Saturday, October 13, 2007

Al Gore's "convenient untruths" & his "ridiculous" Nobel prize

This from Australia's Sydney Morning Herald
by Steve Lytte, October 14, 2007:

"Gore gets a cold shoulder.

One of the world's foremost meteorologists has called the theory that helped Al Gore share the Nobel Peace Prize "ridiculous" and the product of "people who don't understand how the atmosphere works".
Dr. William Gray, a pioneer in the science of seasonal hurricane forecasts, told a packed lecture hall at the University of North Carolina that humans were not responsible for the warming of the earth.
His comments came on the same day that the Nobel committee honoured Mr. Gore for his work in support of the link between humans and global warming.
"We're brainwashing our children," said Dr. Gray, 78, a long-time professor at Colorado State University. "They're going to the Gore movie [An Inconvenient Truth] and being fed all this. It's ridiculous."
At his first appearance since the award was announced in Oslo, Mr. Gore said: "We have to quickly find a way to change the world's consciousness about exactly what we're facing."
Mr. Gore shared the Nobel prize with the United Nations climate panel for their work in helping to galvanise international action against global warming.
But Dr. Gray, whose annual forecasts of the number of tropical storms and hurricanes are widely publicised, said a natural cycle of ocean water temperatures - related to the amount of salt in ocean water - was responsible for the global warming that he acknowledges has taken place.
However, he said, that same cycle meant a period of cooling would begin soon and last for several years.
"We'll look back on all of this in 10 or 15 years and realise how foolish it was," Dr. Gray said.
During his speech to a crowd of about 300 that included meteorology students and a host of professional meteorologists, Dr. Gray also said those who had linked global warming to the increased number of hurricanes in recent years were in error.
He cited statistics showing there were 101 hurricanes from 1900 to 1949, in a period of cooler global temperatures, compared to 83 from 1957 to 2006 when the earth warmed.
"The human impact on the atmosphere is simply too small to have a major effect on global temperatures," Dr. Gray said.
He said his beliefs had made him an outsider in popular science.
"It bothers me that my fellow scientists are not speaking out against something they know is wrong," he said. "But they also know that they'd never get any grants if they spoke out. I don't care about grants." "
This from Canada's National Post (Oct.13, 2007):


A British High Court judge this week exposed nine inaccuracies in former U.S. vice president Al Gore's award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, labelling it "a political film" and calling many of its claims about climate change "alarmist" and "exaggerated."
Justice Michael Burton had been asked to rule on whether the showing of the Oscar-winning film in British classrooms amounted to education or indoctrination.
The ruling, just two days before Mr. Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize yesterday for his environmental activism, did not undermine the overall premise of the work and stopped short of preventing screenings. But it has dramatically altered the uncritical way in which it was being presented to British high school students as debate simmers in Canada and elsewhere over whether what some consider propaganda is being passed off as incontrovertible fact...

Untruth 1
Gore says: A sea-level rise of up to seven metres will be caused by melting of either West Antarctic or Greenland ice cap in the near future. Cities such as Beijing, Calcutta and Manhattan would be devastated.
Judge says: "This is distinctly alarmist, and part of Mr. Gore's 'wake-up call.' It is common ground that if indeed Greenland melted, it would release this amount of water, but only after, and over, millennia, so that the Armageddon scenario he predicts, insofar as it suggests that sea-level rises of seven metres might occur in the immediate future, is not in line with the scientific consensus."

Untruth 2
Gore says: Low lying inhabited Pacific atolls are being inundated because of anthropogenic global warming. "That's why the citizens of these Pacific nations have all had to evacuate to New ZealandJudge says: "There is no evidence of any such evacuation having yet happened."

Untruth 3
Gore says: The shutting down of the "Ocean Conveyor" would lead to another ice age.
Judge says: "According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, it is very unlikely that the Ocean Conveyor (an ocean current known technically as the Meridional Overturning Circulation or thermohaline circulation) will shut down in the future, though it is considered likely that thermohaline circulation may slow down."

Untruth 4
Gore says: Two graphs relating to a period of 650,000 years, one showing rise in CO2 and one showing rise in temperature, show an exact fit.
Judge says: "Although there is general scientific agreement that there is a connection, the two graphs do not establish what Mr. Gore asserts."

Untruth 5
Gore says: The disappearance of snow on Mt. Kilimanjaro is expressly attributable to global warming.
Judge says: "The scientific consensus is that it cannot be established that the recession of snows on Mt. Kilimanjaro is mainly attributable to human-induced climate change."

Untruth 6
Gore says: The drying up of Lake Chad is a prime example of a catastrophic result of global warming.
Judge says: "It is generally accepted that the evidence remains insufficient to establish such an attribution."

Untruth 7
Gore says: Hurricane Katrina and the consequent devastation in New Orleans is due to global warming.
Judge says: "It is common ground that there is insufficient evidence to show that."

