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RP Siegel headshot

Climate Scientist Sues Skeptic in Heated Exchange

Words by RP Siegel

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.

RP Siegel headshotRP Siegel

RP Siegel (1952-2021), was an author and inventor who shined a powerful light on numerous environmental and technological topics. His work appeared in TriplePundit, GreenBiz, Justmeans, CSRWire, Sustainable Brands, Grist, Strategy+Business, Mechanical Engineering,  Design News, PolicyInnovations, Social Earth, Environmental Science, 3BL Media, ThomasNet, Huffington Post, Eniday, and engineering.com among others . He was the co-author, with Roger Saillant, of Vapor Trails, an adventure novel that shows climate change from a human perspective. RP was a professional engineer - a prolific inventor with 53 patents and President of Rain Mountain LLC a an independent product development group. RP was the winner of the 2015 Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week blogging competition. RP passed away on September 30, 2021. We here at TriplePundit will always be grateful for his insight, wit and hard work.


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