Climate science not a matter of opinion

A shining example of what Canadian journalism should never be allowed to become.

Climate science not a matter of opinion

Facts and science are not matters of opinion.

A recent article by Tom Fletcher titled “School officials join fact-challenged climate strike” is a shining example of what Canadian journalism should never be allowed to become.

In the article he speaks mockingly of climate change science, of Greta Thunberg, the global youth climate strike and the school officials and teachers who have supported and/or joined the students in their protests. His “Trumpian” comments, could be considered matters of opinion and free speech which must be tolerated in our society. It is the divergence from truth and the presentation of “alternative facts” that needs to be called out.

Fletcher claims that Greta was inspired by pictures of dying polar bears, which could be true, but her dedication to the climate strike and desperate concern for her future comes from nothing more than a belief in the work of the scientific community and concern for the science based dire projections of future climate catastrophes.

Fletcher’s first fabrication is that B.C. is fully hydro powered. He must, or should know that BC Hydro buys and sells power into the international grid and that in March of this year they purchased $54 million in electricity, largely from Alberta and largely generated by coal. Why you might ask; because water levels in some of BC Hydro’s major reservoirs were at all time record lows, a condition that climate change indicates could become more frequent.

He then suggests that B.C.’s record wildfires of recent years were not caused by the extreme heat waves and prolonged droughts we experienced, but as per Donald Trump’s views, they were caused by poor forest management. I wonder if Tom and Donald believe that vigorous raking of the Arctic and the Amazon would have avoided the record wild fires there as well?

Fletcher goes on to slam the public education system for not informing students that climate models have “never been accurate once in 20 years”. Thank goodness they do not teach that in schools, because it is absolute rubbish. Many computer models from 15 and 20 years ago have done an excellent job of predicting observed climatic changes within their published range of uncertainty, and in fact much of the observed reality is worse than what the models predicted.

While Canada is amongst the highest per capita emitters on the planet and much of our vast forests have been devastated, Fletcher seems to think that since our remaining burning and dying forests are still absorbing CO2, Canadians should get some kind of a free pass while continuing to be glutenous consumers of fossil fuels and emitters of CO2 and methane.

His other half truths and fabrications include misinformation about the Antarctic ice sheets that while expanding marginally are thinning and losing ice mass at a rate of 127 billion (127,000,000,000) metric tonnes per year; which is more than 240,000 metric tonnes of ice for every minute of every day (about half the rate of the Arctic/Greenland ice sheet losses). He finished off by falsely stating that the rate of sea level rise has not changed for thousands of years, while in fact it has been accelerating and continues to accelerate.

I am just a humble well driller, so there is no reason anyone should believe me, but perhaps you should believe National Geographic, The Smithsonian Institution, NASA, National Snow and Ice Data Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Joint statement of the National Academies of Science, or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. If you check out any or all of those sources you will understand that when it comes to climate change you should believe almost nothing of what Tom Fletcher has to say. If you are not prepared “to panic” as suggest by Greta Thunberg, and be a source of truth and leadership on the potentially existential issue of climate change, then perhaps you, Tom Fletcher, could do your (and my) grandchildren a favour by shutting up and getting out of the way.

David Slade

Cobble Hill

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