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General News · 12th January 2010
Dwayne Rourke
I wonder if any of you have had the experience of simply questioning people about their assumption that global warming is human-caused, only to find yourself immediately labeled as a "climate change denier" and relegated to the same category as "holocaust deniers" and their ilk. Yikes! Excuse me for living!

To the great disappointment of people I mistakenly thought were more open minded, I have questioned the authoritative pronouncements of people like Al Gore, the IPCC and its many proponents locally, such as columnist Ray Grigg. Such questioning has put me into entirely new relationship dynamics with these people.

It seems to me that anyone who espouses to be an authority on climate change or any other matters, but who is unwilling to face up to scrutiny of their basic assumptions, deserves to be further challenged and challenged deeply. My concerns are amplified if these same people are alarmist in their presentation of what they deem to be the facts of the matter.

Al Gore is set to profit billions of dollars from the consequent alarm generated by his "educational" endeavors. Challenges to his public pronouncements have revealed a number of glaring untruths, not the least of which is his dramatic use of the infamous and now completely discredited "hockey stick" graph regarding the relationship between CO2 and global temperature rise. There are more untruths woven into Gore's presentations. Any Google search for Al Gore will reveal them.

If, like me, you aspire to investigate ALL manner of information source in making up your own mind about how to deal with climate change, you may be interested in the following CBC: IDEAS audio interview (podcast link, below). The interview is with Larry Solomon, author of the book The Deniers: The World Renowned Scientists Who Stood Up Against Global Warming Hysteria, Political Persecution, and Fraud.

Here's how the CBC introduces it:

“The science is settled” is now the mantra of climate change activism. Those who disagree are either in denial or in the pay of an oil company. But long time environmentalist and energy activist Lawrence Solomon says no, the science is not settled. He talks with Ideas producer David Cayley.

For CBC audio podcast, click HERE.

Dwayne Rourke is a former Cortes island resident who now lives in Cumberland, BC. He is the editor/producer of The Cumberlander. He has recently released an new website called The Lightning Path: Hidden Promise of the Mayan Sacred Calendar.
Who chooses the referees?
Comment by Teresa Wild on 9th February 2010
"we need a bunch of new rules and some credible referees just to start."

Who chooses the referees? Hitler figured he had a few good men. Unfortunately its usually the tyrants who make the decisions for everyone else and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The big question in my mind when people scream about taking action is: "Exactly what action are they recommending?"

For example, Obama's science and technology czar John P. Holdren, recommends geoengineering the planet, which may involve dumping particulate sulphur dioxide and other highly toxic substances into the atmosphere; putting an array of several hundred satellites to block sunlight from entering the atmosphere, and creating huge carbon dioxide sequestering machines. These Draconian measures would undoubtedly have huge repercussions on our global environment. Holdren also supports depopulation measures, including euthanasia, forced abortion, infanticide and reproductive licensing based on genetic profiling Holdren is only one man included in a huge group of psychopathic tyrants who think they have the credentials to be the referees.
consumer hell
Comment by sonya friesen on 28th January 2010
thank you David , .After reading Dywane Rouke's article and some of the responses i was extremely frustrated ,and tried many times to write a comment to express exactly what you have just said so well .The solutions to slowing our human caused destruction of micro ecosystems (literally my foot print outside my door) to macro ecosystems (the entire planet)will not come from denying we humans are to blame.No doubt meteorites ,volcanoes ,earth quakes,etc. could do as much and possibly far more damage and yes

affect earths future climate as well,but i agree with the science that supports we humans are currently doing a great job of it on our own.How should the world respond,you ask? lets not get stuck in our difference of hockey sticks or soccer balls i think we all have a lot of agreement on which sport we are playing,but we need a bunch of new rules and some credible referees just to start. I'm sure many of you read George Monbiot the guardian, he wrote recently an article titled" consumer hell",the last paragraph was this,"we might come together for occasional rallies and marches but as soon as we start discussing alternatives, solidarity is shattered by possessive individualism .Consumerism has changed all of us, our challenge is now is to fight a system we have internalized".
a broad-spectrum denial
Comment by David Shipway on 27th January 2010
Name-calling can sure get nasty when it's personal, but it goes on at cultural, regional and national levels too. One cannot criticize anything without labelling the faults. The IPCC is now being torn apart by some personal faults, but by the time the northern hemisphere is into summer heat waves with fires leaping across the taiga, I'm sure the validity of climate change science will reassert itself.

