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April 25 2011

23:07

New Weaver Book a Gift for the Climate Confused

Canadian readers should keep an eye out for Generation Us, a tiny climate change primer by University of Victoria Professor Andrew Weaver, the Canada Research Chair in Climate Modelling and Analysis.

Subtitled The Challenge of Global Warming, Generation Us is like a climate change CliffNotes. Published by Raven Books as part of a "Rapid Reads" series, this is a short, succinct, clear and readable rendering of the science - followed by a passionate appeal for us all to move from "Generation Me" (which really seems to have outlasted its stylishness) to Generation Us, in which we start taking seriously the opportunity we have to mitigate the climate damage that we have already inflicted on future generations.

Actually, if you're looking for an informed tour through the science, I might recommend Weaver's earlier book even more highly. In Keeping Our Cool, Weaver drilled down into the topic a bit more thoroughly, even explaining precisely how scientists such as Lonnie Thompson torture 650,000-year-old oxygen isotopes to get them to admit what the temperature was on the year they were frozen into the Antarctic plains.

But for someone coming to this topic without any science background, GenUs is a perfect introduction - and as such is an important addition to the climate library.<!--break-->

Reposted by02mydafsoup-01 02mydafsoup-01

March 30 2011

00:22

Michael Mann suing Tim Ball for libel

Dr. Michael Mann, Director of the Earth Systems Science Center at Penn State University, is suing the climate change denier Dr. Tim Ball and the think tank/web site Frontier Centre for Public Policy for libel - and particularly for an interview in which, in answer to the question, "Do you think anyone will be prosecuted for fraud?" Ball responds, "Michael Mann at Penn State should be in the State Pen, not Penn State."

The Frontier Centre is a Canadian version of the Heartland Institute. The website was reportedly given an opportunity to apologize for the slight, which they declined - although they cleansed the interview of the quote featured above. (It originally appeared directly after the line: "There is a move amongst the Attorney Generals in the States to start prosecuting.")

The suits are also stacking up for Ball, who is already facing a similar action from the Canadian climate scientist Andrew Weaver.

Ball's last foray into the court ended badly. Ball attempted to sue another Canadian scientist, Dr. Dan Johnson, in 2006, complaining that a letter that Johnson had written to the Calgary Herald suggested that Ball had lied about his resume. When Johnson's Statement of Defence demonstrated that Ball HAD lied about his resume, Ball abandoned the suit.<!--break-->

February 08 2011

20:56

Tim Ball Stands By His Slander

Facing a libel suit for an article slandering University of Victoria Professor Andrew Weaver as someone who "knew very little about climate change" and is therefore unfit to teach, Tim Ball has told the New York Times, "I stand by the story."

The NYT also wrote: "The apology and retraction of the story by Canada Free Press 'hung me out to dry,' Dr. Ball added, saying he was in the process of hiring a lawyer to fight the lawsuit."

Ball admits that he was incorrect in also saying that Weaver was "abandoning the sinking ship" of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Weaver is, in fact, a lead author in the upcoming Fifth Assessment Report). But he dismisses this as "one small mistake."

Ball's "small mistake" may be in thinking that he can continue to say any darn thing he likes, about climate change or the people involved in legitimate research, and never have to account for its accuracy. Not for much longer ....<!--break-->

13:12

Climate Scientist Sues Skeptic for Libel

An article described an expert who served as a lead author of a crucial 2007 report as lacking a basic understanding of climate science -- and incorrectly stated that he would not take part in the next United Nations climate-change panel because of concerns about its credibility.

February 04 2011

19:53

Andrew Weaver Sues Tim Ball for Libel

University of Victoria Professor Andrew Weaver, the Canada Research Chair in Climate Modelling and Analysis, has filed suit for libel against freelance climate change denier Tim Ball.

The suit (attached below) arises from an article that Ball penned for the right-wingy Canada Free Press website, which has since apologized to Weaver for its numerous inaccuracies and stripped from its publicly available pages pretty much everything that Ball has ever written.

In the article, Ball, a former geography professor at the University of Winnipeg with an indifferent academic record and a lifetime peer-reviewed literature output of just four articles (none of them in atmospheric physics), assailed Weaver as uninformed about climate, unqualified to teach and compromised by his lavish funding, accusations for which he offered no proof whatever.

Weaver, a member of the Royal Society of Canada who has authored more than 190 papers, was also a lead author on three of the four reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climage Change (IPCC), and is lined up as a lead author on the fifth. He's also won pretty much all the academic and teaching awards that are available to a Canadian professor who has not yet had his 50th birthday. Ball, famously slow to notice the obvious, apparently didn't realize that he was overmatched.<!--break-->

Of course, it's not the first time. Ball sued University of Lethbridge Professor Dan Johnson in October 2006 over imagined slights in a letter to the editor that Johnson had written to the Calgary Herald. When both Johnson and the Herald filed a devastating Statements of Defence, Ball turned tail and ran.

