Alan Burke has written three articles in Frontline Security magazine on the topic of the public safety impacts of climate change.

Climate Change: For the Good of All, it is Time to Adapt (Summer 2008, page 11, pdf)

Last year (2007), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its Fourth Assessment Report – Climate Change 2007. They, and former Vice-President Al Gore Jr., were later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Much controversy has since resulted, but clearly, the climate of the Earth is changing at an unprecedented pace. The impact could be devastating. Major threats to public safety, security and emergency response must be addressed urgently at strategic, operational and tactical levels so that we can mitigate causes and adapt to inevitable changes.

Much of the controversy that followed the scientific publication is ill-founded or intentionally misleading, ignoring the “Scientific Method,” the most powerful intellectual tool invented by western civilization. Science,when properly done, requires open disclosure, skeptical thinking, and testing. Regrettably, most published criticism has been qualitative and subjective rather than quantitative and objective.

Climate Change poses some of the biggest security threats ever to challenge civilization. We need dramatically improved education about the risks, and a determination to avoid them and lessen their impact. Fortunately, much preliminary work has been done. What is needed now is the committed public and political will to push forward.

See also:

On the Road to Copenhagen – Report from the UN Climate Change Conference (Winter 08/09, page 32)

The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen

The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen

Unnatural Disasters (Summer 2009, page 40).

The climate change smokescreen – August 2, 2008 – Sydney Morning Herald

Global warming scepticism is being manipulated by tactics reminiscient of an earlier campaign of denial, writes David McKnight.

The 11th Hour

Last night, 19 Nov. 2008, I watched the film The 11th Hour being broadcast for a couple of weeks on the Movie Network. I recommend it; watch it if you can. Here’s a synopsis from the movie’s website:
Drought. Famine. Severe flooding. Record rainfall. Hurricanes. Acid rain. The highest average temperatures in recorded history. Catastrophe is reported on the nightly news as isolated incidents. But are these incidents isolated, or pieces of a larger global puzzle that could unlock humanity’s future?

In the history of the planet, humanity’s time on earth has been short but powerful. The human drive to ensure its own survival and quality of life has revolutionized industry, science, nutrition and medicine. But it has also effected unprecedented changes in the delicate balance that makes life on earth possible.

Shaped by oceans and rainforests that generate oxygen, absorb carbon dioxide, govern climate, weather and temperature, the planet earth is under siege. The alchemy of natural greenhouse gases that enables life has been augmented with chemicals from tail pipes and smoke stacks. For every truckload of product produced, many more truckloads of waste are created. The oceans have been flooded with mercury, heavy metals, and toxic chemicals. The forests are disappearing, deserts are widening, the arctic sea ice is melting, the permafrost has begun to crack. The earth has grown warmer. Not since a meteor hit the planet 55 million years ago have so many forms of life gone extinct.

But are these changes to the earth permanent? Or are they puzzle pieces that, if connected, reveal a larger story that needs to be told; a human story that takes into account who we are and the state of our relationship to this planet, our only home. We are in an environmental age whether we like it or not.

Narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, written and directed by Leila Conners Petersen and Nadia Conners. The 11th Hour is produced by Chuck Castleberry, Brian Gerber, Conners Petersen and DiCaprio. The 11th Hour describes the last moment when change is possible. The film explores how humanity has arrived at this moment; how we live, how we impact the earth’s ecosystems, and what we can do to change our course. The film features dialogues with experts from all over the world, including former Soviet Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev, renowned scientist Stephen Hawking, former head of the CIA R. James Woolsey and sustainable design experts William McDonough and Bruce Mau in addition to over 50 leading scientists, thinkers and leaders who present the facts and discuss the most important issues that face our planet.

DeSmogBlog: 9 December 08 – Poznan: Canadian Negotiating Position “Profoundly Hypocritical”

From Richard Littlemore:

Canada’s lead negotiator at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Michael Martin, has declared – unequivocally – that Canada is not blocking progress at the talks this week. But in a morning briefing to the Canadian arm of the International Climate Action Network today Martin made it just as clear that Canada has no inrtention of being part of that progress.

It would appear from his recently reported comments that Martin has been suffering a fair amount of criticism for Canada’s stance at the climate conference in Poznan. Specifically, Canada was assumed to be blocking agreement on a reasonable greenhouse (GHG) gas reduction target for so-called “Annex 1” countries, the wealthiest signatories to the Kyoto Protocol.

On the contrary, Martin said this morning. Canada is fully supportive of the reduction currently being discussed. However, “it’s not Canada’s view that we can do a number within that range.”

