Why is it different here — and in Canada?

Within an hour or two of my sending out my essay on ‘fear’ and its implications I was receiving email about it. One of the first to comment to me was a retired Canadian meteorologist, Madhav Khandekar, who was born in India, and revisits his native land every year. Madhav wrote that he was baffled as to why Australians should be worried about warming, just as he was baffled by Canadians feeling the same way, given that eastern Canada was still ‘buried in snow’, which meant that Spring was still a long way off.

He offered a part explanation. In the 1980s and part of the 1990s, Canadian cities (Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver etc) did have warmer summers (warmer just by a couple of degrees C in the mean), and that is when this GW agenda started to take hold! 

In contrast, People in India most of them I feel DO NOT worry about a hotter climate. They are accustomed to it. Right now most big cities in the north, and the south as well, record max temp at 32C to 37C and low at 20C or thereabouts. April is the hottest month in India, and high temperatures at 40C and above are not uncommon. Yet no one, as I see it, is worried about ‘hot summers’ because most Indians accept that summers are hot anyway. Some summers are hotter and longer than others, if the monsoon rains are delayed, otherwise a few weeks of hot summer is something most Indians are prepared to bear during the months of April, May and a part of June.

And India too, has had a very cold winter, with parts of the northwest and Kashmir experiencing deep snow. Indian houses are often poorly built, he says, and few are insulated. So Indians may worry more about cold weather than they do about hot. It’s an interesting take. And I don’t have an answer about why Australians would be worried about warming, other than to say that I don’t think the worry is about warming as such, given that air conditioning is common and that, like Indians, Australians generally are used to hot summers. It’s more about the notion that something really bad will happen if we don’t control greenhouse gases… It’s the fear disease I wrote about.

But I think there are similarities between Canada and Australia that might explain why, if Madhav is right, both societies seem in thrall to the fear of AGW. Both have national media systems, both are well off, have high proportions of university-educated people, have high proportions living in cities, have very similar standards of living, are secular, have similar political systems, use English as the common language, and have similar scientific and academic institutions. Stephen Harper has been more outspoken than Tony Abbott about what he sees as the pernicious economic consequences of the AGW movement, but, like our PM, he mostly prefers to say nothing about it.

Below the Canadian border there is a different world. Judith Curry on Climate etc has provided a short statement  made by Ted  Cruz, the first Republican to announce that he will contest the primary for the 2016 Presidential elections. Cruz is a young (45), academically brilliant lawyer of Cuban, Irish and Italian heritage who is the junior Senator for Texas. He spoke on a television talk show (Seth Myers), and later give a fuller account of his views to the Washington Examiner. Here it is.

I think debates on these issues should be driven by the science and the data and the evidence. Global warming alarmists don’t like to confront the actual evidence because it does not support their apocalyptic theories.

Specifically, satellite data demonstrate there has been no warming over the past 17 years. That’s despite the fact that the computer models relied upon for this theory showed there would be significant warming, and yet the actual data don’t back up those flawed computer models. So what did the alarmists do? Rather than look to science to understand what’s happening, they simply modified the theory.

Now you don’t hear them talking about global warming, you hear them talking merely about climate change. The reason for that alteration is because the data demonstrate the Earth is not warming. And I would note whenever anyone makes that point, you immediately get vilified as a quote-unquote ‘denier’ without anyone actually refuting the facts.

And the language of denial is revealing because one usually hears of deniers in the religious context, dealing with heretics. And much of the global warming hysteria is pushed forth as a religious truth that no facts can dare contravene.

It is altogether worrisome when you have scientists treating matters — denouncing those pointing to the actual facts and data as deniers. And indeed I would point out that was the exact same conduct the Flat Earth people demonstrated toward Galileo. And the global warming alarmists in their treatment of those looking to the facts and evidence often behave like modern day Flat Earth proponents.

I can’t see Mr Abbott or any member of his Ministry, let alone the relevant Minister, speaking as forthrightly as this. More, apart from qualifying ‘warming’ a couple of times with ‘significant’, I don’t think there is anything in the statement to which an informed person could object. Having said that, I think that there are only a few climate scientists who regularly denigrate their opponents this way. Most of the denigration comes from those who ‘believe’, and are not interested in data and observations.