But regardless that the suit had exposed the numerous falsehoods that once coloured Balls resume - and regardless that a University of Calgary audit confirmed that Ball had been accepting money that had been sluiced through a university slush fund that had been set up to conceal the money's oil industry origins, Ball has continued to write and speak, claiming some higher knowledge of the workings of climate change - actually, of the lack of climate change.

Suddenly, however, he appears to have gone quiet.

AttachmentSize Weaver-Ball lawsuit.pdf820.57 KB

April 13 2010

01:20

Tim Ball in Concert: Battered by the Facts

Canadian denier-in-chief, the retired geographer Dr. Tim Ball, got seriously (though not physically) roughed up last week in a presentation to the University of Victoria Young Conservatives Club.

Apparently expecting a room full of docile Stephen Harper fans, Ball found himself instead in front of a group of burgeoning climate scientists - young people who were quick to challenge him when he said things that were pointedly untrue.

For example, after describing the effect of Milankovitch cycles on climate, Ball told the students that these predictable changes in Earth's orbit and tilt are not included in modern climate models.

"None of this is included in the computer models that are used to tell you that the climate is changing.56:24 It’s not even included. The models they’re doing here on campus. They’re not in there. Sorry."

But at 1:01:25, a student responds: "We do include it, though. I am with the UVic climate lab and we do include it in our models. It’s a standard parameter."<!--break-->

The conversation, and the attached recording (NB: With my apologies, the record exceeds the DSB capacity; I will convene with the tech experts tomorrow and try to get it posted), went on for two-and-a-half painful hours, with Ball dismissing all climate science as a fiction promulgated by a small group of ideologues and the students - laptops in hand - challenging and dismissing his arguments on the basis of ready information.

At times, though, it ground down to the typical denier debate, with Ball saying things that aren't true, being correcting, but refusing to acknowledge his inaccuracy.

 

For example, beginning at 1:21:20, he launches into a whole disquisition about how real scientists have been hamstrung by the IPCC because the politicians involved drew terms of reference that were ruinously restrictive:

"When it appears that the politicians are doing the honorable thing and having an arms length not political investigation, well they’re not doing that at all," Ball began.

"Here’s what Maurice Strong did with the IPCC: he defined a changing climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity. Don’t look at what nature’s doing, only at what the human causes are."

Student: (unintelligible)

Ball: "Yes, but they don’t look at the natural climate variability."

Student sotto voce “not true, we look at natural variation”

Ball, offering a new slide: "This is the definition produced by the United Nations Environment Program which was then adopted by the IPCC. This is the definition of what they’re directed to look at. They’re directed to only look at climate change that is due to human activity."

Student: “What about that whole second half (of the definition printed on the slide): ‘in addition to natural climate variability.’”

Ball: "Yeah, but they don’t do that."

Student: "But it just says to do it."

Ball: "You look at the list of forcings they have; it’s only those forcings caused by human activity."

Student: "You’re saying that volcanoes are caused by humans?"

Ball: "Well exactly. The volcanoes is one and look at the thing I showed you with Milankovich."

Student: "Yeah, but the IPCC accounts for volcanic activity AND Milankovich cycles."

 

Ball: "They identify them, but they do not consider them in their models …."

Student: "They certainly do …."

Ball: "No then don’t …."

Student: "Yes they do: I run models … ((interrupted)"

It's worth noting that Dr. Andrew Weaver, who is the Canada Research Chair in Climate Modelling and Analysis and whose models is one of the best in the world, works and teaches at UVic and employs some of his students to help run his models. If Tim Ball wanted to make up information about what is considered in computer models, he was doing it in the wrong venue."

Ball said many other silly things during the course of the "lecture." And many things that have previously been proved untrue. For instance, he said that it is "simply not true" that he has been paid by oil companies, regardless that time and again, people have tracked the source of his income to oil and gas companies or energy industry lobby groups.

But the most offensive moments come when Ball accuses OTHER people of irresponsibility.

"Don’t get me wrong, if you want to play with your models in the lab, that’s fine. But you have a scientific responsibility which I happen to think you’re not fulfilling. But when you go public with your models and say your model works and you have to base your whole policy for the world on this, that’s a whole different responsibility."

So, Tim Ball thinks it's okay to make public policy on the basis of uninformed criticism of models he has never studied. He argues that 17th century paintings are all the evidence he needs to demonstrate that current warming is natural and not a problem. He says things that are not true and then refuses to acknowledge his error when corrected. And he yet he feels confident to criticize the ethics of the best scientists currently working in the field.

It's appalling.

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