Sunday Bummer: Suzuki Resigns Because PM J.R. Ewing Is Attacking Environmentalists

How did I miss this? Not only did I miss the story Friday morning but I got an e-mail from the Suzuki Foundation on Saturday, and I missed that, too. Boo me.

Anyway, David Suzuki has resigned from the board of his charitable foundation. Here’s an excerpt from his resignation letter:

I have reached a point in my life where I would like to consider myself an elder. I want to speak freely without fear that my words will be deemed too political, and harm the organization of which I am so proud. I am keenly aware that some governments, industries and special interest groups are working hard to silence us. They use threats to the Foundation’s charitable status in attempts to mute its powerful voice on issues that matter deeply to you and many other Canadians. This bullying demonstrates how important it is to speak out.

You can read the whole thing here. Righteous squawking aside, I think it’ll be okay that Suzuki stepped down from the board of his foundation — though it could conceivably mess up his Science Matters column, which we’ve been running for more than a decade (I’m looking into that).

Who knows, maybe he was going to step down anyway, but because he’s politically savvy, he used his departure to take a well-deserved shot at our depraved, oil industry-run Conservative government (which totally deserves it for behaving like fascists). UPDATE: Suzuki actually resigned last year but the news broke in the media last week.

Speaking of Suzuki’s enemies, they are real and they are organized. Example: we got an op-ed submission last week criticizing Suzuki’s absolutely terrific article in the April 5 prairie dog. The letter was from Ottawa-based Tom Harris, executive director of the Orwellian-named International Climate Science Coalition, and was a nakedly political effort to attack Suzuki’s credibility and obscure the facts around climate change. I forwarded it to Dechene, who’ll have a blog post at some point. (We might also do something more in-depth on this organization in a future issue.)

A newspaper editor who wasn’t savvy to anti-environment propaganda would probably have been duped into running the ICSC column without comment. It’s a good reminder how pro-oil industry organizations with secret funding wage organized propaganda campaigns against environmentalists and the public interest.

Author: Stephen Whitworth

Prairie Dog editor Stephen Whitworth was carried to Regina in a swarm of bees. He's been with Prairie Dog since May 1999 and will die at his keyboard before admitting his career a terrible, terrible mistake.

53 thoughts on “Sunday Bummer: Suzuki Resigns Because PM J.R. Ewing Is Attacking Environmentalists”

  1. I don’t think Suzuki helped his cause by refusing to debate the climate sceptics. He totally gives off a drink your kool-aid, and shut your mouth when your talking to me, vibe.

    If the Suzuki Foundation is really in it for earth green, not money green, they will need to do some major recalibrating because everyone sees through their shit. Cawing frantically to preschool children about relocating Santa Clause because the North Pole is melting was beyond reprehensible.

  2. Thank you for the comment, Snowfish. What you say is utter nonsense. When scientists and environmentalists have presented facts in neutral ways they’ve been ignored and mocked as alarmists. When scientists and environmentalists present the facts through powerful metaphor, they’re called “reprehensible”.

    Climate change is real. It is dangerous. Meanwhile our government attacks environmental organization funding, shuts down climate scientists and re-writes legislation in the oil industry’s interests.

    This isn’t radical hysteria. This is what’s happening as documented in virtually every media source in the country.

    The problem is not David Suzuki, Snowfish. He has the facts on his side. The problem is attitudes like yours.

  3. (And I can see from your IP address that you’re a good guy who wants a better world, Snowfish, so I have faith that you’ll come over to the light side.)

  4. I daresay it is reasonable to believe both (1) that climate change is a real and serious problem, and (2) that David Suzuki has long been a self-aggrandizing hypocrite.

  5. @4: Man, that letter is big on bluster and low on actual information. It might as well just say “We call bullshit” and nothing else. After some furtive Googling I turned up this fairly articulate, well-sourced, and responsibly scholarly response to that letter, courtesy of The Guardian.

    @5: Yeah but who cares? Even if true (and, if I’m reading my conservative narratives right, “self-aggrandizing” means “has his own foundation and writes a lot” while “hypocrite” presumably translates as “uses conventional land and air travel,” so I don’t buy it, though you should feel free to correct me if i’m wrong), the point shouldn’t be whether Suzuki is prone to human frailties, the point should be whether the science is right.