Untruth 8
Gore says: Polar bears have drowned swimming long distances to find ice.
Judge says: "The only scientific study that either side before me can find is one which indicates that four polar bears have recently been found drowned because of a storm."

Untruth 9
Gore says: Coral reefs are bleaching because of global warming.
Judge says: "The actual scientific view, as recorded in the IPCC report, is that, if the temperature were to rise by 1-3 degrees centigrade, there would be increased coral bleaching and widespread coral mortality, unless corals could adapt or acclimatize." "

Let's not forget untruth #10: that Gore's movie claims about the hottest years on record were also found to have been wrong due to a recalculation of NASA data, thanks to Canadian blogger Steve McIntyre.

James M. Taylor (Environment And Climate News, The Heartland Institute, Oct.1, 2007) wrote that "climate expert Steve McIntyre--one of the "deniers" alarmists claim should be ignored in the ongoing global warming debate--noticed irregularities in the U.S. temperature data compiled since 2000.
A thorough review of the raw data revealed that beginning in 2000 NASA applied a new formula to its methods of smoothing out and averaging raw temperature data. The new formula, McIntyre proved, resulted in NASA unjustifiably adding 0.15ยบ Celsius to each year's final temperature average.
Confronted with McIntyre's findings, NASA admitted its error and quietly revised downward its post-2000 U.S. temperature reports.

Media Strangely Silent

As a result, scientists discovered 2006 was not the warmest year in U.S. history. In fact, 1934 was the warmest year, and 2006 fell to a distant fourth. Only four of the top 11 warmest years have occurred since 1954, according to the corrected data.
Although the mainstream media had annually given high-profile coverage to the erroneous reports of record-setting U.S. temperatures, few mainstream newspapers or news networks reported the corrected data, even in the briefest of mentions.

'Denier' Vindicated Again

"This is precisely how the 'hockey stick' purporting to rewrite history--erasing the Medieval Warm Period and subsequent Little Ice Age--was debunked, and indeed by the very same person--McIntyre," said Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
"While the hockey stick error was glaring, as it absurdly rewrote well-established history, this new documentation of data errors overstating recent warming was pure investigative genius fueled by dogged determination," Horner added. "McIntyre knew that our surface measuring stations are suspect. Some were exposed as being in asphalt parking lots, on tar roofs, next to air conditioning vents, attached to a chimney, and overhanging a Weber Grill. So he began digging and found an otherwise inexplicable jump in the year 2000."

Similarly, in the current instance, "Again, a Gore advisor--James Hansen this time--refused to provide his codes, but again McIntyre was able to recreate enough to present his findings to NASA, who corrected the error. The alarmists who trumpeted recent years as 'warmest ever!!!' in the United States (by a mere tenth of a degree) now dismiss this reversal--2000 and subsequent years being cooler than 1900--as just being a tenth of a degree or so. Well, either that's a big deal whichever direction it falls or it isn't. Which time are you lying?" Horner asked.

Full Data Disclosure Necessary

"The key lesson here is not that NASA, GISS [the Goddard Institute for Space Studies], Jim Hansen, or anyone else was intentionally making mistakes, but that in complex data compilations and analyses, no matter how diligent you try to be, mistakes work their way in," said Robert Ferguson, president of the Science and Public Policy Institute.

"This is why it is important to be as open as possible as a scientist about what you did and how you did it, to make full disclosure of all your data and methods," Ferguson explained. "This allows others to replicate your work and helps ensure that science moves forward on the best possible footing, and that policymakers operate off of factual data and not belief systems.
"It is for this reason that it is of the gravest concern that leading climate scientists and organizations, up to and including even the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change], are still failing to make full disclosure regarding many of the data that they spin into the public domain," Ferguson observed."
The National Post (Oct.13, 2007) also wrote: "Victoria Serda, Ontario's deputy Green party leader, has been trained to deliver the slide show presentation on climate change that Mr. Gore gives in the documentary and has done so 67 times in Ontario, before 17,000 people, including school children.
She dismissed the court decision as "minor."
"How can a judge in England make a determination on whether something is scientific fact when he has no background in it?" Ms. Serda said. "This is a judge that doesn't even know what he's talking about, he doesn't work in the field, he's not a climate scientist, he's not a peer-reviewed scientific journalist. He has no basis in order to even go forward with this decision he's making. It's just kind of silly." "

Does silly Serda (who's been "trained" on slide-show propaganda-peddling) know what she's talking about?!
Is Serda herself, or her idol Al Gore, a "climate scientist" or a "scientific journalist"?!
Is Gore's movie 'entertainment', a 'documentary', or is it in the same genre as Michael Moore's Sicko:  pseudo-info-crocku-tainment? (aka, slick, good ol' agit-prop, a la Leni Riefenstahl?)
Isn't it 'silly' and pathetic seeing how these GreenFear-pushing political party hacks inculcate students with Gore's lop-sided, and inaccurate, eco-phobia?
Does Serda think she's promoting "science" - or political "consensus"?
When is the last time anyone has seen Gore actually debate anyone on his theories? Oh, he doesn't have to, after all, he is the Sagacious Goracle.


