Environmental Turncoat

Andrew Weaver is a famous global climate change scientist from the University of Victoria, now a Green Party MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly), who suddenly reversed his position and became an apologist for exploiting the tar sands on the grounds that coal is even worse.

He told one major lie on the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) The Current and committed one major piece of dissembling. I don’t dispute his statistics, just his dishonest interpretations.

The lie was this: He pointed out that if all the tar sands were burned it would raise the average global temperature of the earth 0.36°C (0.65°F). He then dismissed this as insignificant, even though he knew full well even 2.0°C (3.6°F) is unacceptable. That represents a massive and disproportionate global contribution from a tiny nation like Canada. It is not as though we Canadians are the only ones responsible for greenhouse gases. It all adds up. Canada is only 0.4% of the world’s population. We have no business contributing more than 0.4% of the world’s pollution.

Weaver’s dissembling was more subtle. He compared the burning all the tar sands with burning all the coal anywhere on earth. At the current rate of consumption, coal will last for 238 years. Unlike the tar sands, nobody is going to burn all the world’s coal in one decade. The effects of global warming will become so severe that most of that coal will never be burned. Weaver wants his audience to believe that the alternative to burning the Alberta tar sands is to burn all the coal on the planet. This is nonsense. Weaver is comparing apples and oranges. He is playing a psychological trick on his audience to convince them to approve of the tar sands. He knew perfectly the well the only honest way to compare coal and tar sands would be to compare a quantity of coal containing equal energy to the tar sands, not the entire world’s supply. Using his crooked methods, he could claim apple juice had way more vitamin C than orange juice. All he would have to do would be compare 100 litres (3.53 cubic feet) of apple juice with 1 litre (1.06 US quarts) of orange juice.

Why is he doing this? I suspect he had an encounter with the dark side of the force in the form of a bribe or a threat. He is completely correct to raise the alarm about coal, but not pooh-pooh concern for the tar sands. What he is doing is so cheap and transparently dishonest, he well could be hoping to be disgraced. He is Leader of the Green Party in BC. This reflects badly on the integrity of the party, though I find it inconceivable the federal leader Elizabeth May could have been corrupted too.

~ Roedy (1948-02-04 age:69)