  6. Snowfish. I have no idea what that link on that ugly website is about and I don’t have three hours to look into it right now. Odds are if I scratched the surface I’d find the fingerprints of climate deniers like the Heartland Institute or the Koch Brothers fairly quickly.

    Perhaps you can investigate. I just don’t have the time this evening.

    I do know that the CIA accepts the reality of climate change. So does National Geographic magazine. So does the Economist. So do science journalists like the Guardian’s George Monbiot (who DOES debate climate skeptics, which is a lot of work, since they’re inane) and CBC’s Bob McDonald. So do most climate scientists. The reason is because anthropogenic climate change is real.

    The only reason anyone argues is because fossil fuel interests are economically threatened by what the truth demands (we need to shift to renewable energy), and they’ve flooded public discourse with propaganda to protect their interests.

    I’m not a scientist, but I do have the common sense to know that when the CIA, National Geographic and Bob McDonald agree on something, the odds are there’s something to it.

    And if someone chooses to accept the self-interested arguments of the paid shills and delusional egomaniacs who still deny global warming it’s their failure, not David Suzuki’s.

  7. JC: I salute your Google Fu. Snowfish: I order you to click on JC’s link and read it.

  8. Seanbot: Anthony Watts, the guy behind the Watts Up With That website you cite from, is a notoriously unreliable source where climate science is concerned.

    He’s a former TV weather man. Not a climate scientist.

    Recently, a massive study was funded by the Koch brothers to determine if climate change was really happening. It was called the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study. It was lead by a notable climate denier. Considering who was funding and who was running it, if any study was going to find that the climate science consensus was wrong, it’d be this study.

    As such, Watts stated that if the Berkeley Earth study showed that climate change was real, he’d change his opinion on the issue.

    Results came out and confirmed the climate consensus. It basically vindicated work done by NOAA, NASA, the Hadley Centre Climate Research Unit, etc, etc.

    Watts changed his tune (on the study, not on climate change), dismissed the Berkeley Earth findings and now says he needs more confirming evidence or some such shit.

    That’s your Anthony Watts for you.

    So, if I were you, I’d delete that bookmark.

  9. Stephen Whitworth asserts: “Speaking of Suzuki’s enemies, they are real and they are organized. Example: we got an op-ed submission last week criticizing Suzuki’s absolutely terrific article in the April 5 prairie dog. The letter was from Ottawa-based Tom Harris, executive director of the Orwellian-named International Climate Science Coalition…”

    Correction: We are not one of Suzuki’s enemies. We agree with him on a number of issues, just not on the causes of climate change and the mistaken idea that, at any time in the near future, one can power an industrial country such as Canada on wind and solar power.

    Stephen Whitworth continues that my piece, “was a nakedly political effort to attack Suzuki’s credibility and obscure the facts around climate change.”

    Correction: It was no such thing. At the end of this posting, I post the article for people to judge for themselves whether or not my submission “was a nakedly political effort to attack Suzuki’s credibility and obscure the facts around climate change.”

    Stephen Whitworth continues, “I forwarded it to Dechene,”

    Expansion on that; Stephen Whitworth also forwarded my submission to the David Suzuki Foundation, an unethical editorial misstep, compounded by the fact that Stephen Whitworth also, unintentionally he now claims, send them my home address.

    Stephen Whitworth continues: “A newspaper editor who wasn’t savvy to anti-environment propaganda would probably have been duped into running the ICSC column without comment. It’s a good reminder how pro-oil industry organizations with secret funding wage organized propaganda campaigns against environmentalists and the public interest.”

    Correction: The International Climate Science Coalition is in no way engaged in “anti-environment propaganda.” Much of what the environmental movement has done is very valuable, but the hypothesis that we can stop climate change, or even significantly affect global climate, by reducing our carbon dioxide emissions is no more than that–an hypothesis, and one that is looking increasingly improbable as new research shows that changes in the output in the Sun correlate far better to global temperature statistics than do carbon dioxide levels.

    Also ICSC is not a pro-oil industry organization. That is a logical fallacy besides. See the piece I submitted for more on this.

    And, yes, indeed our donors are confidential, for both their privacy and, quite frankly, safely (unlike the David Suzuki Foundation, ICSC has no funders from industry, corporations or foundations). I am sure none of the good people who help ICSC cover its costs (which are very small since I am the only paid employee; everyone else works on ICSC on a voluntary basis) would want to receive the e-mail Stephen Whitworth sent to me (feel free to share it with readers, Stephen, minus my home address, which editors have told me I must include as they will not publish something from an author with just a PO Box).