R.Bobak said...

Peter Foster wrote in "Broomstick for Suzuki" (National Post, Oct.31, 2007):

"In Canada, the environment has remained the main fright-source. Its grand wizard continues to be David Suzuki, who has been throwing around the Halloween references himself recently.

In a profile in the latest issue of Maclean's, Dr. Suzuki cites the alleged significance of the Nobel Peace Prize going to his fellow frightmeister, Al Gore. "Despite what a few dinosaurs are saying," declared Mr. S., "it's the nail in the coffin of [climate change] skeptics. Now, the challenge is to get on with it."

I don't know about you, but this dinosaur finds it pretty goosebumpifying when a non-science prize to a man convicted of multiple egregious scientific howlers is claimed to be conclusive proof that we no longer need to look at "the science."

What is even more terrifying is that two men who want to destroy consumer society are still regarded as "saints" or "saviours." One can only imagine what Halloween would look like on Planet Gore or in Suzukiworld, with kiddies in recycled sackcloth costumes being handed slices of (local) turnip to chew on.

We might take relief, however, in the knowledge that support for Mr. Suzuki's anti-materialist campaign is both small and hypocritical. Materialism is here to stay. Demons will always be a ghoul's best friend.

Meanwhile, there is evidence that Mr. Suzuki's moralistic crusade is coming back to haunt him. His daughter, Severn, who starred at the 1992 Rio conference as a child too indoctrinated to go into the fresh air, reportedly recently told him: "Dad. You've go to stop flying."

Perhaps he might try a broomstick."

R.Bobak said...

Here's what DON FRASER wrote (St. Catharines Standard,Oct.29,2007) regarding Suzuki's scaremongering pre-Halloween swoop into Niagara:

"We are the environment.
And unless we make immediate changes to protect it by living more sustainably, our survival is in peril.
That was the tough message delivered by renowned Canadian biologist and environmentalist David Suzuki on Sunday.
Suzuki gave the keynote address at the inaugural Sustainable Operations Summit Canada, which continues until Tuesday at White Oaks Resort & Spa in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
The invitation-only event brings together about 160 leaders from Canada's largest corporations, municipalities and other groups to talk about environmental initiatives and their impact.
"This is the moment," said Suzuki in a passionate delivery that sometimes rose to a growl. "This is a profound moment in human history."
The science of global warming and the effects of human activity on the environment are now undeniable, he said. "We can't ignore these (issues) any longer and we have to face up to the severity of the problem."
Suzuki said what bothers him is that the environment was actually at the top of the agenda in the 1980s.
However, efforts to reduce carbon emissions have been scuttled by political leaders with other priorities and oil companies insisting global warming is "junk science," said Suzuki, adding that inaction has set us back alarmingly.
"Now the problem is infinitely more difficult."
He said one of the reasons for the success of our species is our foresight and danger avoidance. "Almost the very definition to be human is to look ahead and plan accordingly," he said.
With scientists acting as forward-looking scouts, we know what the future danger is with global warming, he said, and there's no excuse if we don't act now.
Suzuki added he was also struck by the philosophy of First Nations peoples who have always told him "the Earth is our mother."
"The crisis we face now is what we're doing to our mother, our Earth. Our mother is in trouble."
He used the air as an example of this interconnectedness between humans and their environmental lifeblood.
"The air is in us, stuck to us and it's circulating in our bodies," he said. "Air surely ought to be regarded as a sacred substance.
"(Knowing this), what intelligent creature ... would then think to use the air as a toxic dump?
"We are the air. Whatever we do to the air, we do to ourselves," he said, continuing a theme in his speech.
The scientist saved his strongest words for our obsession with constant growth, which is "insane" if we want to reduce global emissions and save what's left of our environment.
Part of the problem is people who are 50 or younger have only lived with constant growth and know no other reality, he suggested.
Suzuki said we're going to have to rethink our concepts of unending expansion and consumption.
"The economy itself is a human construct and we now act as if it's an entity all on its own," he added. "The lunacy of conventional economics is that the very (things of nature) that keep us alive are considered an externality.
"Economists are so disconnected from reality, they think the economy can grow forever," he said. "It can't."
"Our zone of air, water and land on earth is extremely thin - it's fixed and it can't grow.
"When do we ask the crucial question: how much is enough? When are we going to acknowledge there are limits?"
Suzuki also offered notes of optimism.
People can make a difference, one "drop in the bucket" at a time, he said.
They can reduce their impact on the environment by making choices about what they eat, how they get around and where they live.
There is also no question that attitudes about global warming and environmental sustainability are going through a sea change, he said. Many polls are showing these issues are now paramount for Canadians.
A tour across the country earlier this year confirmed this trend, said Suzuki.
After speaking to 31,000 people in 41 communities, "what came out is an overwhelming sense that Canadians care passionately about their environment."
"Testimonials told us overwhelmingly that they want Canada to meet its Kyoto Protocol target (on carbon emissions), impose a carbon tax .... and they are willing to pay for it," said Suzuki.
"But they want leadership and they feel very strongly that's not what they're getting at this moment."

