Solid Waste & Recycling


John Hanson comments on climate change

Today I got an email from friend and former Reycling Council of Ontario executive director John Hanson, who is now with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (see contact details below). He wrote me a letter that I hope to include in the next magazine edition, if space allows, but in any case I thought I’d reproduce it here. It refers to a website that I’ve visited for the first time today that I agree appears to be an excellent source of climate information from climate scientists. I suggest everyone read John’s letter and check out that website. Another good one he recommends is A Few Things Ill Considered which provides some great perspective on climate change arguments.
Here is John Hanson’s letter:
Hello Guy,
I’m sure this is too late for your letters to the editor but I feel compelled to send it anyway.
After reading your editorial referencing Maria Kelleher’s presentation on waste management, GHG emissions and climate change, I was prompted to download the Ross McKitrick paper that purportedly exposes poor research by Mann et al used to support the “hockey stick” conclusion that the extent of the current temperature warming trend is an anomaly in weather patterns over the past millennium.
Clearly the scientific debate — assumptions, proxy data, sequencing, weighted algorithms, autocorrelation patterns, computational codes and spliced proxy segments — are beyond the comprehension of most of us.
But I wonder, if the hockey stick theory has been so thoroughly discredited, why does the website RealClimate – Climate science from climate scientists, in its article, Myth vs. Fact Regarding the “Hockey Stick”, state that “Nearly a dozen model-based and proxy-based reconstructions of Northern Hemisphere mean temperature by different groups all suggest that late 20th century warmth is anomalous in a long-term (multi-century to millennial) context”?
It seems to me that the issue is far from resolved and you might want to take a more considered approach to such a complex and multi-dimensional scientific debate. All I know is that C02 concentrations in the atmosphere continue to increase correlating directly to temperature change, that populations of the north are now being forced to come to terms with the fact that their homes are sinking into the permafrost, that some island states are already negotiating mass evacuation and resettlement agreements and that if there were ever a time to apply the precautionary principle in the face of uncertainty, it is now.
John Hanson
P.S. For your reference, the RealClimate website has a “Good climate debate FAQ” which I’m sure would be of interested to Solid Waste & Recycling readers. Here’s the description:
There are a number of topics in climate science that are frequently misunderstood or mis-characterised (often by those trying to ‘scientize’ their political opinions) that come up again and again in climate-related discussions. RealClimate tries to provide context on many of these issues, and commentaries on the 1970s ‘global cooling myth’ or whether water vapour is a feedback or a forcing are among our most referenced pieces (see our FAQ category). However, our explanations of specific points have often appeared in the middle of a larger piece, or in the comment section and are not clearly referencable. Since many of these same points keep coming up in comments and discussions, having a clear and precise resource for these explanations would be very useful and we have thought about doing just that. But it now appears that we have been beaten to the punch by a new blog run by Coby Beck, a frequent commenter here and at sci.env. His new blog ‘A few things ill-considered’ has a point-by-point rebuttal of almost all the most common ‘contrarian’ talking points. The list of topics by category is a good place to start, and it shows the huge amount of work done so far. We’re very impressed!
John Hanson
Value Chain Roundtable Secretariat
International Markets Bureau
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada/Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada
Telephone/Téléphone: 613-715-5520
Facsimile/Télécopieur: 613-759-7505
930 Carling Avenue
Sir John Carling Building, Rm 1025
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0C5

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