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Friends of Science

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Learn more from the Center for Media and Democracy's research on climate change.

This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.

The Friends of Science Society (FoS) is a Canadian non-profit group based in Calgary, Alberta, that is "made up of active and retired engineers, earth scientists and other professionals, as well as many concerned Canadians, who believe the science behind the Kyoto Protocol is questionable." [1]


In an August 12, 2006, article The Globe and Mail revealed that the group had received significant funding via anonymous, indirect donations from the oil industry, including a major grant from the Science Education Fund, a donor-directed, flow-through charitable fund at the Calgary Foundation. The donations were funnelled through a University of Calgary trust account research set up and controlled by U of C Professor Barry Cooper. [2] [3] The revelations were based largely on the prior investigations of Desmogblog.com, which had reported on the background of FoS scientific advisors and Cooper's role in FoS funding. [4] [5]


In the course of an internal review and audit begun in March of 2007, the University determined that some of the research funds accepted on behalf of the Friends of Science "had been used to support a partisan viewpoint on climate change" and had returned unspent grant money on September 10, 2007, according to a Calgary Foundation statement.[6] As a consequence, the University advised FoS "that it would no longer accept funds on the organization's behalf", according to an email from University legal counsel Elizabeth Osler sent on December 24, 2007. [7] On February 17, 2008, CanWest News Service reported that U of C officials had shut down Cooper's "'Research on Climate Change' trust account", and were about to advise Elections Canada of the University's ongoing review of the matter. [8]

A few days later, CanWest reported that the targeting of the FoS radio ad campaign to key Ontario ridings was directed by then FoS media contact Morten Paulsen (later a vice-president at Fleishman-Hillard), who also served as volunteer spokesperson for the Stephen Harper led Conservative Party of Canada during the election. [9]

A report on various allegations concerning Barry Cooper's research accounts was issued by the University auditor on April 14, 2008, with some censored passages released in July. [10] [11] The report examined allegations that research funds had been used as a conduit to fund Friends of Science projects, that funds had been used to support third-party election advertising, and that the funded projects did not constitute legitimate research or education. Although the report did not arrive at any definitive conclusions on the allegations, it did note that Barry Cooper (referred to as the "researcher" in the report) overstepped his signing authority in approving payments of $170,000 of payments to APCO Worldwide, $54,000 to Morten Paulsen Consulting, and $43,000 to Paulsen's current employer, PR and lobbying firm Fleishman-Hillard. In an accompanying press release, the University noted that it had "advised Elections Canada and Canada Revenue Agency of its concerns regarding the accounts Friends of Science and the ongoing auditor’s review." [12] [13]

On September 23, 2008, CanWest reported that Elections Canada had completed a preliminary assessment into the 2006 Ontario radio ad campaign and would not press charges against FoS for failing to register as a third-party election advertiser. [14]

Contents

Origins

The Friends of Science was founded in 2002, with an active website since October, 2002 (as viewed at archive.org) [15]. The initial list of "professional contacts" included [16]:

In 2006, Charles Montgomery reported in the Globe and Mail that Tom Harris (at the time employed at the Ottawa office of APCO Worldwide) "organized the Friends' first Ottawa press conference in 2002" [17], citing Friends of Science spokesperson Albert Jacobs. Montgomery further commented, in private e-mail correspondence dated February 8, 2007: "Jacobs told me that Harris has been a good friend to FOS, but he added that Harris didn't want people to know this."

In responding to a Wunderblog post about him [18], Harris stated: "You imply I had something to do with organizing 'the fraud operation known as "Friends of Science" '. Correction: No, FOS started up on their own." [19]

Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society Congress No-Show

At the 40th Annual Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS) congress held in early June 2006 in Toronto, Canada, "Canada's leading scientific society on climate called for urgent government action on climate change," Stephen Leahy wrote for Inter Press Service.

Ian Rutherford, CMOS executive director, told Leahy that "the CMOS membership representing more than 800 public and private scientists" made a public statement that the "scientific evidence dictates that in order to stabilise the climate, global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions need to go far beyond those mandated under this Kyoto Protocol."

Though not CMOS's first public statement, it was one of the most "vocal about climate change of late" due to the fact "that Canada's new Conservative government does not support the Kyoto Protocol for lower emissions of greenhouse gases, and opposed stricter emissions for a post-Kyoto agreement at a United Nations meeting in Bonn in May [2006]" and because "a small, previously invisible group of global warming sceptics called the Friends of Science are suddenly receiving attention from the Canadian government and media," Leahy wrote.

"The Conservative government is listening to them (the sceptics) because they tell them what they want to hear," Rutherford told IPS. However, Rutherford said, "No member from Friends of Science presented any papers, viewpoints or even attended the CMOS meeting," Leahy wrote. "They never present their arguments in front of scientists and should not be listened to," Rutherford said. [20]

Lobbyists and Political Connections

Lobbyists Morten Paulsen and Bryan Thomas

According to the Lobbyists Registration System, Government of Canada, Morten Paulsen and Bryan Thomas of Fleishman-Hillard Canada Inc. were registered lobbyists for the Friends of Science Society in 2006. Registration records show that the registrations were renewed, effective August 8, 2006, and then terminated abruptly on August 24, 2006. [21]

Paulsen was listed as media contact on the FoS website up until July 2006, including during the 2005-6 federal election campaign. [22] According to a CanWest News report by Mike de Souza, Paulsen apparently managed the FoS anti-Kyoto radio ad campaign during that election, while simultaneously serving as volunteer spokesperson for the Conservative Party.

"When asked who was in charge of running the anti-Kyoto group's advertising and selecting the target markets during the election campaign, Leahey said: 'I would imagine that would have been (decided by) our public relations consultant [Paulsen]. Certainly I did not decide. It's not my area of expertise.' …

"Conservative spokesperson [Ryan Sparrow] confirmed … that Paulsen had played a role in the Tory campaign as 'an unpaid spinner' to the media." [23]

On Nov. 29, 2005, on the eve of the afore-mentioned federal election campaign, Paulsen attempted to register for the UN COP-11 climate change conference in Montreal, along with FoS scientific advisor Madhav Khandekar. According to Licia Corbella in the Calgary Sun, the Friends of Science pair were refused entry to the conference. [24]

According to an e-mail from FoS spokesperson Albert Jacobs: "Morten Paulsen served as our PR man under contract for over a year. This contract ended in July 2006 when Morten became Vice-President of Hillard Fleischman [sic]." [25] In response to further queries concerning Paulsen's lobbying activities, Jacobs wrote: "I know nothing about Morten being a registered lobbyist for FoS. As far as I know FoS does not employ any 'lobbyists'." [26]

But Paulsen, who "has close Conservative ties", was not only registered as a lobbyist for Friends of Science, but also for "several petroleum companies including Conoco-Phillips Canada, and Kinder Morgan Canada Inc. Paulsen has long been active in the federal Conservative Party and its Reform/Alliance predecessors, serving as Preston Manning's communication director, managing MP Art Hanger's 2004 election campaign, and also holding high-ranking positions with the Alberta Conservatives," according to the Liberal Party of Canada in Alberta in August 2006. [27] He is currently Senior Vice President and General Manager at Fleishman-Hillard, leading Alberta operations. According to his Fleishman-Hillard biography, Paulsen "was a spokesperson for the Conservative Party in the last federal election and co-chaired the 2006 Alberta Provincial PC Convention." [28]

On Nov. 29, 2005, on the eve of the afore-mentioned federal election campaign, Paulsen attempted to register for the UN COP-11 climate change conference in Montreal, along with FoS scientific advisor Madhav Khandekar. According to Licia Corbella in the Calgary Sun, the Friends of Science pair were refused entry to the conference. [29]

More recently, Paulsen along with Fleishmann-Hillard Senior Counsel John Barr and three others, signed a letter attacking Desmogblog.com founder James Hoggan. [30] The letter criticizes Hoggan's "flimsy" analysis and claims that it "comes dangerously close to offending the code of ethics of the Canadian Public Relations Society." Hoggan's Desmogblog.com had been the first to expose the Friends of Science [31], and had reported Paulsen's various activities for FoS , as well as his long-standing connections to the Conservative Party and its Reform Party predecessor. [32] [33] Hoggan's efforts at Desmogblog.com were recognized when he received a 2007 Communications Leadership Award from the BC Chapter of the CPRS. [34] [35] The award "recognizes communications professionals demonstrating the highest ethical and professional standards while performing outstanding work."

