On appointing a social justice lawyer to a science portfolio

AFJ from tiff

By Albert Jacobs,   Geol.Drs,  P.Geo. 

Albert Jacobs is one of the co-founders of Friends of Science Society.  

Albert Jacobs is one of the co-founders of Friends of Science Society.  Until very recently he was editor/publisher of Friends of Science Society’s very popular “Cli=Sci” climate science bi-weekly round-up of recent academic papers offered to members.

The Honourable Catherine McKenna, appointed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as our new Minister of Environment and Climate Change, has been in the news. Politicians like that, as long as the news is good. But the Minister has been under fire on the social networks. Two items drew our attention in the past weeks. In one Twitter encounter, she reportedly called someone a climate “denier” and advised them to get another hobby.

mckenna denier tweet


I know of no scientist who “denies” that the earth climate varies; it also does not behove a Minister of the Crown to use expressions related to the Holocaust.  By her using the expression, I must also conclude that social justice lawyer McKenna has no idea of how science works. However, if she does, then it is she who is the denier.

In addition, she advertised a job opening for a “climate change communication Special Assistant”, bilingual, with an English or journalism degree and experience in writing communication material on public policy matters. Those qualifications are exactly what she does not need.

mckenna job posting

(See full text of ad below)

As a Professional Geologist and – consequently – a student of climates past, present  and future, I can claim some knowledge of the science related to changes in climate, which have been happening on all time scales during the existence of our planet. Yes, in essence, climatology is part of the earth sciences, a fact the IPCC has barely acknowledged. In fact, astronomy and solar physics are also playing a dominant role in those changes, a fact recognised in the science literature by researchers as much as a century ago.

IPCC has been created by the UN and its meteorological body (WMO) to focus on the perceived influence of increasing human-contributed carbon-dioxide (CO2 or “carbon” as they call it because that is conveniently dirty and black) and the effect of industry and power usage on warming of the atmosphere. CO2 occurs in the atmosphere as four molecules in ten thousand. It is being exhaled by homo sapiens and his vertebrate friends at a rate of a hundred times as much. Seven billion human beings and untold numbers of animals do this day and night. Talk about anthropogenic causes.

Well, it’s of course part of the life cycle of CO2, one of the most useful non-polluting gases in our atmosphere. Life depends on it.

We are told we have to cut down on CO2 because of a perceived relationship between CO2 levels in the atmosphere and increasing  Global Mean Temperature (GMT).  I will not go into the never-ending discussions about the minutiae of happenings in our atmosphere, except for a few main points:

  • The actual GMT is an elusive beast. Density of observation stations and accuracy of measurements vary wildly and 70% of the surface is ocean. Its assumed values are the result of multiple, rather subjective statistical adjustments and manipulations as brought to light by the published evidence from ClimateGate.
  • In this aspect ,the variations of decimal portions of a degree Celsius are near irrelevant. They’re in the error band of statistics.
  • Accuracy of sea levels and water temperatures measurements are equally low and there is a great discrepancy between satellite readings and coastal gauges, probably due mostly due water movement.
  • A causal basis of the relationship between CO2 and Temperature only exists in that CO2 follows changes in global temperature on all scales of geologic time. Not the other way around.
  • The earth’ climate changes over time, due to multiple natural forces in the planet itself and in the solar system. While this has been recognised by scientists for a long time, the IPCC deliberately ignores or trivialises these forces and depends only on atmospheric physics to prove its political point.
  • Those forces are orbital and magnetic in character and mostly cyclic in nature; they influence each other and set up a near-chaotic dynamic system that the linear equations of the IPCC’s computer programs cannot deal with.
  • The result has been a wide divergence between the IPCC’s projected temperature increase and the reality of empirical data, the observed temperatures of the last twenty years. The computer simulations don’t come close to reality.

This goes to prove that climate science is not an open and shut case.

Obviously, “The Science Is [Not] Settled”.  But the computer projections are taken as “proof” and we are now building a worldwide trillion dollar carbon tax/subsidy scheme on what is an unproven hypothesis.

Scientists are educated to reason and to question. The research scientist posts a hypothesis or a theory and expects critique. He discusses with his critics. The critics try to falsify his theory. If they succeed, the theory is no more.  The word denier is absent from this process.

The IPCC does not even engage in such a process. It does not accept criticism and it does not discuss.

However, there is ample material to draw from.  While the IPCC has been accused of having the main science periodicals in its pocket, there are dozens of other journals (not to speak of internet blogs) that have published critical papers, “peer-reviewed” and all.

Even the IPCC’s own publications are a fertile ground for doubt. In the thousands of pages of the Working Group I (“The Physical Science”) reports one can find many expressions of doubt and uncertainty by the actual scientists it depends on for its work. Their doubt and uncertainties never make it into the “Summary for Policy Makers”, which publications are distributed to politicians and media. Scientists have been known to resign because of the distortions.

