TIM Ball lives in Victoria now — a mild setting for a climatologist who was a blizzard of opinion during his 28 years as a University of Winnipeg geography professor.
But no one could accuse the outspoken 64-year-old of mellowing.
Yesterday, at the annual meeting of the Canadian Horticultural Council, Ball gave a mini-tornado of a speech — a rapid-fire whirl of standup comedy, science, history and wakeup call. It was punctuated with shots at Environment Canada (“Why don’t they look out the window just once?”), environment guru David Suzuki, and “unadulterated government propaganda.”
Ball, who now calls himself an environmental consultant, jokingly warned the 200 delegates: “I don’t know anything about horticulture.” Then he unleashed his critique of the “bad science” of climate change, the “Kyoto Fraud,” and the “extremism” of the environmental movement.
The public has been misled by environmentalists, so business must appear responsive, Ball suggested.
“You cannot ignore any of the environmental issues,” he said. “Because if the public believe they’re true, then you have to deal with that perception.
“The challenge for people like your industry is: What do I pay lip service to, because my clients and the public are concerned about it, and what do I spend serious dollars on? . . . I would urge you to stay away from government information, and try and get a balanced picture.”
Ball outlined his position on the greenhouse effect and global warming, which he has been preaching since at least the mid-1990s: It’s all bunk. Vast fluctuations in climate have been going on throughout history, and are caused by the changing shape of the planet’s orbit and its tilt — not by humans, he said. There’s no human cause for changes to the ozone layer, either — those are caused by the sun.
“You’re simply being fed wrong information. . . . Look how warm it was when the Vikings were sailing around! If you’re going to tell me that (current warming) is caused by carbon dioxide and cars and human activity, I want this explained, too.”
Ball said the measurement of surface temperatures at urban weather stations is giving a false impression of global warming because cities themselves produce heat. “It’s called the urban heat-island effect,” he said.
“Look at the satellite temperature record that covers the whole globe — it shows virtually no warming. Why don’t you hear about the satellite record? Because it conflicts with what Environment Canada wants you to believe.”
Ball said the public has been “browbeaten by environmentalists” into focussing on the wrong issues. Environmental issues that he believes are real and measurable include soil erosion and the quantity and quality of water.
“Water is going to be the resource issue of the 21st century. The single most devastating climate impacts are droughts. . . . I’d like to change the name of the planet from Earth to Water.”