Welcome to diplomatic doublespeak 101. … more

U. S. Senate Minority Report:
More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims
Scientists Continue to Debunk “Consensus” in 2008

James Inhofe of Oklahoma is the ranking minority member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. He is the only signatory to the document, which has been thoroughly debunked. For example, see:

Global Warming Canards: Scientific Consensus — The Senate Minority Report and the Petition Project and

Inhofe recycles long-debunked denier talking points – will the media be fooled (again)?

The truth is there is no news in Inhofe’s new report – just a recycling of long-debunked denier talking points and padded, irrelevant lists of names. The only news is whether the media will get suckered by it – and, sadly, given how many times they have been suckered already by the deniers, even that doesn’t qualify as news.

Nature Editorial: Science in retreat

Canada has been scientifically healthy. Not so its government.

Comparisons of nations’ scientific outputs over the years have shown that Canada’s researchers have plenty to be proud of, consistently maintaining their country’s position among the world’s top ten (see, for example, Nature 430, 311–316; 2004). Alas, their government’s track record is dismal by comparison.

When the Canadian government announced earlier this year that it was closing the office of the national science adviser, few in the country’s science community were surprised. Science has long faced an uphill battle for recognition in Canada, but the slope became steeper when the Conservative government was elected in 2006. …

Concerns can only be enhanced by the government’s manifest disregard for science. Since prime minister Stephen Harper came to power, his government has been sceptical of the science on climate change and has backed away from Canada’s Kyoto commitment.

In January, it muzzled Environment Canada’s scientists, ordering them to route all media enquires through Ottawa to control the agency’s media message. Last week, the prime minister and members of the cabinet failed to attend a ceremony to honour the Canadian scientists who contributed to the international climate-change report that won a share of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

Cooling of the global ocean since 2003
This is a link to the paper Loehle, Craig. 2009. Cooling of the global ocean since 2003. Energy & Environment 20(1&2): 99-102, offered by “Eyes Wide Open”. Form your own opinion.

He also offers this: Greenhouse effect in semi-transparent planetary atmospheres, by Ferenc M. Miskolczi, Quarterly Journal of the Hungarian Meteorological Service, Vol. 111, No. 1, January–March 2007, pp. 1–40
There are rebuttals here and here.

From the Globe and Mail: Canada in 2050? Future’s so bright . . . you know the rest

I make no apology for my vehement reaction to Allemang’s supposed “satire”. I knew when I responded in my comment on the Globe & Mail that I’d receive a lot of flak for “overreaction”. Let me make an analogy.

Imagine that it’s 1944 and you are aware of what’s going on in Nazi concentration camps. You see in a newspaper a “satiric” article perhaps inspired by Joseph Goebbels about how nice it is in the recreational relocation camps which they have set up for Jews and what a “gas” it is for them there, having so much fun. How would you react to that article knowing that millions were dying from that gas?

Now come forward to the late 20th century when it became abundantly clear in scientific journals that our burning of fossil fuels, releasing carbon sequestered over millions of years in a century or so, is causing potentially catastrophic changes to our global ecology. With the documented risk of hitting some “tipping points” we could trigger the death of not just millions but billions of people. Yet, as is well documented by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, both respected science historians, in their book Merchants of Doubt, an organized campaign of disinformation has derailed action to avoid or adapt to that damage.

And then comes along this piece of “satire”. I perceive it’s publishing in the absence of rebutting articles to be both irresponsible and reprehensible, with humour that can only be described as some of the blackest I’ve ever seen.

I’ve been fighting that disinformation campaign for several years in Canada’s online mainstream media and because of the limitations of those media have created my website, a repository of scores of citations to the science so blatantly being ignored by politicians. I intend to continue that commentary until there is a turnaround to address the real issues. That may be happening now in the USA but the ideologically-inspired war on science has clearly moved north of the USA/Canada border.

1 Response to Editorial

  1. Christine says:

    Hi Alan –
    Welcome to WordPress!
    I have appreciated your comments online on the CBC and the G & M websites over the last year, and am happy to see you set up your own blog.
    In fact, one of the “insults” that was thrown at me by one of the sillies (Joey or B an Ark, or GR maybe, I can’t remember) on one of the comment boards a while back was that I was really you posting under a different name (to which I replied that my husband would be surprised to hear that).
    You have been tireless in your defense of the science and truth of climate change online – I confess to wearying of the rantings of the anti-science denier crowd (who must be paid to do what they do, as there are so many of them spending so much time at it).
    Anyway, drop by 350orbust sometime – we Canadians need to stick together! You may be interested in an initiative that is starting (and which I am involved in) called Citizens Climate Lobby. The first 3 Canadian chapters are starting up in the new year, and are linked to the US Citizens Climate Lobby that has 30+ chapters already. Their mission is to create the political will for a sustainable climate, and they have great resources available.

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