Climate change is real. Of course it is! Gravity and sunrise are also real.

opinionandcommentBy Tom Harris and Tim Ball

July 29, 2016


The following is an opinion piece from the International Climate Science Coalition on climate change.  In the interest of open public debate on a matter of critical importance we give then space to put forward their views.

The best answer to many of the claims being made in climate change town halls across Canada this summer is simply: of course!

At the meetings, one of which will be held at 7:00 pm on August 4 at the Mainway Arena in Burlington, the public will be told that “Climate change is real.” Of course it is! Gravity and sunrise are also real. But that doesn’t mean we cause them or we would be better off without them. Climate has been changing since the origin of the atmosphere billions of years ago.

But, “man made climate change is a fact,” they respond. Of course! It is obviously warmer in urban areas than in the countryside because of man made impacts. However, the only place where carbon dioxide (CO2) increase causes a temperature increase is in computer models preprogrammed to show exactly that. Records show that temperature increase precedes CO2 increase.

All that should matter to public officials is whether our CO2 emissions are in any way dangerous. Since they are almost certainly not, the $1 billion spent every day across the world on climate finance is mostly wasted.

“Scientific organizations across the planet agree with the climate scare,” say eco-activists and politicians. Of course! Many science entities have strong political and financial motivations for agreeing with political correctness. But none have demonstrated that a majority of their scientist members actually support the alarmist stance. And no reputable world-wide survey has demonstrated that a majority of scientists who research the causes of climate change support the hypothesis that our CO2 emissions will cause dangerous climate change.

Next activists tell us, “2014 was the hottest year on record, until 2015 surpassed even that. The last two decades include the 19 hottest years on record.”

Of course! One would naturally expect the warmest years to be at the top of a warming record. And thank goodness we have been in a gradual warming trend since the depths of the Little Ice Age in the late 1600s.

Regardless, 2014 set the record by about four hundredths of a degree Celsius; 2015 by 16 hundredths of a degree. These amounts are too small to even notice and one is even less than the government’s uncertainty estimates of about eight hundredths of a degree.
But “observations of extreme weather events are increasing. Insurance claims are skyrocketing,” we are told.

Of course! As human habitation increases in areas that were previously sparsely populated, there will naturally be more reports of extreme weather and more related insurance claims. But there is no convincing evidence of a rise in the incidence or severity of extreme weather events in Canada in recent years.

The next alarmist claim? “Sea levels rose 7 inches in the last century!”

Of course! Sea level has been rising since the end of the last glacial period, 15,000 years ago. There has been no recent acceleration, and the current rate of rise is less than one tenth that of 8,000 years ago.

As their climate change claims fail, activists change targets: “The oceans are becoming more acidic!”
Of course! But the change is very small. There are regions in the ocean where pH varies more in a day than the most extreme forecasts for the 21st century, yet ocean life adapts.

Overall, the oceans have never been acidic (i.e., a pH less than 7). Dr. Craig Idso, founder of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change in Tempe, Arizona explains, “Forecasts of future pH come from unproven, theoretical postulations by models based on absorption of CO2 by the oceans. Regardless, there really is no such thing as a representative pH for the whole ocean. It varies vastly near the coast and in upwelling regions, much more than the projected increase in acidity.”

Climate campaigners are upset that fossil fuel companies support some of the groups who question political correctness on climate change.

Of course! But the amounts being funneled to entities which support the climate scare is enormously greater. The latest Foundation Center report (2010) shows that the California-based William and Flora Hewlett Foundation alone donated over one half billion dollars to climate change programs in 2008, over one hundred times as much as the average annual donation activists complain that the conservative Koch brothers have given to skeptics.

All this would be humorous if it did not have such serious ramifications. In the vain hope of stopping trivial changes in climate, activists and compliant politicians are working hard to force us to switch from coal and other fossil fuels, our least expensive and most abundant power sources, to unreliable and expensive alternatives such as wind and solar power. The public need to ask them,

“Why are you doing this? Who are you trying to please?”

Tom HarrisTom Harris is executive director of the Ottawa-based International Climate Science Coalition. Dr. Tim Ball is an environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba.

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44 comments to Climate change is real. Of course it is! Gravity and sunrise are also real.

  • Scott Drysdale

    Hans….. you have it backwards…… Tom is the professor and you are the student…… assuming you have met the prerequisite requirements to take his course.

    BTW – How far did you get in your pure science studies? Beyond high school or did you stop at that? And di the teacher teach you thoroughly and not lean off topic by letting Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth do the teachers work for him…..

    Al Gore is a politician and not a scientist….. that is your first clue.

