Global warming ‘slowed by pollution’

Climate scientist Andrew Weaver says variations from climate predictions relate to the rise of Asia and its higher air pollution rates

Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Andrew Weaver

The apparent slowing of global warming in recent years is likely due to effects of increased particulate and other conventional pollution, particularly from thermal coal use in Asia, says B.C. MLA and climate scientist Andrew Weaver.

Weaver was asked to respond to a report issued Thursday by University of Guelph environmental economist Ross McKitrick, a long-time critic of climate change models and a senior fellow at the Fraser Institute. Reviewing temperature data used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, McKitrick notes that data for the last two decades have shown less warming than was predicted by most climate models.

McKitrick does not challenge the conclusion that human-generated carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere. But he argues that the uncertain effect of rising emissions should cause policy-makers to wait for clarity before “making any irreversible climate policy commitments, in order to avoid making costly decisions that are revealed a short time later to have been unnecessary.”

Weaver questioned the accuracy of McKitrick’s report.

“To say that there’s no statistically significant change over the last 15 to 20 years, it’s just not true,” Weaver said. “2005 is the second warmest year on record, 2010 is the warmest, and we’re going to break the record in 2014 and set a new record.”

Weaver said climate models in the late 1990s estimated an amount of particulate and aerosol pollution in the world’s atmosphere that has been exceeded by growing thermal coal use in China and other emerging economies. That pollution has a cooling effect, and when air pollution is cleaned up it as it has been in North America, warming increases, he said.

“It doesn’t say anything about models or international policy,” Weaver said. “One thing we know is that China is going to clean up its air quality, because they have to.”

The issue is significant to B.C., where a carbon tax on fuels remains in place. Northeastern B.C.’s booming shale gas production, a cornerstone of the provincial government’s economic strategy, contains more CO2 than conventional gas, and it is extracted and vented to the atmosphere in processing for fuel or export.

Just Posted

Christensen claims most in expenses, again

For the second year in a row Area G director Elef Christensen claims most in expenses

Second Narrows Bridge collapse survivor remembers tragic day

Kelowna’s Norm Atkinson remembers what it was like to survive B.C. ‘s worst industrial accident

B.C. Wildfire Service responding to Cawston area fire

A Thursday afternoon thunderstorm is suspected to be the cause of a wildfire near Cawston

115 new wildfires burning across B.C. due to 19,000 lightning strikes

More fires expected to start today, says BC Wildfire Service officials

Humans locked in for love at Kelowna Shelter

BC SPCA Lock-In for Love hopes to raise $25,000

Lions need to focus on football after disruptive fan incident: coach

Wally Buono says his players need to focus on football after defensive back Marcell Young hit a fan

Liberals set hiring, procurement rules for federally-funded projects

Indigenous Peoples, recent immigrants, veterans, young people, people with disabilities and women to be hired

Get your hot dog water, only $40 in Vancouver

‘Hot Dog Water’ seller in Vancouver gets laughs, sales with savvy marketing

Privacy questions linger in Canada-U.S. terror list deal struck

Two years after Canadian and U.S. security agencies signed an updated agreement officials consider privacy risk

Manitoba MP was allegedly abusive at Red Cross shelter

Canadian Red Cross has filed a complaint that Liberal backbencher MaryAnn Mihychuk ignored protocol

Fiery crash closes Highway 5 near Barriere

The stretch of highway won’t be open until at least 10 a.m., DriveBC says

Fireworks and fires over a half-metre banned Friday in Kamloops centre

B.C. Wildfire Service banning to category 2 and 3 fires in Kamloops Fire Centre at noon Friday

Rescued Oregon family simply unprepared for adventure, RCMP say

Agencies now helping the group of four get to their destination in Alaska

Most Read