The way I see it, climate change - however it unfolds, is just one symptom of a common global mindset that most humans now share without question - that the Earth and it's resources are ours to use, primarily for our own benefit and growth. This fatal error is underwritten by religion, education, industry, government and land ownership assumptions. But this is in fact a denial of the biological fact that we are but one species within the Earth community, and no community does well with such high levels of expropriation and rape.

The truth is, we've been exponentially successful at this plunder with great leaps in technology and power, and have now reached real and non-negotiable planetary limits. Or to be more precise, we have Overshot the carrying capacity of the planet. We have now initiated a world-wide collapse of biodiversity and fisheries, destroyed half the world's topsoil, and used up ancient fresh water aquifers, which in combo is abruptly shrinking said carrying capacity, while our human population still increases. And we have done all this by burning nearly everything that will ignite at a speed which, if compared to geological process, resembles an abrupt explosion.

So what comes next? Silence?

The trouble with this anthropogenic Big Bang is that it has occured over a century. It's background noise, like the rumble of jets. What each generation might perceive as "normal" in the environment is already severely degraded ("...the trouble with normal is it always gets worse" -B.Cockburn)

The hockey sticks we beat each other over the heads with are in every single graph of every single critical resource on the planet, whether you count rivers dammed, wells drilled, numbers of people and livestock, new automobiles, barrels of crude oil, tons of coal, numbers of TV's and cellphones.

We are nearing Peak Everything, or the critical moment of the chain reaction, and still doing our damndest in every nation on Earth to Stimulate Economic Growth! That's what I mean by broad-spectrum denial.

The future consequences of this pandemic of "old school" foolishness unfortunately does not indicate a "levelling off", it means another hockey stick going the other way. Our mitigative, scientific and cultural actions in this century will only determine the steepness of the blade, the distance of the fall.

Any biologist will confirm that after Overshoot comes Collapse. It's already happening in many parts of the world, so proof is unnecessary, except perhaps to those still living in the "Last Bliss Bubble" as William Rees likes to call the West.

We are banking on Miracles. We are avoiding Reality.

By the time human numbers (population and resource throughput) cross back over that biological line indicating "carrying capacity" and enter into the zone of sustainability again, our cultural and ecological standards of "normal" may well resemble what is accepted these days in Haiti.

Indeed, how should the world respond to a crisis so all-encompassing? So far, we're acting like a bunch of drunken passengers on the back deck of the Titanic, yelling and pointing fingers at each other as the deckchairs start to slide away.

Let's just try to live up to our human potential and help each other into the lifeboats, women and children first, eh?

What do you intend ?
Comment by Dwayne Rourke on 24th January 2010
A questions to those who would label people:

What do you intend when you call someone a "climate change denier"?
Terms of reference matter.
Comment by Dwayne on 24th January 2010
In the CBC interview with Larry Solomon I refer to in my article, Solomon points out that the IPCC, the international body most often referred to regarding anthropogenic climate change, is founded on terms of reference that limit it to looking ONLY for evidence of MAN-MADE global warming, thus limiting any consideration of alternative views right from the get go.

In other words, as Canadian climatologist Tim Ball also often points out, the IPCC discards the fundamentals of the scientific method. Why? Because people like Maurice Strong, one of IPCC's founding fathers have an agenda to support. I am interested in exploring and understanding that agenda. Is anyone else with me on this?

See Tim Ball's Canada Free Press article "How UN structures were designed to prove human CO2 was causing global warming" for more information on this aspect of the climate change debate. Link:

" No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong." Albert Einstein:
hockey stick graph
Comment by Shane on 21st January 2010
please see this short video to understand why the hockey stick graph is legitimate.
change of culture
Comment by norberto on 19th January 2010
Dwayne, Barry, a bit of follow up on this interesting conversation...

Same as with extreme poverty, wars and financial crisis, I think climate change is only another symptom of a major planetary disease: over consumption, overpopulation and our unlimited economic growth culture.

I haven’t watched the movie "The Age of Stupid," but I’ve read it makes you think where the world is heading. I read that one of the passages in the movie is when this historian character is checking old films and contemplates the last years in which humanity could have saved itself from global ecological collapse. And then he wonders:
- “Why didn’t we save ourselves when we had the chance?”
- "Were we just being stupid?"
- or was it that “on some level we weren’t sure that we were worth saving?”