  • Gloria

    All these science activists do is throw a bunch of made-up numbers into a computer and whatever comes out on their graph they claim as a scientific. Where is the scientific fact based data so that it can be scrutinized? It’s because it doesn’t exist!! There’s more probability that a monitary gain is likely to be had by these so called scientists by keeping any of their so-called data hidden. The U.N. scientific panel on Climate Change states that there has been no global warming since 1998!!

    • Scott Drysdale

      If all the economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion.
      That is because Economics is not a true science even if dressed up with a lot of hard math…….BTW – how are those derivatives working out for you?

      Same applies to Climate Science – it is, as yet, not a real science. The failure of all earth models to provide the slightest degree of predictable results is proof of that and nothing else.

  • Hans

    Tom Harris,
    I’m too old to waste my time debating you. You should stop trying to lecture others on the subject and leave that to qualified experts.

    • Janedon

      I’m not sure of the actual # But I believe that it’s Les than one % of the experts who don’t believe that man mad climate change is serious &–That we CAN (if we choose)do something about it–
      Your arguements remind me of that dribble the Tobacco companies spit out for yrs–defending their product-

      • Emil Zmenak

        Janedon has made 3 posts. Every one of them denigrates and or insults Harris and in no way presents anything representing a cogent argument or valid scientific facts to make her case. I am sure when David Suzuki was flogging Global Cooling in the 60’s, she would have been a true believer then

        • Janedon

          Go ahead emil—PROVE me wrong—
          I don’t believe you Can–
          You are saying that 99% of scientists are wrong & 1 % are right-
          Does that make sense??

          • Dale

            So, you are suggesting that 99% of scientists believe in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming and only 1% disagree with that opinion. Sounds rather ridiculous when worded that way, doesn’t it?
            Now, hopefully now you can see how silly your statement really is…

          • Emil Zmenak

            You made the statement. It is up to you to back it up. Where is your proof

  • Hans writes, “someone should ask them: What if you are wrong?”

    I assume you mean, what if catastrophic man-made climate change change DOES come about sometime in the foreseeable future, right?

    By definition, it would be catastrophic. But then so would catastrophic asteroid impact, yet we are not building asteroid defense systems. The reason is, of course, not the possible outcome, but the probability of that outcome. Generally speaking, it is judged that catastrophic asteroid impact is highly improbable in the foreseeable future, so we do not worry about it (although keeping an eye on the skies is worthwhile, something we are not doing well enough in the southern hemisphere.).

    Similarly, we do not support the idea that catastrophic man-made climate change is very likely at all. And, for the same reason as in the asteroid defense case, dramatic action would therefore seem unwarranted. Others may place a higher probability on catastrophic man-made climate change coming about, which is why we encourage open and uncensored debate about this topic.

  • Chris Ariens: How is anything you copied about me from the highly biased (and uncorrectable (I have tried to correct their entry about me but they delete my corrections, preferring instead to rely on hearsay about me than what I say is true) Wikipedia indicative of a nefarious motivation?

    Wki is similarly biased against Dr. Ball. He was a climatology professor in the Geography Department. In fact, he has his own climatology lab.

    • Chris Ariens

      Which of the statements I quoted from the Wikipedia page are incorrect?

      With respect to Mr. Ball, he may have his own climatology lab, and it’s true he was a professor in the Geography department at the University of Manitoba but what science has he produced in the field? All I’ve seen are opinion pieces in newspapers.

      • Scott Drysdale

        Emil and others…… or you can look it up yourself……. hundreds of hotlinks all over the internet supporting both sides of these arguments. The first casualty of war is truth and this is war! 😉 Study both sides of these issues or you will simply be re-enforcing an existing bias…..

        Beware the sound of one hand clapping!

        • Chris Ariens

          Yes, there is tons and tons of misinformation on the web for anyone to find. The Financial Post has been a huge supporter of the PR campaign that Harris and others are waging against the consensus climate science. Try one of the reputable scientfic agencies (e.g. the Canadian_Foundation_for_Climate_and_Atmospheric_Sciences) or publications like ‘Nature’ for a more balanced view.

          Doesn’t it strike anyone as odd that these folks are not airing their views to actual scientists and scientific publications, and instead have chosen a Burlington community newspaper on a website (along with a large number of other local and community-based publications across Canada) to conduct their PR campaign?

  • Anita Dunne

    Please read Tom Harris’s piece again. He does not say that climate change is not happening. The climate changes constantly, has been doing since the world began. He is saying that man-made CO2 emissions are unlikely to be the cause.
    Climate change happens. We can do nothing to stop it. But we can mitigate its effects.

  • Scott Drysdale

    The final breach between true science and true religion occurred in USA around 2008…e.g., see Expelled – No Intelligence Required…..A short time later politics embraced science…..a marriage made in hell……because it is not true science but a dangerous mutation…..

