June 01, 2015

When scientists become bureaucrats: A recipe for tyranny

Tim BallRebel Columnist

The headline read: “Liberal MPs hold press conference on muzzling of scientists.” As usual, the headline differs from the story. The real story is the most egregious use of bureaucrat scientists for a political agenda in Canadian history. It is part of a larger problem of bureaucrats establishing policy and running governments. Mary McCarthy explains, Bureaucracy, the rule of no one, has become the modern form of despotism.” 

Three Liberal MPs are singing the same song as the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, the largest multi-professional union in Canada with 60,000 members. This Union held public rallies a week before the MPs protestations about government interference. An anonymous bureaucrat set out the claim against the Harper government as follows:

The challenge, he said, is two-fold: for one, lack of freedom to speak freely with the media; and second, the inability to freely disseminate research to the public in a meaningful way.

“Basically, whenever there’s a call or a need to speak to the public or an opportunity to speak to the public, everything has to be approved at generally a fairly high level,” he said. “Particularly if it’s going to be a national story or it’s going to be something that would be of general interest.”

Though local stories are generally approved, he said he still has to go through a “hierarchy of approval.”

Of course! You are a bureaucrat, hired by and working for the government. The Public Service Commission Board appoints most bureaucrats and requires people “refrain from overt political activity once in office, lest their appearance of partisan neutrality be compromised.” The US has the Hatch Act, specific legislation to limit political activities of Federal bureaucrats.

The real story is the three MPs are protesting, with union support, the attempts of the Harper government to control the use of Environment Canada (EC) for a political agenda. It is perfectly within the government’s purview to control policy and bureaucrats. The story is an example of what happens when you have bureaucratic scientists. The scientists are protesting government interference in their practice of science, but they weren’t practicing science.

At a public presentation in Winnipeg a few years ago three EC employees told me afterward that they agreed with me but were afraid to say so. EC scientists promote an untested, unproven hypothesis known as the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis, when it is the role of scientists to challenge any hypothesis. They do this by using the scientific method of disproving the hypothesis. Karl Popper called it “falsifiability”. Scientists must be skeptics otherwise they are not practicing science. EC scientists only work to prove the hypothesis, so they are not practicing science.

Environment Canada’s Role And The Damage Done.

Environment Canada was very active with the IPCC and promoted their agenda from the start. It is no coincidence that Gordon McBean, Assistant Deputy Minister of Environment Canada (EC) chaired a 1985 meeting in Villach Austria at which they formulated the structure of the IPCC.

It took a massive diversion of funds within EC to pursue their goal. The Auditor General said EC spent $6.8 billion from 1997 to 2005 on climate change. Almost all went to people and programs supporting the government position. Diversion of funding to climate change left other legislated requirements incomplete.

To cover these wastes they took money from other programs. There are fewer weather stations in Canada now than in 1960, and many were replaced with unreliable Automatic Weather Observing Stations (AWOS). Important activities and data collection practices were abandoned. While I was chair of the Assiniboine River Management Advisory Board (ARMAB) in Manitoba the worst flood on record occurred.

We asked Water Resources why they didn’t forecast the event. They said they had no data on the amount of water in the snow in the valley.  We learned EC had canceled flights that used special radar to determine water content. Savings, as I recall, were $26,000. The cost of unexpected flood damage was $7 million to one level of government alone. Loss of weather data means long continuous records, essential to any climate studies, are impossible.

EC failures caused public protests that forced them to take action. They commissioned an internal study and report titled “Action Plan for Climate Science Research at Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC)” prepared by a group called The Impact Group. This report was obtained by Canada’s Access to Information (ATI) provision. Ken Green wrote an article in the National Post on December 12, 2003 identifying some of the issues. Here is the major conclusion of the Impact Report that shows why they did not want it disclosed:

Elements of an “Action Plan for Climate Science Research at MSC” (obtained through an Access to Information request) indicate that Canada’s climate change science program is being driven by a predetermined political agenda with a clear disregard of scientific needs. The Impact Group observes for example, that Canada collects “less climate science data per-square-kilometer of any other major country.” It observes that “the archiving of climate data is so highly fragmented that it is difficult to find out what datasets are available, let alone how to access them.”

Yet the report shows that our resources are not being directed to remedy those information gaps. Rather, our climate resources are being directed toward finding ways to “mitigate” climate change before it’s even adequately measured. The Impact Group also points out that we are only just beginning “to unravel the complexity of the physical, chemical, and biological interactions that determine climate” and suggests that the manmade component of climate change is still to be discerned. Coming from a contractor to Environment Canada, that’s a pretty sharp divergence from the claims by Environment Minister David Anderson that the science of climate change is “solid” and “settled.”

Green spoke about the exclusion of Canadian skeptics that the Report confirms:

Skeptics of catastrophic climate change theory such as myself have long complained that the way governmental agencies conduct science is badly politicized. We have also complained about a lack of consultation - although some of the most reputable climate scientists in the world work in Canada, they have rarely been consulted or asked to advise the government on the science of climate change.