    Tom Harris
    International Climate Science Coalition

    Here is the article I sent Stephen Whitworth that he refused to publish – I am all ears if readers have comments, in agreement with my points or not:


    Suggested title: Uncertainties demand calm, less hysterical approach to climate change

    Suggested subtitle: Stakes too high to allow our leaders to scare experts out of the debate

    By Tom Harris

    Canadian professors Chris Essex and Ross McKitrick write in their book Taken by Storm, “Climate is one of the most challenging open problems in modern science. Some knowledgeable scientists believe that the climate problem can never be solved.”

    Creating rational public policy in the face of such uncertainty is challenging. It is therefore important that Canada’s climate experts are able to speak out without fear of retribution or sanction, regardless of their points of view.

    Sadly, the exact opposite is the case today. Emotions run high as the climate debate has become intensely polarized. Implications of bias and vested financial interests, as well as logical fallacies (errors in reasoning) have taken the place of meaningful consideration of the facts. Many of our country’s leading scientists therefore remain silent if their views are not politically correct.

    David Suzuki’s article, “Faith-Based Fantasy” (Prairie Dog), provides a case in point. It is riddled with logical fallacies, distracting readers from thinking about the issue constructively. Here are examples:

    Ad Hominem (discredit the man, instead of the idea): By calling those on our side “climate change deniers”, Suzuki commits a logical fallacy often used to equate those who question climate change causes to Holocaust deniers. It is wrong as well since no one is denying that climate changes; only the causes are in dispute.

    “Climate change denier” is also a “thought-terminating cliché”. This logical fallacy appears when a phrase is used to quell an audience’s critical thinking and to allow the presenter to move, uncontested, to other topics.

    Guilt by association: That a specific viewpoint is promoted by the “religious right” is irrelevant, unless one doesn’t like such groups and so, illogically, thinks what they say is therefore wrong. If one is influenced by this “guilt by association” fallacy, then how does someone who distrusts religious groups respond to the support of most mainstream churches for Suzuki’s position on climate change?

    Straw man (arguments based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position): Such fallacies permeate Suzuki’s article. For example, politicians in Canada are not “anti-science”. If they were, they would never fly in an airplane, use cell phones or take vitamins. They are simply skeptical about Suzuki’s claims about climate.

    It is also a straw man argument to imply that anyone doubts “that the environment is real and that we depend on it for survival.” No one on either side of the debate is saying this.

    Red Herring/false analogy: Suzuki’s discussion of Tennessee’s approach to the teaching of evolution is irrelevant to climate change. Red Herrings like this are usually introduced to divert debate to an issue the speaker believes is easier to defend (or attack).

    Environment Minister Peter Kent recently suggested that Suzuki “chill”. I second the proposal. We need our country’s leaders to help the stage for a balanced and respectful discussion of this, one of the most important issues of our time. Considering what’s at risk-—a human-induced eco-collapse if Suzuki and his allies are correct, or, if skeptics are right, a waste of trillions of dollars as we experiment with a worldwide switch to new, less reliable energy sources—-the stakes are too high to do anything less.

    Tom Harris is Executive Director of the International Climate Science Coalition (

  10. Oh, and BTW, I understand that Dr. Suzuki actually resigned from the DSF board in late 2011. So, that would mean that it is old news that, for whatever reason, was just announced again. Considering his influence and prominence, I think it is moot whether or not he is actually officially on the board of the DSF.

  11. Interesting that my posting correcting the charges against me by Stephen Whitworth have been removed from the blog. Any suggestions why this might be the case?

  12. Hello Tom. Your comment is a million words long and not surprisingly it got blocked by our spam filter. I approved it as soon as I saw it. I did, however, delete your ICSC phone number — you seem to have a habit of over-sharing your contact information.

    I stand by everything I said to you. It is my opinion that your ridiculous, point-evading submission is pure propaganda designed to cast doubt on climate science.

    You can definitely expect a follow-up blog post on both it and the ICSC.

  13. My business phone number is my business phone number and can, and is, sent anywhere. On the other hand, YOU sent my OpEd submission, my home address and my home phone number (both clearly marked confidential in the OpEd submission I sent to you) to Suzuki’s group. Your comment “you seem to have a habit of over-sharing your contact information.” is obviously then risible.