  • David James

    It makes sense that Tom Harris dismisses climate change. Mr. Harris is far more concerned with politics than with science.

    Terry Dunleavy founding chairman and strategic adviser to the International Climate Science Coalition recently defended the Mr. Harris and the ICSC by stating, “Donald Trump is now saying what groups like ours have been saying for years…”

    Donald Trump says global warming is a hoax. Mr. Trump says climate change is a conspiracy created by China.

    • Dale

      David: Did you actually read the article? If so, where in the piece did the authors dismiss climate change, something which has been going on since the beginning of earth time? Some aspects of climate change can be very serious just like they’ve been in the past (as just one example, our area was once under km. thick sheets if ice) while others bring welcome change. Unfortunately, short of a nuclear bomb, we can’t do much about it, whatever our climate brings.
      With almost 100% failure in computer climate models, even the highly political and hugely govern-funded IPPC has been unable to clearly demonstrate that man is in any way responsible for catastrophic climate change, despite that being their only given task.
      Look at the science…

    • David James knows (since I have told him in other discussions) that his accusations are not true. That doesn’t seem to stop him just going to other Web sites and posting the same things again. Sigh. Trump said his comment about climate change being a conspiracy created by China was just a joke. I guess David James hopes readers do not know this, or don’t know how often I have correct his specious charges. But then perhaps that is the goal – get me to waste time responding to the same thing over and over instead of writing new pieces.

      • Rachel

        Tom Harris asserts that David James comments are untrue but provides no support for his claims.

        Four days ago, When asked by host Bill O’Reilly if he had called climate change a “hoax,” Trump said:

        “Well, I might have because when I look at some of the things that are going on, in fact if you look at Europe where they had their big summer a couple of years ago where people were sending out emails, scientists practically calling it a hoax, and they were laughing at it, so yeah, I probably did.”

  • Of course there will be places where climate change will be very serious and perhaps even cause habitat change and even extinctions. There will be places where the world gets better. This has always been the case with or without man. The issue is: Is CO2 to blame ? It sure looked like that 20 years ago, but since then mother nature has demonstrated, very clearly, a lack of co-relation between temp and CO2 and further research shows that historically CO2 levels precede temperatures. There is plenty of evidence of climate changing but precious little, if any, to show that rising CO2 is the cause. Therefore it is safe to say that decarbonization is not likely to achieve the desired end. The billions being spent might be more appreciated by the folks affected if used to help them directly.

  • Chris Ariens

    A simple Wikipedia search would provide all we need to know about the motivations of the writers of this opinion piece:

    Tom Harris (born 1953) is a Canadian mechanical engineer, executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC) [1] and former executive director of the Natural Resources Stewardship Project.[2] Harris has 30 years’ experience working as a mechanical engineer, project manager, and in science and technology communications.[3] From May to September 2006, he was Ottawa operations director of the High Park Group, a public relations and lobbying firm active in the debate over global warming.

    Timothy Francis “Tim” Ball (born November 5, 1938) is a Canadian geographer. A retired professor, he taught in the department of geography at the University of Winnipeg from 1971 until 1996.[4] Ball rejects the scientific opinion on climate change, stating that carbon dioxide is not a greenhouse gas.[5] He has worked with the Friends of Science and the Natural Resources Stewardship Project, and is a research fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.[6][7][8]

    In 2007 Ball appeared on The Great Global Warming Swindle, an hour and a quarter-long British documentary that aired on Channel 4. He was misidentified in the documentary as Professor from the Department of Climatology, University of Winnipeg; Ball left his faculty position in 1996, and the University of Winnipeg has never had a Department of Climatology.

    • Dale

      Chris: in stead of looking for a means to launch ad hominem attacks, why not look at the content? What have either of these authors said which is wrong or has been scientifically proven wrong?
      Instead, if you believe you have the intelligence and knowledge, why not discuss the context of article, what was actually said, and state your scientific research showing where they have erred? To launch into a non-related or irrelevant diatribe serves no useful purpose whatsoever.

      • Chris Ariens

        Why bother. Anyone who understands even a limited amount of the science knows that these two are speaking from a position of pure B.S. Their intent is to obfuscate the truth, not reveal it.

        • Dale

          If that is what you believe, then it definitely shows the limitation of your scientific knowledge. This is well illustrated in that you haven’t provided evidence of a single mistake in anything written in their article. This is the typical modus operandi of “drive-by” verbal assassins with little or nothing to contribute.

      • Chris Ariens

        Here is just one example.

        “The only place where carbon dioxide (CO2) increase causes a temperature increase is in computer models preprogrammed to show exactly that. ”

        Arrhenius proved over 100 years ago through replicable scientific experimentation that CO2 causes temperature to increase. The statement by Mr. Harris is false.