Does Suzuki mean they're not getting leadership from Dalton McGuinty and his crew - the one's who've done nothing on the environment for four years? Or, is he talking about the other federal McGuinty, whose Liberals did nothing about Kyoto over 10 years?
I hope Suzuki flew in on his broomstick for this event! Or, did he did use a jet, or a car to get to Niagara?! Hasn't he heard of phones? Why can't this hypocrite simply do what he preaches others should be doing? Flick off, Suze.

R.Bobak said...

Just after David Suzuki visited Niagara for a bit o' pre-Halloween climate-change fear-mongering, I read this by Bjorn Lomborg - "Kyoto's cult of 'institutionaled hypocrisy' ", (National Post, Nov.3, 2007):

"Global warming has for a long time been the perfect issue, because it allows the politician to talk about things that have grandeur and yet are close to people's hearts. It actually makes some taxes popular, and yet the true costs of policies are far removed. At a recent climate demonstration in London, protesters actually chanted: "What do we want? Carbon taxes! When do we want them? Now!"

Of course,that's music to the ears of David 'carbon tax' Suzuki and his idol, Liberal Jim 'Kyoto' Bradley.

R.Bobak said...

Here's another story, "What biotic holocaust?" by
Peter Foster, Financial Post
Published: Friday, September 14, 2007:
"Declaring a species extinct is a ticklish business. How do you establish that something has disappeared off the face of the earth? Just this week, it was announced that tigers have been discovered in an Indian rainforest from which they were thought to have been wiped out three decades ago. Figures on species loss, however, are more than a thorny scientific matter. They are intensely political.
In yesterday's column, I pointed out the massive discrepancies between "official" figures for species extinction and the figures on display at the prestigious Field Museum in Chicago.
There are now 41,415 species on the "Red List" of the World Conservation Union (IUCN), 16,306 of which are allegedly "threatened with extinction." But "threatened" is not extinct. Indeed, to appear on the Red List virtually guarantees a frenzy of costly restorative action, which is, by a large, a good thing (as long as humans aren't sacrificed in the process).
However, when it comes to actual recorded extinctions, the IUCN acknowledges 785 over the past 500 years. That is, around 1 1/2 a year. The Field Museum claims species are going extinct at the rate of 30,000 annually. That's quite a difference. Oscar Wilde's Lady Bracknell famously declared that: "To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness." We might similarly reflect that to lose one and a half species a year is a cause for sorrow; to claim there are another 29,998.5 that went extinct without us knowing their names is, well, suspicious.
I contacted the Field's PR department and was originally told that the 30,000 figure was taken from the work of Edward O. Wilson, a "world-renowned scientist." True. But E.O. Wilson isn't just any old Pulitzer Prize-winning Harvard boffin. He has an intriguing background in scientific controversy.
In the 1970s, Prof. Wilson was at the centre of an academic slugfest over the implications of Darwinism for human nature and human society. In his book Sociobiology, Prof. Wilson claimed that to understand society, we had to understand man's evolved biological nature. For this quite obvious suggestion he was pilloried by Marxist academics as a determinist, genocidal racist, and promoter of the capitalist "status quo." These slurs were particularly painful to the professor, since he considered himself, like most academics, particularly at Harvard, "of the left."
According to the brilliant book Defenders of the Truth, by Ullica Segerstralle, the attacks on Prof. Wilson led to a remarkable personal transformation. By the end of the 1980s, Prof. Wilson had "reinvented" himself, she wrote, "from Wilson I, the politically incorrect sociobiologist, to Wilson II, the politically correct environmentalist ? Here Wilson -- supported by a general neo-catastrophist trend with tales of dinosaur deaths, asteroids, and the like -- was able to make a convincing case for the importance of the preservation of biodiversity."
Since the alleged catastrophic loss of biodiversity was yet another alleged adverse side-effect of "untrammelled" capitalism, Prof. Wilson was now once more on-side with his old buddies on the left. Significantly, he is a member of the board of the David Suzuki Foundation. According to the Suzuki Web site, Professor Wilson believes that "The David Suzuki Foundation embodies the principles of scientific environmentalism."
Does that ring any alarm bells about objectivity?
In fact, the huge extinction figures come from pure assumptions, which are based on the alleged implications of "habitat loss." These assumptions relate to the "background" rate of extinction, the number of undiscovered species on earth, and how much present rates of extinction might be above background rates due to human activity. They are , in other words, axe-grinding speculation. Cubed.
The calculations work like this: You assume that the "background" rate of extinction is, say, one species per million species per year. Then you estimate that there are 30 million species on earth (versus the 1.9 million so far classified). Then you assume that the present rate of extinction is, what the hell, say a thousand times the background level. Hence you arrive at a figure of 30,000 by assuming vast numbers of species that have never been identified and may not exist, the vast majority of which are, moreover, not pandas but notional bugs and bacteria.
This means that the most egregious error at the Field Museum exhibit is the claim that "because the Earth is home to far more species than we've identified, there are surely many species going extinct unnoticed." But all the claimed 30,000 extinctions are "unnoticed." The Field cannot name any of them.
This is not considered a problem by the most radical proponents of global action to prevent the ravages of capitalism. Gro Harlem Brundtland, whose 1987 UN report is in many ways at the root of socialism's highly successful environmental counterthrust, has put it this way: "The library of life is burning, and we don't even know the titles of the books."
Prof. Wilson's figures have come under attack, but only by the brave. Dr. Patrick Moore, the now apostate founding member of Greenpeace, suggested that the only place you could find the alleged plethora of lost species was in Prof. Wilson's computer: "They're actually electrons on a hard drive."
Similarly, Bjorn Lomborg, in his much reviled but little refuted book, The Skeptic-al Environmentalist, noted that actual observations of habitat loss in no way backed up apocalyptic extinction estimates. For example, he pointed out that the forest of the Eastern United States had been reduced to fragments totalling just 1% to 2% of its previous area. This had resulted in the recorded extinction of one forest bird!
You might imagine that the slight matter of a factor difference of 20,000 in extinction figures would lead to some disagreement between the World Conservation Union and the Field Museum, but no. Just as the old revolutionary slogan was "No enemies on the left," so the present variant is "No environmental exaggeration is too great in a good cause." Indeed, the IUCN appears clearly frustrated that it is bounded by actual observed science in doing its godly environmental work. Its assumptions of invisible species loss is right up there with that of the Field, in fact, way out in front of it. Nevertheless, its "hard" figures, despite the hysterical spin put on them, suggest that the "biotic holocaust" is a myth. In a good cause, of course. Donate today.
Further requests for information from the Field eventually produced a reply from the scientist in charge of the extinction exhibit. He concluded, after appropriate citations from "the literature," that "the overwhelming consensus of scientists studying biodiversity around the world is that Earth is currently involved in a period of incredible species loss."
Incredible indeed."
Beware the GORZUKION!

