Opinion

GOLDSTEIN

Big lies about climate change

By Lorrie Goldstein, Toronto Sun

Ontario auditor general Bonnie Lysyk. (Dave Thomas/Toronto Sun)

Ontario auditor general Bonnie Lysyk. (Dave Thomas/Toronto Sun)

Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk has condemned Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government for using taxpayers’ money to fund a 30-second commercial featuring David Suzuki.

In it, he uses apocalyptic rhetoric to scare frightened children about climate change.

Lysyk said the ad was politically partisan in that if offers viewers no useful information about climate change, seeking merely “to create a positive impression of government doing something” without explaining it.

This tactic isn’t new. In the UK in 2010, an environmental group created an ad in which school children who refused to take part in climate change initiatives suggested by their teacher had their heads blown off, covering their horrified classmates in blood.

These efforts would be laughable were it not for the fact they represent a deliberate strategy by governments and their environmental allies to stampede the public into endorsing climate change initiatives that will not lower industrial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions linked to climate change efficiently or effectively.

The two most common climate change initiatives proposed by governments today are carbon taxes (Alberta, B.C.) and cap-and-trade (Ontario, Quebec), neither of which has been effective at efficiently lowering emissions based on real world experience, like Norway’s 25-year-old carbon tax and Europe’s 11-year-old cap-and-trade market.

Another key aspect of this propaganda campaign by governments is their repeated assertion that 97% of climate scientists -- the famous “consensus” -- agree climate change is real and humans are causing it. This claim is nonsense.

First, 100% of climate scientists agree climate change is real because the climate has been changing for billions of years, from ice ages to tropical conditions and back again.

This due to natural factors such as ocean currents, changes in the Earth’s orbit, the tilt of the Earth’s axis, solar and volcanic activity and cloud cover. In that context, to suggest humans “cause” climate change is absurd.

The actual theory agreed to by most scientists is that GHG emissions caused by humanity’s burning of fossil fuels for energy, has led to an abnormal warming of the global climate beginning in the second half of the 20th century, due to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide and equivalent gases in Earth’s atmosphere.

But there is no consensus among scientists that man-made climate change represents an imminent, existential threat to humanity.

Some scientists believe it does. Others believe that while anthropogenic climate change is real, it is only one of many environmental problems we face such as storing radioactive nuclear waste, cleaning up toxic waste dumps and addressing conventional air and water pollution globally.

Predicting the impact of man-made climate change in terms of precisely what will happen, where it will happen, when it will happen, how severe it will be and, most important, what measures should be taken to mitigate and adapt to it, is the least exact part of climate science.

The single most effective thing we could do would be to eliminate the world’s use of coal to generate electricity. Canada is a global leader in this. Less than 11% of our electricity comes from coal, compared to 75% in China, 70% in India, 44% in Germany and 33% in the U.S.

A major reason for Canada’s low usage of coal was Ontario’s elimination of coal-fired electricity plants in 2014, a rare good idea by the Liberal government.

When it isn’t inappropriately using taxpayers’ money to frighten children for partisan political purposes, that is.