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Climate Scientist Sues Skeptic in Heated Exchange

RP Siegel | Friday February 11th, 2011 | 13 Comments

Two Canadian scientists engaged in a heated debate over global warming have taken the gloves off and, in the absence of snowballs, are throwing lawsuits instead.

Dr. Andrew Weaver, a climate modeler at the University of Victoria, filed a libel suit against Tim Ball, a former professor of geography at the University of Winnipeg asserting that an online article published in January’s conservative Canada Free Press contained false and malicious claims about him and his work. The article, which was entitled “Corruption of Climate Change Has Created 30 Lost Years,” was taken down after Dr. Weaver’s lawyer contacted the website. It was replaced by a retraction and apology which states that the article, “contained untrue and disparaging statements.” It went on to say that “we entirely accept that [Mr. Weaver] has a well-deserved international reputation as a climate scientist and that Dr. Ball’s attack on his credentials is unjustified.”

According to the NY Times: The article described Dr. Weaver, who was lead author for the 2007 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as lacking a basic understanding of climate science and incorrectly stated that he would not take part in the next IPCC panel because of concerns about its credibility. Dr. Weaver is already involved in the preparation of the next report from the panel and has never said that he was ending his involvement with it.

The skirmish brings to mind the famous quote about academics which says, “never have so many fought so hard over so little,” although in this case the allegations are quite serious.According to SourceWatch: Dr. Timothy Ball is Chairman and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Natural Resources Stewardship Project (NRSP). Two of the three directors of the NRSP – Timothy Egan and Julio Lagos – are executives with the PR and lobbying company, the High Park Group (HPG). Both HPG and Egan and Lagos work for energy industry clients and companies on energy policy.

As for Ball himself, he was previously a “scientific advisor” to the oil industry-backed organization, Friends of Science and is currently a member of the Board of Research Advisors of the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, a Canadian free-market think tank which is predominantly funded by foundations and corporations. He was also prominently featured as a climate change expert in the 2007 film “The Great Global Warming Swindle (Documentary)” as well as Glenn Beck’s May 2, 2007 special “Exposed: The Climate of Fear.”

Ball told NY Times reporter John Collins Rudolf that he had made “one small mistake” with his statement that Dr. Weaver was bowing out of the IPCC process, but that the article was otherwise accurate. He said he was in the process of hiring a lawyer to fight the suit.

Meanwhile, Dr. Weaver, is also filing a libel suit against The National Post, a conservation Canadian newspaper for publishing “grossly irresponsible falsehoods” in the form of disparaging articles aimed at discrediting him.

The National Post has denied any wrongdoing in the pending action.

According to Roger D. McConchie, Dr. Weaver’s lawyer, while both lawsuits seek monetary damages from the defendants, the litigation was not motivated by financial gain.

Canada Free Press has now dissociated itself from Dr. Ball who had written extensively for the site over the years and removed him from their speaker’s bureau.

RP Siegel is the co-author of the eco-thriller Vapor TrailsLike airplanes, we all leave behind a vapor trail. And though we can easily see others’, we rarely see our own.

Follow RP Siegel on Twitter.


▼▼▼      13 Comments     ▼▼▼

Categorized: Climate Change|

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  • http://environmentalmentalism.blogspot.com/ Meme Mine

    NOW is the time to have these irresponsible journalists charged with TREASON for knowingly feeding this public riot of needless CO2 panic and for knowingly leading our country to war against a false enemy of climate variation. And meanwhile, the UN had allowed carbon trading to trump 3rd world fresh water relief, starvation rescue and 3rd world education for just over 24 years of climate control instead of needed population control. Nice job.
    Call your local D.A. and demand justice!!!!

    • Dotson

      Irresponsible journalists? Who are you talking about? You mean FOX news and the other idiots who would rather make money on a pretend controversy than tell people the truth about our over-consumptive lifestyles?

      I agree with you on handling population and on feeding people. Climate change will make both those problems worse.

  • Mike Haseler

    It’s about time these so called climate “scientists” had some real peer – peer review they can’t fiddle -like a jury!

  • John

    Yeah, I’ve heard Andrew Weaver several times on the radio. A true believer. Reminds me of American Sunday morning TV. Climate Armageddon’s-a-comin’very soon, no, really it is!

  • klem

    Tim Ball should never have written those things about Weaver, he’s way too smart for that. The trouble is, alot of this has happened over the last few years, far more than should have been allowed by magazines and newspapers. Now Dr Ball has a lawsuit on his hands, I’m surprised that more of this has not happened. There have been false statments made by the alarmist constantly as well, many accuse people of being on the payroll of big oil for example when its not true. They should be slapped with libel suits. The accuse the Koch brothers of spending billions to trick the public into beleiving that climate change is false, but they never provide a shred of evidence to back up their claims.

    • http://www.triplepundit.com/author/bob-siegel/ RP Siegel

      Klem,
      How much proof would you like about the Koch brothers? Take a look at this post I put up last April.http://www.triplepundit.com/2010/04/koch-industries-climate-change/
      Of course, they’ve done a lot more since then, though they are now being much more careful to hide their activities.
      Mememine,
      I can see that you are determined to be the last Climate Denier. Hang in there. I bet that before long you’ll find some great deals on beachfront property.