R.Bobak said...

Here's a Suzuki story by William Kay,"host of a weekly one-hour radio show, The Brown Bagger, which airs Fridays at noon on Co-op Radio, 102.7FM", from website Environmentalism is fascism":

"The Groundbreaking Career of Doctor Science

"Through their own words they will be exposed
They got a sudden case of the emperor's new clothes."
The impressive political clout of David Suzuki is a social fact worthy of some investigation. As Dr. Suzuki puts it in his autobiography:
"I have been broadcasting for two decades, my audience has become a very real constituency. When I make a statement in public, implicit in it is an audience that 'backs me.'"
Keep in mind that quote was from 1987. He has many more followers now. It was also three years before he seriously capitalized on his celebrity status and launched the David Suzuki Foundation, an organization with a paid staff of 30 and additional experts on call.
Suzuki & Co. has moved quickly to capture a leadership position in several industrial policy disputes in BC. It has been singularly influential in suppressing aquaculture development in the province, where a moratorium on new fish farms has been in effect for five years, during which the global fish farming industry has dramatically expanded.
So who died and named this guy Doctor Science?
Well, the CBC is a big outfit. It owns 20 television stations, over 70 radio stations; it can be received in 99 per cent of the country; and for many of its publicly funded programs, national audience share is frequently over 10 per cent. It has 7,000 employees including camerapersons, janitors, secretaries, et cetera. It also has a few dozen celebrity-making jobs such as "hosting" a nationwide daily three-hour morning radio show, "anchoring" the nightly news broadcast, or playing lead role for a television mini-series, et cetera. Such geniuses as Peter Gzowsky and Peter Mansbridge have managed to become famous after holding jobs like these for a few years.
The CBC also has a celebrity posting for a "Science Guy" which, when reflected back off the murky dark glass world of the Toronto brass, becomes transformed into "Environmental Guy." After a false start in the late '60s, David Suzuki had, by the mid '70s, been handed the job.
Suzuki's scientific career appears that of a typical whiz-kid burnout case (or, as they say at Harvard, "he pulled a 'Kaczyinski.'") In 1961, at the age of 25, he got his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago after seven years of university study. He worked on fruit flies. After a series of assistant professorships, he became a full prof at the University of British Columbia in 1969.
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For a man who claims to love scientific research, it seems strange he embraces it so little. Throughout the '60s Suzuki was preoccupied with instructing courses and milking the talking-head circuit as a liberal, anti-racist spokesman for the science of genetics. Moreover, by the mid-'60s, Suzuki had burned out as a researcher, partially, he now claims, because he was morally wracked by the arguments of the articulate anti-technologists he was encountering, to the effect that his genetic research work might some day contribute to a great evil. Or, as he says:
"I felt frightened by the awesome responsibility that doing research now seemed to present. I was paralyzed by a reluctance to contribute anymore to a body of knowledge whose potential for misuse had become so clear in my mind … For about a year, I simply stopped doing research. Work in the lab continued, but I was sleepwalking my way through it …"
Even some of the "science work" he did in the '60s was at least partially propagandistic in nature. His grant from the National Cancer Institute (for more work on fruit flies) involved programs where the grant recipients were to give interviews to mainstream science reporters.
But apart from these gigs and limited lecture-circuit work, David had no real avenue to the big time. His fooling around on community television while at the University of Alberta was a nonstarter. His first nibble of celebrity status came in the form of a job as the interviewer for a three-year low-budget CBC TV science talk show called Suzuki on Science. He claims he was brought into the limelight by a certain senior CBC executive stationed in Vancouver, but Suzuki never mentions the executive's name, possibly out of confidentiality, but quite possibly out of ignorance.
Let's step back a bit and examine how well the good doctor understands his own environs:
"The CBC has the same problem that most large North American organizations have. It is built like a pyramid in which people higher up believe they are more important than the people below. As people rise through the ranks they inevitably acquire greater influence and power. And that is too often accompanied by their inflated sense of importance. Nothing indicates this better than the posh offices located in buildings or even cities far away from where the actual production takes place."
And elsewhere:
"You don't know who is sending out the edicts; you only know the people who deliver them."
