Monday, June 18, 2007

No Ball! Climate denialist retracts lawsuit

If you have ever wondered how little integrity a professional anthropogenic global warming denialist must have to ply their trade, this is instructive.

From Kevin Grandia of Desmogblog:
Thought you might be interested in this. It is a follow up to a story from about a year ago in which a retired professor, Tim Ball, filed suit against a professor of environment at the University of Lethbridge over a letter to the editor that appeared in the Calgary Herald. Since then, Dr. Ball has continued to be used as a source of climate science by popular media, including the UK Channel 4 documentary "The Great Global Warming Swindle" and CNN Glenn Beck's "Climate of Fear" special.

Here's the link to the story:

Ball Bails on Johnson Lawsuit
14 Jun 07

The self-styled Canadian climate change expert, Dr. Tim Ball, has abandoned his libel suit against University of Lethbridge Professor of Environmental Science Dan Johnson. Ball dropped the suit without conditions, but also without acknowledging that Johnson's original comments were accurate and were reported in good faith.

"This is great news," Dr. Johnson said today, "but it still leaves a cloud over my name that I would like removed. Even though I can now demand that Ball pay what the court calls 'taxed costs,' that won't begin to cover the actual legal bills, to make up for lost time or to repair the damage that Ball has done to my reputation."

Ball, a spokesperson for two industry front groups fighting against climate change regulation, sued Johnson and the Calgary Herald over a letter the paper ran on April 23, 2006. In an earlier Opinion Page article in which Ball attacked the qualifications of renowned climate change author Tim Flannery, the Herald described Ball as "the first climatology PhD in Canada and … a professor of climatology at the University of Winnipeg for 28 years."

Johnson wrote a Letter to the Editor challenging those details. He noted that when Ball received his PhD (in Geography) in 1983, "Canada already had PhDs in climatology and it is important to recognize them and their research." Johnson also pointed out that Ball had been a professor for a much shorter time (Ball later admitted eight years), during which Ball did "not show any evidence of research regarding climate and atmosphere."

Ball filed suit, asking for damages of $325,000 plus costs.

But Calgary Herald satisfied itself as to the accuracy of Dan Johnson's letter, and rose in defence. In a Statement of Defence filed with the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench, the Herald dismissed Ball's "credibility and credentials as an expert on the issue of global warming," saying: "The Plantiff (Dr. Ball) is viewed as a paid promoter of the agenda of the oil and gas industry rather than as a practicing scientist."

In the face of this rebuff, and of the earlier Statement of Defence filed by Dan Johnson, Ball discontinued his lawsuit.

Since his retirement from the University of Winnipeg in 1995, Tim Ball has worked as an industry-supported climate-change campaigner, sowing doubt about the science of global warming. He first associated himself with a Calgary-based group called the Friends of Science, which the Globe and Mail reported in August of 2006 was funded primarily by the oil and gas industry. Ball then moved to the chairmanship of a new group called the Natural Resources Stewardship Project, which the Toronto Star reported in January 2007, is a creation of the Toronto-based energy-industry lobby firm the High Park Group.

"I never intended any specific damage to Tim Ball's reputation," Dan Johnson said today. "But climate change is a critical global issue and I thought it was important to set the record straight. If people want to argue the science, I'm all for that, but Tim Ball was claiming expertise and specific credentials that he does not have. That needed to be corrected."

Johnson said he is now considering whether to accept basic costs or to seek special costs, adding, "I also deserve an apology. I think the nation deserves an apology."

Johnson said he would like to thank and acknowledge James Hoggan and the team of for offering considerable assistance in putting together his defence.

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Anonymous said...

DeSmogBlog makes so many mistakes that we at NRSP, and most media I gather, generally don't pay any attention to them. However, in this case, it is worth making a few comments:

As a demonstration of the accuracy of what DeSmogBlog says, why don't you try clicking on the "listed" link at the beginning of the permanent home page entry Desmogians have dedicated to Dr. Ball:

"Ball is listed as a "consultant" of a Calgary-based global warming skeptic organization called the "Friends of Science" (FOS)."

You won't see Dr. Ball "listed" on the FOS site and he hasn't been listed there for many months since he resigned from FOS before NRSP launched in October 2006. I have pointed this out on other discussion groups but the error stays on DeSmogBlog anyways.

If you would like to learn something about Dr. Ball by reading something that he actually approved, try visiting his NRSP Web page at .

Reading the piece I had in the Owen Sound Sun Times also helps put all this in perspective: . The links that don't work on that page as as follows:

As I said in the OS piece: "I referred earlier to McIver's charges as being "strange" since, aside from self-evident statements such as "the science of climate change is real," he makes no reference to the vitally important science presented in our article; he merely engages in ad hominem attacks against us. The climate change issue is far too important for advocates of differing points of view to resort to such base tactics."

The same could be said of DeSmogBlog, although they do occasionally actually address the science we present.