In 2006, 60 prominent Canadian climate-related experts wrote a letter to Prime Minister Harper asking for an open debate on global warming. It began:

As accredited experts in climate and related scientific disciplines, we are writing to propose that balanced, comprehensive public-consultation sessions be held so as to examine the scientific foundation of the federal government's climate-change plans.

McBean orchestrated a response letter with another IPCC member, computer modeller Andrew Weaver. They got 90 signatures, but most were Environment Canada employees or people benefiting from government largess.

A simple definition of science is the ability to predict. If your prediction is wrong your science is wrong. How good is the “science” these bureaucrats produce. The answer is, by their measure, a complete failure. This shows the accuracy of their weather prediction for 12 months over the 30-year span from 1981 to 2010.

Notice that for 90 percent of Canada the forecast average accuracy is given as 41.5 percent. A coin toss is far better odds.

They are no better at longer forecasts. They spend millions on computer model projections for the IPCC. Several nations produce model projections that are averaged to make claims about future temperature. All the models are wrong, but the Canadian model performs worse than any other:

Here is what two climate experts said about the Canadian model:

"The differences between the predictions and the observed temperatures were significantly greater (by a factor of two) than what one would get just applying random numbers."

As Ken Gregory explained:

They explained that a series of random numbers contain no information. The Canadian climate model produces results that are much worse than no information, which the authors call "anti-information".

Once Environment Canada bureaucrats convinced the politicians that CO2 and global warming was a problem they were on a treadmill. They ignored evidence, such as the complete failure of their predictions. They are very unlikely to tell politicians, who have based strong public positions on the information that they were wrong. They effectively said the science was settled, which is never true.

This is what happens when scientists are bureaucrats. It’s time to close down Environment Canada and take scientists out of bureaucracies completely because their scientific integrity is inherently compromised.


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commented 2015-06-06 09:01:34 -0400
A huge chunk of the data used to calculate average, global temperature (and any increase or decrease of same) comes from surface weather stations, some of which have existed in the same location for as much as a few hundred years, while others were only erected within the past decade or so. All surface stations are directly impacted by the local environment, where the immediate effect of human activities is more visible, understood and predictive. Even locally, however, weather forecasts beyond a few hours are rarely more than 50% accurate, and the rate of error increases the further ahead the prediction. Yet the meaninglessness of long-term climate projections generated by computer-based models is apparently still lost on most people. Even though many of us have had the misfortune to be misled by a weather forecast, probably more than once, and almost everywhere in North America has some local variant of the saying, “if you don’t like the weather, just wait 15 minutes,” I’m shocked by how many seemingly intelligent, rational people I encounter that have bought into the dire, but entirely baseless, predictions of global warming.
I urge people to check out Anthony Watt’s site, www.surfacestations.org, even though lately it seems to be somewhat neglected. The data is limited to the U.S., but compelling, nonetheless, even for an already confirmed skeptic of anthropogenic global warming theory such as myself. My parents gave me a copy of Bjorn Lomborg’s The Skeptical Environmentalist to read in high school after I came home one day spouting about a chemistry assignment stemming from David Suzuki’s statements on catastrophic global warming theory and the greenhouse effect. Lomborg’s book really schooled me about a lot of environmental “issues” on which I had previously been entirely misinformed, and highlighted numerous factors and arguments that I hadn’t even considered. For example, the fact that most of the surface stations in the U.S. are poorly maintained and are clearly influenced by the (often) dramatic changes in their immediate vicinity is rarely noted.
A disturbing number of surface stations are actually located in/near parking lots and/or adjacent to buildings, and even worse, sometimes right next to heat/air conditioning exhaust vents. While “adjustments” to recorded temperatures are made to account for the urban heat island effect (i.e. manipulation of the raw data), some scientists hypothesize that we consistently under-estimate and under-compensate for it. Just a glance at some of the pictures on surfacestations.org is enough to make one question the validity of relying on such records to forecast future climate changes.
Canada has even fewer surface weather stations than the U.S. to begin with, and most of these are/were also located in large cities that experienced significant population growth and expansion since the stations first began officially recording/reporting weather data. Rather than invest in new infrastructure for meteorological observation and scientific research, Canada has actually reduced the total number of official weather reporting stations over the past 35 years — or pretty much ever since anthropogenic global warming was first introduced as the most important, catastrophic threat facing humanity. In 1980-81, for example, there were 2,986 surface weather stations across Canada reporting official weather data, or roughly 3 weather stations for every 1,000 km² of Canadian territory. Today, Environment Canada receives and records data from only about 1,840 surface stations, which is around 1.8 stations for every 1,000 km², and a decrease of nearly 50%.
The consequence of policies based on the notion that the science of global warming “is settled” is the loss of infinite opportunities for true scientific research and data collection that could have significantly improved our understanding of the earth’s climate system. Instead, we’ve poured billions of tax dollars down the drain funding anyone and any project that presupposes the existence and effects of global warming at the expense of legitimate scientific research. Scientists aren’t stupid, and they’ve caught on to the tricks for obtaining government funds. Years ago, I read a news interview of a Canadian scientist who bluntly explained how, if you want to maximize your chance of receiving federal funding to study the reproductive rates of the North American red squirrel, all you have to do is insert the phrase “global warming” throughout your grant application and research proposal.
Using public funding as a carrot to ensure the complicity of the scientific community in bolstering public support for bureaucratic policy decisions is the real muzzling of scientists, and it is by far a much more serious issue than screening public statements by government employees. The latter is just a red herring, and really, what else can you expect? Governments on both the left and the right are equally obliged to maintain the perception of neutrality among their employees and unelected civil servants in order to garner public confidence and help them stay in power. Sadly, the pursuit of science has been subverted by bureaucratic policy, and scientists are forced to cater to that policy in exchange for facilitating funding for their particular research projects.
commented 2015-06-03 23:16:33 -0400
Even the local weather stations can’t get the current weather right. I live 5 km from a weather satellite/radar station that will show that its currently raining or snowing albeit there’s not a cloud in the sky. I would sooner trust a crystal ball than a climate scientist.
commented 2015-06-02 21:33:00 -0400
Somehow this is completely predictable…more predictable than their science…when scientists get a fixed income for providing data to prove a decision about climate that was made long before the facts were established, we are not dealing with science but with FAITH. Good science makes SURE and ACCURATE predictions. When all the predictions failed to establish the correctness of the previous decisions these employees of Canada should have been glad not to face a firing squad…In some countries they might just do that for embarrassing the government. Clearly this is not science at all but fortune telling…just another term for ‘forecasts’…Worse still is that these ‘prophets of doom’ have done their best to set us all up for a carbon tax based on their prophesies…this religion has surely failed miserably and needs to be exposed before we face a high carbon tax on EVERYTHING based on NOTHING.

