RESPONDING TO A LETTER IN THE CALGARY HERALD Dec. 11, 2015 RE “It’s about honesty”

These are our opinions.

Update Jan 09, 2016: Thanks to the sharp eye of a twitter follower, we note we had forgotten to link to the original letter. In the interests of honesty, we post a link to the letter in the Herald.

Friends of Science Society is in favor of honest debate. Consequently, we question why an honest debate was not called, in place of publishing charges against us in the media.

Friends of Science Society agrees that one should not lie and deceive to make a buck. Consequently, we question why a taxpayer-funded charity, appears to be using their Competition Bureau claims against us as a means of a fund-raising “cause,” while employing images of billboard ads that we no longer use.  We have complied with past Ad Standards Council rulings and revised our text; the new billboard ads were acceptable to the media providers which are well aware of Ad Standards Council guidelines, otherwise our current billboards would not have gone up.

Is that not misleading and deceptive that the complainants are portraying billboards that we no longer use?  

Friends of Science Society is a small non-profit. So we never make a buck.

Friends of Science Society agrees that the Competition Act is an important piece of legislation – and the act has certain requirements, one of them being that the submission of requests for inquiry and the subsequent process, are to be confidential.  Consequently, we question why damaging allegations against us were widely distributed in the public domain via the internet after being published online on the taxpayer funded charity’s website.  Is that honest?

Friends of Science Society is in favor of informing the public of facts. To this end, we are telling you that there is no scientific consensus on climate change, as shown in our detailed report: “97%? No! Math myths and Social Proofs.”  We wonder why people are still claiming this fallacy.

97 percent theyre fooling you (2)

Note: This is an archival reproduction of our first ad.

Friends of Science Society is informing the public of important information that the Alberta Climate Panel somehow omitted from their Climate Leadership document.

Friends of Science Society is informing the public that the alleged health risk of coal-fired power plants is greatly overstated and the costs of early phase-out are barely discussed.  Our independent expert assessments suggest it would cost taxpayers:

a)        $11.1 billion in compensatory payments to phase-out coal early; (unless the government attempts to unilaterally overthrow contractual agreements)

b)      ~$11 billion to build equivalent natural gas plant capacity (8 x 800 MW plants equivalent to the new Shepard Energy Center which cost ~$1.4 billion).

c)       If we are to add renewables like wind and solar to the grid, it would cost about $1 million per MW to connect these intermittent power sources to the grid, for very little return on power.

d)      Likewise, there would be substantial costs incurred in new transmission lines to remote wind or solar farms – example the Southern Transmission Lines cost Albertans ~$2.2 billion and for this we only get 4% of our power, intermittently.

e)      For this, we have been told by early phase-out advocates that Albertans would save $300 million in health costs, 4,000 asthma visits and 100 premature deaths – though all those figures come from a computer simulation which substantially over estimates impacts when compared to  actual patient records.  Further, as evidenced with the wildfire smoke of this summer, there is no guarantee there would be a reduction in health issues as most asthma/respiratory factors come from ground level emissions from cars and trucks or natural factors like dust, smoke, pollen and molds.

f)        Does this simple cost-benefit analysis justify the case? We think not. But, we were and are willing to publicly debate this issue.  We also wrote a detailed assessment of the phase-out coal issue – “Burning Questions.”

The experience in Ontario has been that phasing out of coal there has led to a 27% power price hike at hospitals (2012-2013) and presently doctor fees are being cut.  We think some $22 billion + millions of dollars in costs of transmission and integration of renewables could be better applied to human health and professional/support service salaries in Alberta. So we said this in a billboard.

billions coal Shutterstock outfront final

Ontario is burdened with some $44 billion in public debt for its power (probably much more now) while Alberta has zero public debt for power.  This is an “Alberta advantage” that we, as taxpayers and scientists, believe should be protected so as not to saddle our future generations of children with untenable debt.

AB power no public debt

Consequently, we are outspoken on this issue.

Friends of Science Society honestly informs the public of consequences of a rush to renewables as seen in the UK, EU and Ontario.  Power prices in Germany and Denmark are at least triple that of the US. Manufacturers like BMW left Germany for the US where power prices are much cheaper. The same is happening in Ontario where industrial power prices are some of the highest in North America.

Friends of Science Society honestly points out to the public that countries like Denmark and Germany, touted as the esteemed nations of renewable power, still run on coal!  Denmark has 7 coal-fired power plants and uses 48% coal-fired power generation;* it has to buy coal from offshore at $60/t. We are blessed with a thousand years of coal supply in Alberta and Western Canada, and in Alberta, we the people, own it.

[UPDATE Jan 09, 2016: We are told Denmark is planning to entirely phase-out coal by 2050 and that the 48% figure is out-of-date. The World Nuclear Energy assessment indicates that much of Danish wind is exported, and power is imported from Sweden (nuclear), Norway (hydro) and Germany (coal and nuclear and RE). Therefore the following figures may still include a high proportion of coal and nuclear: TDenmark still uses lots of coal, and in terms of being ‘green’ they also operate the world’s largest marine transport service, including shipping oil. Marine diesel is the ‘dirtiest’ in terms of emissions and ship trails can be clearly seen from space. ]

coal plants in Denmark

Note: These are all Wikipedia Creative Commons photos/map. See detailed credits at the end of this post.

