December 15, 2021
Honourable Minister LaGrange
Minister of Education
Cc: Jason Schilling, President, ATA
Honourable Minister LaGrange and Mr. Schilling,
RE: Open Letter – Give Alberta Schoolchildren Climate Relief for Christmas – Greta tells US Congress she does NOT want you to panic
PDF of the letter is here.
On April 21, 2021, Greta Thunberg testified to the US Congress that there is no science behind her claim “I want you to panic”, adding that she did not literally want anyone to panic; this was just a metaphor.
Unfortunately, this was not widely reported in the press. Many Alberta schools, students and teachers have actively promoted Greta’s #ClimateStrike; will they now also calm down our children and youth by explaining that Greta was only speaking in metaphors – Gretaphors – if you like.
Greta has also said, many times, that we ‘only have 12 years left’ to ‘save the planet, and by Jan. 2020 she was claiming we only had 8 years left . The co-chairman of the report that Greta refers to says that the panel “did not say we have 12 years left to save the world.”
Likewise, people were shocked by comments of UN Sec. Gen. Antonio Guterres’s press release which claimed the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report said there was a “Code Red for humanity.” In fact, the 4,000-page scientific report does not say any such thing and the word ‘crisis’ and ‘emergency’ are only used once in reference to media coverage of climate science, NOT about the scientific findings themselves.
We hope our material can provide some insights into curriculum development on climate change. We know that one group in the province has strongly promoted the notion that climate change ‘should’ be attached to every aspect of education.
Most Friends of Science Society members and board are graduates of Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) programs. We strongly recommend against scattering climate change throughout the curriculum as proposed by the Alberta Council for Environmental Education (climate tree of learning shown above – top tree image). Instead, teach science and math in its purest form (tree image below, emphasizing math and science). Teach the other curriculum matters without a ‘climate’ lens. Teach children critical thinking and how to look at the evidence, over the ideology of climate change. Examples follow.
Recent extreme weather and wildfire events, especially those in British Columbia, have been heralded as evidence that ‘climate change is here’ – when extreme weather events are integral to climate, as explained by our scientific advisor Dr. Madhav Khandekar. Climate change refers to patterns of weather changing over periods of 30-, 50-, 100- and 1,000-year periods and more. In fact, warming causes a wetter climate and soil moisture has been increasing over the last three decades, which inhibits forest fires. Meteorologist Cliff Mass wrote about the recent flooding in southwest B.C. and Washington State “there is no evidence whatsoever that global warming caused the heavy rainfall associated with this event.” Mass says to claim global warming was a significant cause one would need to demonstrate that there has been a progressive increase in heavy rains. He reviewed long precipitation records in the area and wrote “There is NO HINT of a trend towards more extreme precipitation.”
We note that the climate activist “3%” group have had free access visits to Alberta schools. Their fearmongering content seems to echo that of Ecojustice, so we invite you to review our Open Letter to Devon Page of Ecojustice for the facts on extreme weather events. NASA/NOAA-funded researcher, Dr. Roy Spencer also debunks these claims about extreme events in his presentation.
Roger Pielke, Jr. has been assessing extreme weather event trends and costs for the global insurance industry for 25 years. His review of the recent IPCC report points out that their earlier reports referred to a scenario known as “RCP 8.5”, which is an implausible future computer simulation, and this is the source of the ‘climate emergency’ fear; but scientists now realize this scenario was not meant to be used for policymaking, is based on outdated science, and the IPCC no longer sees this scenario as humankind’s likely future. This is GOOD NEWS. Effectively, the ‘climate emergency’ is over.
Pielke, Jr., has done several plain language commentaries explaining “The Unstoppable Momentum of Outdated Science.”
He and his Canadian colleague, Justin Ritchie, have also published this peer-reviewed work on how science has been distorted by the misuse of the RCP scenarios (which were only ever intended for research purposes, not for policymaking).
[RCP refers to “Representative Concentration Pathways” – computer modelled scenarios which are based on carbon dioxide concentrations and other factors. The peer-reviewed paper is here: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10584-011-0148-z ]
An example of the misuse of the RCP scenarios, comparing them ‘as if’ optional policy pathways, can be seen in this video where Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, co-author of “Alberta’s Climate Future” report, improperly compares RCP 8.5 (claiming it is the ‘business-as-usual scenario, which it is not) with RCP 4.5. Likewise, her facts about China’s emissions and use of renewables is incorrect.
The theory of Greenhouse Gas warming is premised on the notion that carbon dioxide has a significant warming effect on earth’s atmosphere. This is known as the ‘climate sensitivity’ of carbon dioxide. Over the years, since the establishment of the IPCC, the estimates of the climate sensitivity of carbon dioxide have steadily dropped – meaning that the science community today does not see carbon dioxide as having as great a warming effect as they thought it had many years ago (for example, when Al Gore’s 2006 movie “An Inconvenient Truth” was made).
Carbon taxes are calculated as the ‘social cost of carbon’ – which is derived from economic computer simulations (models) that are calibrated to climate models. Thus, if the climate model ‘runs too hot’ (gives higher temperature projections than what we observe) so the carbon tax will end up being high as well. Just before the most recent IPCC report, Science Magazine published an article that the latest climate models are running too hot, quoting NASA GISS climate scientist Gavin Schmidt saying, “You end up with numbers for even the near-term that are insanely scary—and wrong.”
One economic model is known as the FUND model . Remarkably, it offers a very hopeful scenario of the future in contrast to Greta’s ‘doom and gloom.’ The following is in rather technical language, but the findings are very clear.