As president of London, Ontario based Thomas Crncich & Partners, Bryan Thomas was authorized agent for purchase of broadcast time for the Reform Party in the 1997 federal election [36], as well as for the Canadian Alliance in 2000 [37]. The 1997 Reform Party campaign featured the infamous "lines through the faces of Quebec leaders" ad. [38] Thomas Crncich also worked on print ad campaigns for the Ontario Conservative government of Mike Harris. [39]

Little is known about the source of funds used to pay Paulsen's and Thomas's fees; specifically it is not known if these fees were paid from Barry Cooper's climate change research fund, either directly or indirectly (see section on funding below).

The Canadian Lobbyist's Code of Conduct rules on transparency state that lobbyists must "disclose the identity of the person or organization on whose behalf the representation is made." The Code's Professionalism Principle states that lobbyists "should observe the highest professional and ethical standards" and "should conform fully with not only the letter but the spirit of the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct." [emphasis added] As the majority of FoS's funding apparently came from anonymous corporate donations (see section below on funding), it is an open question as to whose behalf Paulsen and Thomas were acting, and whether they were in full conformance with the letter and spirit of the Code of Conduct's transparency rules.

Conservative MP Bob Mills and Legislative Assistant Tom Harris

Canadian Conservative MP Bob Mills, environment critic under then Opposition Leader Stephen Harper for both the Canadian Alliance and the Conservative Party, was a longtime supporter of the Friends of Science and their scientific advisors. In a press release dated July 18, 2002, Bob Mills defended climate change skeptics like the Friends of Science and Richard Lindzen: "The fact that Dr. Lindzen and thousands of other scientists disagree with the Canadian government’s one-sided view of climate change in no way invalidates their valuable contributions to understanding this complex science."

Specifically, Mills complained, "[The] Climate Change Secretariat would not allow Kyoto science skeptics such as [FoS scientific advisor] Professor Tim Patterson, a leading paleo-climatoligist, into the Kyoto public consultations sessions held in June." The press release gave as a contact Tom Harris, Mills's legislative assistant who went on to become an associate at APCO Worldwide later that year (see also FoS Origins above).

Later, Bob Mills enabled the appearance of the Friends of Science, in the persons of then President Charles Simpson and Tim Patterson, before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development on February 10, 2005.[40] During the testimony, Mills asked cogent questions such as: "[I]s CO2 really a poisonous, hazardous waste?"

After the Conservative election victory in 2006, Mills's relationship with climate change skeptics cooled. In Financial Post article dated December 5, 2006, Tom Harris and Tim Ball complained: "Somewhere along the road to power, Mills' questioning of the science of Kyoto and his demands for open consultations on the issue subsided. He removed all traces of his previous position from his Web site (bobmillsmp.com)."

FoS Advisor Tim Ball Meets with federal and Alberta Conservatives

  • April, 2006: According to the FoS newsletter of May, 2006, Tim Ball made "an eye opening presentation … to members of the Alberta PC Calgary Caucus… The Calgary Caucus is an influential body, and we were pleased that several Ministers, including Energy Minister Greg Melchin, were in attendance. That presentation on the lack of science underlying Kyoto has lead to another presentation to be held this month in Edmonton to the Standing Policy Committee on Energy." [41]
  • May, 2006: Tom Harris of the High Park Group arranged a meeting between Tim Ball and federal conservatives in Ottawa. Ball "gave his slide show to a half-dozen federal Conservative MPs and a clutch of Tory staffers." [42]
  • September 22, 2006: FoS sponsored Ball in a presentation to a Conservative party gathering in Victoria. "The breakfast speech was organized by Conservative electoral district associations in Victoria, Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, and [Natural Resources Minister Gary] Lunn's Saanich-Gulf Islands riding." [43]

Funding

As detailed below, much of the Friends of Science funding has come from anonymous donations to research trust funds set up by University of Calgary professor Barry Cooper. However, following an internal audit by the University, the University has advised FoS "that it would no longer accept funds on the organization's behalf", according to an email from University legal counsel Elizabeth Osler. [44]

Funding sources

In February 2005, the Friends of Science website claimed: "The Friends of Science members and correspondents come from across Canada and beyond, and include professionals and lay people who are interested in presenting objective climate science. We are independent of corporations, governments, and other organizations, and receive no funding from them [emphasis added]." [45]

As reported by Charles Montgomery in the Globe and Mail, Prof. Barry Cooper of the University of Calgary "set up a fund at the university dubbed the Science Education Fund. Donors were encouraged to give to the fund through the Calgary Foundation, which administers charitable giving in the Calgary area, and has a policy of guarding donors' identities. The Science Education Fund in turn provides money for the Friends of Science, as well as Tim Ball's travel expenses, according to Albert Jacobs, [spokesperson for the Friends of Science]."

The article continues: "Prof. Cooper and Mr. Jacobs both affirm that the Science Education Fund paid the bills for the Friends' anti-Kyoto video, Climate Catastrophe Cancelled." As to the source of the donations, "[The money's] not exclusively from the oil and gas industry," Cooper told Montgomery. [46]

As of March, 2006 the balance in the Science Education Fund stood at $76,000, according to the Calgary Foundation's 2006 annual report. The same report shows that $200,000 was disbursed from the Science Education Fund to the University of Calgary in the 2005-6 fiscal year. [47] In the following year, there were no disbursements and the balance climbed slightly to $92,5000, according to the Foundations's 2007 Funds and Grants statement. [48]

However it also appears that the Science Education Fund is not the only source of funding for Barry Cooper's "climate change research" fund. FoS has stated that it "invested $400,000" into the video Climate Catastrophe Cancelled, [49] and since FoS has also stated that the video was funded through Barry Cooper's research fund, presumably there were other external sources in addition to the Calgary Foundation's Science Education Fund. As well, the U of C student newspaper, the Gauntlet, reported that "according to the Calgary Foundation's communications director Kerry Longpre, the fund was established in Oct. 2005." [50]

It is not known whether the previous non-Calgary Foundation donations or sources gave rise to charitable tax receipts for the originating donees, as did donations to the Science Education Fund. It is also not known whether the other various donations and grants were segregated or allocated to the same research fund as the Science Education Fund.

An older version of the FoS website news section featured an exchange between FoS and "an interested reader". This exchange has been removed from the current news section, and replaced with a link to a Word document version of the exchange [51]. However, the following question and answer have been removed from the Word document:

"Reader: Incidentally, I would truly appreciate if you could tell me how you are funded. Where does your money come from?

"FoS: We are funded through membership fees ($25/yr) and individual donations. Large projects - such as our video and radio ads - are funded through grants out of … [a research fund controlled by Barry Cooper], directed towards debate of climate science and which is also fed by the charitable Calgary Foundation." [52] The statement was repeated in an email from Friends of Science spokesperson Albert Jacobs to a SourceWatch contributor. [53]

In a more recent email exchange from May, 2007, Albert Jacobs elaborated: "We pay our running expenses mostly out of the membership fees and donations of the several hundred individual members we have and in the few cases, when we are initiating larger projects (such as our video, our website and the like), we try to raise money from wealthy individuals and private foundations in this city and elsewhere. Such funds are often channelled through charitable organisations for education purposes, which is what they are indeed used for. We are not political lobbyists. In the case of the video, the funds were obtained through the University of Calgary through a Trust Fund established at U of C to encourage debate on basic Climate Science (something Environment Canada never got around to). While some of the smaller oil and gas companies have occasionally contributed because their leaders are often earth scientists who are sympathetic to our fight on scientific grounds, so-called 'big oil' is generally absent in our list of donors. The large companies would not contribute if we asked them, because of their public image as marketers in a country where 70% of the population has been brainwashed in embracing 'Kyoto' … None of the funds we received from any source ever came with any strings attached. Most of us (including our Advisory Board) don't even know who the donors are. We are all registered professionals, bound by the ethics standards of our respective professional organisations and we don't sell our souls." [54]

As detailed in the January 2007 and December 2007 newsletters [55] [56], the Friends of Science continues to solicit non-tax-deductible direct donations, as well as tax-deductible indirect donations to the Science Education Fund through the Calgary Foundation.

