The Stupid. It Burns.

December 12, 2013

The Canadians, eh? Remember those nice, civilized people who lived up north of us?
They’re gone.
They’re under new management, which is cleaning house.
Starting with burning the libraries.

The Tyee, British Columbia:

The Harper government has dismantled one of the world’s top aquatic and fishery libraries as part of its agenda to reduce government as well as limit the role of environmental science in policy decision-making.

Last week the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which is closing five of its seven libraries, allowed scientists, consultants and members of the public to scavenge through what remained of Eric Marshall Library belonging to the Freshwater Institute at the University of Manitoba.

One woman showed up to pick up Christmas gifts for a son interested in environmental science. Other material went into dumpsters. Consultants walked home with piles of “grey material” such as 30-year-old reports on Arctic gas drilling.

Nearly 40,000 books and papers were relocated to a federal library in Sidney, B.C.

“It was a world class library with some of the finest environmental science and freshwater book collections in the world. It was certainly the best in Canada, but it’s no more,” said Burt Ayles, a 68-year-old retired research scientist and former regional director general for freshwaters in central Canada and the Arctic.

Established in 1973, when foreign governments hailed Canada as a world leader in freshwater science and protection, the library housed tens of thousands of reports, maps, charts and books, including material dating back to the 1880s.

The library contained fishery reports on the decline of sturgeon fishing in Lake Winnipeg from the 1890s, said Ayles, and served as invaluable intellectual capital for public researchers at the Freshwater Institute and world famous Experimental Lakes Area.

“The loss of this library and its impact on fisheries and environmental science is equivalent to Rome destroying the Royal Library of Alexandria in Egypt. It’s equal to that,” said Ayles. At the time, Alexandria boasted the world’s largest collection in the ancient world.

Closure ‘makes us poorer as a nation’: scientist

Before Fisheries and Oceans hired a librarian to dispose of the library’s contents, the collection duly reflected the importance of freshwater in the nation’s geography, say scientists.

Canada holds more than 20 per cent of the surface freshwater in the world, and its rivers and streams annually transport almost 10 per cent of the world flow of freshwater. Canada is also one of the world’s largest seafood-exporting nations.

“I was sickened,” said one prominent research scientist who had worked for the federal government for 30 years, and who did not want to be identified. “All that intellectual capital is now gone. It’s like a book burning. It’s the destruction of our cultural heritage. It just makes us poorer as a nation.”

“There are so many willing accomplices to what’s going on,” the scientist added. “All of our federal libraries and archives are being diminished. It’s an ideological thing coming from a right-wing libertarian government.”

Since 2012, the government has closed or consolidated more than a dozen federal libraries at Parks Canada, Environment Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Foreign Affairs, Citizenship and Immigration and Canadian Heritage (see sidebar).

“The government is either incompetent or malevolent or both,” added Ayles.

No scientist interviewed by The Tyee thought digital libraries could replace what has been destroyed.

Digital libraries, for example, often don’t include older material and journals and paradoxically reduce access to material due to payment schemes. They restrict rather than expand readership, say scientists.

“You don’t get rid of intellectual capital because one day you might need it, and if you have squandered it then you must redo it,” explained one researcher. “People are not being told the truth about what is happening in this country.”

Federal cuts by the Harper government have forced Fisheries and Oceans to lay off hundreds of researchers, as well as 700 Coast Guard workers; dismantle a marine contaminants program; and close the Kitsilano Coast Guard station, the first line of defence against oil spills. After dramatic cuts to the Canada Offshore Oil, Gas and Energy Research Centre at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, its director, Ken Lee, an oil spill expert, saw the writing on the wall and took a job in Australia.

Given that the Fisheries Act has been gutted in response to lobbying by energy companies (they found habitat protection “onerous” and it has been removed), government supporters say the infrastructure to protect fish and freshwater is no longer necessary.

The library’s closing did not surprise retired water ecologist David Schindler. “In retrospect, I am not surprised at all to find them trashing scientific libraries,” he said.

“Paranoid ideologues have burned books and records throughout human history to try to squelch dissenting visions that they view as heretical, and to anyone who worships the great God Economy monotheistically, environmental science is heresy.”

The library’s closure pours salt on another wound: the dismantling of the world-famous Experimental Lakes Area (ELA).

For nearly 50 years, scientists from around the world have used 58 lakes in northern Ontario for real, in-the-field experiments. These whole-lake studies led to groundbreaking insights on acid rain, mercury transport, gender-bending hormones and phosphate pollution. They also produced some of the longest running data on climate change’s impact on water and fish.