    To quote from my posting, “I am sure none of the good people who help ICSC cover its costs … would want to receive the e-mail Stephen Whitworth sent to me (feel free to share it with readers, Stephen, …”


  14. You are making too much of the “well organized” and “oil funded” slogans.
    Oil has given the warmers a lot more than the other side. So why not just look at real science instead of beliefs. Can you find one paper that MEASURES the amount of warming caused by CO2.

  15. In the future, don’t put your personal contact information in submissions to newspapers.

    Our readers are quite familiar with my entertaining tone and engaging personality, and would probably find my e-mails to you very, very amusing. Nonetheless, they were for you, not them, so I won’t be sharing them.

  16. @16 and here we go.

    The reality of anthropogenic global warming, like evolution, gravity and the geological age of the earth, is not up for debate on this blog. Take your nonsense elsewhere.

    I can see I’m going to be busy moderating this comment thread tonight.

  17. Stephen Whitworth writes, “The reality of anthropogenic global warming … is not up for debate on this blog.”

    But it was you who brought up in your article that you believe ICSC “obscure the facts around climate change.” Is dissent to your personal (but in this case mistaken) opinion not allowed on this blog?

    BTW, the question is not whether “anthropogenic global warming” is real or not, as Stephen Whitworth writes. That is a straw man argument logical fallacy since ICSC acknowledges that there is probably some small impact on climate of our CO2 emissions. The question ICSC raises, and the only one that is important from a public policy formulation perspective, is whether or not or not CO2 emissions from human activities is now, or in the foreseeable future, likely to cause dangerous global warming and other problematic climate change.

    The jury is still out but it looks very unlikely.

    But that discussion is forbidden on your blog now?

  18. Tom: it appears you are either badly misinformed about the scientific consensus on global warming (fact: there is one, fact: human caused global warming is happening) or you are deliberately misrepresenting it. This blog is not a forum for climate change denier nonsense and I am prepared to remove comments from commentators I’m not familiar with.

    Then again, I might also leave the comments up. I’ve allowed nonsense before. Sometimes it’s entertaining.

    We’ll see what happens.

  19. Stephen Whitworth seems to have missed the point. It is not whether “human caused global warming is happening”. It is whether or not it is in any way dangerous. If it is not dangerous, then, while it is an interesting science question, it is irrelevant from a public policy formulation perspective (let alone worth billions of tax payer dollars). Certainly the 0.7 deg C rise over the 20th century was in no way dangerous and almost certainly beneficial. Do you even feel a change of 0.7 deg C in your house? A hypocondriac might think they do but no normal people do.

    Stephen Whitworth also seems to have missed the point when he says, “This blog is not a forum for climate change denier nonsense”

    I have seen no one denying climate change. Questioning the causes of that change is crucially important, though. It is supposed to be science not some fundamentalist religion.

  20. Tom.

    The planet’s temperature is not like your living room’s temperature.

    Also, you lowballed your number. A recent round of simulations suggest that we’re looking at a 1.4 to 3 degree rise in temperature by 2050.

    Scientists believe such rapid temperature increases are likely to lead to droughts, flooding of coastal regions, erratic weather conditions and other environmental changes that will pose a threat to civilization.

    I like civilization, Tom.

  21. Tom Harris? Not the Tom Harris? From say this story in the Guardian?

    Or from this article on Deep Climate?

    Dude even has a page on Source Watch.

    And Desmog Blog.

    Steve… we should be flattered. We’ve a veritable celebrity from the science-denier circuit taking the time to comment on our blog.

    And I’m sure he was drawn here by the quality of our climate science coverage over the years and not as part of some PR campaign to counter every instance of a Suzuki article on the subject.

  22. An interesting quote from that Guardian article you linked to, Paul:

    A team of scientists, who reviewed the videotapes of Harris’s lectures provided by the university, found 142 false, biased and misleading claims. The course, which is not intended for science majors, may for many students be the only academic exposure they have to climate change while earning their undergraduate degree.

  23. Tom. Tell me you’re joking. These are your arguments?

    Certainly the 0.7 deg C rise over the 20th century was in no way dangerous and almost certainly beneficial. Do you even feel a change of 0.7 deg C in your house? A hypocondriac might think they do but no normal people do.

    new research shows that changes in the output in the Sun correlate far better to global temperature statistics than do carbon dioxide levels.

    Do I really have to stop watching episodes of Life On Mars to waste my time on these?

