I had to think carefully about whether I should write this one. I’m not a big fan of Ontario’s environmental policy myself, and not everything the organization I’m going to attack here is really all that bad (once again, in my opinion). But some of it is, and in any case, once again the National Post has wandered into deception territory by failing to disclose the background of an author of an op-ed. This time it’s Parker Gallant, who has penned a screed calling for the dismantling of solar and wind power programs on the grounds that they are too expensive. Apparently he feels that turning Earth into Venus will be a much greater benefit to the economy. And then there’s the gloss:
Parker Gallant is a retired banker who looked at his electricity bills and didn’t like what he saw.
Well, that part is probably true. The bank in question, by the way, is TD Bank (not that it matters). This is lying by omission. Less than a month ago, Gallant was identifying himself in similar letters (his letter-writing campaign now stretches back several months) as a director of Energy Probe. Oddly enough, the organization’s Board page doesn’t say so. Either he’s a very new one and it hasn’t been updated, or he’s a newly-ex one and it has been updated.
Energy Probe, so far as I know, was once a reputable organization in the environmental movement. It was created in the 1970s to oppose the expansion of nuclear power, and it did. But from what I can see, in recent years the organization has wandered well off the reservation. It’s hard to see who funds them, and it’s a little hard to see what motivates them. The fact that Gail Regan is the chair suggests a boatload of money is coming from her or her company Cara, a massive restaurant holding company with brands like Milestone’s and Montana’s. The board is very rich with media personalities, like Andrew Coyne from Maclean’s, Max Allen from CBC’s Ideas and Margaret Wente from the Globe & Mail.
The staff for the organization are what worries me, though. I don’t know about Gallant, but it’s hard not to assume that the directors share at least same vague ideas with the organizations they lead, and it’s entirely fitting to see, in that context, an Energy Probe director attacking green energy programs. That’s because Energy Probe may be anti-nuclear power but it’s also opposed to most other forms of power that might give us a chance to stop contributing to further climate change.
Without a doubt the worst offender here is Energy Probe’s lead researcher, National Post columnist Lawrence Solomon. (The Solomon-Gallant linkage also isn’t identified in today’s op ed). Solomon is a climate change denier. He’s so out to lunch that on January 10, he implausibly announced that 2010 was tied with 1998 and therefore wasn’t the warmest year ever. Two days later, NASA said it actually was warmer, and tied with 2005. Statistically, second place is a tie between 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, and 2007. Oops! I’m sure Solomon hastily printed a retraction, right? Strangely, I can’t seem to find it… Ah, well. Even if it was tied with 1998, both years are substantially higher than the historical record pre-1980 or so. That’s still a problem.
Not to Solomon, though, who at 62 years old probably doesn’t particularly care what happens beyond the next 25 years or so. This is why my Code of Ethics states that nobody should express an opinion on climate change outside a refereed journal unless they are over 30. I am sick and tired of grey-haired pundits telling us not to worry about a future they won’t be alive to see anyways.
No, we don’t get rational advice from Solomon or his ilk. Instead we get irresponsible patent nonsense like this:
If elected premier, I w[ould] not shut down our perfectly viable coal plants, I w[ould] not subsidize one more windmill or solar collector or nuclear reactor or hydroelectric plant.
Thank you for your important advice, Mr. Solomon. Now kindly stop calling yourself “Canada’s leading environmentalist.” It’s deceitful.
Hopefully I can find some more information on Energy Probe’s donors soon. Just looking like an idiotic astroturfing group doesn’t necessarily make it one. Perhaps Solomon is just an idiot. Does anyone know?Tweet