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Facebook: Act Thoughtfully to Maintain Freedom of Speech and the Integrity of Scientific Inquiry

July 10, 2020

To: Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Facebook Oversight Board
Cc: Mark Zuckerberg, Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei, Evelyn Aswad, Endy Bayuni, Catalina Botero-Marino, Katherine Chen, Nighat Dad, Jamal Greene, Pamela Karlan, Tawakkol Karman, Maina Kiai, Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Ronaldo Lemos, Michael McConnell, Julie Owono, Emi Palmor, Alan Rusbridger, András Sajó, Nicolas Suzor, Nick Clegg

Ms. Thorning-Schmidt,

We are appealing Facebook efforts to deplatform/unpublish Friends of Science Society’s page and challenging calls by climate activists for Facebook to shut down our rational, dissenting views on climate change science and energy policies and those of others.

The recent open letter sent to you by members of “Climate Power 2020” wants you to shut down ‘climate deniers’. The term ‘climate deniers’ used by Climate Power 2020 is inappropriate as persons who challenge the paradigm of dangerous climate change do not deny that climate changes or that human-caused carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions cause some climate change. The vast majority of skeptical climate scientists use empirical data to show that natural climate change is large, and the climate is much less sensitive to CO2 emissions than that claimed by the IPCC and that there is no climate crisis.

Effectively, the non-scientist activists of Climate Power ask you to defy the National Academies of Science principle of responsible conduct in research and scientific inquiry – that being:
“Science has progressed through a uniquely productive marriage of human creativity and hard-nosed skepticism, of openness to new scientific contributions and persistent questioning of those contributions and the existing scientific consensus.”

Ms. Thorning-Schmidt must certainly be aware of the work of Dr. Bjorn Lomborg. In his new book “False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet”, Dr. Lomborg references the science of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and uses their model to show that the Paris Agreement, even if all parties met the objectives and targets, would result in a minuscule reduction in warming, and yet would cost trillions. Lomborg uses the economic analysis of Nobel Laureate William Nordhaus to show that climate damages by engaging in adaptation would be nominal and the benefits would be many, compared to pushing ahead with concepts like a ‘Green New Deal”. He demonstrates that renewables are not the answer to climate change and that they do not provide suitable power for modern society. He supports adaptation over mitigation, common sense over climate fear. He explains why there is no climate emergency.

This is the type of vital information for society that Friends of Science Society has provided since 2002. More recently, an independent organization called “CLINTEL – climate intelligence” has formed in The Netherlands, under the direction of Prof. Guus Berkhout and Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt, both highly esteemed scientists, scholars, and public policy experts in Europe. CLINTEL now includes an international collection of some ~900 scientists, scholars, and professionals who hold the view that there is no climate emergency, that we ‘do have time’, and that natural factors are more influential on climate change than human industrial emissions of carbon dioxide. Facebook has blocked our popular video (>700,000 views) that simply reports on the origins of this group and their first press release. To block the message of these (then) 500 scientists, Facebook relies on the assessment of a handful of partisan climate activist scientists of “Climate Feedback”/”Science Feedback”, rather than allowing the public to evaluate the views of the now ~900 CLINTEL scientists. How is this democratic or rational on the part of Facebook?

As noted in the activists’ open letter to you, climate change is a fact. The ratio of human vs natural influence has not been determined. The climate sensitivity of carbon dioxide (warming effect) is in question. Climate change science addresses a complex, non-linear, chaotic system. The science is far from settled.

Freedom of expression is a human right under the UN Charter, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the US Constitution, and the EU Parliament.

In 2002, our scientific advisor, Dr. Madhav Khandekar, a 40 year veteran research scientist of Environment Canada, former WMO regional expert, and acknowledged world expert on the monsoon phenomenon, did a literature review for the Alberta government assessing the “Uncertainties in the Greenhouse Gas Theory of Climate Change.” In a 2018 interview with him, he noted that now there are many more uncertainties.

