Global warming ‘slowed by pollution’

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

Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Andrew Weaver

Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Andrew Weaver

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

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

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

Weaver questioned the accuracy of McKitrick’s report.

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

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

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

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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Students from SD62 stepped up to help members in the community with the annual 10,000 Tonight food drive. This year’s organizers had to adapt during the campaign as COIVD-19 public health orders changed. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore students step up to make sure community members don’t go without

Students of SD62 are this year’s recipient of the Youth Volunteer Award

A cat died in this house fire in Sidney afternoon. The fire started on the house’s deck and spread from that point. Sidney Volunteer Fire Department Chief Brett Mikkelsen said the permanent presence of crews at the Community Safety Building prevented worse damage. (Photo courtesy of Clayton Firth)
Sidney house fire kills cat, causes extensive damage

Official says fire started on deck and damage to the house could have been worse

Millstream Village is welcoming a new Marshalls location March 9. (Photo courtesy GWL Realty Advisors)
New Marshalls store in Langford brings boost to women in need

Retailer will hold opening ceremony in Millstream Village March 9

Abstract Developments is donating $75,000 to support community programming at The Cridge Centre for the Family. (Courtesy of The Cridge Centre)
Victoria developer builds support for community programs

Abstract Developments donates $75,000 to The Cridge Centre for the Family

SD 62 (Sooke) has announced a COVID-19 exposure at David Cameron Elementary in Colwood. Potential exposure dates are Monday, Feb. 22; Tuesday, Feb. 23; and Wednesday, Feb. 24. (Black Press Media File).
COVID-19 exposure at Colwood’s David Cameron Elementary

Potential exposure dates are Monday, Feb. 22; Tuesday, Feb. 23; and Wednesday, Feb. 24.

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

A boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour on Saturday morning. (Photo submitted)
Search underway for missing woman after boat catches fire in Ladysmith harbour

A large boat caught fire on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 27

Lone orca from a pod that made its way north from Georgia Strait and into Discovery Passage on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. Photo by Ella Smiley/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/Comoxvalleywildlifesightings/?ref=page_internal" target="_blank">Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings </a>
Island wildlife viewers thrilled by close view of passing Orca pod

Group gives wildlife photographers a classic opportunity to view them off Campbell River shoreline

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Most Read