Richard Littlemore says in the comments on the desmogy Web site, "we will continue to search for "dirt." If you have any, feel free to pass it along." If that apporach appeals to you, then there isn't much we can say that will please you because we are not interested in "digging for dirt" on Mr's. Grandia, Hoggan, Littlemore, etc. who run the desmogblog site (on contract as part of their PR business) simply because this is no way to conduct such an important policy debate. We don't care who it is that presents the so-called best answers. We merely want the policy choices to made on the basis of the best possible examination of all the relevant evidence. To do this, we need to help create an atmosphere in which scientists on both sides of the issue feel comfortable contributing to the public debate, not trying to chase them away, even if they disagree with you.

I am interested in hearing your comments on my latest interview: (civilized comments, that is - I simply ignore the rest).


Tom Harris, B. Eng., M. Eng. (thermofluids)
Executive Director
Natural Resources Stewardship Project
P.O. Box 23013
Ottawa, Ontario K2A 4E2


PS: I tried making the above posting no but they won't allow it on their site; maybe this site is not so fearful of alternative points of view.

Steven Craig said...

The only cold thing about Global Warming is Modern Science

About two weeks ago the head of NASA expressed doubts that Global Warming is a significant problem. His statement was based on the thirty or so years that NASA has been monitoring the temperatures in earth’s upper atmosphere, which have shown little or no change. Although he did point out that the surface temperatures have shown a steady increase.

I will also note that last week he announced that he regretted his statement, but he did not retract it.

The point is if the head of NASA, likely the world’s most important research organization is uncertain, then modern science is obviously confused, which maybe costing all of us time we don’t have to burn.

On Thursday, October 23rd, 2003, a NASA press release of composite images taken of earth’s polar ice caps from 1979-2003 showed that they have melted about 50% over two decades, and the effect appears to be accelerating. Here is a link to their release:

Scientific confusion invites those radio talk ‘Know It All, Guys’ to claim Global Warming is just another “normal” climatic phase. The thing NASA should be pointing out is that no normal climatic shift could ever melt half of earth’s ice in 20 years. This is extremely abnormal.

A meltdown this rapid would be the result of a climatic disaster, such as a massive volcano, a jumbo jet sized meteor or maybe something like the removal of earth’s thick thermal insulation which also according to NASA, covered over 80% more of earth’s land surface, 200 years ago, then today.

Not only can children prove at least 8 very powerful cooling effects that earth has just lost, but vegetation eats the CO2 that many theory scientists are solely blaming for global warming.

The carbon taken directly from CO2 is one of the two main ingredients plants use to make their food. According to, the web’s interactive encyclopedia, the average tree removes 26 pounds of CO2 from the air every year, and earth just lost billions and billions of these CO2 eaters.

I’m not saying the burning of organic compounds is not a big problem, but today’s levels of CO2 could still be mathematically balanced with enough new atmospheric photosynthesis occurring, which may still need to be 36% more then was occurring 200 years ago.

There may be a few ways to actually get that much vegetation growing long before we could ever launch a space umbrella. And unlike the umbrella these methods would make a lot of money for a lot of companies and pay a lot of workers, they could also produce millions of tons of food and construction materials, create typical vacation paradises and greatly reduce other pollutants from earth’s air, while also cooling it.
They could even help lower earth’s raising sea levels, and replenish endangered species.

Out of the 8 other cooling factors that I could design experiments simple enough for third graders, several lost ones seem to add far more cooling then today’s 36% higher CO2 levels can physically hold of additional heat.

The massive expansion of oxygen gas released from water during atmospheric photosynthesis has not been accounted for in global warming theories, and some people calling themselves scientists even deny it happens. Yet only a few denied that oxygen gas was released from a dense liquid that was already 82% oxygen. (H2O has 2 H atoms for each O but one O is many times heaver then 1 H atom).

I am a manufacture and I work with other engineers that see this as clearly as the things we build. This is because they only use real science, no time to make up theories, and the thermal effects of expansion and contraction are a very large part of many engineer’s daily work lives.

Land plants mix the carbon they get from the CO2 with the other main ingredient of their plant food, hydrogen, to create ‘carbohydrates’. They then convert these into sugars, for use and storage. Our bodies also convert carbohydrates into sugars. Somebody called me an idiot, saying “plants convert carbohydrates into glucose, not sugar”. Save your email, simply speaking they are the same thing.

Plants do not use the oxygen left over after removing the H2, from the H2O, nor do they combine it with another dense compound, nor do they store it, nor do they burn it, they just release it into the atmosphere to provide earth’s animals with fresh new oxygen gas to breath. Any encyclopedia will verify that Photosynthesis is responsible for at least 99% of the oxygen in earth’s atmosphere.

Mathematically this expansion is so massive it would have been canceling out a tremendous amount of heat right above earth’s surface, if we had not have just removed 80% of earth’s thickest vegetation.
This is because ‘Expansion’ is nature’s only one step supper cooling method.