Role of the Calgary Foundation and the University of Calgary

Calgary Foundation

Calgary Foundation marketing director Kerry Longpré told Globe and Mail freelancer Charles Montgomery that she had never heard of the Friends of Science. "The foundation, she said, deals only with the [University of Calgary], which is left to administer donations as it sees fit." [57]. According to the Calgary Foundation's 2006 report, the Science Education Fund is a "flow-through", donor-directed fund. [58] In an email dated March 16, 2007, Longpré forwarded a statement "further clarification of the grant making process at The Calgary Foundation." [59]

The Calgary Foundation stated: "The Science Education Fund is one of 364 Donor Advised Funds held at The Calgary Foundation. Its grant to the University of Calgary supports academic research in the science of global warming and the production of education modules, academic conferences and publications." [60]

The statement goes on to note the general requirements of Foundation grants: "Whether funds are donor directed or at the discretion of The Calgary Foundation, a strict grant making process is followed:

  • Recipients must be qualified donees under the Income Tax Act
  • Recipients must be in good standing with Canada Revenue Agency
  • Recipients are required to provide a confirmation of use of funds as stipulated in the grant agreement."

A November 1, 2007 story in the U of C student newspaper the Gauntlet stated: "The Science Education Fund is an anonymous fund, which means who founded the fund and the identity of the donor advisor, who advises the Calgary Foundation as to what projects they want to give the money to, cannot be disclosed, [CF spokesperson] Longpre said."

However the same story reported that the relationship between the Foundation and FoS was closer than previously known or admitted:

"'We got talking to this person at the Calgary Foundation and they explained to us how they could, in fact, be an intermediary between us and projects,' said [FoS vice-president Eric] Loughead. 'It was kind of one of these mutual things. They were aware of us and we were aware of them. I think we learned of them from one of the other trusts in Calgary and they suggested to us that we talk to the Calgary Foundation. That's where the Science Education Fund was originated.' … According to Loughead, the Friends of Science administered the fund and when the Friends had projects they wanted to sponsor, they would instruct the Calgary Foundation where to direct the money."

In a statement released in April, 2007, the Foundation acknowledged that the University had returned an unspent SEF grant of $25,000 on September 10, 2007 "due to U of C investigation that found the funds supported a partisan viewpoint on climate change". [61] The same statement revealed that the Frontier Centre for Public Policy received a grant from the SEF on November 15 for "support of science education." Canwest reported that the FCPP wanted "to produce a climate change video for children in schools". [62] The SEF also had a balance of $132,178 as of March 31, 2008, according to the Foundation's 2007-8 Annual Report. [63] It is not yet known if those funds have been allocated for FCPP projects in 2008-9.

FoS and FCPP have similar points of view on climate change. FoS scientific advisor Tim Ball is also an FCPP senior fellow, [64] while FoS advisor Madhav Khandekar produced the recent FCPP paper, "Questioning the Global Warming Science: An annotated bibliography of recent peer-reviewed papers". [65] FCPP President Peter Holle introduced guest speaker Patrick Michaels at FoS's fifth annual luncheon on May 2, 2008.[66]

University of Calgary role

In an email dated February 15, 2007, External Vice-President Roman Cooney of the University of Calgary made the following public statements regarding the Friends of Science and Barry Cooper's climate change research fund.

"The University of Calgary does not provide funding for Friends of Science. There is no University of Calgary trust fund for Friends of Science. We do not endorse its work or its findings … The University of Calgary does not have a position on climate change, nor would it. As an independent, non-partisan research institution, the U of C insists on maintaining its neutrality.

"The fundamental principle is academic freedom … In this case, a group of scientists [i.e. the Friends of Science] holds a particular viewpoint and have advanced it publicly, with funding support from the external community. The fact that one of the scientists [i.e. political science professor Barry Cooper] is a faculty member here cannot be taken to conclude that the U of C supports that individual's research. The University of Calgary does not dictate to its professors the kind of research they will or will not do." [67]

U of C internal audit

In response to persistent email queries concerning the Science Education Fund, Cooney referred questions concerning the details of Fund projects and spending to Barry Cooper, who is presumably the sole "funding applicant" and sole controller of the Science Education Fund and related "climate change research" funds. [68]. Then, in a later email (page 4 of the same exchange), Cooney referred all questions concerning the matter to the University's counsel, Linda Barry-Hollowell. In turn, Ms. Barry-Hollowell has announced an internal audit of Barry Cooper's research fund, but still maintained that concerns about the matter are "without factual foundation."

On March 29 (page 5 of the exchange), Ms. Barry Hollowell stated: "The Internal Auditor met Tuesday with key stakeholders and will be determining the scope of the audit and appropriate time frames for delivery of his report over the next few days. I will advise of his estimate as soon as I know and as soon as they are determined." Despite these assurances, the scope, timelines and outcome of the audit were not communicated.

The audit had one at least one tangible effect; the October, 2007 FoS newsletter announced: "The University of Calgary in early September unexpectedly cancelled its support" of an FoS-supported climate change conference, organized by Barry Cooper and Tim Patterson (see section on "2007 Climate Change Conference" below).

Barry Cooper is not a member of, but is merely "affiliated" with, the Friends of Science, according to his University of Calgary bio. [69] In a comment dated July 26, 2007 to a post about Barry Cooper on Desmog Blog, "Rocky Al" (FoS spokesman Albert Jacobs) confirmed that Barry Cooper played no active role in the actual projects of the Friends of Science: "In fact Barry Cooper is not on the Board. He is not even a member. He has assisted us in one of our more recent projects (the video on our website), but had nothing to do with the design or the opinions expressed in it." [70]

In a November 1, 2007 editorial in the University of Calgary newsweekly the Gauntlet, features editor Jon Roe called on the university to sever all ties with the Friends of Science and hold Cooper accountable for any ethical breaches uncovered by the internal audit.

"When the audit is complete … the full audit needs to be released and publicly available and there needs to be action and accountability for any university members involved.

"Any connection the U of C has with the Friends needs to be terminated … The university's credibility has already been damaged because of the Friends' unauthorized use of the U of C's logo and name … If Cooper is found culpable in this audit, the university needs to punish him accordingly." [71]

The accompanying Gauntlet article cited University concerns about various FoS projects, including the FoS anti-Kyoto radio ads broadcast in Ontario during the 2005-6 Canadian election campaign (see section below for details):

"'[The use of the Science Education Fund for funding the radio campaign] is certainly one of our concerns and it's part of the reason for the review that's underway,' said U of C vice-president external relations Roman Cooney."

FoS scholarship

In the fall of 2006, FoS established a graduate scholarship at the U of C, despite the expressed concerns of the U of C professor charged with administering the scholarship.

In an interview with the U of C newspaper the Gauntlet, FoS vice-president Eric Loughead cited the scholarship as one of the projects funded by the Calgary Foundation's Science Education Fund.

"According to Loughead, the Friends of Science administered the fund and when the Friends had projects they wanted to sponsor, they would instruct the Calgary Foundation where to direct the money.

"'For instance, when we did the sponsoring of [a] post-graduate student [at the U of C], we gave the Calgary Foundation instructions to send money to the university,' said Loughead. 'The graduate student was able to take his money and it was applied to his scholarship.'" [72]

The $5,000 Friends of Science Graduate Scholarship in Political Science was listed on the agenda of the November, 2006 meeting of the Council of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. [73] Details given in an attachment (found at page 35) state that "the Graduate Coordinator, Department of Political Science, will submit a recommendation to the Graduate Scholarship Office."

In an email to a SourceWatch contributor, Graduate Coordinator Prof. Lisa Young stated that she had expressed concerns about accepting funds from FoS, but that she was obliged to admister the scholarship.

"[T]he decision to accept funds for the Friends of Science Graduate Scholarship was made by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, in consulation with the University's development office.

"In my role as Graduate Coordinator in the Department of Political Science, in the fall of 2006, I contacted the Faculty of Graduate Studies to express my concern that FGS had accepted funds from Friends of Science. In response to this, FGS contacted the Development Office, which confirmed that the scholarship funding would be accepted. I was then obliged, as an officer of both the Department of Political Science and the Faculty of Graduate Studies, to administer the award. This is the full extent of my involvement with this issue. I am willing to confirm this publicly in order to protect my personal reputation. I am also willing to add that many faculty members in the Department of Political Science shared my concern regarding the decision to accept these funds." [74]

U of C severs FoS funding

In an email dated December 24, 2007, U of C Legal Counsel Elizabeth Osler stated that the University would no longer accept donations for FoS:

"The University of Calgary has reviewed expenditures associated with two University research and trust accounts that were funded by donations accepted by the University from private donors acting on behalf of the Friends of Science. At the conclusion of its review, the University determined that some of the program funds had been used to support a partisan viewpoint on climate change, which made it necessary for the University to formally advise the Friends of Science that it would no longer accept funds on the organization's behalf."