Now to Minister McKenna.

She is a lawyer and an economist, specialised in social justice, human rights and international trade. She has had a great career so far and is undoubtedly a clever lady.  But why is she so terribly miscast in her cabinet position?

She has no science in her background to speak of.  She has lived her life on one side of C.P. Snow’s dividing line in his “The Two Cultures”.

Has she read any of the critical summaries on her assigned file? The independent NIPCC reports come to mind. Does she understand that this is still a politics-burdened, scientifically uncertain project that she is on? Very uncertain? With billions of citizen’s dollars at stake?

Does she feel comfortable having to depend solely on the advice of her own civil servants for decisions of this magnitude in a field with which she is unfamiliar?

If she labels scientists-opponents to her pre-conceived ideas about climate change with the obnoxious label “deniers”, it’s high time she gets herself educated on this file from the other side of Snow’s cultural divide.  I know a few professors in Ottawa who may be pleased to put her straight.

That brings me to the other item mentioned above: Her job opening for a Special Communication Assistant. I can’t see that the requirements for such a job should be anything less than that of a B.Sc. who can write well. With the slump in the resources industry, there must be many candidates to choose from.

What we do not need is more pablum for the masses.

-30 –

Full text of ad from Minister McKenna’s facebook page:

Job Posting for The Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Position: Special Assistant, Communications

Are you passionate about our environment and tackling climate change?

Are you a talented writer that is able to communicate complex issues to a broad audience? Can you write compelling speeches and other communications products?

Do you thrive in a vibrant work environment, juggling many competing priorities?

Do you want to join a talented and committed team?

My office at Environment and Climate Change Canada is seeking a talented individual with demonstrated writing skills for a broad public audience. This is a full time position with an annual salary in the range of $50,000 to $55,000 plus benefits.

If you are interested (or know someone who might be perfect for the job), please send us your resume as well as a compelling sample of your writing skills: a thousand word speech written in my plain-spoken voice, intended to convince a group of senior citizens concerned about the costs associated with climate change of the need to take action on climate change and turn the challenge into an opportunity to grow Canada’s economy and create new jobs.

The ideal candidate will have a degree in English or journalism, be bilingual, and have experience writing communication materials – including speeches – on public policy issues.

Please submit your application to Chris Moraes at chris.moraes@canada.ca (with “Job posting” in the subject line). Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Only successful applicants will be contacted.



  1. renewableguy

    Below is a quote of an article from Skeptical Science about the certainty level of human influence on the climate. Co2 being a known green house is most of the explanation of the changes in temperature in the past climate on earth. Orbital forcings were the intiators and the entry of co2 into the atmosphere from the initial warming did the rest.

    If you pollute co2, then it is definitely you that helps to warm the earth.

    Spot the Differences
    Here is the relevant statement from the fourth IPCC report in 2007:

    “Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely [90 percent confidence] due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations

    Now here is the statement from the fifth IPCC report:

    “It is extremely likely [95 percent confidence] more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together.”

    • Gary

      SKS is a discredited alarmist blog maintained by a known fraud in Australia.
      Nothing quoted from that site has any credibility to anyone that follows real science.

      • renewableguy

        AUGUST 7, 2016 AT 5:51 PM
        SKS is a discredited alarmist blog maintained by a known fraud in Australia.
        Nothing quoted from that site has any credibility to anyone that follows real science.

        Actually they have world wide recognition for their quality explanations of science of climate. Plus they are studying the likes of climate denial of why people are denying climate science. You might have trouble handling it.

    • Climate Otter

      Quoting ‘skeptical’ science is an automatic FAIL. The site is run by a cartoonist (because he couldn’t even get a job in his field of study in college); it also employs a conspiracy theorist posing as a psychologist, who’s papers on Skeptics were kicked out of the journals that originally published them. They have also been known to impersonate Skeptics and put words in their mouths which they never said and do not believe. Even their ‘97%’ paper was determined BEFORE IT WAS EVEN WRITTEN and said paper has even been shredded by other climate catastrophists.

      • renewableguy

        Climate Otter,

        There is 200 years of science on climate. What explains climate, includes green house gases.

        Sun is slightly cooling and green house gases increasing dramatically compared to earth’s past history. Its a very rapid large change to our atmosphere.

  2. Segue C

    “Pablum” indeed!

    “Are you passionate about our environment and tackling climate change?”

    Whose environment, the Northern Hemisphere? Urban West? Liberal “culture” crony colonies like Toronto with its rarified atmosphere where language is rife with code.

    “Passionate” = your belief allows you to ignore ugly facts

    “climate change” = constantly shifting crisis meme designed to give power and money to those who know best how to govern the world

    “Tackling” = process of stripping wealth from the poor and running a heist

    • John Fraser

      Looks like she needs a writer… “Only successful applicants will be contacted”. I thought they were only hiring one?

