Friday, August 31, 2007

Don´t let this ilk of language pass now, or it will be too late....

Joe Warmington: Toronto Sun

I can’t help but shake my head it utter and total bewilderment at OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino´s comments regarding Greenpeace´s actions in Lake Erie. Are we sure that he is not some American Republican implant? The rhetoric he uses is plagiarized straight out of Georgey Bush’s personal book “How to wage useless Wars for Idiots”.

"This was dangerous," he (Fantino) said. "It's using young people and putting them at risk. It terrorized the people on the coal ship, put our officers in harm's way and put the very foundation of the province's power supply at risk."

Meu Deus do Ceu! Greenpeace has been doing this for 30 years! Pick up a newspaper Ju..

Love em or hate em, Greenpeace has won a significant number of environmental battles and have righted the wrongs of a plethora of issues affecting peoples the world over. Many owe a great deal of thanks to Greenpeace and their (for our Nationalistic blowhards out there) MADE IN CANADA tactics. Without them, our oceans would have probably been plundered to death (they are already close) we’d have no whales left (the largest and most majestic of creatures); UV rays would still be penetrating the Ozone layer and frying us (they still are but to a lesser degree), and the French and Yanks would be setting off atomic bombs whenever the urge struck. These are global issues; there are myriad local issues too that I’ve been personally involved in, like the demarcation of the Deni Indians territories (the Amazon) which prevented a large multinational logging company from decimating the indigenous group’s ancestral lands; and the creation of two large extractive reserve in the Amazon basin protecting an area of tropical forest larger than Belgium from destruction, as well as the local communities that use this forest.

From the article…
But this does not mean the investigation is over, Fantino said, adding that the planners and thinkers should be ashamed of themselves. "You won't find the main players out there on the water," he said. "Using and enticing young people to break the law is mercenary, and it is despicable."

I’ve worked, and continue to work at times (and no, I’m not some “kid” with marching orders from above as Fantino bellows) with Greenpeace around and the world and now in the Amazon. We were recently run out of a small town, by thugs and the local council (using a similar tone of political bafflegab as our Fantino) and low and behold, who was among us? None other than Paulo Adário. Not only is Paulo in his late 50s, but he has also been the recipient of numerous death threats over the years and must always stay on his toes when ever he travels. Paulo is also the coordinator of the Amazon Campaign. Every action I have ever participated in has involved EVERYONE. It is NOT a matter of sending out misguided kids to do the dirty work, but it is a form of protest practiced by ALL to get the message out, especially to complacent and synaptically numb people around the world (sorry, I hate to say it but especially in North America –), that some things need to change.

Fantino’s language and tactics are no less SPUN and orchestrated than the event Greenpeace staged. However, instead of creating a dialogue to highlight a larger societal problem, Fantino’s message is to demonize a group and equate their actions with that of “terrorists”. This is indeed a sad world we live in, and it is moments like this that I am happy to have left Canada behind.

I think the OPP commissioner could have used a more conciliatory and Canadian tone, as opposed to borrowing the chest-pounding, “therebe terrorists amongst us” verbal diarrhea we see flowing from the south.

P.S I’m currently in the AMAZON “terrorizing” trees for Greenpeace. Happy Julian?

Here’s (below) what we are up against in Brazil… and if Canadians continue to allow political fools to use inflammatory rhetoric, it won’t be too far off in the distant future where you’ll see the same ilk of brut-thuggery in Canada accepted too.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Monday, May 28, 2007


Wiki’s 2 cents on Arachnophobia…

Arachnophobia is a specific phobia, an abnormal fear of spiders and sometimes other arachnids, such as scorpions and harvestmen. With an estimated half of all women, and one quarter of all men in the United States experiencing it in some degree, it is among the most common of phobias.

Well, bloody hell, it’s nice to know I’m not alone.

Living in the subtropics, we get our fair share of spiders, and snakes, and other crippy-crawly-thingys, too. I’m OK with most critters, but spiders? Forget it.

