Personal Attacks, Never the Issues: Environmental Propaganda and Strategies

"Certain names or words trigger predictable responses to an article. People use software designed to detect keywords and immediately some respond with attacks, invariably prefaced by false personal attacks. Often responses are strategies by special interest groups."
Published on October 25, 2010

Certain names or words trigger predictable responses to an article. People use software designed to detect keywords and immediately some respond with attacks, invariably prefaced by false personal attacks. Often responses are strategies by special interest groups. I’ve done radio for years and learned how they coordinate to phone in first and take the same personal attack approach. They rarely discuss the issues. Radio stations learned to bypass them by skipping the first number of calls.

We’re all environmentalists. Most are constructive, quietly trying to understand and then act reasonably without dictating to others. A minority is destructive. Only they are environmentalists, but they do nothing but tell others how to think and behave while attacking any who challenge them. This was the theme of a recent article. It triggered a stereotypical response.

I don’t normally respond, but it’s an opportunity to answer the personal attacks and provide some constructive information.

A Standard Example

They rarely identify themselves, as was the case with the email that engendered this article. Normally I wouldn’t reply but it’s an opportunity to set the record straight and answer a reasonable request for a list of issues and sources.

Claim (C): Dr. Ball is not a Climate Scientist not a Climatologist.  

Response (R): Attached PhD diploma in Climatology from the University of London, Queen Mary College, Faculty of Science.

C: The University of Winnipeg does not have a Climatology department nor degree program.  

R: Climatology Lab and offices were on the 7th floor of the Lockhart Building. The program, started by Dr Bill Bell, collapsed after I left.

C: He is, in fact, a Geologist.

R: Apparently the same as the charge that I‘m a geographer. I was in the Geography Department because in Britain and Canada Climatology was a subset of Physical Geography. But what’s the point? Even a Geologist, is better qualified to understand climate than a Geneticist or US Vice President.

C. The funding for the organizations he has worked for comes primarily from industry groups, particularly the oil and gas industries.

R: This is false. Private citizens funded the Natural Resources Stewardship Project (NRSP), but funding failed and so did the organization.  I helped set up Friends of Science (FOS), which directed funding through the University of Calgary to anticipate these charges. I found out later that a fraction of funding came from an energy company. It’s meaningless. Suzuki’s Foundation receives money from two oil companies and another energy company. Government funding is more directed and controlling.

My research funding (95%) came from the National Museum of Canada. Retired from university I live on pension and money from speaking engagements.

C: So a man who feels compelled to lie about his degree starts out with a distinct credibility gap.

R: This is a circular argument. I have falsely proved the person is a liar therefore anything he says is a lie. It’s usually followed by selected misleading evidence, as the following example illustrates. Personal attacks usually employ the standard, “He/she is not qualified.” In my case they’re nasty precisely because I am qualified and therefore a real threat. However, it’s a one-sided argument because Al Gore, or any other alarmist’s qualifications are not questioned. 

C: Then you look at his statements.  He points out that global surface temperatures in 1998 were higher than in 2008 and pretends that it proves the planet is cooling.

R: It starts with a deception. I never mention global temperature at all in the article in question. As to the claim, actually it was Phil Jones, Director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) from which climate corruption was exposed in leaked emails who said there is no warming since 1995.

Kevin Trenberth another of the CRU conspirators said, in a 12th October 2009 email “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”

Interest in weather and climate began during 9 years as aircrew in the Canadian Air Force; including 4 years chasing Russian submarines in the North Atlantic and 5 years with Search and Rescue in Western and Arctic Canada. After loss of my flying category I turned down a full time career and went back to university. As a mature student, life experience helped orchestrate my academic career toward understanding interactions between humans and the environment. An Honors thesis was titled “Some philosophical considerations of humans as an agent of geomorphic change.” Then, to get the scientific tools necessary, my Masters thesis investigated, The Significance of Grain Size and Heavy Minerals Volume percentage as Indicators of Environmental Character, Grand Beach, Manitoba: A Case Study.  Finally, my doctoral thesis, Climatic Change in Central Canada:  A Preliminary Analysis of Weather Information from Hudson’s Bay Company Forts at York Factory and Churchill Factory, 1714-1850, combined science, arts, and social sciences by developing a scientific method to convert historical records into a long term statistical climate data set.

I taught climatology in university for 25 years, and was lead author on the climate half of a university text that is still in publication. Over 100 publications, includes 27 peer-reviewed in professional journals, not counting hundreds of columns for magazines. My most recent peer-reviewed pieces include a co-authored book, Eighteenth Century Naturalists of Hudson Bay published by McGill/Queens University Press in 2004 and a journal article in 2007.  Chairing and serving on several committees on climate, water resources and environment at federal, provincial and municipal levels provided ‘real world’ challenges and understanding.

Canada Free Press has several authors beside myself. Their articles are in the Columnist Archives and all my previous articles here;

There are several good web sites that provide information to counteract claims that no skeptical case exists. The amount is remarkable considering control of climate publications the CRU people practiced. They disprove the IPCC hypothesis that human CO2 is causing warming and climate change.

Anthony Watt’s award winning web page is the best coverage of ongoing issues with links to solar data, sea ice and other valuable information including categorized web sites.

Sherwood Idso is a world expert on the role of CO2, particularly its role in plant growth. His son Craig is latterly involved and they maintain a superb site with extensive lists and analyses of articles proving the existence of the Medieval Warm Period, and peer-reviewed challenges to the AGW hypothesis.

Steve Milloy maintains an excellent site that answers specific questions in ways most people can understand. This link directs you to the major climate portion but there are sections to examine as well.

A timesaving web site is ICECAP, an acronym for International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project designed as, the portal to all things climate for elected officials and staffers, journalists, scientists, educators and the public.

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