    • afjacobs

      In 2002, as a dozen earth scientists and engineers started FoS, to fight the non-science behind the Kyoto Protocol. Today the scientific arguments disproving the IPCC’s politicised concept of climate science, are ignored and we are fighting battles of semantics and the denial (yes!) of empirical scientific observations. White is black and black is white.
      They think they’ve got us where they want us: Climate science demoted to ‘Climate Change’, an established social concern that needs no scientific proof. Just lawyers and politicians that use it for their own purposes.
      The truth shall prevail!

  3. afjacobs

    I didn’t have time to look this up, but they sound like typical SPM statements (Summary for Policy Makers) which have little to do with the science they purport to represent. And what is this business of CO2 being a pollutant? Because te EPA says so? LOL

    If I read this right it acknowledges the genuine human contribution to increasing temperatures by the heat retention and radiation of metropolitan areas (UHI) and the changes in land use (agriculture, forestry water management etc).

    These are legitimate sources of “heat” that have little to do with CO2, and which have been recognized for years.
    What is interesting is that they suddenly saw the need to use them to bolster the declining cause of their alarmist meme.

    Much is to be said about this likely/extremely likely (etc) business which stems from an amalgam of scientific opinions. That’s not the way scientific research is conducted.

    Anthropogenic global warming as a hypothesis is either to be falsified or proven. Proven it has not been, but falsified it has.

    • renewableguy

      CO2 is a green house gas, absolutely true.
      Do we see less infrared energy leaving the earth in the frequency range of earth ghg’s? Yes.
      Do we see more infrared energy returning to the earth in this same frequency range? Yes.
      Are there other known sources of energy causing our earth to warm? No.

      Show me the source of the earth’s warming if this is wrong!!!!!!


      The greenhouse gas qualities of CO2 have been known for over a century. In 1861, John Tyndal published laboratory results identifying CO2 as a greenhouse gas that absorbed heat rays (longwave radiation). Since then, the absorptive qualities of CO2 have been more precisely measured and quantified by laboratory results and radiative physics theory (Herzberg 1953, Burch 1962, Burch 1970, etc).

      Satellite measurements of the change in outgoing longwave radiation

      Measurements of downward longwave radiation

      • afjacobs

        Let’s be clear about this, “renewable guy”. No one of us is saying that CO2 is not a so-called GHG, taking into consideration that the earth’ atmosphere is not an actual Greenhouse.
        Without it, we wouldn’t be here.

        The originator of the idea of AGW was Svante Arrhenius who published his well known paper (1896) giving a range of warming that would pull earth easily out of the aftermath of the Dalton minimum. Yes, old Svante recognized the benefit of CO2, but he did also admit ten years later that his expected ranges (which are similar to those initially reported by the IPCC) were too high, because he had not been able to separate the CO2 from the atmospheric H2O effect. He revised his warming rate downward. This 1906 German language paper appears in both the original and in our translation on the FoS website. (Just use the search window.) It is hard to find it – or even a reference to it – anywhere else. IPCC ignores it.

        The water vapour problem has been bugging the IPCC’s researchers from the beginning, but the IPCC can not do without adapting Arrhenius’s early model and range as an axiomatic parameter in its CAGW model.

        Now, you should know that in science, someone who proposes a theory has the onus to prove it right and meet all challenges to its veracity. And a computer simulation program does not prove a theory.
        The onus is not on the challenger to provide an alternative. The real problem for the proponent comes when his theory is falsified by his critics.

        With the CAGW model, nature has done this for us. Diagrams produced by Dr Roy Spencer (and shown on our website) clearly show the widening gap between the IPCC’s computer projections since the late nineties and the actual troposphere observations by weather balloon data. CAGW is a hoax.

        About your: “Are there other sources of energy causing our earth to warm?”, the answer is yes. The variations in solar energy received are correlative with temperature cycles on earth and the IPCC’s dismissal of the idea is based on the smallish change in their incomplete version of TSI. Changes in Solar Total Intensity include qualitative aspects (e.g. UV variations) as well as quantitative ones. One of the most important is the galactic cosmic ray effect. Varying Solar radiation (“solar wind”) modulates the flow of CR particles received on earth, which serve as nucleation for cloud formation (and consequently global temperature) worldwide. The process has been validated by CERN and is widely accepted.

        In addition there is extensive work being done on the planetary conjunctions and oppositions and on their orbital gravity aspects on the sun. Finally its dual magnetic fields and solar polar reversals (Hale Cycle) set a pattern of cyclicity of climate events observable on earth climate through historic times.
        You can get yourself up to speed by reading through the dozen or so papers in the now discontinued “Pattern Recognition in Physics series”: Pattern Recognition link: pattern-recogn-phys(.)net/special_issues(.)html (remove parentheses)

        So, yes, there are those known sources and research is continuing.