    First of all, I think you’ll find the average global temperature change is 0.8°C. And no that isn’t catastrophic — bloody YET — but it has caused significant changes to weather patterns and, hey, that’d be all fine and dandy if that’s where it stopped but it isn’t. Like Steve pointed out, things are getting hotter, faster and what seem like small changes to the average global temperature are really freaking important.

    But I suspect you know that so I don’t know why you brought it up.

    As for the solar forcing argument it’s been torn to pieces many times. Again, I’m surprised you pulled that hoary old chestnut out.

    Whatever. I’m going back to Life On Mars. We’re near the end of season 1. It’s very exciting.

  24. Ron: As long as someone else pays for it, why not? “Whenever they will pay my expenses, I’ll go any time that I can.”

  25. Concerning The Guardian piece, I guess you folks missed this:

    … and this: “Listen to Professor Patterson discuss the “denier” attacks on climate realists, especially the end Feb attack on the Carleton University climate science course taught by Tom Harris:

    It is the height of arrogance to think you know the future of climate, let along that we can control it. The world is a complicated place, outside of computer models.

    Those other site you bring up are not even worth addressing.

  26. Yup, total BoH time, Dog! (That’s Badge of Honour, not beer, ya buncha lushes!)

    Harris has serious CONnections, hates Kyoto and the planet, apparently. Dontchya wonder who pays his salary?

  27. Either way, Dave will still be scrutinized and the foundation will still take some hits.

    Greedy people run the planet, but are so smart to get all their money, but are too stupid to think of the future planet they leave for their own future families, let alone the “rest of us”.

    I’m more worryied about Genetically Modified Food/Crops.
    All of this horseshit started with “round-up ready” canola seeds. Only blind people saw a use for this.

  28. Instead of a prizefight, can we have a fried chicken-off the way Questlove & David Chang threw down on Jimmy Fallon the other week? The side in favour of empirical evidence can use organic chicken and artisanal buttermilk and so on, and the side in favour of bucking empirical evidence can use factory-farmed chickens and stuff from Sysco, and both sides get access to Lawry’s Seasoning Salt, which is totally boss and leagues ahead of crap like Old Bay.* The fried chicken will be donated to whoever is hungry for fried chicken, and the winner is everybody. Except the vegetarians, I guess.

    *This is all allegorical except for the bit about Lawry’s which, like the science that suggests planetwide changes will tip the balance in virtually every ecosystem toward avertable catastrophe, is so fundamentally and basically true that it’s hard to understand how anyone could in good faith contest it. Lawry’s supremacy, y’all.

  29. “It is the height of arrogance to think you know the future of climate, let along that we can control it.”

    I see. Because you say so. Talk about a “thought-terminating cliche”.

    Actually it’s not arrogance, Tom. It’s the best science we have. And you have been found to misrepresent it. For whatever reason.

    That’s your legacy, Tom. Enjoy it!

    p.s. The Frontier Centre for Public Policy? HA HA HA HA HA. Yeah, they’re super-credible on climate science. I surrender.

    p.p.s Yes, I corrected your typo. We all make them. No big deal.

  30. Tom… Ah. So now we come to it….

    It is the height of arrogance to think you know the future of climate, let along that we can control it. The world is a complicated place, outside of computer models.

    Up until this point I wasn’t terribly impressed with the arguments you were floating to dismiss the scientific consensus on the causes and severity of climate change. I was pretty insulted, actually, thinking you were condescending to us, treating us like a bunch of dumb prairie hicks — that you couldn’t be bothered to bring your A-game.

    I mean, come on, “Do you even feel a change of 0.7 deg C in your house?” and “the output in the Sun correlate[s] far better to global temperature statistics than do carbon dioxide levels,” those are the kind of arguments you bring to an elementary school.

    But your comment about arrogance — while it also isn’t much of an argument against the science — is a telling one. In my experience, it’s code for “I’m a Christian and therefore I believe that God is ultimately in charge of the climate.”

    In fact, I’ve only ever heard that “arrogance” argument from someone I suspect was a non-Christian once. It was presented at a math faculty party in Waterloo by an arrogant twit of a grad student who attributed that idea to one of his professors — and that professor, he told us, also had a graph that tracked global temperature to solar radiation and…. Oh, wait a second! I think the kid was originally from Ottawa! I bet you he was one of YOUR students!