Echoing previously stated U of C positions, Osler went on:

"The University advises that Friends of Science is not, and has never been, affiliated with, financed or supported directly by the University of Calgary. All funds received and forwarded to Friends of Science came from private donors."

On February 17, 2008, Mike De Souza of CanWest News Service reported that the U of C had shut down the "'Research on Climate Change' account fund", set up and controlled by Professor Barry Cooper for the benefit of the Friends of Science. [75]

U of C External Vice-President Roman Cooney stated: "I can advise you that based on the concerns previously raised regarding the radio advertising, we are contacting Elections Canada to advise it of the review and why it is under way, and we will follow up with Elections Canada once it is complete."

It is not known what action, if any, the University has taken or is contemplating concerning possible wrongdoing on the part of Cooper.

U of C auditor's report

A report on various allegations concerning Barry Cooper's research accounts was issued by the University auditor on April 14, 2008. [76] (A later update restored dollar amounts that had previously been removed in the original report). [77] The report examined three broad allegations:

  1. Barry Cooper's research funds had been used as a conduit to fund Friends of Science.
  2. Research funds had been used to support third-party election advertising and other political activities.
  3. Funded projects did not constitute legitimate research or education.

The report did not arrive at any definitive conclusions on any of these allegations. But it did note a number of other concerns. It found that Barry Cooper (referred to as the "researcher" in the report) overstepped his signing authority in approving payments of more than $100,000 of payments to APCO Worldwide and more than $25,000 each to Morten Paulsen Consulting and Paulsen's current employer, PR and lobbying firm Fleishman-Hillard. The report also states that proper approvals were not obtained for the hiring of family members as research assistants.

The report confirmed that APCO Worldwide "produced, promoted and distributed" the 2005 FOS video, and was paid just over $170,000, and also noted that some invoices were addressed to FOS instead of the University:

"There were payments from the Accounts to Apco Worldwide totaling $170,881.68. Two of the invoices from Apco were addressed to FOS and paid from the Accounts. Apco Worldwide was engaged by the U of C to provide strategic communications services relating to the U of C's project 'Research on Climate Change Debate'. This included advice regarding video production, promotion of the video, distribution of the video, media relations services and other services."


Other large payments and irregularities pertaining to them were also noted:

"Payments were made to Fleishman Hillard of $43,537.43 in fiscal 2007, to Morten Paulsen Consulting $54,211.06 in fiscal 2006 and Directors Chair of $30,991.20 in fiscal 2005. Some of these invoices were addressed to FOS but were paid from the Accounts. Payments to these vendors exceeded $25,000 in total and therefore there should have been written quotes. No evidence of written quotes was found in Business Operations' files."

In an accompanying press release, the University noted that it had "advised Elections Canada and Canada Revenue Agency of its concerns regarding the accounts, Friends of Science and the ongoing auditor’s review."

Discrepancies

There are at least three major contradictions or discrepancies in the above statements from the Friends of Science, the University of Calgary and the Calgary Foundation that remain unresolved:

  • According to the Calgary Foundation, the Science Education Fund grant agreement with the University of Calgary was for "academic research in the science of global warming and the production of education modules." Yet FoS states that Barry Cooper's research fund is "directed towards debate of climate science" and to "encourage debate on basic climate science."
  • The Calgary Foundation has repeatedly stated that the donee of Science Education Fund was the University of Calgary. Yet the University of Calgary refers to funding obtained by a "group of scientists", i.e. the Friends of Science, which implies that this organization is the true donee. But FoS is clearly not a "qualified donee" under the Canadian Income Tax Act. Moreover, as a political scientist, Barry Cooper has no relevant qualifications in the area of climate science research or education and is not a member of the funded entity in any case. In spite of the University's reference to Barry Cooper's "individual research", there is absolutely no evidence that he played any role in the funded activities; rather, to all appearances, his "climate change research" fund merely served as a conduit to support the activities of the true donee, the Friends of Science.
  • The supported Friends of Science activities outlined in subsequent sections, such as the Climate Catastrophe Cancelled video and anti-Kyoto radio ads, do not accord with the stated Science Education Fund mandate of "academic research" or "education modules" in the common understanding of those terms. There is no evidence that FoS has produced any original, peer-reviewed academic research whatsoever. The FoS video, presumably claimed to be an "education module", to all appearances, has seen minimal use or endorsement as an educational tool in Canada. In contrast, An Inconvenient Truth is in widespread use in schools in Canada and internationally, and is slated for delivery to all schools in Great Britain. [78] The Vancouver School Board recently announced its approval of the distribution of The Inconvenient Truth to all Vancouver high schools [79], and the film was also recently approved by the teachers' cirriculum committee in Surrey, B.C. [80]

FoS financial statements

The Friends of Science Society has filed official returns and financial statements for the following years:

  • 2003
  • 2004 (also contains 2003 revenue and expenses)
  • 2005

The returns and financial statements were deposited with Alberta corporate registry. Each contains a signed certificate stating that the attached financial statement "has been reviewed and approved by the duly appointed auditors." (According to Alberta regulations for non-profit societies, "[t]he audited financial statements that must accompany the annual return need not be audited by a professional accountant.") [81]

The statements include the following revenues and expenses:

Year Revenue Expenses
2003 $16,855 $ 7,424
2004 $81,768 $34,089
2005 $28,774 $61,274

Note: 2005 expenses are exclusive of "costs recovered from U of C".

Revenues include member fees totaling $3,856 in 2005 and $2,362 in 2004.

Much of the expenses relate to the FoS video released in April, 2005 (see section below). There were no expenses or received moneys related to video production in 2003. Total expenses allocated to video production in 2004 and 2005 were $69,342. Donations earmarked for video production were $35,025 in 2004 and costs recovered from U of C for video production were an additional $80,731.

The following "consulting" expenses were listed in 2005:

  • $36,068 for "Video production - Consulting".
  • $45,440 for "Professional fees - Consulting".

(Note all figures rounded to nearest dollar).

FoS's video

In April 2005, FoS released a video directed by Mike Visser entitled "Climate Catastrophe Cancelled" [82] in conjunction with Professor Barry Cooper of the Politics Department of the University of Calgary. The PR contact is listed as Sheila Roy of APCO Worldwide Canada, who have been involved in climate change denial since at latest 2002. [83] [84]

In a November 2005 email correspondence, Albert Jacobs indicated that Roy was hired on a one off basis though APCO is occasionally hired to "do specific jobs for us under incidental contracts, as the need arises."

The video features among others:

The men featured in the video and the members of the FoS Scientific Advisory Board are all signatories to letters sent in 2003 to Canada's then Liberal Finance Minister Paul Martin and in 2006 to current Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, calling on them to "examine the scientific foundation of the federal government's climate-change plans" and "conduct a review of the Kyoto Protocol". Both letters were reprinted in full by the National Post newspaper in Canada. [85] [86]

The 2006 letter was signed by 60 scientists in total; however only 19 were actually Canadian and only half of the Canadian signatories could be considered climate scientists. [87]

The Liberal government ignored the earlier letter and ratified Kyoto, while Prime Minister Harper’s Conservative government in May 2006 announced that Canada would develop a "made in Canada" approach to tackling greenhouse gas emissions, saying that the emission levels of Kyoto were not realistic. [88]

A recent magazine article in This Magazine had an extensive piece on how National Public Relations, along with the oil and gas industry, manufactured and coined the phrase "Made in Canada" in relation to climate change. [89]

Video claims

Discrepancy between satellite and surface temperature record

At 2:44 of part 1 of the CCC video, FoS advisor Tim Patterson discusses the satellite-derived temperature record.

"On the other hand, satellites provide comprehensive coverage of the earth 24-7 for the last twenty years. And so what they have demonstrated is that there has been an almost imperceptible rise in temperature over this time."

The accompanying graph shows satellite and surface trends from 1980 to the end of 2000. No attribution is given, but the satellite data appears to be an early version of the UAH data series, with an apparent linear trend of 0.04 °C per decade. This is the trend that was cited in the IPCC Third Assessment Report, published in 2001.

But in a later segment discussing the El Nino year of 1998, another graph is given with surface and UAH satellite data to 2004, labeled clearly with the presumably less "imperceptible" linear trend of 0.08 °C per decade (double that in the previous graph).

RSS satellite data sets were first published in 2001; by July, 2004, the RSS trend stood at 0.13 °C per decade. Other available estimates at that time from Vinsky-Grodny (0.22) and Fu (0.19) were even higher. None of these estimates were mentioned in the video.

