Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Time for Plan B: Our Civilization Is on the Edge of a Systemic Breakdown

AlterNet/by Scott Thill - Mar 29'11

Lester Brown (l.) talks about whether our civilization can survive the mounting global stresses of rising pollution, starvation,  food prices, water shortages and failed states. Details here.

Canada's Main Climate Skeptic Continues to Mislead

Dear Editor,
I am disappointed that a largely discredited individual like
Tim Ball (r.) was afforded close to a full page in the March 15th Roblin Review ("People need to understand plants need C02"),  in which to air his negative views about climate change.

The book, "Climate Cover Up - the crusade to deny global warming," describes Ball this way. "There are few 'skeptical scientists' with as little experience and as much ambition as the Canadian geography professor, Dr. Timothy Ball. Never a climate scientist, per se, Dr. Ball quit his position at the University of Winnipeg in 1995, ending an academic career that featured a lifetime output of just four peer-reviewed journal articles, none of which addressed atmospheric science."

Dr. Ball is actually being sued by a Canadian climate scientist, Andrew Weaver, for libel. Dr. Weaver is a leading author with the Nobel-prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. A conservative website Ball wrote for, has already apologized and retracted certain statements Ball made about Weaver, attacking his credibility. Indeed, the site now seems to have removed many of the articles Ball had contributed.

(And this isn't the only lawsuit Ball is facing. Please also read this article.)

Yet Ball continues to make a career out of manipulating media with his folksy style. He seems to have convinced way too many of them that he knows more about the subject than thousands of real climate scientists who now agree that global warming is real and caused by a buildup of greenhouse gases in the air which we humans continue to create through the burning of fossil fuels.

Ball's outright assertion that the globe is not warming, but actually cooling, is outrageous. It runs counter to all authoritative evidence available.

A "go-to" agency for credible information on this subject is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a division of the US government. It keeps up-to-date, sophisticated and long-range weather data using computer models, thousands of monitoring stations and satellite readings from around the globe. (Where does Dr. Ball get his information?)

Here is what NOAA has to say. "For 2010, the combined global and ocean surface temperature tied with 2005 as the warmest such period on record. 1998 is the third warmest year on record."

Meanwhile, ice cover in the Canadian arctic is receding, at an alarming rate. 

So, just what are we to make of all those images we are seeing in the news of polar bears swimming for their lives, gargantuan ice shelves breaking away into the ocean and vast expanses of open water where thick ice-packs once were? Perhaps the media are "photo-shopping" each one, to present a false impression?

Does he really believe there is some kind of conspiracy in the world to "cook the books" on this? What possible motive could they have?

Give me a break! Just how stupid does he think we are?

Or might he have an ulterior motive himself? Ball has always been mysterious about where he gets his funding.

As documented in the same book, "Climate Cover-Up," he used to be a front man for "Friends of Science," a shadowy group with a clever, but clear misnomer. Just who were the individuals behind its formation? They included geologists from the Calgary oil patch and some oil industry PR types.

So who would you rather believe? Credible scientists who spend their working lives at the world's leading universities studying these matters, or individuals who get their pay-cheques from an industry with a vested interest in selling as much of its product as possible?

Ball has been a hit as a speaker at livestock conventions in western Canada. But, he is surely revealing himself as anything but a friend to farmers. By actually telling them they "better hope for global warming," he is doing them a deep disservice. Rather than warning them that this phenomenon is likely spawning the very torrential rains and other extreme weather events which are ruining their crops and pastures (something now widely believed in the climate science community), he is tacitly giving them the green light to continue the fossil-fuel-rich methods inherent in modern agriculture. 

Surely this only helps ensure that the problem will not only continue, but worsen.

Larry Powell
Roblin, Manitoba, CA

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