I think the answer has little to do with humans being stupid or self-destructive, or that we didn't pay attention to climate change, but everything to do with our current culture of over consumerism and overpopulation. And we know that as consumption has risen, more fossil fuels, minerals, and metals have been mined from the earth, and more trees have been cut down. For instance, a new report from The Wordwatch Institute says:

“Between 1950 and 2005, for example, metals production grew sixfold, oil consumption eightfold, and natural gas consumption 14-fold. In total, 60 billion tons of resources are now extracted annually—about 50 percent more than just 30 years ago. Today, the average European uses 43 kilograms of resources daily, and the average American uses 88 kilograms. All in all, the world extracts the equivalent of 112 Empire State Buildings from the earth every single day.”

Let me repeat the last statement:

“the world extracts the equivalent of 112 Empire State Buildings from the earth every single day.” ! !

Back to the historian in the movie, his last questions was: “on some level we weren’t sure that we were worth saving?”

For the sake of my grandchildren, and all other future creatures sharing with us this Earth, I say YES! we are worth saving.

But we need to make major changes in our self-destructive way of living.

Let me suggest that what we need is not only stopping our dependency of fossil fuels so to reduce our carbon emissions, or keep fighting about the soundness of climate change.

What we need is a fundamental change in our culture, based on ecology, not on economics. Based on caring, not on material possessions. In other words, what we need is a basic reshuffling of global priorities.

Let me finish with two quotes:

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." -Martin Luther King

"The Earth has enough for everyone’s need but not for anyone’s greed".

thank you,
"Too Late"?
Comment by Barry Saxifrage on 18th January 2010
Dwayne, I certainly understand that you are doing great things to reduce your personal footprint in many areas.

My comment was in response to the question you asked in your article's headline: "How should the world respond to climate change?".

The climate science clearly warms we must quickly respond by slashing our fossil fuel use.

The climate science says our spew of hundreds of billions of pounds of fossil fuel CO2 DAILY is leading both to overly-rapid climate changes AND to over-acidification of the oceans.

Climate science says our kids face a nasty impoverished future if we don't cut fossil fuel CO2 very quickly. Which we are not doing yet.

If you meant to convey to people that they should BOTH question the global consensus of climate science AND YET also act with the fierce urgency this "questionable" climate science says is certainly didn't spell that out anywhere in your article. I don't know how anyone would guess that you were questioning the science but supporting its conclusions.

I suggest being more clear next time in answering your own question.

Because if the climate science is right, delay has harsh consequences for our kids.

Since it is Martin Luther King Day I'll end with a quote from him that I think is essential in how we "respond to climate change":

"We are faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity ... Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: "Too late"."

"climate change or not"?
Comment by Barry Saxifrage on 18th January 2010
I agree with Norberto's general points that the damage from several human trends are converging to make things very hard for the ecosystems we rely on.

However we must understand a problem before we can understand how to fix it.

Acting to stop climate change in time requires very specific actions:

1) quickly reduce and then eliminate fossil fuel emissions
2) reverse deforestation

There are many ways to reduce "western lifestyle" that would actually make climate change worse.

For example, you could reduce your "energy use" but still make climate change worse IF you increased the percentage of energy you get from fossil fuels.

Venezula is in the middle of doing this right now. Their clean energy sources are failing because they have not invested enough in them...and because climate change drought is cutting their rainfall. Venezulans are feeling desperate as blackouts are enforced and they are responding by quickly building lots new fossil fuel electricity plants. Their emissions are climbing as their energy use drops.

Another example would be our family that has both an old pick up truck we rarely drive and a newer high mileage car. We could sell the car (cut our vehicle ownership in half) and cut our km driven in half (drive less) and end up making climate change much worse. That is because we would end up emitting far more climate pollution that way.

I know lots of people who feel like they are living "simple" lives that are in fact emitting massive amounts of climate pollution without realizing it.

It matters that people understand the science that climate change is happening...because it matters very much what we ALL do if we want to stop it.

Ten tonnes of ice disappear from the planet for every tonne of CO2 we litter when we burn fossil fuels.

Humanity spends a billion dollars buying millions of tonnes of fossil fuels every HOUR.

Humanity litters a two hundred billion pounds of CO2 every day by burning that fossil fuel.

The climate science shows that CO2 is the primary "climate control knob" on planet earth.

