Two years ago The Royal Society of London, Britian's premier and perhaps the world's foremost scientific academy, produced a summary of the facts and fictions current in the popular media regarding human induced climate change. Much of what we read, hear and see in the media is interest generated; indeed, not long after publication of the Royal Society's summary of the mythologies promoted by climate change deniers, senior scientists and Fellows of the Royal Society found it necessary to take the unprecedented step of calling for Big Oil, in the form of Exxon Mobile, to stop funding climate change denial.
It is all very reminiscent of the tobacco wars, exept this time it is not just individuals who are persuaded to endulge a vice and children exposed to second hand smoke who are the victims, it is all of us. As one representative from a near sea level Middle East country said to an American legal delegate to a conference on the subject, it may be that claims of those who study climate change are overstated, but if they are right his nation will cease to exist. What we see in the Artic suggests...more than suggests... that his worry is well-founded.
It was the position of the Progressive Conservative Party, and I think it should responsibly be the position of all genuine conservatives, that we should heed the warning of science and be wary of those whose vested interest puts them along the way of denial, for in the denier is not "progress with care", not a progressive-conservative approach to change whether from within or without, but calculated reaction.
John Herron, the last Tory Environment Critic and, at the time, the longest serving holder of the Environment portfolio of any party in parliament, was that Global Warming induced Climate Change is a genuine threat and the Progressive Conservative party was critical, justly, of Liberal inaction on the file. Some stood apart, of course. Jim Prentice, living in the oil patch, was as susceptible as any who hear nothing but the drum beat of Big Oil from day to day to day. A lie repeated often enough, in time, obtains the resonance of truth, albeit falsely.
Prentice's weakness in this regard, seems to have been part of a larger incapacity for critical thinking, whatever his other qualities, and it this, perhaps which explains his willingness to be dragged into the vulgar morass of the "unite the right" fallacy, perhaps even believing Stephen Harper's claim that he wanted to create a party for all conservatives, a claim we now all know to be a lie. But it was the Reform Party, even after it changed its name to the Canadian Alliance, which was the most at fault and the least cautious and conservative in its approach to the boom town mentality of Big Oil, whether in boom-and-bust Calgary or not, and the most unthinkingly susceptible to climate change denial.
In 2002, Bob Mills, MP for Red Deer Alberta, CA Environment Critic, Climate Change denier, and a worthy predecessor of Rona Ambrose, came to the BC riding of South Surrey-White Rock-Langley claiming "Global Warming" is junk science and that he had proof...in the form of a just published (i.e. must be true because it's just been published and can't be criticised because you probably haven't read it yet) contrary opinion by a single researcher (as opposed to the consensus within the scientific community) - of course that's not how science works, but bad politics and bad journalism does.
The kicker came later: a "socialist" United Nations was less credible than the (now discredited Big Oil Republican) temporary resident of the White House who wouldn't ratify Kyoto, and Kyoto itself was a "European bureaucratic nightmare." How little has changed in the ranks of the party which, calling itself Conservative, has abandoned Kyoto in favour of alignment with the Big Oil Republican soon to be former temporary resident of the White House. It's all a matter of record.
The world's foremost scientific academies, like the Royal Society, and international congresses of scientists, like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, may yet be found to have overstated their a case in attributing climate change so greatly to human activity, however unlikely that may seem, yet it is clear and certain that neither vested interest in denial nor its obsequious political and journalistic fellow-travellers can be relied upon to tell us truths.