Just Saturday the wifey and I were out in the garden “weeding” (yes folkies, no chemicals here) when I stumbled across a few of the more common variety of spiders that the island sadly hosts. My girl-like shrieks always provide moments of amusement for Alice, and my exaggerations of how large the menacing beasts were, too, adds more fodder for her giggly-fits. Still, given the time I spend manicuring plants that grow as high and as fast as Jack’s magic bean stalk, I’ve grown accustomed, more or less, to the typical garden variety of spider (no, not those daddy-long legs ya get back home. We’re talking ugly Mofos). We’ve even found a few IN THE HOUSE. And there was a closet I refused to enter for weeks until I was presented with the remains (proof of its demise) of one of the larger garden varieties that preferred my tool box to its arrangement of rocks out by the pool.

However, I have the mother of all spider stories now.

With the rainy season upon us, I was out staining the deck so that it would survive another season of tropical storms, cyclones and maybe the odd hurricane (note: we’ve only had one hurricane for the record for the South Atlantic, but climatologists do warn that this may well change over the coming years. Regretfully, I digress). So, as I was bent over staining away, feeling like “Super Mr. Domestic Man” (cue orchestra score) when all of a sudden a visitor decided to brush up on my leg. With 3 cats and 5 dogs, I’m quite accustomed to feeling hairy things around my thighs or calves. However, I was not prepared for this.

It was a Tarantula.

Let me repeat that for all of those who suffer from Arachnophobia:

In my garden and at my home. Crikies! I knew we were in the sub-tropics, I’ve known for years about poisonous snakes, killer wasps and other nasty things to note… but … but….but….

Yuppers: Big, black, hairy and crawling right up my leg on a breezy cool autumn day in the sub-topics. Did I mention that this happened IN MY BACKYARD?

Following my faux coronary, and immediately after the grand-daddy of all high pitched sissy-wails, when I finally regained my composure and noticed the monster-like arachnid scurrying up the pathway towards the house where an open door apparently beaconed this harbinger of death, I leaped into action to snarl the wretched creature or at least thwart his attempts at entering our homestead (if he succeeded in entering and hiding, I’d be writing this from a hotel).

Using the swimming pool´s “thingy-ma-jiggy” I managed to startle it (not like it startled me, of course) but it did change directions and no longer posed a threat in terms of breaching the homes perimeters. Now, the only thing needed to be done was to get proof that this beast -- that this monster -- actually existed; that this life and death moment would not be chalked up and dismissed by the Mrs. as another “Todd Fabrication” or “Todd Exaggeration”. I needed a camera.

As to what happened later? I killed the bastard. I later looked it up on the net and found out that yes, there is a Black Brazilian Tarantula in this area of Brazil and in Uruguay, and as far as tarantulas go, it is apparently one of the more docile of the lot: hence, it’s enthusiasm in trying to befriend me. Poisonous yes, but there has never ever been a case involving death because of a tarantula bite. I guess I do feel a tad guilty killing such a large thing. I’m a “live and let live” type of bloke, BUT, well, damn: have a look! What would YOU do if you found this bastard crawling up your leg? Arachnophobes unite!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Weapons of Mass Defamation

I know I said I was going to stand down from the climate change pulpit for a tad, however after reading Lorrie Goldstein’s blatantly fraudulent, and slanderous, rant on May 10th ( Power plan dooms world's poor ), I couldn’t pass up on this opportunity to take to task one of the most inept journalists Toronto has on hand.

Climate deniers have lost the scientific debate. Anthropogenic climate as a theory is as real as evolution. Get use to it, and let’s move on. Sure, there will always be a small percentage of doubt (usually spawned for political or religious ends), but that’s science for you. Many who had denied climate change as a science have since, after weighing all the information, acquiesced and moved on. Other, more stubborn, deniers (those with an axe to grind or an oil paycheck to cash) simply changed their tactics and began fear mongering about the costs of climate mitigation. “Tackling climate change would cost the planet its economy!” would be the new war-cry from industry shrills and conservative think-tanks the world over (and the journalists that regurgitate such nonsense verbatim).

That too was recently blown out of the water. The third report from the IPCC stated that climate mitigation will cost 0.12% of the world’s gross domestic product. 0.12% of the world’s GDP works out to roughly 10$ per person (of the 6.2 billion living on earth) annually. This, of course, is a far cry from what those were saying when threatening a global recession and the end of the world.