    • http://8020vision.com jaykimball

      Climate change is a high stakes issue – 3 of the top 5 biggest businesses in the world are oil companies. They have done little to pioneer fossil fuel energy alternatives. BP tried to rebrand them selves as “Beyond Petroleum” but backed away a few years ago. Rather than see themselves as in the energy business – fossil and alternative – they have steadfastly embraced old oil.

      In addition, they fund climate change deniers, in what appears to be a self serving attempt to slow down the transition to renewables. For some examples, see:

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jan/25/michaels-climate-sceptic-misled-congress

      For a map of how Exxon is funding climate skeptics, see:

      http://www.exxonsecrets.org/maps.php

      For an excellent interactive map showing how Koch Industries attempts to manipulate and hinder progress on climate change, see:

      http://goo.gl/U9o2t

      Scroll down to the middle of the page for the map.

      And here’s a recent article about professional climate denier Pat Michaels receiving 40% of his funding from petroleum industry.

      http://bit.ly/hQGuDl

      Meanwhile, as the US dithers, China, Germany, and other nations embrace the need and opportunity for cleantech and renewable energy solutions, and lead the way.

      Just 2 weeks ago, China surpassed the US in megawatts of windpower installations. China is hungry for energy, as they build the equivalent of a New York city every two weeks. Renewables are a key focus for them. It should be for the U.S. too, if we can just get the special interests to do the right thing and stop slowing down progress. Big oil has a choice – be part of the problem, or part of the solution. If they don’t want to be part of the solution to renewable energy, they should get out of the way and let others lead and let the U.S. progress. If they will do that, the U.S. will rock the world with innovation and solutions to the pressing global energy and cleantech challenges.

      Jay Kimball
      8020 Vision

  • http://8020vision.com jaykimball

    Climate change is a high stakes issue – 3 of the top 5 biggest businesses in the world are oil companies. They have done little to pioneer fossil fuel energy alternatives. BP tried to rebrand them selves as “Beyond Petroleum” but backed away a few years ago. Rather than see themselves as in the energy business – fossil and alternative – they have steadfastly embraced old oil.

    In addition, they fund climate change deniers, in what appears to be a self serving attempt to slow down the transition to renewables. For some examples, see:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jan/25/michaels-climate-sceptic-misled-congress

    Jay Kimball
    8020 Vision

  • http://8020vision.com jaykimball

    For a map of how Exxon is funding climate skeptics, see:

    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/maps.php

  • http://8020vision.com jaykimball

    For an excellent interactive map showing how Koch Industries attempts to manipulate and hinder progress on climate change, see:

    http://goo.gl/U9o2t

    Scroll down to the middle of the page for the map.

  • http://8020vision.com jaykimball

    And here’s a recent article about professional climate denier Pat Michaels receiving 40% of his funding from petroleum industry.

    http://bit.ly/hQGuDl

    Meanwhile, as the US dithers, China, Germany, and other nations embrace the need and opportunity for cleantech and renewable energy solutions, and lead the way.

    Just 2 weeks ago, China surpassed the US in megawatts of windpower installations. China is hungry for energy, as they build the equivalent of a New York city every two weeks. Renewables are a key focus for them. It should be for the U.S. too, if we can just get the special interests to do the right thing and stop slowing down progress. Big oil has a choice – be part of the problem, or part of the solution. If they don’t want to be part of the solution to renewable energy, they should get out of the way and let others lead and let the U.S. progress. If they will do that, the U.S. will rock the world with innovation and solutions to the pressing global energy and cleantech challenges.

    Jay Kimball
    8020 Vision

  • http://environmentalmentalism.blogspot.com/ Meme Mine

    This CO2 mistake is turning into our “progressive” Iraq War of lies and CO2 death threats to our children so now who’s the neocon of fear mongering? Former believers are swinging progressive support closer to centre and therefore closer to the Republicans and so continued support of Climate change is just dividing environmental progress and dragging progressivism down with it. Since Obama didn’t even mention “climate change” or “EPA” ONCE in the big speech of Feb., we now see grant money evaporating making us look like clowns for history. The republicans announced today that they will cut support for the IPCC so you can see this wave of former believer rage has arrived. People don’t like to be lied to, especially when it’s CO2 death threats to little children. Meanwhile, the UN had allowed carbon trading to trump 3rd world fresh water relief, starvation rescue and 3rd world education for just over 24 years of climate control instead of needed population control. The Deniers Have Won. It’s over. Move on. Admit our exaggerations. Media was the fuel for this CO2 insanity. So “NOW” is the time to have these irresponsible journalists and news editors charged with TREASON for knowingly feeding this public riot of needless CO2 panic and for knowingly leading our country to war against a false enemy of climate variation. Call your local authorities today and demand justice!
    Remove the CO2 and continue anew. Love, not fear. Real planet lovers were happy we dodged the planet’s ultimate crisis.

  • http://www.globalwarmingisreal.com Tom Schueneman

    “Treason!” “Death Threats to Our Children!” “Clowns of History!” Fear-mongering indeed.
    And the clowns appear most vocal in the comments here. Does the word treason carry more weight in all-caps? DOES IT?

    What a sad, pathetic commentary.