Unlike the similar cooling effect from evaporation (called ‘transpiration’ in plants) the O2 gas will never condense back into a liquid at earth temps, as all of the evaporated water eventually will.
This means that the expansion of O from photosynthesis is 100% efficient at cooling the air near earth’s surface (where the problem is) as water vapors eventually re-compress its heat when it condenses.
The bigger difference is that most of the Atmospheric Photosynthesis is now gone, and the rate of evaporation appears to be up, do to higher temps and more storms, if the Weather Channel is correct.

This roughly 800 time expansion of O from H20 makes brand new atmosphere which contains only enough heat to balance its mass (to surrounding temps ) when compressed 800 times, so this newly released gas instantly draws radiant heat from the hot air, right above earth’s surface, to re-warm it.

I have had many denials that this expansion even occurs, or that expansion even cools, but none were similar or provided any evidence beyond their words. Not one offered a simple way to demonstrate how a dense matter, without being consumed, attached or used, converts to a very sparse state, of the same mass, without expansion, no matter what they call the process.

For matter to go from a very dense state to a very sparse one without expansion, alteration, reattachment or consumption, would mean that science has discovered ‘completely vanishing matter’.

If you want to ask someone else about this, find a clever engineer, or science loving sharp third grader, but don’t ask a science theory writer, this effect is about as basic as effects can be, and they missed it.

Go to and read about many other lost cooling effects that theory science has not accounted for or apparently even noticed. If I can’t back my words with real experiments and or natural examples that are simple enough for children to verify, do not believe me.

I also list over a dozen ways we can start cooling earth back down, right now, not in maybe 30 years if we are lucky enough that the solar winds don’t blow the Space Umbrella out of the solar system.
They are part of the article “Space Umbrella vs. Desert Irrigation” at
Steven Craig

Wadard said...

PS: I tried making the above posting no but they won't allow it on their site; maybe this site is not so fearful of alternative points of view.

Dude - there is no alternative point of view. WE are talking about science - not opinion. You email is predicated on the idea that there are two side to the debate. But there is no scientific debate, or I would have seen it in the peer-review literature.

Anonymous said...

"there is no alternative point of view." Alas you must be speaking of some sort of wierd religious dogma then, not climate science.

Try doing a Google search on the phrase "Global Warmin Scare" and then tell me there is no alternative point of view. Get real.

Wadard said...

"Try doing a Google search on the phrase "Global Warmin Scare" and then tell me there is no alternative point of view."

Try doing of Google search on "Naomi Oreskes", and you'll get the metrics on which to base a real claim:

"Then in the December 2004 issue of the journal Science Naomi Oreskes published "The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change" and established that it was uncontested amongst scientists.

"The current scientific consensus is that "most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been attributable to human activities"[2]. The extent of this consensus was the subject of a study—published in December 2004 in the journal Science—that considered the abstracts of 928 refereed scientific articles in the ISI citation database identified with the keywords "global climate change". This study concluded that 75% of the 928 articles either explicitly or implicitly accepted the consensus view — the remainder of the articles covered methods or paleoclimate and did not take any stance on recent climate change[3] [4].""

Anonymous said...

The Natural Resources Stewardship Project (NRSP), a Canadian non-profit group, including a number of leading climate change sceptics, was launched October 12, 2006. [1]

The NRSP has been exposed recently as being controlled by energy industry lobbyists. [2]

NRSP describes itself as a group that "will promote responsible environmental stewardship through:

* broad-based media, government and public relations;
* consumer education and advocacy;
* private initiative and the promotion of private property rights;
* market-based approaches; and
* sensible and efficient legislative and regulatory frameworks, particularly at the federal level." [3]

NRSP lists as "allied experts" a number of climate change sceptics from North America, Australia, New Zealand, Holland, Germany, England and Sweden. [4]

Anonymous said...

Judging from his claims above, Tim Harris might have missed or misread this:

"Calgary Herald satisfied itself as to the accuracy of Dan Johnson's letter, and rose in defence. In a Statement of Defence filed with the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench, the Herald dismissed Ball's "credibility and credentials as an expert on the issue of global warming," saying: "The Plantiff (Dr. Ball) is viewed as a paid promoter of the agenda of the oil and gas industry rather than as a practicing scientist."

Anonymous said...

It is hard not to keep reading that statement...

"The Defendants [Calgary Herald] state that the Plaintiff [Tim Ball] never held a reputation in the scientific community as a noted climatologist and authority on global warming. The particulars of the Plaintiff's reputation are as follows:

a) The Plaintiff has never published any research in any peer-reviewed scientific journal which addressed the topic of human contributions to greenhouse gass and global emissions;

b) The Plaintiff has published no papers on climatology in academically recognized peer-reviewed scientific journals since his retirement as a Professor in 1996.

c) The Plantiff's credentials and credibility as an expert on the issue of global warming have been repeatedly disparaged in the media; and

d) The Plaintiff is viewed as a paid promoter of the agenda of the oil and gas industry rather than as a practicing scientist."

and many more pages.

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