    Well. He certainly wasn’t doing you or the denialist camp any favours. Like I mentioned above, the guy was kind of a twat and I wasn’t the only person at the party who wanted to punch him.

    Anyway, that party was quite a few years ago. So it’s nice to see the whole of the denialist argument hasn’t advanced very far in that time. It’s all, “sun,” “arrogance,” “thermostat,” and Bob’s your uncle.

    But that’s neither here nor there. What I really wanted to ask you about is this mention of arrogance and what it says about why you’re a climate science denier. I’m genuinely curious, Tom. Is your denialism tied into some kind of religious understanding of the world and humanity’s place in it? Or is it something else? I promise I’m not asking because I want to mock. I actually want to know where you’re coming from — or, rather, why you’re coming from where you’re coming — because I just don’t get it.

    Seriously. I’m honestly curious. Because let’s face it, no argument I present is ever going to convince you that you’re wrong. And to be fair, you’ll never convince me either. We’re both too old, too white and too male to convince each other of anything.

  31. Intresting that, after writing an article about logical fallacies and other non-constructive behaviour in the climate debate, I am attacked with logical fallacies and other non-constructive behaviour.

    I am clearly wasting my time posting here and will disable the alerts I had for your site updates.

  32. Holy thin skin, Tom Harris. Are you sure you’re really cut out for this PR game?

    And, since when does starting a tangential discussion count as a logical fallacy? You know that this is the comment section on a blog and not a formal debate, right?

  33. Speaking of wasted time, climate change deniers and dissemblers worked hard to make sure governments squandered decades of it. We could’ve spent the last 20 years developing renewable energy alternatives at a slow, stable pace that would’ve had negligible impact on the economy. It’s getting too late for that now — if it’s not in fact actually too late.

    Thanks for that, Tom.

  34. Having read Stephen W’s blog and all of the comments arising therefrom. I would challenge the readers to evaluate each opposing side based upon the character of their comments; which side comes across as belligerent, dependent upon innuendo and demeaning of contrary opinion. This indicates to me the side which is speaking from a position of confidence in the truth.

  35. The 10,000year record shows that the Earth has been on an overall cooling trend for the past 5,000years with the Minoan warm period being warmer than the following Roman warm perod which in turn was warmer than the following Medieval Warm period and the current ‘Modern Warm period is still clearly cooler than the preceding Medieval warm period.
    The IPCC’s own HadCRUT3 global temperature dataset clearly demonstrates a cooling trend that started in 2002 and has continued up to and including the March 2012 monthly temperature values in spite of the 35% increase in CO2 emissions over the past decade; so any scientist who still proclaims that CO2 emissions are causing catastropic global warmingm is either ignorant or dishonest. Let us hope Dr. Suzuki’s resignation was based on ignorance!

  36. @40 Warbler, regardless which side you fall on this issue, your decision-making determiners are completely ridiculous! Suggesting that emotion and behavior have anything to do with facts fills me with the confidence to say that you haven’t a clue!

    Women, for example, have been told how they should and should not behave for centuries. Let me assure you that well-behaved women never make history. Taking your assertion into account then, women should not be deemed persons because they were deemed ‘belligerent.’

  37. All this, “I’m right and you are wrong, case-closed, casket-dropped mentality,” makes the Prairie Dog come off as a brain dead, mouth-breathing Tyrannosoreass Rex.

    Science was born and bettered due to sceptics and debate. Somewhere, in the 90’s, science, especially climate science became politicized and spirited debate gave way to bullying and propaganda with multi-million-billion dollar agendas. This unwillingness to engage with “climate sceptics” is the reason you are losing the high ground and feeding the fires of “sceptics by nature,” like myself.

    The Suzuki Foundation is a waste of charitable donations. What started out as a good idea has turned into radical unchecked insanity.

    The way David Suzuki tried to manipulate children with the save Santa campaign….children, who do not possess the logical skills to understand such a HIGHLY complicated issue shows what a total vile asshole this man really is.

    *Now give me my blindfold and cigarette*
    *Does Spock sign*

  38. p.s. Having said all that, thanks for the links, Paul!

    *gives Paul the Spock sign*

  39. #41: Actually, the HadCRUT3 data shows an overall warming trend during the 2001-10 period, .20º C warmer than the previous decade. 2008 has been the coolest year of this century thus far, which flattens the graph but otherwise does not significantly impact the overall trend:

    Please feel free to post a link to the HadCRUT3 dataset you used to base your argument.