In 2005, major progress was made in refining the satellite-derived estimates. In addition, a major error was discovered in the UAH calculations, and the UAH linear trend was raised yet again, to 0.12 °C per decade, as compared to 0.19 for RSS. These estimates were cited in the IPCC 4AR, and compared to surface temperature trends ranging from 0.15 to 0.18 °C per decade.

By 2007, the UAH and RSS had converged even more and stood at 0.14 and 0.18 °C per decade respectively [90]. Yet the second edition of the video, released in late 2007, has retained exactly the same narration, still referring "an almost imperceptible rise in temperature".

2006 election radio ads

Before and during the 2006 Canadian federal election campaign, the Friends of Science ran a series of anti-Kyoto radio ads targeted at key Ontario ridings. The ads were funded through anonymous tax-deductible donations funneled through the Calgary Foundation and a University of Calgary "climate change research" trust fund controlled by professor Barry Cooper. Following an internal audit and review begun in March of 2007, the University determined that research funds accepted on behalf of the Friends of Science "had been used to support a partisan viewpoint on climate change" and cut off the FoS funding. [91] On February 17, 2008, CanWest News Service confirmed that U of C officials had shut down Cooper's "'Research on Climate Change' trust account", and were about to advise Elections Canada of the University's ongoing review of the matter. [92] In the wake of the revelations, Liberal public works critic Mark Holland called for parliamentary hearings to investigate the source of donations. [93]

On September 23, 2008, CanWest reported that Elections Canada had finished its investigation into the radio ad campaign and would not press charges against FoS for failing to register as a third-party election advertiser. [94]

The campaign

In late 2005, the Friends of Science mounted an anti-Kyoto radio ad campaign, tied to the Canadian federal election campaign, and funded from Barry Cooper's research fund, apparently supported, at least in part, by tax-deductible donations to the Science Education Fund via the Calgary Foundation (see section on Funding above). The launch of the ad campaign was described in a column by Licia Corbella of the Calgary Sun on October 13, 2005:

"Yesterday, Friends of Science launched an ad campaign in vote-rich and Liberal-ruled central Ontario to bust a few global warming myths. … There are many other global-warming myths being debunked, and many can be found at the Friends of Science website -- which is funded mostly by a University of Calgary trust fund [i.e. Barry Cooper's climate change research fund]." [95]

The January, 2006 FoS newsletter describes the campaign:

"RADIO BLITZ

"Our campaign is working. Before and during the election, Friends bought radio advertising in 5 major Ontario markets. Our message was that voters have not been given the facts on climate change, and that candidates need to be questioned on their intentions to spend billions on global warming theories…

"The response was intense. Some radio stations faced pro-Kyoto interest groups who actually demanded that our ads be pulled! We received a great deal of hostile mail from activists stunned that we would challenge the pro-Kyoto status quo. At the same time though, positive mail poured in, and hits to our website soared into the stratosphere. We registered over 300,000 hits to our website in the first 12 days of January alone." [96]

The first ad outlines three supposed myths about global warming and urges listeners to "get the real answers at friendsofscience.org and then ask your MPs why they want to spend billions on global warming theories." The second ad refers to Canadian government policies such as the "One Ton Challenge". The ad concludes: "Have you been told the truth? … Find out - watch our video at friendsofscience.org."

The election was held on January 23, 2006, following an eight-week campaign [97].

The FoS website as of December 21, 2005, in the middle of the federal election campaign, features the headline "Who needs scientists, when you've got celebrities!!!", an attack on Environment Minister Stéphane Dion's solicitation of videotaped messages from international celebrities in connection with the 11th Session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), hosted by Canada and held in Montreal in December, 2005.

The FoS home page also featured the message: "If you've heard our radio ads, thanks for visiting! Now watch the video by clicking the video link to your left." The anti-Kyoto video (see above) opens with clips featuring several members of the Government, including former Prime Minister Jean Chretien and Environment Minister Stéphane Dion, as well as Opposition members.

The FoS home page goes on to confirm that the ads were currently playing in Ontario, and to ask for donations to support expansion of the ad campaign: "Friends of Science radio ads currently playing across Ontario can be heard here and here [see ad links above]. Consider helping us broadcast more ads in more markets across Canada. Click on Get Involved to inform our government, to join our group or make a donation."

The Daily Oil Bulletin reported:

"In the run-up to the last federal election, a Calgary-based group called the Friends of Science Society aired 30-second radio spots which attacked the Kyoto Accord. The paid advertisements warned that the global warming agreement is scientifically unsound and economically destructive to Canada. The message reached 200,000 people in Ontario ridings where polls showed the Liberals had only a slight lead."

" 'There's no way to reliably assess how much influence our ads had,' acknowledges Eric Loughead, the society's vice-president. After they were aired, however, the non-profit group's website received a surge of 300,000 visitors, and the Conservatives did win several of the targeted ridings." [98]

Ad campaign funding

The Friends of Science has repeatedly stated that "large projects, such as our video and radio ads" were funded by Barry Cooper's research fund, partially supported by the Science Education Fund. [99] [100] In an email dated February 28, 2007, Roman Cooney of the University of Calgary stated: "I specifically asked Dr. [Barry] Cooper last week whether any of the funds received by the Friends of Science, the Science Education Fund, or any related organizations or funds for which a tax deduction for receipt of a donation was issued by the University of Calgary, were used in any election-related advertising or communication or activities not related to education or research. The answer was an unequivocal no." [101] However, this denial does not specifically address donations for which tax receipts were issued by the Calgary Foundation. It also rests on Barry Cooper's own definition of "activities not related to education or research", which may not correspond to an accepted objective or reasonable definition. Indeed, since then, the U of C has severed FoS funding and Barry Cooper's "Research on Climate Change" account was shut down, following a determination by the University "that some of the program funds had been used to support a partisan viewpoint on climate change." [102][103]

Radio ad transcripts

One tonne challenge ad

Ad # 1:

You've been told about global warming, right? You know, take the One Tonne Challenge, turn down your heat and cool the planet. But have you been told the truth? Are you really causing global warming? Find out: watch our video at friendsofscience.org.

Global warming myths ad

Ad # 2:

Here's an easy true and false quiz. Ready?

  1. Global warming has caused more violent weather worldwide.
  2. The earth is warmer today than in the last thousand years.
  3. Carbon dioxide is dangerous pollution.

If you said yes, you've been misled. Get the real answers at friendsofscience.org, then ask your MPs why they want to spend billions on global warming theories.

Third-party election advertising

Elections Canada rules on third party advertising cover any advertising message "that promotes or opposes a registered party or the election of a candidate, including one that takes a position on an issue with which a registered party or candidate is associated" and requires such advertisers to register with the Chief Electoral Officer. The rules also impose strict spending limits of $3,000 per riding, ban the issuance of tax receipts for supporting contributions, and require the filing of detailed, audited financial reports. The Friends of Science Society does not appear on the list of registered third-party advertisers for the 2006 election and to all appearances has not met any of the obligations of third party advertisers.

In an email dated May 9, 2007, Albert Jacobs of the Friends of Science stated: "The radio ads (instead of TV which we can't afford) were also paid that way [i.e. from Barry Cooper's research fund] as an educational outreach. Their sole goal was to get people to look at our website. Since we have been accused by some that we were making political propaganda during an election campaign, I would like to point out, that the ads were contracted and started before any election call. They ran their course and were non-political to the extent that Kyoto is a scientific environmental matter. In any case, they were not partisan. That an election was called was not our doing." [104]

On November 1, 2007, the U of C student newspaper the Gauntlet reported that FoS maintained there was no need to register, as the campaign was planned well before the election call:

"'We initiated that project in May/June '05,' said [FoS vice-president Eric] Loughead. 'There was no talk of any election at that time. There was no election. There was nothing to register. We felt, ultimately, it was a happy coincidence because we were unhappy with the party line that was coming out of Ottawa from some of the political parties and we thought, 'holy smokes, that was good timing on our part.' We had done this well in advance of any call of election.'

"This radio advertising remains at the centre of the U of C audit because, as confirmed by Loughead, the funding for the project did come from the Science Education Fund, but Loughead, and Cooper at the time of the planning of the ads, according to Loughead, felt that the ads were an extension of the educational aspects of the video, not third-party election advertising."

However, in the FoS July, 2005 newsletter (at the time of initial planning and fundraising efforts for the ad campaign), FoS made its ultimate goal very clear :

"We need your donation. We have enough funds in the bank to keep going for only another 6 months. Our goal is to have a major impact on the next election. Consider a donation to help us stay in the fight [emphasis added]."