It matters very much what we do if we want to stop climate chaos. People certainly will not do it if they don't understand what it is they need to do and why.
The nature of believing.
Comment by Dwayne Rourke on 18th January 2010
Barry, You ask what part of climate science I disagree with and even though I can cite competing scientific evidence to the parts you list, I am not going to spend my time arguing your points in a venue that does not facilitate hyper-links to source documents.

Regarding your final question to me: you attempt to put words in my mouth when you imply that simply by questioning the basic assumptions of anthropogenic climate change means that I want people to stick to consuming fossil fuels. My own actions are entirely in the opposite direction as revealed by the fact that one of the reasons I left Cortes was so I could live in a wee village where I don't need a car for most things. That is also why I have shape-shifted my life in order to live, move and have my being primarily in my own home. It is a home where I (we) have been actively turning lawns into vegetable gardens. It is a home from which I also, as you know, publish The Cumberlander and which serves the local community in much the same way the Cortes Tideline does. (Thank you for developing the software used for it, by the way. I, and many other people here are grateful for its existence.)

Our home is currently up for sale. We, like Norberto, are looking to reduce our ecological footprint even further. We will be scaling down to a much smaller abode. Ideally it will be located in BC's sage country, completely off-grid, self-reliant in all ways possible and will incorporate fully, the sacred tipi architecture we presently manufacture for the public here in our home.

In closing, let me clarify that my concern is not primarily about the content of what you or others are saying about climate change. Rather, I am moved to speak up when people publicly proclaim the FINAL WORD on a debate that clearly, is far from over as Climategate has surely shown. The CBC interview I linked to in my article clearly demonstrates that this is true. If you take the time to listen to it with an open mind, I am sure you will find at least, some kernel of truth in it. True scientific enquiry, after all, requires such open mindedness. On that note, I share with you quotes from two of my most highly respected mentors. The first is a remarkable scientist named Dr. John C. Lilly, M.D. who, back in the early 70's educated a whole generation of truth seekers about the nature of believing:

In the province of the mind, what is believed to
be true Is true or becomes true, within limits to be
found experientially and experimentally. These
limits are further beliefs to be transcended. In the
province of the mind there are no limits.

The second quote is from is from Mahatma Gandhi and is found in his memorable autobiography titled "The Story of my Experiments With Truth:"

"Truth is like a vast tree, which yields more and more fruit, the more you nurture it. The deeper the search in the mine of truth, the richer the discovery of the gems buried there, in the shape of openings for an ever greater variety of service."
the global picture
Comment by norberto on 17th January 2010
I am afraid we are paying too much attention to graphs and charts and missing what is happening in Nature and in many poor countries around the world.

To me, the issue is not saving the polar bears, or Al Gore making millions of dollars, flying around the world with his global warming talks and selling carbon offsets; nor that many "climate deniers" saying nothing of this is true.

The things is that, climate change or not, many millions of people are already refugees from flooding and severe droughts and monsoons in their poor countries, as well as thousands of children starve to death single day. And millions of forests acres have been devastated by warm winters, and the acidity on the oceans is killing hundreds of marine species. And the above are facts, not forecast graphs or computer models.

Is this only because of climate change? I don’t think so, it is the result of a systemic failure in our globalized society, from our over consumerism and overpopulation, to arrogance, lies, greed, fear and more, that has caused a excessively growing demand of natural resources, ending in a major decline of those resources. Extreme poverty, wars, social injustices, glaciers melting in ther Artic, are only part of so many disasters.

There are many social, ecological and economics systems that are failing today, all at the same time. Climate change or not, the world is facing a global crisis, and it requires global action.

We can’t keep ignoring these facts, pretend everything is all right and keep with our regular way of living. Many changes are already happening around the world, and many more are coming.

We should stop arguing about “hockey stick” graphs, pay more attention to reality, and start making serious changes in our lifestyle, mainly in our extravagant western society.

I will keep making changes in my life to minimize my impact in this beautiful world. That is my personal pledge for the future of my grandchildren.

Please see youtube called, "Home"!!!
Comment by Nancy Beach on 16th January 2010
I'd like to encourage everyone to watch the free youtube video called, "Home", with awesome scenery and scenes!
The Hockey Stick Graph
Comment by Shane on 14th January 2010
There is a very good visual explanation of the hockey stick graph available in the crash course. Once you understand what is behind that type of graph you can decide if the climate change hockey stick is correct or not.