  40. I almost missed my bus stop reading this stupid blog.

    Tom Harris: I assume you’re as good as your word and have buggered off.

    However, I find it ironic that you say this about David Suzuki’s article, “It is riddled with logical fallacies, distracting readers from thinking about the issue constructively” when your own counterpunch seems to encapsulate both logical fallacies and distraction in equal measure.

    I don’t have the space or the time to go through it point by point, but your primary argument seems to be that climate change is happening, maybe we’re sort of involved but probably not much because the climate has changed before and, you know what? It’s probably the sun this time, because there’s been some interesting things come out of sunspot research. The final point? The risk of doing something is too great, so we had best do nothing.

    Steve: Stop being an ideological arse and threatening to pull the post of anyone who argues against climate change.

    There’s several problems with the whole climate change discussion:

    1. It’s become political. At some point climate change has become lumped into the whole left/right ideological divide. So if you’re a dyed-the-wool righty, climate change (caused by human behaviour) can’t possibly exist and is a lefty plot to extort money from the industrialized world through carbon cap programs. It’s part of a grander lefty plot to take my car, shrink my house, destroy my job or tax me, a hard-working-Canadian-family-raiser to death.
    If you’re a lefty, climate change is fact and those who don’t believe it are mouth-breath troglodytes. (And would it kill them to drive smaller cars, take bus, down-size that mansion and stop whining about having to pay their damn taxes?)

    2. Human-centered climate change is based on a wide range of work from across the world and is agreed to by a large consensus of the people who do climatey-changey research stuff.
    But none of that matters because most people know absolutely nothing about the science behind climate research. They assume that climate change researchers are standing out on an iceberg with a thermometer and noting whether the temperature has gone up or down. (That’s the best case scenario, other people assume that the researchers are standing in the city with a thermometer and haven’t taken into account the growth and heat island impact of cities.)
    I’m no scientist either, but I have at least visited the Amundsen, Canada’s research ice-breaker. Canadian researchers are looking at everything from the atmosphere, to the sea ice, to the sediments on the ocean floor, to the accounts of Aboriginal people in the north. Science is not a one trick pony.
    3. People don’t trust scientists any way. Or government. Or intellectuals. Or the media. Or, on and on and on. And why should they when there’s a blog out there somewhere that tells them exactly what they want to think.
    4. Accepting climate change means accepting that someday in someway we may actually have to do something.

  41. So, let’s just suppose that mother nature on her own is re-directing ” normal” weather patterns, WTF are we going to do about it? Zero/zilch. Because we can’t.

    But if H.A.A.R.P. is in control, we can do something.

  42. I’m not posting as an anonymous anymore. Talk about a big debate going on here.
    In regards to the big climate change debate, I agree something is going on with temperature and erratic weather. In regards to the cause(s) of it whether it’s man-made, nature related or a combo of both, there are too many arguments/politics from both sides of the camp to get a clear answer.

    I’d like to add something different to this debate. I hope Stephen Whitworth and others take 5-15 min. or even 30 sec. to at least browse the links about it.

    Do I respect David Suzuki for helping to spread environmental awareness and the latest going ons in both science and technology. Yes!

    Do I see David Suzuki as a decent human being and all around nice guy? Yes to a decent human being. Sometimes nice except he does have a history of having a temper.

    Did he make a wise decision late last year to step down as a board of director for the foundation which is named after him? Yes!

    Do I see David Suzuki as very intelligent and very politically savvy to further the environmental movement which is now a big force to deal with? Yes!

    Does he and the foundation he founded tend to misconstrue some things to help further both his cause that could potentially hurt his reputation and career? Hell Yeah!

    I’d sure like to know why he has never responded to this lady’s both well thought out and very researched letter(s) to him. I believe he should clear the air about this. Also I checked to make sure she’s not backed by any certain interest groups….this is coming out of her own pocket.

  43. Warbler: Thanks for the comment. I have a better idea. Rather than making up their minds on the ridiculous basis of whether or not writing is polite, our readers should educate themselves on climate change from science sources, not blogs.

    Go to National Geographic’s website. That’s a reputable magazine. It’s not snotty like PD’s blog. What does it say?

    The Guardian is also an excellent resource.

    Facts, Warbler, aren’t determined by who has the best manners.