The Harper government stopped funding the $2-million facility in 2012, saying its services were no longer needed or redundant. At the time, project scientists were planning to do experiments on bitumen pollutants and their impact on fish and other species.

Former science minister Gerry Goodyear defended the closure by arguing that whole-lake experiments like those performed at ELA could be replaced by smaller scale experiments in labs where they would not jeopardize the entire lake.

Jules Blais, president of the Society of Canadian Limnologists, replied in a May 6, 2013 letter that Goodyear’s comments were not only misleading, but inaccurate. Scientists uniformly agree that whole-lake research offers the best evidence to guide policy, Blais wrote, while “small-scale experiments are inadequate to address issues related to ecosystem services, food web structure, land-water interactions, air-water interactions, shoreline communities, and migratory species.”

Furthermore, “experiments at the ELA are carefully designed to simulate environmentally-relevant conditions, and are only performed if ecosystems will recover naturally from the manipulation,” wrote Blais, a leading authority on mercury pollution.

The closure of the library, which served as a vital source for the ELA, will make it harder for Winnipeg’s International Institute for Sustainable Development to rescue what remains of the team of scientists that ran the ELA. A last minute deal, supported by funding by the Ontario government, has been compromised by the federal government. The ELA’s remaining researchers all received “surplus letters” last week, which makes it difficult to retain ELA staff.

Schindler, one of the first directors of the ELA, has long criticized the pace and scale of Canadian tar sands production. He co-authored two significant studies that showed the tar sands industry was responsible for significant pollution of waterways in the region. The studies forced Ottawa to develop a new monitoring program for the mega-project.

The ELA cost $2 million a year to maintain, but its research saved governments around the world billions of dollars by preventing water contamination, Schindler said.


145 Responses to “The Stupid. It Burns.”

    • dumboldguy Says:

      An excellent video by Peter from two years ago. Thank you for posting it. I’m sorry someone didn’t do it earlier and save me the effort of speaking truth about the 32,000 “scientists” and countering daveburton’s lies. Peter has been busy at AGU, I guess, or he might have..

      PS, for anyone who wants to know what a younger daveburton looks and sounds like, he appears in the last minute of this video (being escorted OUT by a security guy)

    • daveburton Says:

      It’s not 32,000 scientists. It’s “only” 31,487.

      Other than that, the video is a crock.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        LOL Will Dave ever make the connection between the title of this site (Climate Denial CROCK of the Week) and the fact that some of Peter’s posts are meant to expose the misinformation, ignorance, and outright lies spread by the denier community? Like Dave’s spoutings about the Petition Project. Yes, Dave, what you say about the petition is the “crock” under discussion here, not the excellent and TRUTHFUL video, and it’s a crock of **** rather than Mom’s chicken noodle soup.

        PS Anyone who would assign any validity to the 31,487 number is either joking or a fool.

        • daveburton Says:

          You’re in denial, old guy.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            No, Dave, YOU are the one who is in denial, and you have shown it quite a few times on several threads, this being just the most recent.

            You just can’t seem to grasp or accept even A SINGLE ONE of the many telling arguments against the Petition. What other explanation can there be for that but your confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance, i.e. “denial”?

  1. Oldguyfox – you miss dube and, huh? Dave is not yet puzzled by sea level acceleration and the question I posed, how do you know there’s no acceleration if the record is too short by your own standards,only 80 years. (The required length is?..) Then there’s peters video re sea level rise, saying rise is accelerating. What an ego. A full video devoted to him and no reply. See, smart fox, I helped out. Don’t worry. Logic doesn’t phase one tide gauge Dave. I am getting used to denierville. If a denier is given proof, he changes the subject. In answer to why dube is gone, maybe he is pondering why a sphere with an energy source inside it is always hotter than its exterior. Swallow meanwhile is wondering why central England cannot represent the global average temperature. That does not mean they won’t be back. After all dube repeated the ages old 800 year lag crock. Moved right to water vapor and feed backs. Maybe he’s looking for a new crock? Such is the ego,that after many mistakes, no admission, and no acknowledgement that there might be something generally wrong with reasoning, like perhaps it’s not true that they can substitute their amateurish investigation for the efforts of professional peer reviewed scientists. Dense.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Don’t miss Doobie and Stonehead, but DO wonder if they have been fired by the “Trolls’R’Us” shop (for terminal stupidity, perhaps?) Maybe daveburton can find out for us at the next T’R’U staff meeting?

