As usual, the highlight of the National Post’s Junk Science Week, in which the paper features and defends the finest in bogus pseudoscience, was an attack on climate change. (This year, other fine entries included an endorsement of the theory of infinite resources and a suggestion that smoking, obesity, and hypertension make you less likely to die of a heart attack). This year, the spot on climate change wasn’t taken by Terence Corcoran or Larry Solomon, for some reason. (Solomon was busy urging people to eat more read meat if they are at elevated heart attack risk.) Instead, it went to the University of Guelph’s economist climate change denialist, Ross McKitrick, who feels that his background makes him much better qualified to comment on the physical sciences than, you know, physical scientists.
In this particular article, McKitrick was specifically concerned that our current climate change models tend to have great difficulty predicting regional variation, and that’s not terribly surprising to me. But in broader terms, he is a leading denialist and, somewhat more appallingly, is a signatory to the idiotic Cornwall Declaration, which proposes the following Bronze Age solution to climate change:
Earth and its ecosystems — created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence– are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth’s climate system is no exception…
Reducing greenhouse gases cannot achieve significant reductions in future global temperatures, and the costs of the policies would far exceed the benefits.
Yeah. Tell it to the victims of the Great Oxygenation, or the Permian-Triassic extinction. Or maybe to the rocks on Venus, where the greenhouse effect caused by carbon dioxide is just as non-existent as it is here. Anyways…
This year, I’m ready to challenge him, because I’ve already initiated the Canadian Climate Survey. The Survey is posting charts for cities and towns across the country, putting a local face on global climate change. As expected, the climate variation I’ve inputted so far has been quite variable: some places are warming rapidly (like the Arctic), other places are stable or even cooling (like parts of the Prairies). But in general, Canada has become a significantly warmer place since the 1980s, and it seems poised to become substantially hotter over the coming century.
Interestingly, and presumably quite by coincidence, McKitrick teaches at the University of Guelph, where the temperature records go back to the 1880s and establish that this is one of the minority of areas in the country where temperature variation has been remarkably flat over the course of the past century:
Unfortunately there are many other areas of the country, especially the high Arctic, where the lines are not quite so flat and unchanging. I guess maybe God didn’t love those areas as much.