Dutch filmmaker Marijn Poels framed it best in his two films “The Uncertainty Has Settled” and “Paradogma”. In “The Uncertainty Has Settled” he talked with Dr. Hans von Storch who agreed that human caused climate change was an issue for society, but probably not the most important one. Poels interviewed physicist Freeman Dyson who noted that climate models are useful for understanding climate change, but useless for predicting it. Yet public policy is set based on climate models – often referencing the least likely scenario, RCP 8.5, which has been promoted by green billionaires. In Poels’ film “Paradogma” he shows why ‘heretics’ are vital to society.

In NATURE, a group of mainstream climate science leaders called for the authors of the IPCC SR1.5 report to speak out and calm the ‘climate emergency’ claims and the climate deadline media-hyped fear of an existential end, writing: “The imagery of deadlines and countdown clocks offers an illusory cliff-edge after which the world heads inevitably to its imminent demise. It promulgates the imaginary of extinction and the collapse of civilization. The impacts of climate change are more likely to be intermittent, slow and gradual.” This information is not front-page news on Facebook. If anything, the frightening claims of Greta Thunberg proliferate, a young woman being exploited as a proxy for a carbon offset/social media/social engineering platform. Her passionate, fearful diatribes are considered to be acceptable by Facebook, but the rational, evidence-based views of qualified, dissenting scientists are not?

More recently, climate activists like Michael Shellenberger and Michael Moore have taken a critical look at the climate change dogmas they supported for years and have found them wanting. Facebook is deplatforming our site for posting Shellenberger’s statement.

But the things Shellenberger is saying are echoed by Dr. Lomborg and his team of economists and researchers, and by the ~900 scientists and scholars of CLINTEL. These are things we have been saying since 2002 in the published APEGA debate with the Pembina Institute.

The principle of CLINTEL is “Audiatur et altera pars” – Let Both Sides Be Heard.

This is what we ask of you. Respect the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and national constitutional and charter rights of Freedom of Speech. Respect the National Academies of Sciences principle that ‘hard-nosed skepticism’ and ‘persistent questioning’ is how science progresses. Stop deplatforming and censoring rational, dissenting scientific views on climate change and related energy policies. By doing so, you are creating a Climate Lysenkoism and we only need look at history to see where this leads. This issue must not be taken lightly.

“In the terrible history of famines in the world, no substantial famine has ever occurred in any independent and democratic country with a relatively free press. We cannot find exceptions to this rule, no matter where we look: the recent famines of Ethiopia, Somalia, or other dictatorial regimes; famines in the Soviet Union in the 1930’s; China’s 1958-61 famine with the failure of the Great Leap Forward; or earlier still, the famines in Ireland or India under alien rule. China, although it was in many wasy doing much better economically than India, still managed, unlike India, to have a famine, indeed the largest recorded famine in world history. Nearly 30 million people died in the famine of 1958-1961, while faulty governmental policies remained uncorrected for three years. The policies went uncriticized because there were no opposition parties in parliament, no free press, and no multiparty elections. Indeed, it is precisely this lack of challenge that allowed the deeply defective policies to continue even though they were killing millions of people each year.”

Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize for economics

“Democracy as a Universal Value” (1999)


Previous open letters and videos to Facebook on Poynter Institute, the International Fact Checking Network and Climate Feedback

Analysis of Climate Feedback Response to 500 Scientists’ Declaration to UN “There is No Climate Emergency” Nov. 12, 2019

An Open Letter to Poynter Institute and Facebook – Fuel and Poor Forest Management is the Main Factor in Australian Wildfires, Not Human-caused Climate Change Jan 13, 2020

Facebook Censors Free Speech Feb. 14, 2020 – Checking the Facts and Ethics of the International Fact-Checking Network of Poynter Institute April 2, 2020

1 Comment

  1. cliffo

    I would like to see CO2 levels at 1600-2000ppm and a little extra warming will be just fine.As a combustion eng i’m doing my bit by maximising fuel air ratios in order to get the most CO2 from the fuel.

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