What does surprise me is that governments have fallen for these charlatans who predicted an imminent ice age 45 years ago…I never believed them then and I don’t believe them now…but they have been paid a regular salary for duping us all and wasting our time….Don’t miss these HEADLINES FROM THE 1970’S …they were JUST AS SURE as they are today…THEY KNOW NOTHING!


commented 2015-06-02 13:29:33 -0400
What happens if one of these “repressed, muzzled, rabid” scientists publishes or publicizes an article that has not been “scientifically” proven and this results in catastrophic outcomes for many people? Who is responsible – the “muzzled scientist” or his employer, the federal government? I agree that there needs to be oversight and accountability with scientists who work for the federal government. If these scientists are so affronted, and so badly mistreated, there is more than enough room for them to find a job in the private sector. I would like to see how much “freedom” they have to speak about their work there!
commented 2015-06-02 12:11:32 -0400
What this article has outlined is the same problem creationists have been going on about for decades. Publicly funded scientists are only allowed to ask questions to the end of proving their theory. To interpret information differently or acknowledge that evidence doesn’t support evolution theory is to make yourself an outcast and lose your funding. Evolution was chosen by beaurocrats because it supports the power of the state over individual conscience, and they’ve been asserting that it’s proven as loud as they can while desperately searching for the illusive nail in God’s coffin. Not unlike Muslims’ desperate search for missing books of the Bible which they think will surface to disprove it. That hasn’t turned up either.
commented 2015-06-02 11:35:26 -0400
The only accurate prediction from EC, is the next 6 hours. That’s about what anyone can do, by looking out the window, and calling a friend who lives 2 – 3 hundred kilometers further west, and asking them what it looks like out their window. In defense of the weather office, they aren’t allowed to make predictions locally, until that 6 hour window. All predictions are model based, and that model is built around the same metrics and algorithms that they use to predict the end of the world by AGW. Weather forecasting was accurate for up to72 hours, back as late as the 1980’s. Then things started to change, and not for the better. Back then, there were weather offices studded across the country, where a local weatherman used all the tools available to predict the local weather. The national office used this information and formed a broader picture. It was cumbersome, but it worked way better than what we have today.
commented 2015-06-02 08:02:35 -0400
When elected officials do not run the “show” bad things happen. The system is never perfect but the rise of bureaucrats is destroying our country, especially at the provincial and municipal level.
Trudeau keeps deferring to “expert” opinions because he is not that bright himself, and he knows politicians are unpopular with the general public.
Great effort- keep writing articles like this! We have to educate the public to develop the best systems possible.
commented 2015-06-01 16:20:19 -0400
Traitors from within with good salaries and indexed pensions! Any rule of any employment is he who pays the piper controls the tune. Doesn’t matter if it is Gov’t or private. Most organizations also have an internal rule for “entrpreneurs” inasmuch if you invent or develop something on company time, then that invention or whatever belongs to the company. EC is intoxicated from the “Enviro Kool Aid” cannister.
commented 2015-06-01 14:24:23 -0400
I agree, disband Environment Canada, as they are useless!