But why the difference in our countries? A few things come to mind. Support for the AGW notion seems to be, on opinion poll evidence, a good deal lower in the USA than it is in either Australia or Canada. Scepticism is higher, too. The party system is different, with opinions on AGW or ‘climate change’ more affected by one’s political partisanship than is the case in the two Commonwealth countries. And since the President has taken a public stand on the danger of ‘climate change’, it is understandable that his opponents should take the opposite view. Finally, the media system in the USA is more heterogeneous than ours is, and I would think more diverse than that of Canada. Most of the denigration, both ways, comes from the USA too.

Ole Humlum, in climate4you (page 2), has provided a striking visual realisation of the freezing weather that has afflicted the American and Canadian northeast. But that is weather, not climate. The great Russian land mass, as you will see, had a pleasantly mild February.


Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • DonJA says:

    We should tell Cruz that Galileo was a Heliocentric not a flat Earther. Otherwise good stuff.

    • Michael 2 says:

      DonJA says “We should tell Cruz that Galileo was a Heliocentric not a flat Earther.”

      Master Yoda says, “Do, or do not. There is no suggesting that the herd do it all together on the count of three.”

  • David says:


  • DaveW says:

    I’ve lived significant portions of my life in the USA, Australia and Canada, and I think I have a moderate grasp of the differences among these countries. I think the primary differences between the USA and Australia and Canada are two. The first is historical: the USA threw out the British, beat them to a draw in the war of 1812, weathered an extremely brutal Civil War, and twice saved the British (and the French) from destruction. The USA has always (at least until recently) had as close as one could hope to get to true freedom of speech, religion and political discourse (infringed now and then, but basically taken as inherent rights). Australia and Canada never threw off the British yoke (Canada tried several times – but the revolts were suppressed and the leaders executed, much as with the Irish), faithfully sent their sons to die for the Empire, and have never had more than token freedom to express heterodox thoughts. The second is size: although geographically they may be similar in size, the population of the USA is 6-7 times that of Australia and Canada combined. So, the USA has both a tradition of independent thinking and a large population that has always been composed of a diversity of immigrants and natives from many different nations (and Native Americans have been able to integrate into US politics, military and culture since the mid-1800s). In contrast, Australia and Canada were more or less obedient colonials, mostly Anglo-Irish or Anglo-French immigrants until after WWII, and excluded their indigenous populations from participation until recently.

    So, I think it is perfectly natural that there is less conformity and a greater diversity of political thought to be found in the USA. I would be with Mr Khandekar in my bewilderment as to why Canadians would fear warmer winters or Australians fear a bit of extra warmth in the summer; however, I don’t think they do. I think, rather, that the small, insular political elites are more easily manipulated here and in Canada. I don’t think ‘progressive’ Australians or Canadians are much worried about climate Armageddon: I think they are worried about being outside the shelter of their herd (of being tall poppies) and they will placidly move along to the next hysteria when prodded with a new set of talking points.

  • Michael 2 says:

    I concur with DaveW. The United States is an expression of a selection process, unlike the nations from which its citizens emigrated, they themselves unlike the citizens that did not emigrate.

  • David says:

    “In contrast, People in India most of them I feel DO NOT worry about a hotter climate. They are accustomed to it. Right now most big cities in the north, and the south as well, record max temp at 32C to 37C and low at 20C or thereabouts. April is the hottest month in India, and high temperatures at 40C and above are not
    uncommon. ”

    Like this? http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-32926172

    • Don Aitkin says:

      I haven’t heard any comment from him on this, but I’ll ask!

      • Don Aitkin says:

        I asked, and this is his reply:

        ‘My brother and many in the town of Vadodara ( a modern town with a population of about 2.5 million) have some sort of bed/cots outside for sleeping at night. My brother has a small closed area on the ‘roof’/ terrace of his house, where he likes to read and sleep for the night. Afternoons, he likes to spend in his living/family room, and enjoy the comforts of a room-air-conditioner. He does not fell the need to use air-conditioner for night long, as it is expensive and it does not give him the comfort he gets by sleeping outside.

        In western States , Gujarat and I believe in Rajasthan as well, this life-style is common, use outside balconies or roof terraces to sleep at night. In my view, this is less expensive, as very few houses still ( perhaps up to 10 to 20% at most) have some kind of room air-conditioners, and further it helps reduce threat of being dehydrated as most people have cold water clay pots around for drinking water at night. It also reduces heat exhaustion, which one has if sleeping inside a room, with say a ceiling fan. I have experienced both and I feel this ‘life-style’ of sleeping outside during pre-monsoon hot months is ideal to reduce heat mortality! Also I recall from my younger days, I would get a good-night sleep while sleeping outside!

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