Op-ed by Michelle Stirling © 2019

Chatelaine’s Apr/May 2019  “Green” edition is filled with tips, like “How to Convert a Climate Skeptic.”  That’s an article by the edition’s guest editor/curator Dr. Katharine Hayhoe.  She’s married to an evangelical pastor, so conversion therapy appears to be her scientific method of choice for talking climate. That, and feelings.  Dr. Hayhoe was in Calgary on March 6, 2018 as part of last year’s IPCC Cities Conference.  She tried to scare us all with the thought of a warmer winter.  She told the assembled crowd at Telus SPARK that we should rely on feelings about climate change, not facts and evidence. 

In her Chatelaine article, Dr. Hayhoe claims weather extremes are more frequent, but this claim is not supported by the UN Climate Panel (IPCC) Special Report on Extreme Weather.  In that report, as confirmed by climate scientist Dr. Judith Curry in her 2014  US Senate testimony, extreme weather is not ascribed to human-causation, and such events are not increasing.

Though Dr. Hayhoe claims ‘the reality is that climate change is affecting us today’ – that’s a silly comment. Climate changes all the time.  Climate change is measured in 30, 50, 100 and millennial timescales, so most of us don’t live long enough to experience climate change. As Dr. John Harper FGSA,FGAC, PGeol., former director of the Geological Survey of Canada, explains in this video clip, most politicians can’t define climate change; they certainly can’t stop it. Neither can you.


Dr. Hayhoe’s curated magazine gives a page to Tzeporah Berman, who spouts off about stopping pipelines to save the planet, but meanwhile her bio says she lives in Vancouver and likes to take trips to Cortes Island to kayak. How green!

However, the only way you can get there is by fossil fueled transport. BC Ferries runs one of the largest ferry systems in the world – all on fossil fuels.

But the real prize is Chris Turner’s article about Bornholm, a tiny Danish island with some ~40,000 residents and 600,000 annual visitors.  Based on his 2013 experience visiting this island, Turner tells us “The Future is Greener than you Think.”   He talks about his visit to Bornholm, an island dotted with wind farms, solar panels and EVs, saying: “Imagine an enviable quality of life, all without a single molecule of carbon dioxide sent skyward to compound the global catastrophe of climate change.”

A closer look at Bornholm shows that it has the world’s longest submarine (underwater) 60 kV cable of ~ 46 kilometers, connecting the island to Swedish nuclear and hydro power.  That can supply all the power for the island. Laying such a cable involves fossil fuels, and cash. Lots of it.

I could not find the original cost of the undersea cable but estimates of the present cost of such lines are about £100 Sterling per metre or about $6,000,000 USD for 46 000 metres. The cost of installation can be between £2-£5 million per kilometer (46 km), or $156,896,646.82 to $392,241,617.05 Cdn.[1] Typically, the cost of such a line is borne by the consumer on top of the cost of the electricity, though since the island is being used as a kind of renewables laboratory, the cable was funded 50% by the EU and 50% by corporations involved in testing related renewables energy systems. Imagine that tab if spread over the ~40,000 residents alone!

There is even a LEGO video clip of life on Bornholm in the new Utopia.


In 2010, Bornholm was still powered largely by diesel generators, coal, incineration, and biomass. [2]  Wind turbines were added between 1992 and up until 2008.  They provide about 30% of their nameplate capacity.

However, more recently additional wind turbines were voted down as residents felt it was infringing on the quaint, historic nature of the island.

Temps can get to minus 17C there in winter, and no surprise that this 2007 report shows there is a spike in power demand in winter, the authors suspecting this is due to electric space heaters.[3]

No matter what, Bornholm is an interesting experiment, but not representative of the real world.

Chris Turner writes: “Imagine driving to work, plugging the car’s battery pack back into the grid and brokering the sale of any power you don’t need at a profit, as demand rises during the day.”

This is highly unlikely.  Most electric vehicles have severely limited range because of battery power limitations, something that is exacerbated by extremely cold temperatures such as those in Canada.  Far more likely you would have to plug in to recharge or to ‘precondition’ your car before leaving work (i.e. warm up the passenger cabin).[4]  Furthermore, Canada does not have enough hydro power to support the goal of a Zero Emissions transportation sector.  We’d need to build many more power dams, as Kent Zehr, P. Eng. points out in this power point. Such projects take about 20 years from inception to completion (barring activists blocking development), cost billions of dollars each, and we have no such plans on the table in Canada. [5] (Does not include cost of transmission and distribution upgrades).

Yes, going further down this EV path might leave us broke and in the dark.

Aside from Turner exaggerating the likelihood of living a Bornholm Utopian life any time soon, he also continues the climate catastrophe refrain of many activists.  He states that “Millions will lose their homes and livelihoods and even lives before anything like a stable climate re-emerges.”

What ‘stable climate’ is he talking about?

During the Medieval Warm Period (950-1250 AD) civilization flourished in Europe, but there were still extreme weather events.

Anno 1134: Extreme drought in the North of France. In June, a hot wind dries Normandy. Everywhere thirsty people flow into streams and rivers and many drown. In September in Normandy and elsewhere, many towns and villages were completely destroyed by fire, like Le Mans, Chartres, Alençon, Nogent and Verneuil. The Sambre dries up in Namur. Tsunami on the coasts of the North Sea in September or October. One night, the sea invades the land to a depth of 7 miles, stunning villages and homes. The disaster affects Flanders and neighboring countries. In December, major floods in Normandy. Floods reach the roofs of houses.