When one cross-references the list of names Suzuki thinks were instrumental in advancing his career - Knowlton Nash, Keith Christie, James Murray, Diana Filer - with the list of the CBC's board of directors and senior executives, there is no overlap, at least not during the climacterics of his career (1969, 1974, 1978, 1985, 1990). This means the persons he was dealing with were just taking orders from higher-ups, in those far away posh offices, whom he never really got to know. Suzuki appears largely unaware of who selected him to be "Science Guy" or why.
Bemoaning its low budget, Suzuki left Suzuki on Science two years into its three-year planned run. Then, according to his autobiography, he threw himself back into full-time work as a scientist for the next several years. In reality, he was only away from show biz for a three-year period, the latter half of which (1973-4) he served, intriguingly enough, as the National Research Council exchange scientist with the USSR and as the NATO research fellow in West Germany. (This hardly left him much time to get back to his first love, breeding a better fruit fly.)
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It was after these intriguing sojourns overseas that really great things began happening in David's career. In 1974 Suzuki was asked to do a short report on fruit flies for CBC TV:
"I took some flies with me to Toronto … Jim [Murray] was there to oversee it and fired questions at me. I was to answer looking straight into the camera. I did not know Jim had decided to have a host [for Science Magazine] … Although it wasn't intended as such, my interview turned out to be a fortuitous screen test. Jim looked at the footage and decided I would do as the host …"
A few months later he was asked by the UBC Alumni to give a speech in Toronto. In the audience was the soon-to-be producer of Quirks and Quarks [a major CBC Radio science show] who later offered Suzuki the job as host even though he had no radio experience:
"Apparently my talk to the UBC Alumni had been like a test for the job and I had passed."
Suzuki's profile was enhanced by his four-year run (1974-8) as host of Quirks and Quarks but it was his television gigs at Science Magazine and The Nature of Things that made him famous. In 1978 the two TV shows were merged into Nature of Things with David Suzuki. The show continues to have a loyal audience of hundreds of thousands of viewers every week.
Suzuki was a latecomer to The Nature of Things. The show was produced by James Murray, and had been since its third season in 1961. According to Suzuki, Jim Murray was the "heart and brains" of the operation.
And what of the Jim Murray/David Suzuki boss/worker dyad? Suzuki relays a telling incident wherein Suzuki had expressed impatience with one of the show's regular set workers:
"Jim immediately pulled me off the set and took me to a far corner. 'Look Suzuki,' he hissed, 'everyone here is doing the best they can to make you look good. And believe me, with you, that's not easy.' I crept back to the set like the chastised child I deserved to be."
Other telling comments from Suzuki:
"In 1974 I met Jim Murray and my directions and priorities changed for good."
And later:
"I came to love him as the best friend I've ever had."
It is not surprising that a desperate sycophant like the hippie Suzuki would also fully embrace the political ideology of his boss figure. But there is more to this. Here, we will quote Suzuki at length:
"To a large extent the strong ecological perspective of The Nature of Things has been the legacy of John Livingston … [He] was once the executive producer of The Nature of Things and continued to serve as a writer, narrator, and philosophical guru for the unit. His ideas on humans and the environment are radical, running counter to the thrust of Western society. He sees humans as a species out of balance with the rest of nature, puffed up with an unrealistic sense of importance and incorrectly convinced we have the right to exploit nature any way we choose. I came into the unit with a human-centred perspective, reveling in our intellect and culture as special and unique. Livingston's ideas were a shock to me. I encountered them mainly through Jim Murray and reluctantly, over time, I came to understand the profundity of the 'deep ecology' and green movements."
Who prithee then are Messrs. Murray and Livingston? James Murray, the disciple, was born in upper-class Toronto (1932) and raised in the United States, only to return to Toronto to begin his career as a broadcaster/producer in 1957. He switched from radio to television in 1960 an has produced hundreds of science, wilderness, and environmental shows for the CBC and others. His service to the green crusade has won him the Wilderness Medal (1967), the Wilderness Award (1972), the Federation of Ontario Naturalists Distinguished Services Award (1979), the Conservation Award (1986), the North American Association of Environmental Educators Distinguished Service Medal (1988), the UK Wildscreen Festival Outstanding Achievement Award (1988), and the NAAEE Best of the Festival Award (1990). His hobbies are bird watching and photography.
John Livingston, the "guru," his book jacket informs us:

"… is professor emeritus in Environmental Studies at York University. He has been president of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists and the Canadian Audubon Society [now the Canadian Nature Federation] and was the founding trustee of the Nature Conservancy of Canada."
He is the author of several books. His ideology, judging from his most recent book, Rogue Primate, would best be described as old-time misanthropic, human-as-vermin nature worship. He decries the lack of courage his fellow naturalists display by not speaking out about overpopulation, and he speaks in favour of the view that high Third World infant mortality rates are a beneficial safety valve offsetting the rampant breeding of the poor. As with all neo-Malthusians, he views breakthroughs in agricultural technology with horror.
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Let's get the time line straight here. CBC's Toronto Science Unit, where the company's science programming was manufactured, was a nest of neo-Malthusians long before the mysterious sky-magnet plucked Suzuki from the academic scrap heap. The decision to subtly disseminate this type of propaganda had years before been okayed by the CBC's inner sanctum. Suzuki, of course, conformed to his paymaster's ideology during his initial dive for the shoe leather. And the more he lent himself to promoting this political philosophy, the better went his career.
The 1980s were, for Doctor Science, a blur of tuxedos, flash bulbs, and acceptance speeches as he was embraced by the Canadian establishment as a truly loyal bingo-caller. He received awards from Bell Canada and the Royal Bank - two pillars of corporate Canada. He was given regular "eco-guy" column space in the Toronto Star and the Globe & Mail. In 1985, partially through the good graces of the powerful Bassett family of Toronto, he was selected to host the eco-alarmist Planet for the Taking television series, some episodes of which were viewed by over 1.8 million Canadians. (According to Suzuki, John Livingston deserves the credit for the "philosophical thrust" of the series. Suzuki's words were written by some ink-stained wretch named Bill Whitehead.) During these years Suzuki accepted several "honorary" degrees, mostly from Ontario universities. After arch-environmentalist Don Chant was ensconced as Provost of the University of Toronto, he offered Suzuki an excellent position at U of T. (Suzuki used this offer to fandangle an even better deal from UBC.) And to cap the decade off, in 1989 he was granted by the CBC, in addition to his weekly television show which ran throughout the decade and beyond, 10 one-hour radio addresses to be broadcast nationwide on successive Sunday mornings during prime-time spots for further hysterical doom mongering in a series called It's a Matter of Survival.
By this time Doctor Science had discovered what many bingo-callers before him have learned - that you could cash in your broadcast celebrity stature at certain local book publishing houses! This state of affairs is indeed a travesty. For not only was it millions in public funds that made him a celebrity, but also it is largely public funds (i.e. school and public library purchases of his books, tapes, and videos) that is making him rich.
Anyway, by 1989 it was only logical that Suzuki would cut a deal with Toronto's Stoddart Publishing Co. to co-author a book entitled It's a Matter of Survival so as to better harvest the millions of dollars worth of free publicity the radio show of the same name was already getting. Reading this book, it becomes fully evident that the good doctor has contracted the neo-Malthusian bug.
Apparently drawing on his acumen garnered as a research scientist, Dr. Suzuki has come up with a keen analogy in which humans are likened to "fruit flies on a breeding binge." According to DS, "Homo sapiens is a species out of control." He states categorically that the "planet is already overpopulated, according to the most basic ecological criteria" and warns "if we do not deal collectively with the population problem it is now clear that nature will do it for us." Suzuki, like so many environmentalists, subscribes to the view that the population question is central to the rescue of the wilderness and the prevention of catastrophe.