Now that the hard-core deniers have run out of arguments; and the fear mongering about costs has been debunked, the only thing they have left in their debate arsenal is ad hominen attacks and of course conspiracies theories. The last ditch efforts of those on the loosing end of a fight.

Goldstein (one of the denier diehards) is now resorting to calling environmentalists “anti-human” by paraphrasing one of the biggest Wise-Use “guns for hire” the world has regrettably known: Patrick Moore. Moore is one of the founders of Greenpeace, turned “eco-Judas” and he’s handsomely paid to appear whenever there is a debate about ecology and industry needs someone with some “eco-cred” to cast doubt. No anti-eco editorial is printed without at least a small homage paid to Patrick Moore.

Just to give you an idea of this man’s audacity, Moore spent an astounding 2ish weeks in the Amazon in 2000 and concluded that the forest faced no real threats, which strangely went against everything scientists (that have been studying and living in the forest for decades) warn. Regardless, because of his “Greenpeace founder” title, whatever this loon says is usually gobbled up and cited as the gospel by hacks hell-bent on keeping the planet grimy.

Predictably, Lorrie also quotes sources from the film “the Great Global Warming Swindle”. This British film is currently being slammed by the scientific community, and even some of the interviewees that participated are now considering legal actions against the films producers for having their views horribly misrepresented. However, Goldstein finds no fault at all in using this as a “good source” to paint an image of the modern environmentalist as someone who while misguided in striving for a cleaner planet, is also unwittingly and in some cases willingly killing off millions in the developed world? Pullleeeessseeee

Citing more crackpots than you’d find on Queen St WestToronto during a full moon on a Saturday night, Goldstein’s editorial cleverly hints of a New World Ecological Order. His conspiracies and slander are designed to demonize a movement and anyone that participates. It’s no longer a healthy debate about the science or the cost; it has come down to school yard mud-slinging. However it is far more dangerous than that. His rants about environmentalists forgetting the poor in poor nations is just plain defamation and can paradoxically drain funding from groups directly involved in helping those Lorrie claims environmentalists ignore. I happen to be an environmentalist, and I happen to have spent the last 7 years of my life working in a developed country, along with the very communities that Goldstein argues we forget. When I see Mr. Goldstein here, in a developing nation, then I’ll buy his crocodile tears for the poor. Until then he’s just another bitter angry hack poisoning the minds of Sun readers believing that “business as usual” is beneficial to the world’s poor. Like the last 50 years isn’t blatant and obvious proof to the contrary.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

We´re not in Kansas anymore Toto!

There’s little point in writing about climate change, given it is all the rage and debate the world over -- yippy. I’ll only, briefly, mention that my latest documentary “Mudanças do clima, Mudanças de vidas” is heading to the “Festival do Gramado”, which is Brazil’s largest International Film Festival. There is still no word if the video will be accepted for competition; however the visibility of this event and having a film about climate change participate will further highlight this crucial issue.

So, I decided that this week, instead of complaining about the Toronto Sun’s coverage of climate change, I would describe a few of the absurdities that pass for day-to-day normalities in the land of Samba (lord help me).

I’m often asked in e-mails what it is like living in Brazil, and of course for the most part, the sun, beautiful ecology, culture and cheap beer have me respond “quite pleasant thank you”. However, there is a darker more surreal side to Brazil. A side that has me shake my head in utter and total bewilderment at times. So, I’ve decided to start jotting down some of the more prominent weekly absurdities for your reading pleasure. Make note of these for the next time you find yourself complaining about Toronto.

Civil war

“Bala perdida”, translated into English means “stray bullet”. It’s becoming a routine in Rio de Janeiro, a city amidst an undeclared civil war. As of today, 29 have been hit with “balas perdidas” in 6 days and a number of those hit were hit fatally (one I can recall was a 4 year old child). I must admit, I’m quite astonished with Brazil and the population’s habituation to violence. There are outbursts from people concerned when certain high-profile crimes get reported, but usually the day to day “4 dead” here “5 executed there” barely makes the news, and if it does few pay much attention to it.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a great deal of FEIGNED concern from the public over security, but it goes little beyond that. In a nation where over 45,000 are murdered each year (11% of all global homicides), and in the postcard city of Rio de Janeiro, where over 1300 murders have been registered since the beginning of this year, you would expect more than 300 people to show up to an anti-violence protest? Think again.