Moreover, as noted above, the ad campaign was targeted to close ridings in Ontario. The source of the polling information used to select the targeted ridings is not confirmed, but typically riding-specific trends are tracked only by internal party polls. Presumably "some of the political parties" whose "party line" FoS was "unhappy" with included the Liberal Party but not the Conservatives.

In a 2000 report to Parliament, the Chief Electoral Officer, Jean-Pierre Kingsley, explained that four questions need be answered in the affirmative to obtain a finding of "third party election advertising". Assuming the relatively straightforward determination that a given message is an advertising message transmitted to the public during an election period, the crucial question would be: "[I]s the message one that a reasonable person would understand … as taking a position on an issue with which a candidate or party is associated?"

In early November, Kevin Grandia of desmogblog.com announced that a complaint alleging FoS violation of the Canada Elections Act had been lodged with the Commissioner of Elections Canada. [105]

The first mainstream press revelations about the FoS ad campaign came in a February 17, 2008 report by Mike De Souza of CanWest New Service. The report described the complex funding scheme for the ads and confirmed that the U of C had shut down Barry Cooper's "'Research on Climate Change' account fund" because it had been used "to support a partisan viewpoint on climate change." [106]

U of C External Vice-President Roman Cooney stated: "I can advise you that based on the concerns previously raised regarding the radio advertising, we are contacting Elections Canada to advise it of the review and why it is under way, and we will follow up with Elections Canada once it is complete. The university did not endorse the radio ads, nor were we aware the ads were being aired and that monies donated to the university were being used for that purpose. Our concern about the use of funds for advertising is clearly reflected in the position we have taken with Friends of Science."

In the wake of these revelations, Liberal public works critic Mark Holland called for a parliamentary inquiry to determine the identity of the donors: "It's clear that this (ad campaign) was used for very partisan purposes, (and) it may have influenced some seats, so it's imperative that we know where that money was coming from." [107].

Meanwhile, Conservative spokesperson Ryan Sparrow denied any connection between the Conservatives and FoS: "The Conservative party has no affiliation with the Friends of Science. The Liberal party should be honest. Do they want to limit the freedom of speech of third-party organizations?" While these comments appear to acknowledge that the ads were in fact third-party election advertising, Sparrow refused to say whether the Conservatives were defending or condemning the ads.

However, CanWest reported that the ad campaign was apparently managed by PR specialist and Conservative activist Morten Paulsen (now a vice-president at Fleishman-Hillard), who also served as "an upaid spinner" for the Conservatives during the election.

"When asked who was in charge of running the anti-Kyoto group's advertising and selecting the target markets during the election campaign, Leahey said: "I would imagine that would have been (decided by) our public relations consultant (Paulsen). Certainly I did not decide. It's not my area of expertise." [108]

Reacting to the reports, Liberal MP Mark Holland stated: "It seems that not only were the Friends of Science working with the Conservatives, it looks like their campaign spokesperson might have been directing what ridings specifically material went into and using (the group) as an arm of the Conservative Party of Canada and thus circumventing campaign financing rules and all of the restrictions that other parties would have faced."

On September 23, 2008, CanWest reported that Elections Canada had finished its investigation into the radio ad campaign and would not press charges against FoS for failing to register as a third-party election advertiser. [109] In a letter sent to FoS lawyer Gerald Chipeur, dated September 4, EC legal counsel Patricia Moise wrote: "After completing a preliminary assessment, our office concluded that no further investigation into this matter was warranted based on the information before us at this time." According to the Globe and Mail, Mr. Chipeur is also the "Conservative party's long-time Alberta lawyer" and was one of many partisan appointees to the judicial advisory committees responsible for appointment of federal judges. [110]

In a previous letter to an individual complainant, Ms. Moise elaborated on EC's finding. "[The ads] take the position that the public have been misled about global warming. To the extent that all of the major parties in the 2006 federal election acknowledged the problem of global warming and were taking steps to address it, though in different ways, (the Liberals, NDP, Bloc Quebecois with the Kyoto accord, and the Conservatives with a Made in Canada approach) it would be difficult to conclude that the audio statements by taking a position on global warming, were targeting one particular party or candidate or a particular party's policy."

Ads attack Liberal government Kyoto policy

Climate change and Kyoto in Liberal platform

At the beginning of the 2005-6 election campaign, the Liberal party website listed "Our Environment" as one of six overarching issues in the Liberal platform. The website environmental platform had four sub-sections including "Addressing Climate Change" and "Meeting our Kyoto goals". Besides detailing the Liberal government's plans to regulate industry in order to reduce greenhouse gases by up to 270 megatonnes per year in the 2008-2012 Kyoto compliance period, the platform expressed strong support for the scientific basis of Kyoto, stating "Climate change is real." The official Liberal platform echoed this strong emphasis on climate change and the Kyoto Accord. The platform (p. 65) touts the 2005 Project Green as "an integrated approach to sustainable development that uses the full range of policy instruments – market mechanisms, tax measures, and incentives for businesses and consumers." The platform also left no doubt as to the cause of global warming: "The defining cause of climate change is human activity – primarily how we produce and use energy" (p. 68).

FoS motivation

In the October, 2005 FoS newsletter (no longer available on the FoS website, but now uploaded to SourceWatch), Douglas Leahey stated the ad campaign was part of FoS's response to the Liberal government's proposal to regulate greenhouse gases as "toxic substances under Canada's Environmental Protection Act."

"While the federal government is taking a stealth approach to the implementation of Kyoto (more below), Friends of Science is educating Canadians.

"After announcing Project Green, the federal Kyoto implantation plan, the Kyoto file suddenly fell silent. Until July, when the Canada Gazette (which announces new federal regulation) published an ominous proposed change. The new regulation calls for CO2 and other greenhouse gases (excepting water vapour, we presume, even though it is the most prevalent greenhouse gas) to be listed as toxic substances in Canada’s Environmental Protection Act.

"Apart from the obvious problem, namely that CO2 is not a toxic substance; this move would allow Ottawa to penalize, in the form of emissions taxes, the production of CO2. In other words, industries like oil and gas production could be federally taxed – not for what they produce, but for what they emit. Other high emission industries, like Ontario auto production would also be affected, had they not have been exempted from the terms of Kyoto by Ottawa.

"Friends of Science has, of course, challenged the government’s proposed regulation by going directly to the Environment Ministry, but we’ve also undertaken a campaign to foil the stealth strategy by letting Canadians know what’s going on. Every MLA in Canada has been a mailed a letter on the issue, with a copy of our video. Recently, an advertising campaign was kicked off in the province of Ontario to educate Canadians about the myths of Kyoto, and asking voters to demand answers from their MPs… Friends of Science will ensure that domestic pressure to walk away from Kyoto gets stronger and stronger." [111]

In the aftermath of the election, Leahey once again tied the ad campaign to opposition to Kyoto: "For our part, Friends has plans to increase our successful advertising and awareness campaigns. We believe that by educating the public about the fallacies of climate change theories and the Kyoto Protocol, we can weaken political support for Kyoto implementation." [112]

One tonne challenge ad

One of the ads specifically attacks to the Liberal government program "One Tonne Challenge" [113]. This program attempted to meet part of the Kyoto targets by encouraging consumers to take action to rdeuce greenhouse gas emissions by 20%. The FoS ad also refers to a specific action ("turn down the heat") recommended as one of the major tips on the One Tonne Challenge website:

"Install and use a programmable thermostat. For every 1 degree C you lower your thermostat you can save 2% on your heating bill. A reduction of 3 degrees C at night or when you are away during the day provides optimal savings and can reduce your GHGs by half a tonne."

The transcript of the Rick Mercer One Tonne Challenge ad includes the following narration:

"You know we're already starting to see signs of climate change. Why's it happening? Driving our cars, heating and cooling our homes, just using energy the way we all do, we each produce over 5 tonnes of greenhouse gases and other pollution every single year."

In a challenge aimed at this and other similar Liberal government messages, the FoS One Tonne Challenge ad responds: "But have you been told the truth? Are you really causing global warming?", clearly implying that the Liberal government was not "telling the truth" about the causes of global warming.

Global warming myths ad

The other ad attacks Kyoto spending in general, exhorting listeners "ask your MPs why they want to spend billions on global warming theories."

