Hysterical reports from the CBC? The Globe and Mail? Al Gore?

Conservative MP Braid must learn from real scientists before speaking out on climate change

By —— Bio and Archives--January 7, 2014

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Appearing on CBC News Network’s Power and Politics on Monday, Conservative MP (Kitchener-Waterloo) and Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Communities, Peter Braid linked recent extreme weather events to climate change. This was a serious mistake.


Climate change has little if anything to do with recent extreme weather. This is one of the few areas of agreement between the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC).

The IPCC stated in their March 28, 2012 Special Report on Extremes: “There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change.” The IPCC also asserted that a relationship between global warming, the component of climate change of most concern to environmental campaigners, and wildfires, rainfall, storms, hurricanes, and other extreme weather events has not been demonstrated.

In their latest assessment report released on September 27, 2013, IPCC scientists concluded that they had only “Low confidence” that damaging increases will occur in either drought or tropical cyclone activity” as a result of global warming.

The NIPCC report released on September 17, 2013 concluded the same, asserting that “In no case has a convincing relationship been established between warming over the past 100 years and increases in any of these extreme events.”

Hysterical reports from the CBC? The Globe and Mail? Al Gore?

So on what basis did Mr. Braid make his statement? Hysterical reports from the CBC? The Globe and Mail? Al Gore? We need our leaders to speak with real scientists in the field before making such bold assertions. They would tell him that extreme weather events are triggered by large-scale atmosphere-ocean circulation systems and their complex interaction with local and regional weather patterns. They are not within human control and there has been no worldwide increase in such phenomena. For example, the number of tropical cyclones making landfall in the Philippines has not changed in over a century, and globally, we are near a 30-year low in worldwide Accumulated Cyclone Energy, a measure of total cyclone activity.

Mr. Braid must also realize that extreme weather events occurred with about the same frequency during the 1945 to 1977 global cooling period as they do today, yet no climate scientist pointed to human activity as being responsible. Why does he think that things are different now?

134 climate experts from 18 countries asserted in their as yet unanswered November 24, 2012 open letter to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon: “current scientific knowledge does not substantiate your assertions” [about extreme weather being caused by anthropogenic climate change]. They explained: “Global warming that has not occurred cannot have caused the extreme weather of the past few years…We ask that you desist from exploiting the misery of the families of those who lost their lives or properties in tropical storm Sandy by making unsupportable claims that human influences caused that storm. They did not.”

Devastating events such as Sandy, Typhoon Haiyan and the Toronto ice storm will always happen from time to time and so we need to prepare by doing such things as burying electrical cables underground and reinforcing buildings and other infrastructure. A person in Mr. Braid’s position, someone concerned about infrastructure and communities, must realize that, had Toronto and the province spent more money on adaptation and less on trying vainly to stop hypothetical climate change in the distant future, many Canadians would not have spent the holiday season freezing in the dark.


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Tom Harris -- Bio and Archives | Comments

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

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