.K. disrupted seminar
By: Madhav L. Khandekar
Monday, July 19, 2004
Re: Climate-Change War, July 13.
As the only Canadian to attend the climate change and Kyoto Protocol seminar
held in Moscow on July 7-8, I would like to support Russian economic advisor
Andrei Illarionov's statements.
The U.K. scientists' delegation, led by Sir David King, chief scientific
advisor to the British government, behaved in a most obstructionist and
unprofessional fashion throughout the event. They vehemently opposed
allowing any of the experts who disagreed with the Kyoto science to even
present our work.
In an attempt to deny dissenting scientists the time to speak, the U.K.
delegation did not arrive until 11 a.m. on July 7, although the seminar was
supposed to start at 9.30 a.m. Dr. King then insisted on delivering a long
presentation that forced dissenting speakers to significantly shorten their
talks. Even though we met until 7 p.m., the schedule for the first day had
to be completed the following morning and, even then, Dr. King tried to bump
us by speaking next morning for almost 40 minutes.
The U.K. group refused to answer many of the questions of Mr. Illarionov and
others. Professor Paul Reiter of Institute Pasteur in Paris questioned Dr.
King's assertion that global warming has reduced the snow/ice cap on Mount
Kilimanjaro. Prof. Reiter, whose studies reveal that there has been no
temperature change at the base of the mountain in the last decade, pointed
out that ice cap changes could easily have been due to reasons other than
global warming. Dr. King did not answer and instead suddenly walked away on
the pretext that he had to meet a government official.
When I started my presentation, one of the U.K. scientists repeatedly
interrupted, insisting that he be allowed to ask more questions of a
previous speaker. Many other U.K. scientists simply walked out of the
Geoff Jenkins, head of the U.K. modeling group, suggested in his
presentation that the summer 2003 heat wave in Europe was caused by human
activity. It is known to meteorologists that severe and often deadly heat
waves in the past have occurred without any human intervention. For example,
the deadliest heat wave in Canada occurred in July, 1936, when more than
1,100 people died of heat exhaustion. This heat wave was certainly not
caused by human activity. Many of us dissenting scientists found Mr.
Jenkins's explanation of the 2003 European heat wave simply incredible.
Among the dissenting scientists who presented was Stockholm University
Professor Nils-Axel Morner, an internationally renowned sea level expert,
who demolished the myth that islands in the Maldives will be underwater if
greenhouse gases are not curbed. Despite being an external reviewer of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and past-president of the INQUA
commission on sea level rise, his work has been routinely discarded by the
Prof. Reiter, an expert epidemiologist, showed that although malaria was
prevalent in high latitudes of Europe and North America in 19th and early
part of 20th centuries, global warming will not bring the disease back to
these regions. In my presentation, I demonstrated that extreme weather
events are not increasing at present and there is little likelihood of an
escalation of such weather events in the next 10 to 25 years.
With the exception of the deplorable behaviour of the U.K. delegation, the
Moscow seminar was an example of the sort of open debate and public
reassessment of climate science that is long overdue in Canada. The eminent
physicist Stephen Hawking will address an international conference on
Wednesday in Dublin, Ireland, to acknowledge that a scientific theory he has
defended for 30 years, his famous "black hole paradox," is incorrect. It is
time for Dr. King and his compatriots to show a similar humility and
recognize the importance of alternative views of the rapidly evolving, yet
still immature, field of global warming and climate change. Only then can we
hope to understand this complex scientific issue, possibly the most
important of our time.
Dr. Madhav L. Khandekar, environmental consultant, research scientist,
Environment Canada (ret'd), Unionville, Ont.
(*) title and highlighting added by meteoLCD