Predictably, Doctor Science uses as sources all the usual suspects: Lester Brown, Paul Ehrlich (talk about recycling), the Population Crisis Committee, the UN Fund for Population Activities, and other individuals whose careers are tied up with the billion-dollar-a-year "population suppression" campaign. He defends the American National Audubon Society's financing of population control programs against critics that charge that the Society was putting "birds before babies."
And where is the problem? According to Suzuki (a father of five), it is in "the Third World, where 95 per cent of the population growth will take place." And that is because "the poor breed more." Why, every year "there is another Mexico to feed," cries Suzuki. "One Indian is born every 1.2 seconds," he gasps. And as for Third World development, China's industrialization will "threaten the entire planet."
But fear not:

"For the many people who worry the only way to ensure human survival is through Draconian laws of compulsory birth control and Big Brother propaganda assaults on the rural poor of our planet, here is another way …"
Whereafter the good doctor prescribes a kinder, gentler medicine to the Third World, albeit to achieve the same results. But wait a minute! "The many people" who want some form of fascist assault on the poor of Asia and Africa? Who has the good doctor been having cocktails with lately?
And as for agricultural technology or, as he calls it, "high-intensity-to-hell-with-tomorrow agriculture," well, it is not the answer because "the fear is that agricultural technology may be buying us time at the cost of a bigger crisis when it comes."
So the political struggle over aquaculture is not about fish poop in the river after all. The main virtue of fish farming, limitless amounts of cheap and highly nutritious protein, is, in the mind of a neo-Malthusian, its main evil. They uniformly state that agricultural innovation will only fuel the population crisis. (They also uniformly hint at other overpopulation-caused socio-political crises that will precede the eventual overpopulation-caused planetary breakdown.)
Nor is aquaculture their only victim. An unprecedented and well-oiled worldwide crusade against genetically modified foods, hormones, herbicides, and other agricultural innovations is literally slowing the pace of human development. And mercenary quacks like Dave Suzuki are but clergy administering the troops."

Yet, Suzuki can still find the time to tell a reporter to f**k off. How green!

R.Bobak said...

The fruit of Pierre Trudeau's loins, son Justin, also trekked (by canoe? sled? walked?)over to Niagara to do some good ol' Grit fearmongering - and oh yeah, to raise dough for the cause.

Here are two headlines on the same story, both on November 6, 2007:

"Trudeau trumpets environment, Liberal policy at party fundraiser"
(Niagara Falls Review)

"Planet on verge of crisis: Trudeau" (St. Catharines Standard)


"Canadians need to think "deeply and broadly" about the environmental challenges facing the country and the world head on, says Justin Trudeau.
The world needs to rethink its assumptions about what it takes to have a planet that will sustain human life.
"Our country, and planet, is on the verge of a crisis," the son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau told 150 people at a Liberal fundraiser Monday.
"It bugs me when people say it's either a choice between the economy or the environment. The economy is, as people say, a wholly owned subset of the environment," he said as the guest speaker at a $100-a-plate fundraiser for the Niagara Falls Liberal riding association at Club Italia.
As the son of one of Canada's most revered, and reviled, prime ministers, the 35-year-old is following in his father's footsteps. He'll be the Liberal candidate in the Quebec riding of Papineau in the next election.
After working as a teacher in his 20s, he's entering politics now because his father instilled in him "a deep sense of responsibility" about being Canadian.
He said he shares his father's belief that politics has the "power" to do good in society.
"It has an impact on individuals a one per cent cut on the GST won't," Trudeau said, referring to last week's tax-cut announcement by federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.
"There is a hunger in people for something bigger to believe in."
Canada shouldn't be content to get rich on its natural resources. It should use that wealth to encourage more people to go on to higher education and to foster the skills that will make a more prosperous society.
He summed up the change he said is need in the way people think of productivity, by comparing Canada to Sweden, two countries rich in natural resources.
"The Swedes invented IKEA. We're still selling boards."
One longtime Liberal said Trudeau is like "Canadian royalty."
When Trudeau mingled with the crowd, many of them wanted to tell him stories about meeting his father. Some recalled meeting Justin as a boy.
"He's such a pleasant man. I listen to him on TV," said Theresa Greco, from Niagara Falls.
Trudeau, who has never before run for office, is showing he's capable of getting into the fray of partisan politics.
During a 10-minute interview, he mentioned Liberal Leader Stephane Dion's name twice. And he took swipes at Conservative policies, calling Prime Minister Stephen Harper's vision "small" and "limited."
The Liberal party needs to provide an alternative vision, he said.
During his speech he praised Dion's three "pillars" of Liberal policy - making Canada more prosperous, greener and fairer.
The Liberal party has been rife with infighting in recent years. Trudeau called for party unity to defeat Harper's Conservatives.
"We're not serving anyone when we're at war with each other."
Give me a break, another wealthy self-righteousness-oozing Liberal comes to Niagara. They're like roaches around here.