      PS Some conspiracy theorists think there is a vast network of denier trolls paid by the fossil fuel interests with hidden money. They are assigned specific websites and newspapers to bombard with misinformation and denialist smoke-blowing. The counter argument from the other side is that the good guys are purposely sending THEIR trolls out to pretend that they are mindless and willfully ignorant denier trolls (like you-know-who), and thereby make deniers look bad. Kind of like the “climate activists” that daveburton insists sabotaged the Oregon Petition by submitting cards from “Mickey Mouse” et al. Of course, it doesn’t really matter if MM (and Donald Duck) are removed from the petition signatory list or not—there are so many unverified names on there that two more hardly matter.

      • daveburton Says:

        Old guy, I think you know perfectly well that “Mickey Mouse” and “Donald Duck” never made it onto the Global Warming Petition Project signatory list.

        Climate activists did attempt to sabotage the project by submitting forged names & credentials, and one of them (a fake microbiologist that they named Geri Halliwell) actually appeared on the list briefly, before the entry was discovered as fraudulent and removed.

        Of course, OISM did more verification of signatory credentials than Zimmerman did with her “two minute” Internet-based survey. But her survey doesn’t bother you. I wonder why?

        My guess is that it’s the same reason that you’re so agitated about one (1) out of 31,488 incorrect skeptic entries on the the Petition Project list, but you don’t care at all about Doran & Zimmerman omitting two (2) out of the four (4) skeptics that they identified among their 79 “most specialized and knowledgeable respondents.”

        Robinson & OISM’s 0.0032% error is a bigger deal to you than Doran & Zimmerman’s 50% error. But you wouldn’t be biased at all, right?

        Also, I don’t know why you seem to doubt that it was “climate activists” who tried to sabotage the project. If it wasn’t climate activists, then who do you think did it?

        BTW, if you know how to contact the “fossil fuel interests” with the “hidden money,” will you please tell them to hurry up and pay me? My check is waaaaay overdue, and I have bills to pay.

        • daveburton Says:

          Plus… Robinson & OISM promptly corrected their 0.0032% error in the number of skeptics, but Doran & Zimmerman still haven’t 50% error in the number of skeptics.

          But you still think that Doran/Zimmerman is the more trustworthy result, and you accuse me of being in denial?

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Go away, Dave. Your attempts to beat that dead horse only embarrass you.

            Unless of course, you want to instead try to honestly rebut any of the MANY real points I have made about the list—like what environmental and chemical engineers do and how almost none of it is pertinent to climate change?. Or how the definitions I provided for engineer and scientist are more valid than your distortions?

            I am patient—-I am waiting.

          • daveburton Says:

            I meant “still haven’t corrected the 50% error.” Sorry.

          • jsam Says:

            I, for one, look forward to the OISM project, its methodology and results appearing in a reputable peer-reviewed journal.

          • greenman3610 Says:

            since they could not hope to get published in a real journal, they mocked it up to make it look like a published paper, and sent it out to a list of scientists. The national academy was not amused.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Yes, Dave spent months just getting his name added to the list of signatories. Perhaps he would be willing to spend a few centuries getting the OISM Petition Project and its associated “science” cleaned up enough that any reputable journal would even put it on the “got it and may look at it some day” list.

            Of course, he had better not be living in either Miami or coastal NC when he finishes or his papers will get wet.

          • daveburton Says:

            What nonsense. They formatted it like a scholarly paper (and ended up publishing it in a mediocre journal). So what?

            Formatting a paper in two columns with title and authors at the top and references at the end doesn’t make a document “look like a published paper” in the PNAS to anyone who has ever seen one, any more than binding it in black leather would make it “look like a Bible.” PNAS papers say PNAS on them, of course. This paper didn’t.

            The NAS press release was just a cheap, politically-motivated jab. If there’s anyone with any sense there, they’re surely embarrassed about it, now.

            BTW, speaking of the NAS’s embarrassment, have you seen this NAS temperature graph, from the days of the “new ice age” scare?

            (h/t to sg)

          • greenman3610 Says:

            The Academy responded to hundreds of scientists who knew a scam when they saw it. It is not a one-off, but rather, a consistent ploy of the denialists – as witnessed by a recent mailing from the Heartland Institute made up to look like it was from the American Meteorological Society, and distorting the results of a paper, according to the paper’s author.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Dave’s b-a-a-a-c-k, and telling whoppers again. “The NAS press release was just a cheap, politically-motivated jab”. Lord love a duck, Dave! Have you even read what the NAS had to say about the OISM’s attempted hoax? You got it backwards—-the NAS responded firmly but politely to what was a “cheap, politically motivated attempt” by the OISM to capitalize on the prestige of the NAS. If you had any sense, you wouldn’t be here embarrassing yourself yet again with such an obvious “kick me” sign on your back.

