Opinion by Michelle Stirling ©2021
I hardly ever agree with Max Fawcett, but I must agree with part of his recent op-ed in the National Observer in that it was disillusioning to watch a group of adults, all of them vying for leadership of Canada, expressing their total energy illiteracy before the nation, and not being called out on it by the moderator, who is likely equally energy illiterate.
Fawcett claims that “Disagreements about benefits for seniors, foreign policy, and how best to balance the budget will fade into the noise of history. What will remain is the government we elected, and what they ultimately decided to do about climate change.”
He obviously is not up to date with the recent IPCC report, most likely because media outlets around the world only trumpeted the “code red” claims of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres but did not review the actual IPCC report in any depth.
Had they done so, as climate policy analyst Roger Pielke, Jr., has done, they would have found lots of good news. As Pielke, Jr. reports: “Instead of apocalyptic warnings about “immediate risk” a top line message of this report should be: Great News! The Extreme Scenario that IPCC Saw as Most Likely in 2013 is Now Judged Low Likelihood. I am actually floored that this incredible change in such a short time apparently hasn’t even been noticed, much less broadcast around the world.” https://rogerpielkejr.substack.com/p/how-to-understand-the-new-ipcc-report
Yes, the alleged Climate Emergency stems from the misuse of a computer simulation known as “Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5” – a wildly implausible scenario that climate scientists and policymakers have been referring to as if ‘business-as-usual’. As Pielke, Jr. and his colleague Justin Ritchie found, this is distorting our view of climate science and creating an industry of climate catastrophe across media and in the offices of psychologists, where treating eco-anxiety is a booming business. There’s no need for any of that.
So, Fawcett is wrong on declaring climate change to be the most important factor in the election, and he also fails to point out the energy illiteracy of all the people debating the future of Canada. This is an important point as Fawcett was formerly the editor of Alberta Oil magazine and thus, he should know better.
No matter what targets the federal government has set, nor what climate policies any of the leaders propose, it is clear that Canada will not be getting off fossil fuels any time soon, unless the intent is to destroy all industry and send the public into a Zombie Apocalypse of death.
It is difficult to believe that economists like Jennifer Winter of the University of Calgary or Andrew Leach of the University of Edmonton seem blind to these energy facts. They are deemed ‘climate experts’ by Fawcett as is Marc Jaccard who is loftily referred to as a Simon Fraser University economist and lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. Is Prof. Jaccard unaware of the fact that the Physical Sciences Group (Working Group I) of the IPCC no longer sees looming climate catastrophe as ‘most likely’? Meaning we DO have time? Net Zero 2050 is thus no longer mandatory but simply aspirational….and in the absence of miracle technology, impossible (as shown above).
I ask the question, is Prof. Jaccard, an IPCC lead author, unaware that RCP 8.5 is not deemed the future of humanity anymore? Is he unaware of Canada’s total energy consumption by source? Why is he still continuing to issue evaluations of political party climate policies without noting the impossibility of meeting Canada’s climate targets? Is this not in conflict with the Ethical Guidelines of Simon Fraser University regarding using one’s position to influence others? It seems Jaccard is promoting an IPCC catastrophe narrative that no longer applies and claiming there will be a beneficial climate and economic outcome of a certain party’s policies that are clearly unrealistic and destructive to the Canadian economy – and now unnecessary. As Simon Fraser University notes in its introduction to codes of conduct, the university is funded by taxpayers. Is this not a partisan promotion by Prof. Jaccard?
And can Prof. Jaccard be unaware that Gavin Schmidt, of NASA GISS, commenting on news that the newest version of climate models used for the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change AR6 report are running too hot. Schmidt said “You end up with numbers for even the near-term that are insanely scary—and wrong.”
The only groups that will benefit from Canada’s NetZero2050 goals are green crony capitalists, carbon traders and the top competitor oil and gas nations which include one democracy, the USA, and nine theocracies or autocratic nations – Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Russia, Libya, and Nigeria.
Likewise, since China emits in one month, what Canada emits in a year and a half, any of Canada’s reductions are purely virtual signaling. Furthermore, as economist and author Bjorn Lomborg has shown, using the simple climate model emulator MAGICC program, even if ALL countries met all their targets, the reduction in future warming would be 0.17 ° Celsius by 2100… assuming the wildly too high RCP8.5 emissions scenario, too high climate sensitivity and that the Paris Agreement would be extended for 70 years. At a cost of $1-2 trillion per year. That is a far cry from the promised 1.5°Celsius global target – meaning “you people” are being snowed by your governments.
Fawcett then wraps up his op-ed referencing central bankers, as if they know anything about climate change. Though bankers have jumped on the climate change bandwagon, thanks largely to the proliferation of the “Risky Business” report, promoted in academia and financial circles by green investors Steyer and Bloomberg, Fiedler et al (2021) explain that climate models are not fit for purpose for evaluating long-term climate forecasts for ‘climate risk’ analysis.
Fawcett then references a Canadian climate scientist, climate modeler, and former politician as further evidence of support for his case. It should be noted that the Canadian climate models have recently gotten a scathing review.
Writing on Judith Curry’s blog “Climate, Etc”, economist and climate policy analyst Ross McKitrick notes that researchers Mitchell et al., 2021 stated:
“We draw attention to the CanESM5 [climate] model: it simulates the greatest warming in the troposphere, roughly 7 times larger than the observed trends.”
McKitrick goes on to say: “The Canadian government relies on the CanESM models “to provide science-based quantitative information to inform climate change adaptation and mitigation in Canada and internationally.” I would be very surprised if the modelers at UVic ever put warning labels on their briefings to policy makers. The sticker should read: “WARNING! This model predicts atmospheric warming roughly 7 times larger than observed trends. Use of this model for anything other than entertainment purposes is not recommended.””
Just so you know, climate policies like NetZero and carbon taxes are set according to economic models which are calibrated to these overly hot climate models. The FUND economic model calculates (see table 4) a negative social cost of carbon dioxide meaning that the Social “Cost” of Carbon is actually beneficial, thus carbon taxes should be eliminated. Even this calculation is biased as it falsely assumes that all of the recent climate change was due to greenhouse gas emissions and none by urban warming and natural climate change.
If we want to save Canada from death by energy illiterate climate policies, maybe we should listen to the experts I have cited and not those referenced by Max Fawcett, who clearly have no grasp of the greater geopolitical climate picture, are not up-to-date on the contents of the actual IPCC report (not the Summary for Policy Makers, which is a political document), and who ignore the reality that renewables cannot replace fossil fuels by 2050, no matter how many targets politicians set.
The fact is politicians can’t stop climate change.
– 30 –
Michelle Stirling is Communications Manager for Friends of Science Society.