      • renewableguy

        There is no mystery to water vapor. It is a very simple thing to plug in to calculations of climate modeling. The reason the earth heats like it does is because we are a water based planet. It is a positive feedback to increasing co2.

        AUGUST 8, 2016 AT 6:49 PM

        The water vapour problem has been bugging the IPCC’s researchers from the beginning, but the IPCC can not do without adapting Arrhenius’s early model and range as an axiomatic parameter in its CAGW model.

        All lines of evidence show that man is the cause of global warming. 5 different IPCC’s show a stronger and stronger connection to human warming cause. There is no other cause of warming of the earth.

        Now, you should know that in science, someone who proposes a theory has the onus to prove it right and meet all challenges to its veracity. And a computer simulation program does not prove a theory.
        The onus is not on the challenger to provide an alternative. The real problem for the proponent comes when his theory is falsified by his critics.

        • afjacobs

          Then, when it is such a “simple thing”, why are the models obviously not working? You do not want to address that apparently
          Why do you keep pointing to the simulation models as “evidence” when they are not backed up by empirical evidence afterwards?
          Why do you believe that if you state a wrong fact five times in the ARs that it becomes the truth?

          Enough of this, anonymous “renewable guy”. Have a look outside the box you’re in.
          Have a look at Svensmark’s 2009 papers.
          Have a look at the PRP series at http://www.pattern-recogn-phys.net/special_issues.html
          Read websites like Tallbloke’s Talkshop or Club du Soleil and get yourself educated.

      • renewableguy

        Climate models are doing the job. Plus the overwhelming evidence of man made climate change.


        Fundamental physics and global climate models both make testable predictions as to how the global climate should change in response to anthropogenic warming. Almost universally, empirical observations confirm that these ‘fingerprints’ of anthropogenic global warming are present.

  4. afjacobs

    My comment appeared above. I am no expert on blog behaviour….

  5. 4TimesAYear

    Reblogged this on 4timesayear's Blog.

  6. Josh sSehn

    Funny the anonymous blogger thinks he is smarter than the professional geologist with many years of scientific training on the topic… Typical.

  7. timeklek

    *** VIA WIKIPEDIA ***
    Scientists questioning the accuracy of IPCC climate projections

    These scientists have said that it is not possible to project global climate accurately enough to justify the ranges projected for temperature and sea-level rise over the next century. They may not conclude specifically that the current IPCC projections are either too high or too low, but that the projections are likely to be inaccurate due to inadequacies of current global climate modeling.

    David Bellamy, botanist.
    Lennart Bengtsson, meteorologist, Reading University.
    Piers Corbyn, owner of the business WeatherAction which makes weather forecasts.
    Judith Curry, Professor and former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
    Freeman Dyson, professor emeritus of the School of Natural Sciences, Institute for Advanced Study; Fellow of the Royal Society.
    Steven E. Koonin, theoretical physicist and director of the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University.
    Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan emeritus professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and member of the National Academy of Sciences.
    Craig Loehle, ecologist and chief scientist at the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement.
    Patrick Moore, former president of Greenpeace Canada.
    Nils-Axel Mörner, retired head of the Paleogeophysics and Geodynamics Department at Stockholm University, former chairman of the INQUA Commission on Sea Level Changes and Coastal Evolution (1999–2003).
    Garth Paltridge, retired chief research scientist, CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research and retired director of the Institute of the Antarctic Cooperative Research Centre, visiting fellow Australian National University.
    Tom Quirk, corporate director of biotech companies and former board member of the Institute of Public Affairs, an Australian conservative think-tank.
    Denis Rancourt, former professor of physics at University of Ottawa, research scientist in condensed matter physics, and in environmental and soil science.
    Harrison Schmitt, geologist, Apollo 17 Astronaut, former U.S. Senator.
    Peter Stilbs, professor of physical chemistry at Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm.
    Philip Stott, professor emeritus of biogeography at the University of London.
    Hendrik Tennekes, retired director of research, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute.
    Anastasios Tsonis, distinguished professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
    Fritz Vahrenholt, German politician and energy executive with a doctorate in chemistry.
    Ivar Giaever, Norwegian–American physicist and Nobel laureate in physics (1973).

  8. pattikellar

    Reblogged this on Patti Kellar.

  9. Robin Day

    Minister McKenna is on record stating that fossil fuels must stay in the ground. Federal and Provincial policies on climate change and CO2 will be enacted into legislation in Ottawa, Ontario and Alberta this fall. These elites are going to drag hard working Canadians into a lower standard of living, higher unemployment, a shrinking economy, all to meet their ideological climate change goals. Come this fall and January 01, 2017, welcome to Canadian hell.

    • Trevor Marr

      We ALL must stand up for Canada! Catherine and Justin must stand up or please step down!

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