A very important and interesting debate took place mid December 2011 on the climate, CO2, global warming. After listening to those very knowledgeable and serious researchers, it's easy to see why the Canadian government jumped off the Kyoto protocol.
- Ross McKitrick, Professor, Department of Economics, University of Guelph
- Ian D. Clark, Professor, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa
- Jan Veizer, Professor Emeritus, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa
- Timothy Patterson, Professor of Geology, Department of Earth Sciences, Carleton University
Other video in other languages are available here.
The transcripts will be available here.
Ross McKitric testimony available here.
Copied here for quick reference:
For delivery to the Senate Standing
Committee on Energy, the Environment
and Natural Resources,
Parliament of Canada
December 15, 2011
Ross McKitrick, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics
College of Management and Economics
University of Guelph
Guelph Ontario Canada
email@example.com TESTIMONY: Senate of Canada, Ross McKitrick, December 15 2011
1. My name is Ross McKitrick, and I am a Full Professor of Economics at the University of
Guelph where I specialize in environmental economics. I have published on both on the
economics of climate change and statistical analysis in climatology. I was an expert
reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth
Assessment Report, and in 2006 I was one of 12 experts from around the world asked
to brief a panel of the US National Academy of Sciences examining paleoclimate
2. The global warming issue is often described with emphatic claims that the “science is
settled”, the situation is urgent, and the necessary actions are obvious. The reality is
that there are deep disagreements about underlying scientific issues, there is reason to
believe the problem has been exaggerated, and most policy proposals simply do not
pass objective cost-benefit tests. Amidst the disputes and controversies of the past few
years, I believe two points have emerged with clarity.
3. First, the economics of climate change do not favour Kyoto-type commitments. Under
current and foreseeable technologies, the greenhouse gas policies we can afford to
undertake would have such small climatic impacts as to be pointless. The same kinds of
models that are used to forecast global warming predict that, if all signatories to the
Kyoto Protocol complied with their commitments, the level of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the
atmosphere that we would have observed by 2100, would instead have been reached by
about 2105, a trivial difference. And Kyoto was too costly for countries to reach. When a
policy is proposed that is too costly to implement and yields benefits that are too small to
measure, you would expect reasonable people to see it as a bad idea. Instead we
observed a dogmatic elite consensus emerge in support of Kyoto. In my mind this never
validated Kyoto, it merely discredited the elite consensus, and suggested to me that the
international political milieu in charge of the climate issue was unduly susceptible to
4. Unlike such air pollutants as sulphur dioxide and particulates, CO2 is not easy to
capture, and once captured, there is no obvious way to dispose of it. There appears to
be no way to cut CO2 emissions on a large scale without cutting energy consumption
and impeding economic activity. Despite their enthusiasm for embracing targets,
policymakers around the world have not been able to cut CO2 emissions while pursuing
economic growth. Simply put, with regard to climate policy, the cure is worse than the
5. Second, the official process for assessing technical and scientific information on climate
change for the purpose of advising policymakers has become untrustworthy due to bias
and partisanship. As a member of the expert review team for the last IPCC Report, I
saw things take place that violated longstanding principles of peer review. I documented
some of them in various publications since 2007, but the issues never received much
attention until the fall of 2009, when thousands of emails from top IPCC scientists were
leaked onto the internet. The so-called Climategate emails confirmed the reality of bias
and cronyism in the IPCC process. The new leaks last month provided even more
confirmation that climate scientists privately express greater doubts and disagreement
about climate science than is reflected in IPCC reports. TESTIMONY: Senate of Canada, Ross McKitrick, December 15 2011
6. Earlier this year I was asked by the London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation
to review IPCC procedures, and to make recommendations for reform. My report was
published last month, and includes a foreword written by John Howard, the former Prime
Minister of Australia. I have included a copy with this submission. I mainly focus on how
the IPCC handled issues with which I have first-hand knowledge as a contributor to the
peer-reviewed literature on the subject, and on which I worked closely on the IPCC text
in my capacity as an expert reviewer.
7. The IPCC is not a neutral observer of the scientific process, instead it has a party line. It
is controlled by a relatively small Bureau in Geneva, consisting of a small core
surrounded by a network of supportive academics and government officials. The
oversight body, called the IPCC plenary panel, is passive, inattentive, and overly
deferential to the Bureau. In effect there is no oversight.
8. The Bureau picks Lead Authors who share their views. They are routinely placed in the
position of reviewing their own work and that of their critics, and are free to rule in their
own favour. Lead Authors are also free to reject reviewer comments, over-ride Review
Editors, and even rewrite text after the close of the peer review process. The
combination of Bureau control over the selection of Lead Authors, and a toothless peerreview review process, means that IPCC Assessments are guaranteed merely to repeat
and reinforce a set of foregone conclusions that make up the party line.
9. In my report I document some disturbing cases where the IPCC violated proper peer
review practises. These include:
• Manipulating prominent graphs so as to conceal known flaws in the statistical basis
of paleoclimate reconstructions and to exaggerate evidence that modern climate
change is historically exceptional. This is the so-called “hide the decline” scandal.
• Fabricating a statistical test result to provide a rationale for dismissing published
evidence of urbanization-related contamination of the surface temperature record on
which key IPCC conclusions were based.
• Waiting until the close of peer review, then removing text that had initially, and
correctly, cautioned readers that the IPCC method of calculate warming trends likely
exaggerated their significance, and replacing it with unsupported text saying the
10. My report documents these and other incidents that, in my view, suffice to discredit its
claims to rigour and objectivity, and point to the urgent need for procedural reform.
11. In 2010 The InterAcademy Council reviewed IPCC procedures and drew attention to
many of the same problems as my report does. Unfortunately the IPCC’s internal reform
process has gone nowhere. I discuss this problem in Section 4 of my report.
12. At this point we could simply muddle along for another 20 years enacting more and
more costly and wasteful schemes based on the increasingly biased and unreliable
guidance of the international climate policy milieu. That would be the easiest course of TESTIMONY: Senate of Canada, Ross McKitrick, December 15 2011
action, but would not serve the public interest. The more difficult option would be to
begin the hard work of improving the decision-making process itself, beginning with
reform of the IPCC.
13. My published research has led me to believe that the IPCC has overstated the global
warming issue. I have shown that the spatial pattern of warming trends in the surface
temperature record is strongly correlated with the spatial pattern of industrialization,
even though this pattern is not predicted by climate models as a response to
greenhouse gases. This indicates that the standard climate data sets likely have a warm
bias due to their failure to correct for disturbances of the land surface from urbanization,
agriculture, and so forth.
14. I have also shown that climate models predict significantly more warming over the past
30 years in the tropical troposphere than is observed in satellite or weather balloon
records. This is a key region for measuring the water vapour feedbacks that control the
magnitude of greenhouse warming. Despite this being the region that models say
should be warming fastest in response to greenhouse gases, the 50-year balloon record
actually shows no positive trend once the effect of ocean circulation changes in the late
1970s are removed from the record. One of the most telling emails in the so-called
Climategate 2.0 archive that was just released last month involves one IPCC expert
warning another that their efforts to finesse this issue by deceptive trend analysis is a
15. Today you have a chance to hear from a number of serious Canadian scientists about
work that they and their colleagues have done that also calls into question aspects of
the IPCC party line. The fact that you have learned little of what they are about to tell
you does not indicate any deficiencies in the research they or their colleagues have
done. Instead it points to the deficiencies in the process that was supposed to have
brought this information to your attention long before now.