The penalty for corruption? Dinner with the Governor.

The governor of Santa Catarina offers dinner to businessman Fernando Marcondes de Mattos, owner of the Florianopolis resort Costão do Santinho only hours after he is released from prison charged with corruption. Fernando was one of two dozen extremely rich and powerful developers thrown in jail for an environmental license buying scheme – the Federal police claimed during their operation named “Green Coin” or “Moeda Verde”. The resort owner (by the way, there has been a long and persistent rumour as how Fernando received permission to build his resort in an ecologically sensitive part of the island) and 21 others including municipal councils, the secretary for the environment, the secretary for urban development, a judge (of course) and the president of Santur (Santa Catarina´s tourism agency) have all been accused by Federal police of corruption and purchasing illegal licenses from city officials to develop in ecologically protected areas. In the land of impunity most were be released from prison hours after the arrests, and some would even receive invitations to dine with the State Governor. An invitation like this from the state should send a clear message that corruption will not be tolerated! Doh!

More death and corruption: who´d have thunk it?

Reporters without Boarders always highlight Brazil as an area of concern for reporters, and rightly so. Just 3 nights ago, 37 year old Luiz Carlos Barbon Filho was gunned down outside of a bar in the interior of Sao Paulo. He was the journalist that 4 years ago exposed a scheme were private parties were held involving under-aged children, some as young as 11, that were drugged and forced into orgies and other sex acts with, get this, CITY COUNCILLORS and BUSINESS EXECTUIVES. Barbons broke the story of these despicable and disturbing parties that landed all involved in jail. Barbon was later nominated for the Esso prize in Journalism. But wait, there is more. ALL who were arrested, with the exception of a “mere” waiter, have been released (impunity?) and even one of the councilors convicted and sentence for pedophilia was RE ELECTED while serving his time! Only in Brazil you say?

You can’t make this stuff up folks, sometimes I feel I’m trapped in OZ only without Red shoes to tap together.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Is it time?

Arriving just a few minutes late for a meeting in the Netherlands can provoke a fairly caustic reaction of disapproval. You’d be scolded that “the meeting was scheduled for noon, not 12:05” and reminded that by being late you were negatively impinging on the productivity of others. Time is money!

Here in Brazil (and much of south America) if you arrive five minutes late, you’ll find yourself alone for the better part of an hour.

“O horário Brasiliero”, (Brazilian time) as it if often called, takes a lot of getting use to and must be factored in when designing your day, any event, or, well, just about anything. I’m at the point where I believe that owning a watch here is futile. It looks nice on the arm, but it might as well be set to "Greenwich mean time" to be of any real use. The irony in all this is that most folks here honor the Braziilan inventor Santos Dumount for designing the first WRISTWATCH. But I digress.

However, some south of the equator have taken notice that this accepted praxis of tardiness is not very practical. Peru's President Alan Garcia has just kick-started a new program to have his countrymen (and women) pay more attention to time and try and break the habit of laxness that has plagued his nation.

One can only hope that our glorious leader Lula decides that "punctuality" is a concept that´s time is long overdue here in Brazil, too.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Life’s short, and sadly the good do die young.

Flávio Cannalonga
1953 - 2007

A colleague and friend of mine passed away yesterday after a struggle with cancer.

I first met Flávio Cannalonga (centre in photo) in 2002 when we headed off together for a one month expedition to the Deni Lands in the south of Amazonas state. He was the photographer; I was the videographer for Greenpeace. Apart from being one of the funniest individuals I have ever had the pleasure of working with, Flávio also proved to be genuinely kind-hearted and passionate.

We would later work together again in the Jaurucu River blockade in Para.

Last time we chatted was during the São Paulo theater launch of my documentary “Soy: In the name of Progre$$”. He surprised me in the audience and gave me a huge congratulatory hug. I always considered Flávio, apart from being a photographer, to be part illusionist, too. He would materialize out of nowhere. I recall him appearing out of nowhere again in Curitiba during the UN sponsored Convention on Biodiversity. Although you´d never know when he would appear, there would be no mistaking when he was around because the atmosphere always felt charged.