        • Dale

          Once again, you’ve demonstrated your complete lack of knowledge of climate science. The old experiments in a closed container are in no way comparable to our actual climate which is not a closed container and is under the constant influence of convection causing continuous atmospheric circulation. Further, because of the natural properties of CO2, the small influence for the most part, has already been observed. Adding additional CO2 to our atmosphere can have only a minimal effect, at most. Check this out in any good textbook covering the properties of carbon dioxide…
          You may also want to check out the historical relationship between the global temperature and CO2 level and note that significant increases in atmospheric CO2 follow, not preceed increases in global temperature.

      • Chris Ariens

        “Regardless, 2014 set the record by about four hundredths of a degree Celsius; 2015 by 16 hundredths of a degree. These amounts are too small to even notice and one is even less than the government’s uncertainty estimates of about eight hundredths of a degree.”

        Another ridiculous statement. These changes are of course cumulative, and even if you allow for uncertainty and other factors in the equation they are clearly indicative of the very same warming trend that scientists have been warning about. “Too small to even notice”? Give me a break!

        • Dale

          Better check out what margins of error mean in statistics and science. Further, if you believe that anyone knows the global temperature (even within 5 degrees C) over a 100 years ago, likely before any of our great grand parents were born, then I have a bunch of bridges for sale all across Canada, at unbeatable prices, in which I’m positive you will be interested….

          • Chris Ariens

            Dale…I understand margins of error well enough, thank you. At a global level, we DO know the historical temperature record, whether you go back 100 years, 500 years or even 10,000 years. They may be subject to some uncertainty, but even the most generous application of that uncertainty would not at all cause climate scientists to put the theory into dispute.

            Thousands of scientists over hundreds of years have built, refined and tested these theories. Until those scientists come up with something different, I’m going to stick with them. Based on the ongoing evolution of climate science, there is just as much reason to believe that they are being conservative than to believe they are overstating the impacts.

  • Janedon, We did not say that than man made climate change is Not Real. Please read the piece again.

  • Alide Camilleri: We did not say that climate change is insignificant. Please read the piece again. We advocate properly preparing for inevitable climate change.

  • Hans

    This article contains too much nonsense to be taken seriously. As Alide wrote earlier, it is mostly “silly”.

    Based on an internet search on Tim Ball, he does not appear to be a leading climate expert and his opinion is no more than that; i.e., his own opinion. Ball’s degree is not related to climate science – it’s in historical geography – and his university connection appears tenuous.

    Here is the link to his background:

    Tom Harris is an “Executive Director” which is not any kind of qualification; it’s merely a job title.

    Harris and Ball write that “Records show that temperature increase precedes CO2 increase”, but it seems unlikely to be the other way around, since the oxidation that creates CO2 is a heat producing reaction – so what was their point?

    There didn’t seem to be any mention of population change effects (5 billion extra heat and CO2 producers were added in the last 100 years or so), or albedo increases. Any discussion on climate change is inadequate without them.

    Finally, someone should ask them: What if you are wrong?

  • Janedon

    WoW—In this day in age–There are still (a very small %age) of people who Claim than man made climate change is Not Real–
    But—I guess it took generations for Everyone to admit the earth was Round-

  • Alide Camilleri

    I am not sure what these gentlemen hope to achieve with their silly opinion piece. Do tell the farmers of North Burlington and Halton Region that the climate change is insignificant. They don’t share their opinion. Nor do those of us whose wells have dried up because of the low water table. Some families have lived here for about 200 years and never have they experienced the drying up of rivers and creeks. Come and take a look at Bronte Creek. It’s virtually non-existent. For the 3rd year in a row no salmon will swim upstream this year for spawning. And these gentlemen say climate change is minor and natural. What do these gentlemen hope to achieve. Have their brains fossilized?

    • Dale

      Where in the opinion piece did the authors say that climate change was insignificant? Natural and ongoing are not the same as insignificant.
      What specifically did the authors say which was silly (wrong)?

  • Luke

    Well floor space for contrary opinion. Interesting. I wonder how long it will take for “Godwin’s Law”, to be broached?

  • Emil Zmenak

    Fourteen thousand years ago Burlington was under 2 kilometers of ice and the glaciers extended to the Carolineans. The earth’s crust cracked and the Niagara Escarpment was formed. The glaciers retreated, the ice melted and an ice waterfall formed at what is now Crawford Lake. Ten thousand years ago this area again experienced one kilometer glacier. That to has obviously retreated and we have our current conditions with many warming and cooling cycles in between. Now that is real climate change, not this nonsense of worrying during warm El Nino year with temperature increases in the order of eight one hundredths of an inch. The Politicians have just found a wonderful excuse to raise your taxes and hang you with a guilt trip if you object