            And Dave is grasping at straws again in an attempt to give us “scientific facts” —-a link to a graph from 1975? 1975? And from daveburton’s patented horsepucky files? The ones I wasted so much time looking at to discover they were horsepucky? Incredible!

          • daveburton Says:

            That’s not right, Peter. Keith Seitter threw a fit because he didn’t like the results of the survey, and he didn’t like Heartland reporting them without his spin.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Uh, Peter? This looks like a daveburton Gallop to distract us and it’s certainly not brief. Yellow card time, maybe?

          • greenman3610 Says:

            I said I would brutally edit overly long posts. I meant it.

          • daveburton Says:

            Old guy wrote, “a link to a graph from 1975? 1975?”

            The significance of the 1975 NAS graph of Northern Hemisphere temperatures is that it shows that in 1975 the temperature records were reported as showing that the Northern Hemisphere had been cooling sharply since peaking in about 1938, and in fact had already cooled down to 1900 levels by the late 1960s. The great fear of leading alarmist climatologists, in the 1970s, was that we were heading into a renewed ice age, and that NAS graph supported that fear.

            Today those same temperature records have been adjusted to erase almost all of the post-1938 cooling, thereby harmonizing them with the great fear of leading alarmist climatologists, these days, that we are heading into a period of extreme warmth.

            BTW, that graph which old guy calls “from daveburton’s patented horsepucky files” is actually from p. 139 of the March 1, 1975 issue (vol 107) of Science News, which credited the NAS as the source. If you google for “SN1975_Climate_change_chilling_possibilities.pdf” you’ll find several copies of the article on the web.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            “BTW, that graph which old guy calls “from daveburton’s patented horsepucky files” is actually from….”

            I got that, Dave, and it is only present in your horsepucky files so that you can throw it against the wall as you try to confuse the issue. 1975 was nearly 40 years ago, and we’ve learned a lot since then, including recognizing the need to “adjust” some data.

          • greenman3610 Says:

            dave, it was in 1975 that Wally Broeker published his famous article in Science,
            “Climate Change: Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?”


            weird that in the midst of what you claim to be a panic about cooling, that a leading
            climate scientist at a leading institution saw thru what was happening in the recent temp record
            and predicted the sharp warming that began that same year.

          • daveburton Says:

            Old guy wrote, “1975 was nearly 40 years ago, and we’ve learned a lot since then, including recognizing the need to “adjust” some data.”

            Does it not trouble you at all that the “adjustments” to old data always seem to conveniently support the ideologies of the people doing the adjusting? It’s like the weather: if they don’t like the old data, wait awhile, and they’ll change it to something they like better.

            The technologies for measuring and recording temperatures really didn’t change at all between 1938 and 1970. They had plain thermometers, Six’s registering thermometers (for recording daily highs and lows), and sometimes strip-chart recorders.

            Nor is there any reason to think that American meteorologists varied in competence significantly between 1938 and 1970. They weren’t idiots in either year, and they certainly did not habitually make errors in measurement averaging a full degree Fahrenheit!

            Yet the subsequent “adjustments” which conveniently erased nearly all of the cooling trend over that period, both for the U.S. 48 States and for the entire Northern Hemisphere, were about that large, and they’ve also added warming via adjustments to subsequent years. A total of about 1.25 °F of warming has been added by adjustments to the surface temperature record for the 48 contiguous U.S. States.

            It strains credulity to suppose that it is pure coincidence that the NCDC adjustments always reinforce their global warming narrative.

          • greenman3610 Says:

            “It strains credulity to suppose that it is pure coincidence that the NCDC adjustments always reinforce their global warming narrative.”
            unless climate has been warming consistently.
            Your appeal to a report from 1987 on US-only temps is rather weak.
            It strains credulity to imagine that every professional scientific body on the planet is in on the conspiracy, Dave.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            If not quite a daveburton Gallop, it’s at least a trot. Peter said enough, I won’t add to it except to say he’s right.

          • daveburton Says:

            I wrote, “It strains credulity to suppose that it is pure coincidence that the NCDC adjustments always reinforce their global warming narrative.”

            Peter replied, “unless climate has been warming consistently.”

            Peter, this is an “aside,” but I’m sure you know that climate actually hasn’t “been warming consistently.” In both the USA and in the broader northern hemisphere, it actually cooled either rapidly (according to the unadjusted data) or slightly (according to the revised data) from its peak around 1938 until into the 1970s.