Flávio (right) dressed to avoid the Puins (nasty insects)

Flávio was a brilliant photographer who not only captured heart-warming moments in life through photography, but given his pleasantness, humility and humor, those lucky enough to have had the opportunity to meet and interact with Flávio will always posses heart-warming moments through memories.

Here are a few links of some of his work.

Flávio, fui um grande prazer em conhecê-lo e obrigado pelo tudo!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Mudanças do clima, Mudanças de vidas

Seals and Whales

Seems Britain is miffed at Canada regarding the Seal Hunt, and of course the black-hearted in the Great White North are pounding their chests while striking typical nationalistic poses in dismay. Why are they surprised?!

Well my fellow Timbit eating compatriots, it’s not just Britain. Just about every nation on the planet shakes their head in disgust whenever the seal hunt is raised in discussions.

“But Canadians are suppose to be so polite, how can they do something so barbaric” is the usual line I encounter when traveling or here in Brazil.

And I have to agree. Having seen first hand how sealers treat activists and fellow humans, it is no wonder they can, without hesitation, smash the skull of a 3 week old harp seal with a club. It’s just plain sick. Spare me the whole “well you eat meat or wear leather” school yard rebuttals. The seal hunt was built on vanity, and continues today because of sheer ignorance and cultural retardation.

Still, your average Canadian doesn’t stray any further than Disney land, or maybe a quick jaunt over the pond for a romantic week in Europe (just to appear cultured at beer fests) so encountering this type of dismay and disbelief from folks abroad is probably unfamiliar to most. Be rest assured Canuckies, no one understands this massacre and rightly so. Justify it to yourselves all you like, subsidize it, resize it, and romanticize it, you are fooling no one.

While on the subject of nations slaughtering defenseless animals, seems that the Japanese are at it again in the Antarctica Whale Sanctuary. But unlike the justifications Canadians use for the seal hunt “well, ahh, duhh, uhmm, dey ate up all da Cod” the Japanese say all 850 whales killed this year will be for “Scientific purposes”. You hear similar cries of “the world doesn’t understand us or our culture” from the Japanese too. Poor babies.

Well, at least the whale hunt is being hindered. The Sea Shepherd Conservation society is on the case, and the newest addition to their fleet, the “Robert Lorne Hunter” along with the “Farley Mowat” are out there given them hell! Read for yourselves!

And, Congrats to Bobbi for bringing this distant drama to the streets of TO.

Greenpeace too is headed out!

So lets hope with Greenpeace and the Sea Shepherd chasing these murderous thugs throughout the southern oceans, fewer exploding harpoons will be fired! I know folks on all ships, and I´m routing fer ya all! The courage it takes to do what these individuals do is incredible, the conditions they suffer unbareable, yet they all are committed to it to stop an unthinkable crime!

For more on the whale hunt here's a great little piece.. from the BBC

Friday, February 02, 2007

You are what you read

Well as the biggest climate change announcement this decade, and probably the most important this century, was made early morning in France it is interesting to note that every major daily (and I’m talking globally here) has picked up on the story with the exception of the TORONTO SUN which has decided that the birth of an overly large baby, a ground-hog predicting an early spring and a fatal car fire are more important.

No surprises here folks, the Sun has been on an anti climate change campaign since I can remember, and when you wonder where the army of neysayers in T.O get their marching orders, it’s tabloids like the SUN.

It´s in the report.

Well the IPCC report is out, and it is pretty damn conclusive, and scary. Here it is for all to read.

I imagine the Toronto Sun and it’s legion of frathouse readers will still rant and rail against the facts, but remember kiddies, specious reasoning and argumentative fallacies don’t work against world reknown scientists from NASA and the IPCC. So all you naysayers, grab yourselves a beer, flick on pro wrestling and pray that with a growing intensity of storms the next tornado doesn’t flatten your trailer.

Al Gore, Nobel Peace Prize recipient?