The "global warming myths" of this ad refer to specific Liberal government statements explaining climate change to the Canadian public, justifying the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As seen above, the One Tonne Challenge refers to "greenhouse gases and other pollution" implying that greenhouse gases were a form of pollution. Moreover, the phrase "dangerous pollution" is a clear reference to the Liberal government's proposed regulation of greenhouse gases as "toxic substances", a policy that the FoS ad campaign was explicitly designed to undermine as noted above.

The government's climate change website stated: "The 20th century has been the warmest globally in the past 1000 years." Extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts and flooding due to increased winter precipitation were to be expected, according to the Liberal government's 2005 Canada country study.

Listener reaction and media coverage

Many listeners perceived the radio ads as having a political, anti-Kyoto message, according to FoS presidenat Douglas Leahey: "The response was intense. Some radio stations faced pro-Kyoto interest groups who actually demanded that our ads be pulled! We received a great deal of hostile mail from activists stunned that we would challenge the pro-Kyoto status quo." [114]

Media reports about the FoS Ontario ad campaign have been few, but all have characterized the ads as "anti-Kyoto" including stories and columns referenced above from the Daily Oil Bulletin, the Gauntlet and the Calgary Sun. For example, the Gauntlet editorial on the Friends of Science declared: "The ads themselves don't promote the Conservatives, but they certainly took a position on Kyoto, a protocol the federal Liberals had signed on to."

According to Licia Corbella's column in the Calgary Sun, Leahey explained the motivation for the ads at the kickoff news conference at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce: "We saw billions, if not trillions of dollars being earmarked for the Kyoto protocol and we felt very concerned that science was being pushed aside by hysteria over global warming." [115]

Leahey went on to explicitly tie the ads to rejection of Liberal policies and priorities: "Leahey points out that the $10 billion the federal Liberals plan to squander on implementing Kyoto would be better spent on fighting pollution or hiring more doctors."

Similarities between Conservative positions and FoS ad statements

One tonne challenge

One of the ads specifically refers to the Liberal government program "One Tonne Challenge". This program was also roundly criticized by many in the Conservative Party. For example, Bob Mills, the Conservative environment critic (and therefore the official spokesperson on environmental issues), excoriated the program in an online newsletter entitled "High cost of the Kyoto Accord - December 7, 2004". He stated: "The One Tonne Challenge is just another example of rampant government waste in Ottawa."

Kyoto spending

The other ad attacks Kyoto spending in general, exhorting listeners "ask your MPs why they want to spend billions on global warming theories." Again, this echoes Conservative criticism of the Kyoto Accord. Bob Mills (in the same newsletter referenced above) stated:

"By the time the first compliance date begins in 2008, the government will have spent or allocated more that $4-billion on climate change with no results to show whatsoever. And you thought the gun registry was the poster child of profligate waste".

Bob Mills welcomed the testimony of FoS then-President Charles Simpson and FoS scientific advisor Tim Patterson at 2005 hearings before the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development and told them:

"Again, the purpose of this committee is to establish some solid evidence about Kyoto in a balanced approach. Like you, I am very afraid we're going to spend billions of dollars on programs that really will make little or no difference to Canada or to the world." [116]

Global warming science "myths"

The advertising statements regarding the science of climate change also echo Conservative positions on specific scientific issues, as seen in each of the "myths" described, and declared to be false, in the second FoS ad:

  • 1. Global warming has caused more violent weather worldwide.

Here are some statements from environment critic Bob Mills on this issue (as Canadian Alliance environment critic):

Nov. 6, 2003: "We also have the head meteorologist from Environment Canada saying that you can't really relate extreme weather conditions to something like global warming--it's a pretty tall stretch." [117]

Feb. 12, 2004: "What does the chief meteorologist for Environment Canada say? He says that there is no proof that extreme weather is caused by global warming." [118]

There are no indications that Mr. Mills or the Conservative Party might have changed their position on this issue in 2005.

  • 2. The earth is warmer today than in the last 1,000 years.

This is a reference to the finding in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Assesment Report (2001) that current global temperatures are "likely" warmer than at any time in the last thousand years. This finding was famously illustrated by the "hockey stick" graph taken from the landmark study by Michael Mann et al (1999). The graph shows gradually descending Northern Hemisphere temperatures since 1000 AD, followed by a sharp rise since 1900. Previously, it had been thought that during the so-called Medieval Warm Period, the earth was significantly warmer than today (and of course the graph of temperature trends looked much different). This position concerning global temperature is elaborated in an FoS web article entitled "The destruction of the hockey stick". In that article, FoS criticizes the "hockey stick", stating that "the well-documented Medieval Warm Period (approx. 1000-1400)… [does] not register on Mann’s chart."

In answer to a January, 2006 Montreal Economic Institute questionnaire concerning the Kyoto Protocol, the Conservative Party stated:

"The 'hockey stick' graph has been discredited and should no longer be used as a tool to demonstrate the presence of climate change". [119]

  • 3. Carbon dioxide is dangerous pollution.

In the same 2005 committee hearings referenced above, Bob Mills stated:

"My next question is this. Is CO2 really a poisonous, hazardous waste? We seem to talk about CO2 being hazardous. From my biology background, I have basically always thought of CO2 as being the basis of photosynthesis, necessary for all life on earth, and very valuable."

This echoed the long standing position of Stephen Harper himself, as stated in October, 2002 (and never repudiated since that time):

"The minister will know hopefully that the Kyoto accord targets only carbon dioxide emissions, not pollution. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant." [120]

Conservative position on climate change and Kyoto

Official Conservative environmental policy at the time of the election campaign kickoff (and at the time of initial airing of the FoS ads) can be found in Section I of the Conservative 2005 Policy Declaration. The policy does not mention (let alone acknowledge the urgency of) global warming, climate change or the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The policy does call for "a review of all environment and energy initiatives, including the Kyoto Accord". It also lists the presumably higher priority issues of smog and air pollution, contaminated sites, offshore oil and gas development, Great Lakes water clean up, illegal oil dumping and aquifer mapping. Section 44 on "Alternative Energy and Alternative Fuels" lists "the expense of assuring the security of traditional fuel sources and concerns over pollution" as motivation for developing these energy sources, but pointedly omits any reference to climate change or the need to reduce greenhouse gases.

Similarly, the website summary of the Conservative environmental platform, found in the section on "Stand up for our communities", refers to "action to ensure clean air, land, and water", but does not mention climate change.

The full election platform, only released on January 13, 2006 [121], ten days before the election, contains an attack on Liberal Kyoto policies, saying: "[The Liberals] sign ambitious international treaties and send money to foreign governments for hot air credit but can’t seem to get anything done to help people here at home." The platform also contains the following vague and ambiguous promise: "A Conservative government will … address the issue of greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), with a made-in-Canada plan, emphasising new technologies, developed in concert with the provinces and in coordination with other major industrial countries." However the platform does not directly mention climate change or global warming, and does not acknowledge the clear scientific consensus on both the degree of human attribution and the urgency of action on the issue of climate change. No targets for greenhouse gas reduction, even long term, are mentioned. The Conservatives' Green Brochure, released during the campaign, calls for development of "scientific monitoring of climate change", which would appear to question the scientific consensus at the time.

In summary, the Conservatives de-emphasized climate change and greenhouse gas emissions in favour of addressing other forms of air pollution, a position supported by FoS president Douglas Leahey, who wrote approvingly that "the Conservatives understand that Kyoto is a failed policy, and the difference between pollution and CO2." [122]

Stephen Harper's position 2002-2007

The various official Conservative policy statements cited above contain no implicit or explicit acknowledgnment of the scientific consensus on anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming, as outlined in the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Indeed, Conservative leader Stephen Harper often expressed skepticism about the "science", stating in 2002 fundraising letter that the Kyoto Accord was "based on tentative and contradictory scientific evidence." Harper also called Kyoto a "socialist scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing nations" and repeated his oft-stated complaint that it focuses on "carbon dioxide, which is essential to life, rather than upon pollutants".

According to the Toronto Star, "[I]n September 2002, Harper said this when asked about the 'greenhouse effect:' 'It's a scientific hypothesis, a controversial one and one that I think there is some preliminary evidence for." [123] In fact, the greenhouse effect was discovered in the 19th century and refers to "the process in which the emission of infrared radiation by the atmosphere warms a planet's surface."

In 2004, as Conservative Opposition Leader, Harper had this exchange in an interview with the Frontier Center for Public Policy:

"FC: Do you believe that human activity is contributing to global climate change and what is your position on the Kyoto Accord?

