[Coral-List] global warming

Paul Hoetjes phoetjes at cura.net
Fri Nov 17 13:08:34 EST 2006

   Regardless  of  whether  the  unparalleled  rise  in CO2 levels in the
   atmosphere  is  proven  to be responsible for climate change, beyond a
   doubt,  to even the last hold-outs against the theory of human induced
   climate  change,  I  should  think that, meanwhile, a reduction of CO2
   levels  will  logically, most likely, offer the best method to attempt
   to reduce temperature rise.
   In  that  light  every  country  in  the world - especially those that
   produce  the  bulk  of  CO2 - should do its utmost to cooperate in the
   global  effort  to  reduce  CO2  (and  other hothouse effect producing
   gases)  in  order  to arrest temperature rise, whatever the cause. Any
   efforts  trying  to  delay such action should be exposed for what they
   are,  criminal  pursuit  of  short  term gains and disregard of future
   Sorry  if I get a bit carried away about this ridiculous debate in the
   Paul Hoetjes
   Gene Shinn wrote:

/usr/bin/arc: /usr/bin/arc

Dear Mike, It all makes for good press regardless which side you 
choose. Flip a coin.  No one is arguing that the earth has not been 
warming since the little ice age. What seems to be lacking is 
undeniable  evidence that increased Co2 is the major cause.  Models 
based on theory may be acceptable to many but to geologists aware of 
previous periods of warming (before SUVs) remain a little suspicious. 
Was it modelers who promised us an intensive Atlantic hurricane 
season this past summer?  Is an advertisement for a CBC TV special a 
good source of scientific data? Here is a reply to the CBC TV special 
that came out in the press just yesterday. It would seem there are 
financial motives on both side of the coin.  Gene
*Who is James Hoggan? *

*Terence Corcoran *

*16 November 2006*

*National Post*

To viewers of last night's edition of CBC-TV's The Fifth Estate, a 
"documentary" titled The Denial Machine, the name James Hoggan will 
be familiar. Mr. Hoggan is the talking head who loomed late in the 
program to issue lofty pronouncements on the science of climate 
change. His main role, though, was to provide a Canadian link in the 
program's grand conspiracy theory about scientists who are skeptical 
of global warming. For non-viewers of last night's presentation, 
here's a hint of the show's theme: Exxon did it.

Not much was said about Mr. Hoggan. He's mostly just allowed to run 
on with his story, which by no coincidence is exactly the story The 
Fifth Estate told. For a first-rate demonstration of dishonest 
manipulation masquerading as investigative journalism, it's hard to 
beat The Denial Machine. Using smear-a-minute techniques, host Bob 
McKeown, under executive producer David Studer, advances the idea 
that one or two U.S. global warming science skeptics -- particularly 
Fred Singer and Pat Michaels -- have single-handedly turned the 
media, plus the Bush and Harper governments, into climate change 

Now, there isn't space here to snip away at all the anti-corporate 
threads woven through Bob McKeown's warped tale. In brief: Exxon has 
paid money to groups and organizations connected in some way with S. 
Fred Singer, a distinguished environmental scientist and atmospheric 
physicist. In 1990, he founded the Science and Environmental Policy 
Project (SEPP), dedicated to exposing junk science. SEPP has produced 
science reports on second-hand smoke, CFCs and ozone depletion, 
ultraviolet radiation and cancer, plus much work on climate change. 
In each case, Mr. Singer has taken contrary positions. His latest is 
a book, Global Warming: An Unstoppable 1,500-Year Cycle, just 
published by the Hudson Institute, also a likely recipient of Exxon 
Foundation funds, as are the Brookings Institution and hundreds of 
other U.S. organizations.

As a recipient of corporate funds, directly or indirectly, Mr. Singer 
is painted by The Fifth Estate to be a hack scientist for hire, a man 
without credentials or expertise or integrity who should be ashamed 
of himself for fronting for the likes of Exxon. Mr. McKeown confronts 
Mr. Singer with the CBC's high moral rectitude: "Isn't that 
misleading the public? Isn't that letting us think that it's coming 
from an objective source, but it's not?"

The smear here is the implication that Mr. Singer is not an objective 
scientist because some corporate money supports his work, even though 
the money may be only remotely linked. This is standard 
anti-corporate fare, deployed to discredit ideas and people one 
doesn't like. The main theme is that no corporation should be allowed 
to support any activity anywhere that might coincide with a 
corporation's agenda.

As an aside, the fact that BP, Shell, the nuclear industry, giant 
ethanol firms and others all support climate theory for their own 
self-interested purposes seems not to bother environmental activists. 
Confusingly, although not mentioned last night, Fred Singer is also a 
big proponent of nuclear power, which he thinks is safe and 
economical and would benefit from a major plan to put Exxon and coal 
out of business. How does all that work in the conflict arena?

This brings us back to Mr. Hoggan. The Fifth Estate follows the 
currently hot green story line -- science skeptics are funded by 
corporations, therefore science skeptics are dishonest fronts who 
cannot be trusted. Scores of reports from green groups and leftist 
media in Canada and abroad have pushed the idea. Earlier this year, 
The Globe and Mail ran a lengthy piece by Charles Montgomery, 
featuring Mr. Hoggan, claiming that the oil industry was behind 
Canadian climate skeptic Tim Ball. Essentially the same story, also 
featuring Mr. Hoggan, appeared in This Magazine, home of Canada's 
left. Headline: "Playing dirty: Coming clean on climate change spin 
-- how the PR industry sold the 'made in Canada' solution to global 

Mr. Hoggan told This Magazine writer Zoe Cormier and the Globe's 
Charles Montgomery (who rents space in Mr. Hoggan's office) the same 
message. Essentially, "ethical" public relations firms and 
corporations should not be engaged in "manipulating public opinion" 
in important matters of public policy. If corporations do try to 
fight policy, they run a risk. "If you don't want to end up looking 
like those cigarette executives standing in front of Congress a few 
years ago ... don't fight something that you are inevitably going to 
lose." It is no surprise that the cigarette executive image is a 
visual tipping point in The Denial Machine's nasty little piece.

