A Tardy Canadian Tackles An Inconvenient Truth

Fri, 2009-01-30 12:09Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

A Tardy Canadian Tackles An Inconvenient Truth

More Gore-Bashing

The neo-con Frontier Centre for Public Policy, long a promoter of oil-sponsored deniers of climate change, has produced a new “background paper” that challenges the showing of An Inconvenient Truth in Canadian schools on the basis of a 15-month-old UK Court decision.

The report, written by high school social studies teacher and Steinbach, Manitoba city councillor Michael Zwaagstra, declares that “there is no demonstrable causal relationship between the CO2 record and the temperature record at any point in earth’s history,” and goes on to complain that Gore’s movie (which presents this information rather more accurately) should therefore only be allowed into Canadian schools with a stern warning to students.

Just for the record, the UK Judge who heard the case of Stuart Dimmock vs The Secretary of State for Education and Skills concluded that Al Gore’s Academy Award-winning movie was “substantially founded upon scientific research and fact.” In fact, he accepted unreservedly this characterization of the movie:

The Film advances four main scientific hypotheses, each of which is very well supported by research published in respected, peer-reviewed journals and accords with the latest conclusions of the IPCC:

(1) global average temperatures have been rising significantly over the past half century and are likely to continue to rise (“climate change”);

(2) climate change is mainly attributable to man-made emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide (“greenhouse gases”);

(3) climate change will, if unchecked, have significant adverse effects on the world and its populations; and

(4) there are measures which individuals and governments can take which will help to reduce climate change or mitigate its effects.

These points, said Mr. Justice Burton, “are supported by a vast quantity of research published in peer-reviewed journals worldwide and by the great majority of the world’s climate scientists.”

The judge dismissed Stuart Dimmock’s motion to have AIT thrown out of UK schools and he derided Dimmock’s request to have it accompanied by a denier documentary as tantamount to demanding that the school system always present minority views on science - such as, per the judge’s own example, that the moon was “made out of green cheese.”

It’s not clear what caused teacher Zwaagstra to wake up in the apparently sleepy metropolis of Steinbach (pop. 13,000), but his objection seems both slow off the mark and (given its sponsorship) predictably wrong-headed. But bear in mind that the FCPP has a history of sponsoring disinformation in the school system.

Bottom line:

Should students be advised of possible political bias or (arguable) overstatement in a movie like Gore’s? Absolutely.

Would I trust Michael Zwaagstra (or anyone from the FCPP) to give that advice evenhandedly? Not a statistically significant chance in hell.


This month we’re giving away FREE copies Nobel Laureate Dr. Andrew Weaver’s new book Keeping Our Cool: Canada in a Warming World.

Go here to find out more details about DeSmogBlog’s monthly book give-away.