Quoting from the site:
Here’s a classic chart displaying exponential growth – a chart pattern that is often called a “hockey stick.” We are charting an amount of something over time. The only requirement for a graph to end up looking like this is that the thing being measured grows by some percentage over each increment of time.

The slower the percentage rate of growth, the greater the length of time we’d need to chart in order to visually see this hockey stick shape.

Another thing I want you to take away from this chart is that once an exponential function “turns the corner,” even though the percentage rate of growth might remain constant and possibly quite low, the amounts do not. They pile up faster and faster.

In this particular case, you are looking at a chart of something that historically grew at less than 1% per year. It is world population, and because it is only growing at roughly 1% per year, we need to look at several thousands of years to detect this hockey stick shape. The green is history and the red is the most recent UN projection of population growth for just the next 42 years.

Certainly by now, math-minded folks might be starting to get a little uncomfortable here, because they might feel that I am not presenting this information in a classical or even accurate way.

Where mathematicians have been trained to define exponential growth in terms of the rate of change, we are going to focus on the amount of change. Both are valid; it’s just one way is easier to express as a formula and the other is easier for most people to intuitively grasp.

Unlike the rate of change, the amount of change is not constant; it grows larger and larger with every passing unit of time, and that’s why it is more important for us to appreciate than the rate. This is such an important concept that I will dedicate the next chapter to illustrating it.

Also, mathematicians would say that there is no “turn the corner” stage of an exponential chart, because this is just an artifact of where we draw the left hand scale. That is, an exponential chart always looks like a hockey stick at every moment in time, as long as we adjust the left axis properly.

But if you know the limits, or boundaries, of what you are measuring, then you can fix the left axis, and the “turn the corner” stage is absolutely real and vitally important.
I don't understand...
Comment by Barry Saxifrage on 14th January 2010
Dwayne, I'm sorry that people have been treating you rudely.

Probably they, like me, are very concerned about the well being of their kids future and that might sadly leave civility a bystander sometimes.

What I don't understand from your postings on this, is what part of climate change science you disagree with to the point you want people to stop acting in a way they think will protect themselves and their kids?

Q: Are you doubting how hot the earth is becoming?

All the global data sets show the following years as the 10 hottest years in recorded history:


Even George Bush's government (no friends of Al Gore) said that every year Bush was in office was in the top ten all time hottest years...and 2005 was the very hottest of all. Seems like it is far more than Al Gore saying we are in record warming.

Q: Are you doubting the science of ocean acidification and the measurements showing our oceans have increased in acidity by 30% on average already?

Q: Are you doubting that the acidity is changing how far sound travels or how hard it is for fish and shellfish and coral to get calcium for their shells?

Q: Are you doubting that someone who might make billions could be telling the truth?

If so is it a two way street? Does the fact that people spend a billion dollars every 2.5 hours on oil alone mean the oil companies might be interested in keeping the taps open? Exxon makes a billion dollars profit a week and they are only 3% of global oil production. Might private oil companies be corrupted by trillions of dollars? Does the fact that countries like Canada, USA and EU spend many times more dollars subsidizing fossil fuels than renewables mean fossil fuel companies might want to keep the trough full of tax dollars for themselves perhaps? Which voices are you worried about being corrupted by billions in profits?

Al Gore isn't part of IPCC...but just about every government in the world is. And every government in the world says it agrees with the science of global warming as presented in the IPCC report. Its reports are unanimous documents that require every nation to agree to what is said in it.

You don't seem to trust the "hockey stick" graph of past temperatures...and I've got links to studies by US Academy of Sciences and other groups that specifically reviewed it and says it is right. But it doesn't really matter does it?

If we agree the earth is warming and oceans are acidifying beyond anything humans have recorded, then the primary question is whether we should try to do something about it to protect our kids...or just keep going with spending a billion an hour to burn dirty fossil fuels and hope the majority of scientists are wrong about extra CO2.

My question Dwayne is what do you so disagree with about our climate change that you want people to stick to fossil fuels?

I guess I don't understand what you are suggesting concerned parents do to protect their kids future from these climate threats that climate scientists, national science academies and every government says could happen?

Until I hear a pretty convincing reason to not worry about the threats from burning a billion dollars in fossil fuels every hour and dumping all the waste trash into our climate, I'm going to stick with my efforts to get my community free from dirty fossil fuels.