and others who disagree with him.

Mr. Soon?s brilliant research into the sun?s role in climate change has helped make millions aware that carbon dioxide?s influence is far less than Mr. Suzuki wants them to think. In a recent column picked up by media outlets around North America, including Huffington Post, Mr. Suzuki attacked Mr. Soon, my fellow scientist, mostly by recycling a Greenpeace ?investigation? that is itself nothing more than a rehash of tiresome (and libelous) misstatements, red herrings and outright lies. It?s time to set the record straight.

First, there?s the alleged corporate cash misrepresentation. Mr. Suzuki claims Mr. Soon received ?more than $1 million over the past decade? from U.S energy companies ? and implies that Mr. Soon lied to a U.S. Senate committee about the funding. In fact, the research grants were received in the years following the Senate hearing. Moreover, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics took nearly half of the money (for ?administration?), and what was left covered Mr. Soon?s salary, research, and other expenses including even toner for his printer.

Since Mr. Suzuki raised the subject of corporate cash, by comparison the Suzuki Foundation spends some $7 million every year on its ?educational? and pressure campaigns ? many of them in conjunction with various PR agencies, renewable energy companies, other foundations and environmental activist groups. Many stand to profit handsomely from Mr. Suzuki?s causes, especially ?catastrophic climate change? and campaigns to replace ?harmful? fossil fuels with subsidized, land-intensive, low-energy-output wind and solar facilities. Mr. Suzuki has appeared in advertisements for alternative energy sources in Ontario.

Mr. Suzuki is criticizing Mr. Soon and the Harvard-Smithsonian Institute for having done funded research? while alarmist climate catastrophe researchers share some $6 billion annually in U.S, and Canadian taxpayer money, and millions more in corporate funds, to link every natural phenomenon to global warming and promote renewable ?alternatives? to fossil fuels.

If it is wrong to receive grants from organizations that have taken ?advocacy? positions, then virtually every scientist with whom Mr. Suzuki has associated would be guilty. In his column Mr. Suzuki recognizes this point. ?Some rightly point out that we should look at the science and now at who is paying for the research.? If he believes that the science, and not who is paying for research, is most important, then why does he continue to attack Willie Soon and others on the basis of their funding?

Second, Mr. Suzuki repeats an absurd Greenpeace claim that Mr. Soon tried to ?undermine? the ?peer-reviewed? work of the United Nations? Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In reality, scientists are required to examine, review and even criticize other scientists? research ? especially when it is used to justify slashing the hydrocarbon energy on which employment, living standards and civilization depend. Indeed, the IPCC solicits reviews of its publications but is under no obligation to address any criticisms that scientists raise ? in contrast to the normal peer-review process.

Unfortunately, the IPCC has refused to conduct its own quality control ? and has repeatedly promoted scare stories about rising seas, melting Himalayan glaciers, disappearing Amazon rainforests, more severe storms and droughts, and other disasters. By now anyone familiar with the Climategate and IPCC scandals knows these headline-grabbing claims are based on nothing more than exaggerated computer model outputs, deliberate exclusion of contrary findings, questionable air temperature station locations, and even ?research? by environmental activists such as the World Wildlife Fund.

The Climategate emails made it clear that the truth was even worse. The emails paint a vivid picture of advocacy scientists strong-arming the publisher of a science journal, Climate Research, against publishing the work of Willie Soon and his associate, Sallie Baliunas. Pro-IPCC scientists threatened to boycott the journal, and intimidated or colluded with editors and grant program officers to channel funding, published only the work of advocacy scientists and rejected funding requests and publications from any scientists who disagreed with them on global warming. Mr. Suzuki?s efforts mirror their campaign ? and no wonder.

The global warming scare has fizzled. The sun has entered a new ?quiet? phase, and average global temperatures have been stable for 15 years. Climate conferences in Copenhagen and elsewhere have gone nowhere. Kyoto has become little more than a footnote in history. Countries that agreed to ?climate stabilization? policies are retreating from that untenable position. The public realizes that climate science is far from ?settled.? The climate-chaos religion is about to go the way of Baal-worship.

Most important, Canadians, Americans and Europeans alike are beginning to realize that the real dangers are not from global warming. They are from potentially cooler global temperatures that could hamstring agriculture ? and from government (and Suzuki-advocated) policies that are driving energy prices so high that companies are sending jobs to Asia, and millions of families can no longer afford to heat and cool their homes, drive their cars or pay for the electricity that powers all the wondrous technologies that make our lives infinitely better, safer and healthier than even kings and queens enjoyed just a century ago.
Mr. David R. Legates is Professor of Climatology at the University of Delaware. He has worked with Mr. Willie Soon since they were the first to uncover the flaws in the so-called ?Hockey Stick? in 2002.