Dear Editor,

While watching the last Village of Valemount council meeting (March 22nd, 2016) on YouTube, I almost fell out of my chair when Mayor Townsend made the following statement at 54:00:

“They’ve dropped the global warming terms since NASA announced there has been no warming since 1998, so now it’s called climate change”.

This is not only incorrect, it’s grossly irresponsible for anyone in a role of leadership to have the audacity to mislead the public with such nonsensical woo. I’ve come to ignore most of the current Mayor’s dated rhetoric over the past year; but as a huge proponent for the scientific method and critical/skeptical thinking, I can’t in good conscience let such scientifically incorrect information spawn publicly from someone who obviously has no scientific understanding of what climate change really
is and what NASA’s official position is on it.

First off, climate change is global warming, it’s just more encompassing. As it states right on the NASA site:

“Within scientific journals, this is still how the two terms are used. Global warming refers to surface temperature increases, while climate change includes global warming and everything else that increasing greenhouse gas amounts will affect.”

It’s also fact that both NASA and over 97% of published climate scientists today agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are real, and all indicators point to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions as the catalyst. Moreover, most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position.

Note the specificity of “published climate scientists” in that above statement. This is an important identifier because it’s the lacking premise so many “global warming deniers” fail to communicate. They cherry-pick warming denying scientists (the very few out there I might add), that have no practical or current knowledge about the earth’s climate system and spew it off as hard science-based evidence that global warming is a myth. Those cherry-picked endorsements are nothing short of meaningless! This is akin to seeking out an optometrist to treat lung cancer instead of going to a lung cancer specialist.

I have no idea where the Mayor got the idea that NASA changed its position on human-caused global warming, but I suspect it may have been seeded from a letter submitted to NASA back in the spring of 2012. The letter was from 49 former NASA employees opposing NASA’s official position on human CO2 emissions causing global warming/climate change. They include 25 administrators, 8 astronauts, 7 engineers, 5 technicians, and 4 scientists/mathematicians. An impressive list on the surface, but little more than 49 former NASA employees who, combined, have zero climate expertise, zero climate science publications, and zero years of climate field study. source:

If anyone wants to know what NASA’s true climate change position is based on fact and not the Mayor’s dated rhetoric, I recommend obtaining it direct from the source:

As most of us know, earth’s climate is extremely dynamic. It’s one of the largest, most complex systems of interrelated variables and feedback systems mankind has ever studied and is attempting to fully understand. Do I claim to understand the Earth’s climate? Not remotely; it’s on several orders of magnitude larger in scope than the layman not trained in climate science can comprehend.

That said, I listen to and believe specialists who have devoted their educational and professional lives studying,
hypothesizing, peer reviewing, and coming up with working theories that are supported by data, predictors, and repetition. When the vast majority of academia in the same & related fields concur, little doubt remains of what is fact, and what is fiction. That is after all the truth and awesome power of the scientific method. The best truth of the day with no predisposed positions or agendas to what is convenient, comforting, or beneficial.

Global warming or whatever Mayor Townsend wishes to call it, could after all turn out to be a flawed theory if some large missing piece of the climate puzzle is revealed; the truth of science demands it. I’m the first one to admit I would rejoice such a discovery; guilt free power-sports again, ya-hoo! Unfortunately for us, and much of life on our planet, that is not what the data is showing, nor what most of the dedicated men & women whose life work is understanding Earth’s climate are agreeing on, and trying their very best to communicate.

I strongly feel it’s the job and moral obligation of elected officials to correctly relay that information despite their own personal beliefs or views. If they can’t get that simple yet fundamental aspect of truthful & sincere governance correct, how can they be charged to make informed decisions that affect all of us? Yep, now I’m living in denial…

John Salt
Valemount, BC

9 thoughts on “Letter: Science absent from council chambers”

  1. With $2 billion plus budgets to study this issue it unlikely that NASA will ever conclude CO2 global warming is grossly over estimated unless the reality of future measured data forces them to. Every inquisitive intelligent person who looks into the history of this issue is going to be very sceptical of the ever changing predictions and explanations of climate scientists. It seems the 97% who agree “all indicators point toward human caused” (which in itself sounds inconclusive and unscientific) warming are doing so out of an abundance of caution and real fear of being branded as “deniers”. I will boldly predict that this caution and fear will quickly evaporate over the next 5 or 10 years as we move into a new natural climate cycle. Almost 400 years ago it was the Maunder Minimum, 200 years ago the Dalton minimum and now we will have the “WTF” minimum.