"SH: I think these are subjects where we know a lot less than some claim we know. Climate is always changing. My suspicion is that human activities have some impact upon that but I think the jury is out on a lot of the actual specific trends. We don’t support implementation of the Kyoto targets. We think they are unfair and unrealistic and our platform proposes we focus more directly on pollution control."

As late as October 2006, Harper "still raised doubts about global climate-change research", according to an October 16, 2006 Vancouver Sun account of Harper's French-language interview with the Montreal newspaper Le Devoir:

"'It's a complicated subject that is evolving,' he said. 'We have difficulties in predicting the weather in one week or even tomorrow. Imagine in a few decades.'"

The Sun continues: "Harper's statement is at odds with the conclusions of the United Nations [IPCC report], which says science clearly shows warming will lead to 'frequently flooded coastlines, disruption to food and water supplies, and the extinction of many species.'"

Former FoS chief scientific advisor Tim Ball has made remarkably similar statements to Harper's, including this one from June 2006:

"Environment Canada can't even predict the weather. How can you tell me that they have any idea what it's going to be like 100 years from now if they can't tell me what the weather is going to be like in four months, or even next week?" [124]

In 2006 year-end interviews and especially after the release of the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report in February 2007, Harper finally appeared to accept the scientific consensus. "I think the science is clear that these changes are occurring, they're serious and we must act," he said, according to a February 2, 2007 CBC article.

As Prime Minister, Harper has sought to counter charges that he was ever a "climate change denier". A December 21, 2006 Toronto Star article cites the above statements and others and states: "Prime Minister Stephen Harper, flying in the face of his past public comments, says now he has never questioned the science behind climate change." In a similar vein, Harper claimed in an exchange in the House of Commons on January 27, 2007: "This government has made it clear in the election campaign that we accept the science and that's why we're acting." [125]

2007 climate change conference

The Friends of Science are involved with a climate change conference, as detailed in the January, 2007 newsletter: "Barry Cooper of the University of Calgary and Tim Patterson of Carleton University are arranging a conference in Ottawa on the science of global climate change. The date will be April 19 & 20th. Friends of Science is providing backup support for the event… It is anticipated the conference will result in a well-publicised discussion demonstrating that the science of global warming is far from settled, in spite of what the Kyoto supporters would have us believe." [126]

The conference was first proposed by Friends of Science in their September, 2006 newsletter: "[W]e are focusing on a major conference to kick start the debate on climate science in Canada …" [127]

The Toronto Star reported that Barry Cooper would provide much of the funding for the event (presumably through the Science Education Fund, although the Fund is not mentioned): "Meanwhile, Cooper, a political science professor and erstwhile mentor to Harper, has enough resources to offer travel and hotel costs, and $1,000 each, to the 13 people he invited to speak at the April conference in Ottawa, which he is mounting with the help of Friends of Science." [128]. The only one of the 13 identified by the Star is longtime Friends of Science scientific advisor Tim Ball.

In the April, 2007 FoS newsletter, President Douglas Leahey announced the postponement of the conference until September, 2007.

In the October, 2007 FoS newsletter, a further postponement was announced: "The University of Calgary in early September unexpectedly cancelled its support of the meeting which had to be subsequently postponed for an indefinite period."

FoS misrepresents its affiliation with University of Calgary

Although key Friends of Science projects have received major funding from charitable donations funneled through the Calgary Foundation and the University of Calgary Development Office, Roman Cooney, the University of Calgary's vice-president of external relations, has insisted from the start that the Friends of Science is neither affiliated with nor endorsed by the university. "And when he saw the University of Calgary's coat of arms on early copies of the anti-Kyoto video, Mr. Cooney ordered Prof. Cooper to remove it." [129] The original version of the video, available on YouTube, also contains the opening and closing credit: "A UNIVERSITY OF CALGARY VIDEO In cooperation with the Friends of Science Society." The press release for the video also implied U of C affiliation: "Today, researchers at the University of Calgary, in cooperation with the Friends of Science Society, released a video entitled: Climate Catastrophe Cancelled".

Since that time, the university has objected to at least two more major misrepresentations on the part of the Friends of Science. In 2006, the FoS website newsection made the following statement (later removed): "Large projects - such as our video and radio ads - are funded through grants out of a University of Calgary Trust Fund, directed towards debate of climate science and which is also fed by the charitable Calgary Foundation." [130] The January, 2007 newsletter originally stated: "The University of Calgary, in conjunction with Carleton University in Ottawa, is planning on holding a conference in Ottawa on the science of global climate change." [131] Under pressure from the University of Calgary, the statement was revised to read: "Barry Cooper of the University of Calgary and Tim Patterson of Carleton University are arranging a conference in Ottawa on the science of global climate change." [132]

In February, 2007, Roman Cooney issued the following statement in an e-mail: "The University of Calgary has long-standing and publicly-stated concerns about Friends of Science using the University of Calgary's name to infer that it has the University's endorsement. Our response has included cease-and-desist directives to the Friends of Science from the University's legal counsel. Most recently, following a reference to the University of Calgary in a newsletter from the head of Friends of Science … and under caution of legal action, I insisted that the Friends of Science provide the attached letter to clarify its relationship to the University of Calgary." [133]

The letter is dated January 23, 2007 and was sent to Roman Cooney and is signed by FoS president Douglas Leahey. The letter states in its entirety: "I wish to confirm that Friends of Science is not and has never been affiliated with the University of Calgary, nor does it receive, or has ever received, funding or support from the University of Calgary." [134]

"Friends of Science" (FoS) is not "Friends Of Science" (FOS)

The FOS website friendsofscience.ca does not belong to FoS.

Personnel

Board of Directors and Executive

FoS Board as of May 1st 2007: [135]

  • Douglas Leahey, Ph.D., President. "Dr. Leahey is an atmospheric physicist with extensive experience in the assessment of effects of sour gas, suphur dioxide, and other atmospheric contaminants." Dr. Leahey has worked with the Bercha Group on a number of joint projects including the Shell-Caroline Emergency Response Plan, and air quality assessments. He has recently collaborated with the Bercha Group on a number of sour gas drilling permit applications involving the effects of flaring on air quality. Dr. Leahey is an "independent consultant to the oil and gas industry." [136]
  • Eric Loughead, P.Geol, Vice President
  • Giles Wilderman, Secretary
  • Lloyd Flood, P.Eng., Treasurer

Other Directors:

  • John Leeson, P.Geol.
  • Leonard F. Maier, P.Eng.
  • William Howell, Ph.D.
  • Norm Kalmanovitch, P.Geoph.
  • Charles Simpson, Past President.

Notes: Leonard F. Maier, also known as Len Maier, worked for Halliburton Services for 37 years, eventually becoming Vice-President of International Services. [137] [138]

Scientific advisory board

As of 2008, the Friends of Science Scientific Advisory Board included:

  • Tim Patterson, Professor of Geology and Paleoclimatology, Carleton University
  • Tim Ball, Retired Professor of Climatology; Consultant

Former scientific advisors and consultants

  • Tad Murty, Adjunct Professor in the Departments of Earth Sciences in The University of Ottawa
  • Ross McKitrick, Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Guelph; Senior Fellow at the Fraser Institute

Executive officers (2003-4)

Other personnel

University of Calgary political scientist Barry Cooper is "affiliated" with the Friends of Science Society, according to his U of C biography. [139]

Web domain

The domain FRIENDSOFSCIENCE.ORG was registered May 9, 2002, through Tucows Inc. to Charles Simpson, 1121 Valois Avenue SW, Calgary, Alberta T2T1L4, Canada, a "retired oil industry employee". [140] Simpson is also the administrative contact. The technical contact is Mirek Chynal of Commerx Corporation, #200, 555 - 11th Ave SW, Calgary, Alberta T2R1P6, Canada.

The DMOZ listing reads: "Offers critical scientific evidence, including a five-piece video, that challenges the premises of the Kyoto Protocol, and presents alternative causes of climate change."

"Climate Change 101"

On July 21, 2010, the International Climate Science Coalition added a hyperlink on their web site to a site named "Climate Change 101", whose snail mail contact is exactly the same as that of the Friends of Science Society. [141] [142] [143]

Contact details

P.O. Box 23167, Connaught Post Office
Calgary, AB T2S 3B1
Phone: 403 236-4203
FAX: 403 236-4203

Website

Website: http://www.friendsofscience.org/

FoS website past versions

http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://friendsofscience.org

SourceWatch resources

Articles and resources

References

Related SourceWatch articles

External resources

External articles

See Friends of Science: Articles

Wikipedia also has an article on Friends of Science. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.