Jan Veizer

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Jan Veizer is an emeritus professor of geology at the University of Ottawa in Canada. "He has drawn on the principles of geology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and biology to paint a picture of the Earth as a dynamic, 'living' entity," states his profile on the university's website. Veizer has doctoral degrees in sedimentology, structural geology and isotope geology. [1]

Veizer is a speaker at the International Conference on Climate Change (2009) organized by the Heartland Institute think tank. [2]

Paleoclimatology debates

In 2000, Veizer published an article suggesting that carbon dioxide is not the main determinant of climate change. The paper was based on "fossils from a primitive clam," according to CBC News. "When these organisms were alive, the composition of the atmosphere left its traces in their shells and skeletons." Veizer found that the temperatures predicted by the carbon dioxide present in the fossils didn't match the actual temperature, hundreds of millions of years ago. Critics say this reasoning doesn't account for the different system on Earth 400 million years ago, or for other factors involved in global warming. "During the ice ages Veizer's numbers point to, all the land was concentrated arount the South Pole, and radiation from the sun was lower than it is today. Others say the fact that carbon dioxide levels have increased at an unprecedented rate during the past few decades cannot be properly addressed by Veizer's study." [3]

Other geologists studying ancient climate records disagree. Yale University's Robert A. Berner, a "pioneer of paleoclimate analysis," told the New York Times that "the geologic record over the past 550 million years indicates a good correlation" between carbon dioxide levels and temperatures. "There are other factors at work here. But in general, global warming is due to CO2. It was in the past and is now." Southern Methodist University researcher Crayton J. Yapp, "once a carbon dioxide skeptic," now says that "the data complied in the last decade suggests that long-term climate change correlates pretty well with CO2 changes." [4]

Other researchers say the data is too inconclusive to shape current climate debates. Princeton geosciences professor Michael Oppenheimer said. "In my view, the uncertainties are too great to draw any conclusions right now. ... It could be that when the dust settles some insight will emerge that will be germane to the current problem -- how do we keep the climate from spinning out of control." [4]

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. "Jan Veizer," University of Ottawa website, accessed March 2009.
  2. "Speakers," Heartland Institute website, accessed January 2009.
  3. "Canadian scientist rocks climate change boat," CBC News, December 7, 2000.
  4. 4.0 4.1 William J. Broad, "In Ancient Fossils, Seeds of a New Debate on Warming," New York Times, November 7, 2006.

External resources

External articles

Articles and Presentations by Veizer

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