            But that’s really not the point. What you need to understand is that neither cooling nor warming could have caused meteorologists to consistently botch their measurements by more than a full degree Farenheit in the 1930s, using techniques and equipment which were essentially identical to those used in the 1960s and 1970s.

            What do you think could have caused meteorologists to err severely in the late 1930s, but not in the 1970s, using the same techniques and equipment?

            Peter continued, “It strains credulity to imagine that every professional scientific body on the planet is in on the conspiracy, Dave.”

            What you call a “conspiracy” is actually a psychological phenomenon called “groupthink.” You can google it. There’s also a good discussion of it (in a different context) here:

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Lord love duck, but Dave has done it again!

            Putting aside the irony of a conservative who suffers greatly from confirmation bias lecturing us about “conspiracy” and “group think”, and a computer engineer “scientist” Oregon Petition Signer who feels competent to talk about “psychological phenomena”, everyone should check out Dave’s link to see what he means by “different context”.

            It’s an article from the American Enterprise Institute, written by a professor at a Christian college, and it’s about Gay Parenting! Truly a “different” context there.

          • daveburton Says:

            Old guy, if you’d bothered to read before ridiculing you’d have known that Scientific Groupthink and Gay Parenting by Richard E. Redding was adapted from Politicized Science, Society, 50, 439-446, doi:10.1007/s12115-013-9686-5, and you’d also understand it’s applicability to the climate debate.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Oh, I did read it and did understand its (limited) applicability to climate science. It is WAY more applicable to AGW deniers and conservatives like you, who display “group think” in so many ways.

            And it was “adapted”, huh? That’s what YOU do all the time, Dave, and that’s what gives the term a bad name.

          • daveburton Says:

            Peter wrote, “weird that in the midst of what you claim to be a panic about cooling, that a leading climate scientist… predicted the sharp warming that began that same year.”

            It’s no weirder than the fact that some top skeptical climate scientists “got it right” about the halt in warming that began ~15 years ago.

            Note that at least Wally Broeker didn’t dispute that the planet had cooled since 1940. These days a lot of climate alarmists want to pretend that never even happened, even claiming that “climate has been warming consistently” during the 20th and 21st centuries.

            Note, too, Broeker’s big caveat at the beginning: “If man-made dust is unimportant as a major cause of climatic change…” In the 1970s, as he knew, it was widely claimed that man-made particulate/aerosol emissions were cooling the planet, and there was a major regulatory program in place to curb that pollution.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          More yadayadayada smoke blowing from Dave. Anything to deflect and confuse. Of COURSE, I know perfectly well that “Mickey Mouse” and “Donald Duck” never made it onto the Global Warming Petition Project signatory list, just as I know that you can offer NO proof that any “Climate activists” sabotaged the project. Some deliberately submitted a few false names and did it openly to show how poorly the Project verified signatories. That’s not sabotage, it’s a demonstration of how inadequate of the “discovery” process used by the Project was. And I do believe that more than one of those names appeared on the list—that’s info that the Project posted even on the site—-look under FAQ’s.

          Many “climate activists” have looked at the list in detail and googled thousqnds of the signatories based on the limited data the project provides—many don’t seem to exist—perhaps it would be easier if the project had asked for academic affiliation so that alumni lists could have been scanned, but that info is conveniently unknown to anyone.

          I never hired anyone on the basis of what they self-certified as their background and knowledge, Dave, and if Geeks Alive Computer Rescue ever grows to the point that it needs a third employee, I hope you won’t either. We wanted transcripts, resumes, references—the Petition Project didn’t want that because it would have made it harder to pull off the hoax. It is SO easy to just say ~32,000 and not have to prove it.

          It is bald-faced BS to say “OISM did more verification of signatory credentials than Zimmerman did”. You use Zimmerman as a straw man—-that’s why it doesn’t bother me.

          And nice try on ONE out of 32,000 entries being incorrect. The TRUTH is that many hundreds or even thousands may be incorrect—-we just don’t know—and it is certainly incorrect to call the engineers that signed “scientists” and to claim that even the “hard scientists” have any special qualifications to make judgments on climate science. That confuses the number of “legitimate” signers even more.

          (And I LMAO over the precision of “OISM’s 0.0032% error” and your attempt to use it to reinforce your earlier “only one” lie. Again, nice try, but no cigar.

          Sorry to hear that the fossil fuel folks appear to have stiffed you. Maybe your Realtor buddies over at NC-20 can give you an advance on your “science adviser” salary so you can pay your bills. I would hate to see you have ro sell one of your two bikes.

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