The essence of Mr. Hoggan's message is that PR agencies and 
corporations should not be able to support and fund climate science 
that runs contrary to the official global government science. "I 
don't think that the people who are involved in this should be able 
to get away with it."

So who is James Hoggan? He's a public relations man, based in 
Vancouver. His firm, James Hoggan and Associates, is positioned as a 
feel-good local operation with clients in all the "right" public and 
private sectors. He also sits on the board of the David Suzuki 

One of his side efforts is a blog operated out of Hoggan and 
Associates. Funded by retired Internet bubble king John Lefebvre, the 
blog has one full-time and three part-time staff. They spend their 
time tracking down and maliciously attacking all who have doubts 
about climate change and painting them as corporate pawns.

There has been no mention on the blog, nor on The Fifth Estate, of 
James Hoggan's client list. They include or have included the 
National Hydrogen Association, Fuel Cells Canada, hydrogen producer 
QuestAir, Naikun Wind Energy and Ballard Fuel Cells. Mr. Hoggan, in 
other words, benefits from regulatory policy based on climate change 

But it is as a climate commentator that Mr. Hoggan gets carried away. 
On The Denial Machine, Mr. Hoggan is allowed to go on at some length 
about how climate skeptics are not true scientists, are not 
qualified, or have no expertise.

That takes some gall. Here's a totally unqualified small-town PR guy 
making disparaging comments about scientists he says are unqualified 
while he lectures the rest of us on the science. "If you look in the 
scientific literature, there is no debate," he tells Mr. McKeown. It 
doesn't seem to bother Mr. McKeown that Mr. Hoggan has no expertise. 
It is also a little rich to have a member of the Suzuki Foundation 
board pronounce other scientists unfit and unqualified for climate 
assessments, while geneticist David Suzuki roams the world issuing 
barrages of climate change warnings at every opportunity.

When I called Mr. Hoggan yesterday and asked, among other things, 
whether he thought David Suzuki is qualified to comment on climate 
issues, Mr. Hoggan said, "I'm not interested in doing an interview 
with you. Thanks very much for your call."

At the end of The Denial Machine, Mr. Hoggan confidently declares 
that most of the 60 scientists who signed a letter earlier this year 
asking Prime Minister Stephen Harper to reopen the climate science 
issue are science hacks. The letter was first published on this page 
last April 6. "We looked into the folks who were on that, and all but 
19 were Americans and most of them are kind of infamous characters 
from the states who worked for the tobacco industry."

In fact, only 12 are Americans and at most two, counting Mr. Singer, 
have done past science work on tobacco. About 20 are Canadians, while 
others are from about a dozen other countries, from France to Norway 
to Australia and the Netherlands. Readers can check the names on the 
letter, which we've reposted today as an Online Extra at 
[1]www.nationalpost.com .

Through the whole episode, The Fifth Estate did not do one bit of
science verification. No mention, for example, of Mr. Singer's role
as one the first to notice that the United Nations' claim that we are
living through the hottest period in 1,000 years had to be
statistically wrong. Without spending one second looking at the
science, the CBC crew smeared and discredited the skeptical
scientists with corporate associations. Exxon did it. James Hoggan,
however, is the real villain.

I can always depend on Gene to turn my crank, but this time I will hold
my tongue. Instead, I will direct -listers to:


-which is a CBC TV special shown last night, tracing the histories of
those scientists who are global-warming "skeptics." It may be viewed
on-line, and for those who have access to CBC TV, will be repeated at
some future times.

Turns out there are no surprises, and some surprises.

No surprises: the skeptics aren't skeptical at all, they are funded by
Big Oil, in most cases through channels that are hard to uncover.  They
are paid to say what they say, no matter what the science. Amongst
serious climate scientists, the debate is over. Was over a decade ago.

One surprise, at least to me: many of these so-called "skeptics" are
retreads from the Great Tobacco Court Cases! Remember all those PR
firms, and those "scientists", who kept saying "correlation is not
proof?" Well, their job was to delay action while the cigarette
companies raked in more dough. The same people now show up as "climate
skeptics." Their role, again, is to delay action. It's a dirty game


On Thu, 16 Nov 2006 14:27:55 -0500
 Gene Shinn [3]<eshinn at marine.usf.edu> wrote:

   Co2 global warming advocates might find this of interest.

 No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
 E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
 University of South Florida
 Marine Science Center (room 204)
 140 Seventh Avenue South
 St. Petersburg, FL 33701
 [5]<eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
 Tel 727 553-1158----------------------------------
 Coral-List mailing list
 [6]Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

Mike Risk
Marine Ecologist
PO Box 1195
Durham Ontario
N0G 1R0


   1. http://www.nationalpost.com/
   2. http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/denialmachine/index.html
   3. mailto:eshinn at marine.usf.edu
   4. http://epw.senate.gov/pressitem.cfm?party=rep&id=265956
   5. mailto:eshinn at marine.usf.edu
   6. mailto:Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
   7. http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list

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