    Dale: Thanks for the comment. There is no substantive debate over the basic facts of global warming and I’m not being an “ideological arse” when I threaten to delete ridiculous statements. I’m showing rare signs of protecting sane discourse. I know. Who’d have thunk it.

    Our success as a civilization is based on recognizing and respecting expertise. Not blindly but we don’t argue with everything our car mechanic says, either. Unfortunately, for economic, political and ideological reasons, climate change experts have been attacked, and their work distorted, misrepresented and generally sabotaged.

    It’s been effective. The public is completely confused over the basic facts of climate change.

    Is there room for debate in climate science? Hell yes. As has been pointed out, scientists fight over facts all the time. That’s their job. Tom Harris and his ilk, however, are not climate scientists. They’re not publishing research. They’re not compiling solid data and running computer models. They’re PR flacks dressed up as experts.

    I will continue threatening* to delete absurd propaganda-style comments, because prairie dog respects real expertise and recognizes that Tom Harris and his ilk are not offering it. If anything, they’re making it harder for people to get the facts.

    *I actually haven’t deleted any yet, though.

  44. In this thread, Tom Harris has whinged about David Suzuki’s various fallacies, including Ad Hominem, Guilt By Association, Straw Man, and False Analogy. I intend to argue that Tom has falsely accused David Suzuki of each and every one of these fallacies.

    1) Ad Hominem: If the thesis of Suzuki’s editorial were “Climate change deniers are wrong”, Tom would have a point. That wasn’t his thesis, though. That thesis has been presented many, many times, in better venues than the Prairie Dog. Every time, the deniers have been found wanting. The thesis of Sukuzi’s article was more like “Climate change deniers are shitheads and shouldn’t be entertained”. In that context, an attack on the person is not irrelevant, it’s straight to the point of the argument. Not every attack on a person’s credibility is a fallacy. If I’m trying to convince a friend not to engage with a stranger on the street, the fact that he’s drunk, smells like cheese, and singing “Hail to the Busdriver!” is very relevant.

    2) Guilt by Association: Tom tries to equivocate the “religious right” with “the religious” by bringing up mainstream churches. Considering only 15% of the American electorate supports the “religious right”, whereas 83% of Americans associate with a religion, to conflate the two terms is disingenuous. One of the main tenets of the religious right is that questions of policy (and for some, science) are best addressed by their interpretation of a 2000-year-old book of stories. Overwhelming, vocal climate change deniers and their fiduciary supporters are either members of the religious right or libertarians (who have their own set of wacky tenets). Pointing out that they are members of these groups goes straight to the point that “Climate change deniers are shitheads”.

    3) Straw Man: Tom claims that Harper is not anti-science by showing that he relies on the fruits of scientific breakthroughs in his everyday life. If anything, that fact points more to Harper’s inconsistency than to his support of science. It’s also possible for Harper to support reductionist science like physics and chemistry, while being skeptical of the conclusions of emergent or social sciences, like ecology, climate science, and demography. Harper’s attacks on the support of these sciences and rejection of the conclusions of these science make me confident that the characterization of Harper as anti-science is fair.

    4) False Analogy: The analogy to Tennessee evolution-teaching is not perfect, but it holds enough truth to be merited. Both climate change deniers and creationists stand by a position despite overwhelming evidence that they are wrong. Both camps have been utterly ineffective at convincing members of the scientific community of the merit of their positions using scientific methods, so instead they try to argue in less appropriate forums (letters to the editor, schools, etc.), attempting to sow confusion over a scientific consensus. Both camps are funded well beyond what their arguments deserve by shitheads (often the same shitheads). The point of the analogy is that both parties share so many properties in common, they should be treated the same way (as shitheads). As it currently stands, most Canadians treat creationists as shitheads, but don’t treat climate change deniers the same way. They should. Suzuki’s point was well-made and not a false analogy at all.

    Finally, regarding the term “climate change denier”. A climate change skeptic would be willing to change her position based on sufficient evidence. Overwhelming evidence exists for the existence of anthropogenic global warming, yet the deniers haven’t changed their position. For this reason, climate change skeptic would be a misnomer. If Tom is unhappy with that term, may I suggest “climate change shithead”?

  45. Shit, proofreading is tough in this little box. I apologize for the typos and punctuation in the above.

    Also, good call on watching “Life on Mars”, Paul! Time much better spent than addressing the canards of shitheads. If I were you, I wouldn’t bother with “Ashes to Ashes”, though.

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