The Martlet

Professor raises eyebrows for contesting climate change

Feb 03, 2011 | Volume 63 Issue 21 | 2 Comments
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Dr. G. Cornelis van Kooten has created debate on campus with his controversial views on climate change.

Dr. G. Cornelis van Kooten has created debate on campus with his controversial views on climate change.

Mark Worthing

One UVic professor is stirring up debate with his controversial ideas on climate change.

“CO₂ has no relation to temperature rises,” said Dr. G. Cornelis van Kooten, in an Economics of Climate Change lecture on Jan. 28; van Kooten teaches climate change economics at UVic and holds a Canada Research Chair in Environmental Studies.

His presentation included a case study of two Victoria Elementary schools’ rooftop weather stations that he described as an example of the Urban Heat Island affect (UHI). The two Victoria school weather stations that he acquired the information from are part of the “UVic School-Based Weather Station Network” (being developed by Andrew Weaver and Ed Wiebe), a collaborative project with UVic and the school districts of southern Vancouver Island.

In his case study, van Kooten showed how the hot air vents and nearby woodworking shop influence the temperatures of one of the weather stations, while at another school the weather station is uninfluenced by non-weather factors, thereby showing what he says is the influence of the Urban Heat Island effect. This, he argued, is one of the reasons why climate models that show global weather temperatures are rising may be wrong.

“Using the U.S. weather rating system, only 8,000 of the 22,000 weather stations [used to document global temperature rises] are reliable,” he said.

However, members of the audience expressed concerns with his methods, definitions and conclusions.

“Your definition of the Urban Heat Island effect is wrong,” said one audience member, who then proceeded to explain that the UHI is mainly related to the modification of land surfaces that are impermeable to rain and retain heat.

“OK, I stand corrected,” van Kooten replied, leaving an aura of confusion in the room.

Other parts of van Kooten’s talk were equally challenging to conventional wisdom.

“[Gross Domestic Product] is a non-climactic factor that causes temperature to go up,” he continued. “There is no statistical relationship between CO₂ and temperature.”

Van Kooten’s talk and methods left many puzzled and concerned.

Tom Pedersen, director of the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions interjected and challenged van Kooten’s approach during the presentation and expressed the need for expert advice.

“If one is going to draw deductions based on global warming trends, one needs to be very familiar with expert literature and speak to experts, many of whom are on this campus,” he said after the talk.

Van Kooten’s concerns lie in the authenticity of climate data gathering and modeling, and the ensuing problems that would transpire if major policy decisions were made off of false or inaccurate data. He argues in his classes, for example, that we can’t reduce poverty and carbon at the same time.

“You can’t do policy without reading the other side,” said van Kooten. “I’m becoming a denier more and more, the more I listen to these guys [climate scientists in agreement about global warming]. It’s a religion to them.”

Students in van Kooten’s classes have also raised concerns about his teaching of climate change-related issues.

“An economics professor should not be trying to dispute science in an economics class,” said Rob McDonald, a third-year political science student who dropped van Kooten’s third-year economics class, Climate Economics (ECON 383). “Also, he shows little academic integrity by using a book that he wrote that has not been reviewed as the textbook, and also by giving his very one-sided and narrow view of climate change without letting people know all the different things scientists are saying on the issue.”

The text for ECON 383, is van Kooten’s Policy Making under Wicked Uncertainty, available as a course pack for $48 at the UVic Bookstore.

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  • Andrew Weaver Feb. 4, 2011, 12:23 a.m.

    The school based weather network was put together to assist teachers in the elementary schools deliver the Grade 4 Science Curriculum. We provided them with state of the art resources (weather stations and monitors) and curriculum materials (lesson plans, demonstrations, field trips etc) at no cost. This volunteer project was funded by piecing together funds from individual donations, NSERC Promoscience (a science education funding organization), A Channel and NEC Corporation. The weather station at Lambrick Park High School (mentioned above) was installed at the request of the woodworking teacher. He runs a dry kiln ( and needed information on the ambient air around the kiln. So yes, we are aware of the existence of the kiln by this site. That is why we installed it where we did.

  • Alex R Feb. 6, 2011, 6:34 p.m.

    Thank you Dr. van Kooten for challenging the fraud that Al Gore and other AGW people are stating.

    Andrew Weaver was challenged to a debate last year by Dr. Timothy Ball on the subject, to which he did not attend.

    If you are an expert, you should be willing to challenge another expert and please, make us learn and explain why he would have been wrong Dr. Weaver for having his ideas. They have facts out there and have challenged your data, but since they can't get their works published (by peer review do you mean just Dr. Weaver and others in the IPCC who review each others' work, that small group...?) this is the only way people can try to spark debate. Put an open challenge out to a leader such as Weaver, but as he has demonstrated, he can't win a debate with his arguments so he doesn't bother showing up. Rather he gets his students to show up to skeptic's presentation and yell out random comments during Q&A, in the middle of a presentation, and even get one of them to compare AGW to white slavers in Africa. It's the only logical explanation of his tactics.

    This group of people are not relying on debate. Rather they are relying on propaganda and showing videos where children should be killed for not reducing their climate output. Polar bears falling from the sky? No pressure? There's lots of pressure when a giant gun or a big red explosive button is held against your head. After all, get the children when they're young and they're yours for the rest of your life.

    But on the issue of poverty, lets look at Spain. They tried making green jobs. Since we would likely follow Spain's green economy example interms of how productive it would be for the people, lets summarize it. For every green job the economy would create, 2.2 jobs would be lost in the real economy. Leading us to the state of poverty that many in the second- and third-world experience, all while making those connected to this scheme to profit.

    Even for one moment, lets say that your exhaling is harming the earth with its CO2 output. If you truly cared about the climate, Weaver, you should talk to the Chinese to reduce their plant production. They produce 2-3 a week, the U.S. produces 2-3 a year. The U.S. is trying to reduce it's impact, China will produce last years' world CO2 output in 2030. Al Gore continues to buy houses on the waterfront despite how the rising oceans would make his property underwater. Maurice Strong and other people who advocate this climate change fraud continue to move to China.

    But that makes me wonder, though, does Mr. Weaver truly want our unemployment to increase? If he has more than one child, which one will he euthanize to reduce our collective carbon footprint? If he was invested in the Chicago Climate Exchange fraud, how much money did he lose from that scheme falling on its face?


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