Al Gore gets the nod for nomination for the upcoming Nobel Peace Prize! It’s been argued that Gore’s film "An Inconvenient Truth" was the catalyst for the rapid growth in environmental concern regarding Global Warming. Being a media whore and an environmental documentary director myself (who has produced 3 documentaries on climate change over the last 10 years) I can’t help but feel a sense of pride that the medium of documentaries can be so powerful, and I happen to agree that Gore deserves the acclamations for his tireless work in raising the issue higher. However, it usually takes more than a single spark to fire up a movement. For decades environmentalists (Canadian Shelia Watt Coultier also gets the prestigious nomination), environmental groups and scientists have been warning us and pushing the issue of climate change foreword, against all odds and obstacles. But if the truth be told, it was Mother Nature that focused the hearts and minds of our planet to an issue in urgent need of resolve. Unusual heat waves in Europe, record droughts and floods in South America and intensifying storms the world over; sadly it was these disastrous events that forced the public to finally take notice.

By the way the DVD Portuguese version of “An Inconvenient Truth” will be distributed by Paramount Pictures in May and will be packaged with the documentary I produced last year with Greenpeace entitled “Changes in climate, changes in Lives” an one hour look into how climate change is already affecting Brazil.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

When it comes to trying to find absurdities in the Canadian Press about climate change, you can always count on Lorrie Goldstein to provide the fodder. I’m amiss as to why Lorrie (or the Sun) is so hell-bent on trying to dismiss climate change, or wriggle Canada out of its obligations under the Kyoto protocol when the global scientific evidence is so conclusive and our personal daily anecdotal experiences far too frightening.

Lorrie begins his most recent attack on climate change like this: “Let's assume that Al Gore and, in our country, Stephane Dion, Jack Layton, and (very recently) Stephen Harper and John Baird are right.”

Maybe Lorrie should actually try talking with some scientists for a change such as Stephen Hawking, John Lovelock and one of Canada’s brightest, David Suzuki. The debate Lorrie is not whether or not these people are “right”, the debate has moved on much further down the line and is much more urgent. Please catch up. Sadly, in some circles such as the insurance industry and in developing nations the discussion has moved on to “costs” and “adaptation”. But we know how the Sun feels about “3rd World Nations” (a pejorative term the Sun used recently in editorial warning Canadians not to travel to Mexico), so why should THEY be a concern, eh?

Of course to be fair Lorrie’s rant is not about tossing more doubt one of the most pressing issues to face our planet (finally). He posits “if it is real” then Nuclear Energy will be the planet’s savior. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Although you will find some scientists in favour of promoting nuclear energy as THE clean alternative (surprisingly, Lovelock is a proponent), to date no one has created a safe method to transport and dispose of nuclear waste. We may narrowly dodge one bullet, but who is to say the next won’t find its mark?

Nuclear energy is also far too is costly both in terms of energy generation and as well in risk management. Don’t get me wrong, I think there should be some discussion in regards to what role nuclear energy could play alongside with other clean energy systems such as solar, wind, hydrogen and biomass, but try convincing the US of that when other nations around the world wish to build reactors. Iran anyone?

One final thing to keep in mind is that the nuclear industry is currently -- frantically -- SPINNING itself as the world’s sole solution to climate change. After decades of losing ground and loosing mountains of money, they see climate change as a marketing tool and have legions of communication specialists spoon-feeding scientific gibberish to easily manipulated journalists, so that they too may pen an article as factually incorrect as Lorrie’s.

I love this line from Lorrie’s article “Because they [politicians] know that even though nuclear power is our ONLY [my capitals] chance […]”

What a load of spoon fed crock!

One a final note, while the Sun ponders whether “IF” climate change is “REAL” (although the subtle undercurrent to Lorrie’s editorial is that he is now falling in line, albeit reluctantly), today in the US, leading executives from some of the largest companies including but not limited too, BP (British Petroleum) America, DuPont, Caterpillar and General Electric are URGING George Bush to take serious measures in curbing CO2 gas emissions before it is too late. Yes, Lorrie, it is no longer just hippies and commie politicians that believe the sky is falling.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A bit of humor - and some news!

Well, looks like I´m not the only one to notice that a fair share of Canadians have turned a blind eye to the problems associated with climate change - here's a clever little sardonic take on the matter. For those self-exiled to the island of ignorance, the sarcasm in this piece will soar far too high over their heads for the humor to be of any value.