Look how many times Denmark fits into Alberta! They have SEVEN coal-fired power plants!  And Danes are in excellent health and live well into their 80s. How can it be?

denmark to alberta

Friends of Science Society is honestly in favor of new, innovative technologies that might work and provide power with few or no emissions.  

Some  of Friends of Science Society members are inventors or patent holders. Some are engineers – experts in assessing how things work.  Consequently, we are not in favor of technology that does not work or that imposes unreasonable burdens on taxpayers.  Contrary to statements by our accusers, we are agnostic on the source of power, as long as the outcome is affordable, reliable power, suitable for a modern, industrialized society.

Google engineers, NOT Friends of Science, have made the determination that renewable energy like wind and solar do not address climate change and cannot provide power for contemporary society and are horribly expensive.  Here’s is a overview of why this is so.

Likewise, Friends of Science Society reviewed a proposed national wind-hydro grid, widely touted this spring as doable by 2035 in a report called “Acting on Climate Change,” and found it to be infeasible from a technical standpoint and even if possible to do, would be an absurdly expensive option that would put the country at risk of national blackouts.  Despite the fact that this idea was supported by ~70 scholars, few of them appear to have any qualifications in power generation engineering, transmission or distribution.  They cannot be faulted for not being experts in this area – but as academic scholars, why didn’t they do their research?

It may have been unpleasant to have this widely promoted scheme deconstructed by Friends of Science Society’s power generation experts, as we did, but we were being honest with the public.  It seems irresponsible, in retrospect, that those behind “Acting on Climate Change” did not do a comprehensive technical review before championing this idea.  The operation of the power grid, which we all take for granted as we flip on lights, charge cellphones, power up computers and turn on the coffee-maker, is a very complex technical discipline. Operation of a reliable grid, at the ready to meet consumer and industrial demand, requires intense millisecond management of the ebb and flow of power.  It is not an area for ideologues, only for technical experts.

So – that’s what we honestly do. Friends of Science Society examines the evidence over the ideology.  Is it really ‘clean, green, free?’ Does the scientific data actually support the claim of ‘Catastrophic’ or imminent climate change caused by human industrial activity?  No. We expose those fallacies and it seems that many people don’t like that. Which begs the question, who is funding them? We don’t know.


But, about the facts in the foregoing, we are just being honest.

Feel free to submit comments – they are moderated.

UPDATE Jan. 09, 2016: This article appeared in the Financial Post Dec. 17, 2015:

No justice in censorship


Photo and Map Credits for Danish Coal-fired power plant montage -Wikipedia

“Denmark physical map” by Urutseg – Own work. Licensed under CC0 via Commons –

“Asnæsværket (Kalundborg, Denmark)” by Bob Collowân – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons –,_Denmark).JPG#/media/File:Asn%C3%A6sv%C3%A6rket_(Kalundborg,_Denmark).JPG

“Avedøreværket” by Gunnar Bach Pedersen – Own work (own photo). Licensed under Public Domain via Commons –

“AVV2 Avedøreværket fra Helseholmen”. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons –

(Enstad) “Power station Aabenraa” by Arne List – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons –

“Esbjerg – Kraftwerksschornstein” by Taxiarchos228 – Own work. Licensed under FAL via Commons –

“Fynsværket” by Danielle Keller (danielle_dk) – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons –

“HC Ørstedsværket” by Santac – Own work. Licensed under Attribution via Commons –

“Nordjyllandsværket1” by Jacob Hylling Poulsen – Jacob Hylling Poulsen. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons –

“Studstrupværket” by Useer:Nico-dk / Nils Jepsen – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Commons – “Svanemoellevaerket” by heb@Wikimedia Commons (mail) – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons –


  1. Donna Eliason

    Thank you for this credible report! Do politicians read this stuff or are they so determined to wear blinders to prove to themselves that they are right?

  2. Craig Mckechnie

    When in Denmark 18 months ago,the impression was it was in creditably green . The next day the local paper discussed their new 113 windfarm in the harbour which I had seen . None of this power was being used locally but being sold at spot prices. It was too expensive for Danish industry which was losing business to the USA who had cheap Frack gas . What a snow job as Denmark was buying cheap excess nuclear energy from Sweden and in such a small country still has nearly half their electricity coming from coal. I understand that the Danes now have a new law so that there is only wind farms in water,nothing on land —very expensive . Don,t Canadian provinces and our Federal Government ever look at the proven research showing up in Europe? Show me where Cap and Trade or Carbon Taxes have ever helped climate change. There is 10 to 25 years of experience and we ignore it . Looks like a desperate tax grab to me !!

  3. Theodore Welch

    Can we not start a motion somehow to demand our Canadian government to hold the debate that Friends Of Science Society requested? I am sure I will not be the only one to put my name on the list of wanting our government to tell us the truth. Is it not our right for our government to tell us the truth anyway?

Leave a Reply! Please be courteous and respectful; profanity will not be tolerated.

Privacy Policy Cookies Policy
©2002-2024 Friends of Science Society
Friends of Science Calgary