The FUND model determines the economic impacts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A modified version with corrections from the peer-reviewed literature shows that continued emissions are forecast to increase global wealth from 2020 to 2100 by 2.7%. With no emissions, the model forecasts gross world product will increase by 252% and by 259% with continued GHG emissions. These calculations use climate sensitivity to CO2 emissions from energy balance estimates. The emissions cause a positive impact because warming and CO2 fertilization of crops and forest are very beneficial. The positive impact of emissions from 2020 to 2100 on agriculture is 97 times greater than the negative impacts of emissions on storms and sea level rise combined. FUND calculations show that the social net benefits of CO2 emissions using a 3% discount rate are 11 USD/tonne of CO2. Other values of high social costs of carbon come from faulty models that fail to include the benefits of both warming and CO2 fertilization, use extremely high emissions projection, use far too high climate sensitivity to CO2 changes, fail to account for adaptation and exaggerate damages.
In concert with this good news, we hope that Alberta Education, the Alberta Teachers Association, and public, Catholic, and private school boards will issue a statement to students and parents, explaining the above, so that Alberta children and youth will be relieved of their climate fears.
Likewise, a recent survey of Canadian journalists, scientists and the public is being touted as evidence that “Canadians increasingly impatient with climate-change deniers.” According to an analysis by DK Johnston, Adjunct Professor, University of Victoria, the survey shows nothing of the kind.
On page 12, the report states that 77% of the scientists surveyed “strongly agreed” with the statement “There is a climate crisis.” An additional 19% of the scientists “somewhat agreed” with this statement.
The report also describes the responses of a sample of journalists and members of the public to this statement. But obviously the opinions of these people are irrelevant to the question of whether there really is a climate crisis.
Page 22-23 of the report explains how the scientists surveyed were selected: “Our research team invited 1,015 researchers in Canada who had published four or more peer-reviewed scientific papers about climate change prior to 2021 to participate in the survey.” The report says nothing about where these papers had to be published in order for a scientist to meet the selection criterion. Thus, there is a definite possibility that this original sample of scientists was biased. For example, journals that were willing to publish contrarian views may have been excluded at the outset.
Of these 1,015 scientists, 143 (14.1%) responded to the survey. Thus, all we are given are the opinions of a small, self-selected subset of scientists from the first sample. Consequently, this report provides no reason whatever to believe that there is a climate crisis.
However, the question being asked by the report is not “Is there a climate crisis?” but rather “Should news outlets cover climate change as a crisis?” (p.12) No doubt there are many people who believe that the first question is completely irrelevant to the second.
Professor Johnston taught logic for many years.
A consensus survey by Cook et al 2013 suggested a 97% consensus the humans had some effect on climate, but only 64 out of 11,944 papers as judged by Cook explicitly said that humans caused more than 50% of recent warming.
It should be noted that in contrast to the 143 respondents to the Canadian Association of Journalists’ survey, some 66 Canadian scientists and scholars are signatory to the CLINTEL World Climate Declaration that there is NO climate emergency. CLINTEL has over 960 signatories, many are eminent international scholars, including one Nobel Science Laureate.
This information is relevant for Alberta Education, the ATA, schools boards and students across the province as in the 2011 Alberta Science Journal, one contributing author made the case that children should not be taught anything other than the alleged ‘consensus’ view on climate change. He even advocated that the media should not engage in ‘false balance’ – a view that is echoed in the flawed Canadian Association of Journalists’ survey mentioned above.
Investigative journalist and author, Donna Laframboise, has made a compelling case that climate activism is undermining freedom of speech, freedom of choice, and freedom of thought.
We encourage teachers and students to adopt an open and inquiring mind on climate, energy, and science topics; science is about inquiry, not consensus. Or, as Dr. Nir Shaviv has said of the alleged 97% consensus, “Science is not a democracy, science is about evidence.”
We encourage teachers to promote freedom of the press as a Charter Right and an integral, essential part of a free and democratic society.
We ask Alberta Education, the Alberta Teachers Association, and school boards and individual teachers across the province, to give our children the Christmas/Holiday gift of ‘climate relief.’
Explain to them that the climate emergency is over. We DO have time.
Friends of Science Society
You Won’t Die from Climate Change. Here’s why. (Youth and Adult)
KidFriendly #ClimateTales for the Whole Family (Young Children with Supervision)
ClimateChange101.ca – bilingual youth-oriented plain language website
A Letter to Greta (>500,000 views) and playlist
Polar Bears playlist – Featuring Dr. Susan Crockford
Dr. Patrick Moore – Co-founder of Greenpeace – playlist
How the Sun Affects Climate – playlist
Comprehensive policy papers on Net Zero and Decarbonization by Robert Lyman available on our blog: https://blog.friendsofscience.org/
Wind and Solar Resources:
What you Really Need to Know about Renewables (That the Pembina Institute Won’t Tell You)
The True Cost of Wind and Solar for Alberta
Carmangay Solar Project – Good for Carmangay – Terrible for the Rest of Us
Broken Promises, Empty Wallets, Empty Pockets – 3-part series on wind by Robert Lyman
Exposing the EV Fantasy – a 3-part series by Robert Lyman
CTV’s Misleading Math on EVs for Alberta
Federal climate policy reviews: (Junior and Senior High)
A Cruel and Unusual Punishment https://blog.friendsofscience.org/2021/04/11/a-cruel-and-unusual-punishment-netzero2050-climate-policy/
Fighting Climate Change (Sponsored by CSCP) https://blog.friendsofscience.org/2021/09/07/fighting-climate-change-can-we-humans-regulate-earths-climate/
Main website: www.friendsofscience.org