One a personal note, the latest documentary I produced with Greenpeace about climate change in Brazil will now be distributed by Paramount Pictures and accompany the Brazilian DVD launch of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” in March. As well, over 500,000 high school text books will also be distributed next year with the DVD.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Well at least some get it...

While the scientifically-challenged and cronically ill-informed among us debate whether or not world scientists are correct in their assessments over climate change, or ponder if leading global economists are actually "chicken little environmentalists", at least some in North America have their heads screwed on straight. Sadly, members of the FES (Flat Earth Society) will brush this off as another foofaraw. The alarm is ringing folks

From the BBC today

Climate resets 'Doomsday Clock'

Monday, January 15, 2007

I’m always amazed at how some on this planet are well paid for keeping the already ill-informed perpetually ignorant. I’ve devised a new award for caustic coxcombs like this and or the organizations that harbor them: I call it the “Flat Earth Society Award" and it honors those -- like centuries ago -- that “refuse to accept the overwhelming and conclusive preponderance of scientific fact and continue to believe the easily refutable and absurd”. I give this first award to Lorrie Goldstein from the Toronto Sun, however given the recent vitriol attacks against environmentalists, and their best efforts to confuse and obfuscate the issue of global warming; maybe the entire paper merits this first prestigious honor.

Far be if for me to attack Goldstein’s article point for point. It is mostly conservative hyperbole and riddled with straw man attacks. Still:

“The Earth is 4.5 billion years old and has experienced many protracted periods of global warming and cooling that had nothing to do with human beings because we weren't yet alive.”

The scientific evidence is 90% CONCLUSIVE Lorrie. There is a global consensus (sure, there are a few rouge dissenting scientists) that since the industrial revolution the temperature has gone up (0.7 degrees Celsius) and has gone up in relation to the amount of CO2 placed into the troposphere (currently at 360 parts per million). There is nothing to argue here. You cannot discount anthropogenic influences, TODAY.

“Scientists say there have been near-extinctions of life on Earth five times because of climate change and other factors, the last one occurring about 65 million years ago.”

That is correct Lorrie, but what you are neglecting to mention is that TODAY, the world’s population is greater than 6 billion. Yes, the world has gone through all sorts of natural changes over the last 4.5 billion years; however there was never a civilization that could be affected. As well, there was never a civilization that could affect an environment.

What concerns scientists (you know, those folks with two or three PhDs working at NASA?) politicians (Tony Blair?), economists (Sir Nicholas Stern anyone?) and yes, even those evil little dungaree wearing anti-capitalist eco-terrorists today is that it is not ONLY the planet that is vulnerable to slight perturbations in the global mean temperature.

Notably, it is always poorer nations or poorer populations within nations that have the most to loose. This is something often forgotten by the rabid right chiming in from their lofty upper-middle class towers in comfy Toronto. Heaven forbid you give a second thought to a local farming community in the south of Brazil.

Climate skeptics are like dogs. They sink their teeth into what ever soft and fluffy little doubts they dig up, and refuse to release them until you smack them on the nose with hard solid facts. Goldstein predictably uncovers and chomps down on the question of global cooling.

“While there is widespread agreement the world is going through a sustained period of warming, from the 1940s to the 1970s we experienced a period of global cooling, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere. Back then, Time, Newsweek and others ran stories predicting a possible new ice age. Oops.”

Uhmm, the whole global cooling phenomenon was based on one book and two or three papers submitted to science journals but more importantly, as I argued in a post awhile back, it was the MEDIA that got the conclusions wrong and or refused to read the scientific caveats. However, why let the facts get in the way of an editorial, eh?

There is simply NO comparison between global warming and global cooling. The body of evidence and the amount of research involved in “climate change” dwarfs what little effort was placed into the global cooling debate. As well, climate change has been an issue for longer that 20 years, and as each year passes the scientific certainty only solidifies. Comparing the two is simply childish, but expected from the scientifically challenged. For further reading:

“By the way, without greenhouse gases like water vapour and carbon dioxide, we'd all freeze to death.”

Straw man attacks are simply pathetic! We’d die of thirst without water too Lorrie, however I challenge you to live the rest of your life in a swimming pool.

Enjoy your award, Lorrie. Sadly, I know you´ll not be the last recipient.