There is pseudoscience and then there is complete and utter nonsense.
Such is the campaign of the Calgary-based and ironically named organization “Friends” of Science.
Last week, a billboard the group has erected came to my attention. It reads: “The sun [sic] is the main driver of climate change. Not you. Not CO2.”
It also shows a picture of a small segment of the Sun’s surface with the “Earth to scale” pictured above it ostensibly to visually suggest our planet is so tiny in comparison that it is simply common sense that its influence must be far greater than what we could possibly have.
Never mind that the Sun is 149.6 kilometres away from the Earth and that real and reliable scientific data suggests the Sun’s influence on climate change has been negligible.
“We find that neither a high magnitude of solar forcing nor a strong climate effect of that forcing agree with the temperature reconstructions,” the authors of an article published in the prestigious and peer reviewed Nature Geoscience wrote.
“We instead conclude that solar forcing probably had a minor effect on Northern Hemisphere climate over the past 1,000 years, while, volcanic eruptions and changes in greenhouse gas concentrations seem to be the most important influence over this period.”
In fact, the overwhelming majority of scientific evidence indicates climate change is real and related primarily to human activities.
So much so that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a body so cautious it did an excruciatingly long and comprehensive review, finally came out with report last year that unequivocally links climate change to human activity.
Even Stephen Harper has basically given up on climate change skepticism. On the weekend, he basically admitted
“We seek to deal with [climate change] in a way that will protect and enhance our ability to create jobs and growth—not destroy jobs and growth in our countries,” Harper said at a joint press conference with Tony Abbott, Australia’s prime minister.
I suppose we’re supposed to be proud of our PM for being honest, although, the sentiment that in the face of imminent danger we are not going to change course for economic reasons, the future be damned, does not immediately
Of course, none of this matters to groups such as “Friends” of Science. They attribute the mass acceptance of human-influenced climate change to “cult indoctrination” and refers to those who ascribe to it as “religionists.”
Of course, it is no surprise that “Friends” of science is associated with oil industry funding, which has a vested interest in keeping the climate change waters muddied and perpetuating the myth that the scientific community has not reached a consensus.
It is also a convenient way of assuaging any guilt feelings people have that might prompt them to take some kind of action.
It is difficult enough to understand the real science and develop responsible policy without irresponsible organizations like this fanning the flames of ignorance.
Bottom line: The Sun is NOT the main driver of climate change. It is us. It is CO2.