Anno 1135: Great heat and widespread drought in France and England. “It was so great that the land was burning hot at various locations in France.” Pastures and fields are grilled and there followed a great famine. Rivers and lakes are dry. Heather in the mountains and forests spontaneously ignited by sunlight. In Germany, the Rhine is almost entirely dry and can be crossed on foot. The forests are on fire. December 1st – England was swept away by a hurricane.


Originally sourced from Belgotopia “Evenments”


Here you can see a live webcam of the Rhine River. Things look fine and stable today.


At the same time that Europe basked in mostly stable, balmy warmth of the Medieval Warm Period (which was about as warm or warmer than today’s temperatures), the south western United States of today, in the region of California, experienced 100- and 200-year droughts!

In fact, regarding the Current Warm Period, according to climate scientist Dr. Judith Curry, climate and weather conditions have been pretty stable since the Great Depression, with some more extreme periods in the ‘50s and ‘70s, but people suffer from ‘weather amnesia’ and they forget.

Following the Medieval Warm Period, there was a plunge into the erratic climate of the Little Ice Age, when women were accused of ‘weather cooking with the help of Satan’ and burned at the stake.  Astrophysicist Dr. Sallie Baliunas was Friends of Science Society’s first scientific adviser and speaker at our Second Annual Event in 2002.[6]  She recounts what happened to heretics then in this video.


Chillingly, a similar thing happened to her career in contemporary times because she holds the view that the sun drives climate change.[7] Being a female scientist and having a mind of your own (and evidence) on climate science is verboten.

How do Chatelaine feminists feel about that?

Robert Lyman takes a look at the “Climate Hysteria – The Elusive Search for a Simple Response” – of the kind Turner is serving up. But when it comes to energy issues, there is no easy solution, no matter how much people may try to scare taxpayers into opening their wallets.[8]

One of those solutions Turner mentions is the ‘simple, unsexy climate-saving tools’ claiming Canada could achieve a third of its emissions targets by simply implementing efficiency measures.[9]  One element of that is housing retrofits, but as Robert Lyman points out, that’s not so cheap or simple either, not to mention all this work requires new materials and lots of energy to implement. [10]

It may be that as a Roger’s Media outlet, Chatelaine is just trying to please NEI Investments which, in 2015, directed the corporation to toe the party line on Paris Agreement and climate.

“We met with Rogers in June 2015 to follow-up on our climate change dialogue. In light of the
upcoming Paris Climate Conference and negotiations on global climate policy, we encouraged
Rogers to take a leadership position by expressing public support for climate policy and carbon
pricing in Canada. We highlighted several initiatives, including the work of the Ecofiscal
Commission and CDP’s Road to Paris commitments, and the company indicated it would consider
such opportunities. We discussed the progress industry and provincial governments are making on
advancing climate policy.”
NEI Investments [bold emphasis added]
NEI Investments has also “engaged” with the major banks of Canada.


And it may be that, as one of the people involved in writing Smart Prosperity’s pitch for ‘green’ that Turner is just continuing a train of thought, as Smart Prosperity is keen to push climate bonds, and these rely on climate catastrophe for their viability.[11]

But the female demographic who are the largest readers of Chatelaine, are being led astray by this ‘green’ edition, in my opinion, for all the reasons stated above.

Feel free to disagree with me. Write your comments below.

Unlike NEI Investments, we are in favour of open, civil debate and Freedom of the Press – a Charter Right.


Bornholm plans to be carbon neutral by 2025: 


Footnote: Bornholm is going to stop incinerating waste and embark on a complex recycling program.[12]


Michelle Stirling is the Communications Manager for Friends of Science Society, a member of the Canadian Association of Journalists, AAAS, and APA.

[1] http://www.esru.strath.ac.uk/EandE/Web_sites/98-9/offshore/elec.htm

[2] http://www.globalislands.net/greenislands/docs/denmark_the_bornholm_power_system_an_overview.pdf

[3] http://www.ea-energianalyse.dk/reports/640_Security_of_supply_for_Bornholm.pdf

[4] EV’s use battery power for that, so the battery drains very fast in winter; conventional internal combustion engine vehicles (ICE) use waste heat from the engine’s operation to heat the passenger cabin.

[5] https://blog.friendsofscience.org/2019/05/13/electric-vehicle-considerations-for-canada/

[6] https://friendsofscience.org/assets/files/documents/Baliunas-Abrupt%20CC.pdf

[7] https://friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/KyotoAPEGA2002REV1.pdf

[8] https://blog.friendsofscience.org/2019/05/20/climate-hysteria-the-elusive-search-for-a-simple-response/

[9] http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/publications/statistics/parliament/2015-2016/pdf/parliament15-16.pdf

[10] https://blog.friendsofscience.org/2019/05/13/look-before-you-leap-housing-retrofits/

[11] https://www.climatebonds.net/resources/reports/canada-green-finance-state-market-2018 

[12] https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/04/bornholm-island-denmark-goes-trash-free-by-recycling/