  2. Thank you for your thoughtful, and thought-provoking comment.

    The first thought provoked is, “Where does that nonsense come from?”

    The graph presented is a scatter diagram of the 204-month mean of global temperatures vs. CO2. It is very clearly as you see it, with some small noise, at the R^2 = 0.9977 level very much a depiction of lock step data.

    That’s data. The 3.9C/doubling is a direct result of the data.

    That’s measurements made in tens of thousands of instruments for temperature independently calibrated into consilient datasets by at least five independent bodies that then match an entirely different set of measurements of CO2 baseline level, also with independent confirmation, and the product of that data comparison matches exactly the logarithmic relationship predicted by radiative transfer Physics, at one of the more probable levels from the palette of predicted values.

    Whatever you have to say about this is simply sour grapes, unless you show data and calculations as I have done.

    And there you have the IPCC AR5 graphic showing you aerosol (black carbon) influence from fossil waste dumping, which clearly must be stopped as soon as possible.

  3. No pause? Take it up with Gavin, was he lying?


    “The pause – which on some measures has gone on since the mid-1990s –
    continued into 2014 on the basis of global temperature data released last week by US space agency NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the US.

    However, the warming effect of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide will grow sufficiently to overcome the combined impact of various natural climate cooling factors, journalists on a telephone news conference were told last week by Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies.

    But Schmidt said that he did not expect the global warming pause – which he referred to as the hiatus – to persist.

    This is because the warming impact, or forcing, due to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would keep growing with continuing emissions of greenhouse gases, Schmidt said, and “in five to ten years time it is changes in greenhouse gases that will dominate”.

    If he couldn’t predict “the hiatus” how can he predict what will happen in ten years time?

    “Pause continues”

    “NASA and NOAA announced last week that 2014 was the warmest year recorded since measurements began but the fact is that the margin is so small as to be statistically meaningless. NASA itself ranks the probability that 2014 was the warmest year at 38 per cent while NOAA is slightly more confident putting the probability at 48 per cent.

    The difference between global mean surface temperature in 2014 and the previous warmest years on record, 2010 and 2005, is measured in just hundredths of a degree on both the NASA and NOAA analyses. This is within the margin of error of the data which means that there is no statistical difference between global temperatures in 2005, 2010 and 2014.”

    Some warming. Look, I didn’t write this stuff.

    “The existence of the pause in global warming was acknowledged by the
    Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its most recent report published in 2013 but there has been significant debate about the actual duration of this hiatus with some commentators alleging that the length is exaggerated by cherry-picking the start date as 1998 – a particularly warm year due to a particularly strong El Nino Pacific Ocean warming event.

    Schmidt himself alluded to this last week when he told the press conference that the “hiatus question is a complicated one”. He pointed out that the El Nino year of 1998 was a “stand out” year and that if a line is drawn from 1998 to 2014 then global surface temperature “doesn’t look like it has changed very much”.

    I guess I’m with the mayor.

  4. Your adaptation of the woodfortrees graph is disingenuous and your claim of 3.9C/doubling is farcical. CO2 and temperature have simply not been in lockstep since Mauna Loa commenced in 1959. To smear the two data sets together as you have done is to deny reality. No doubt you will deny the cooling of the 60’s and 70’s whilst CO2 was still rising.

    How much black carbon is in the air exactly, how is it hiding your perceived global warming, when is it going to release it onto an unsuspecting world and by what mechanism?

  5. Valemount BC’s Mayor Jeannette Townsend’s climate change vs. global warming whine would very much be a fitting tantrum for a middle school student who is failing to stay up to date on science class assignments, or arts for that matter. The term she has such a hard time getting used to, has been common place in climate science since the mid 1950’s (

  6. Thank you John, for your timely and correct points.

    As CO2 level increased over the last 55 years the Mauna Loa observatory has been measuring it, global temperature has risen in lock step at a rate of 3.9C/Doubling, an astounding amount considering that the amount of black carbon in the air is hiding in the short term a substantial fifth or so of the warming of long term fossil waste dumping.

    This includes in every year since 1998.

  7. Just to confirm that John Salt is correct, NASA has NEVER !!! said/announced or in any way ever implied that there has been no warming since 1998. Global Warming Deniers fabricate their own “facts” and then circulate these fabrications as if they were true.
    In blunt but total accurate language, Global Warming Deniers are willfully ignorant and/or they are liars. In either case they are wrong.

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