Friends of Science President's Message

January 14th 2024
Wow, another year has flown by! And still the alarmist madness continues (and may I add appears to be coming more unhinged). But we are making progress. The general public is beginning to feel the pain and understand the realities of energy, food, financial, etc. security and their ties to “climate change”. However, we still have a long way to go and with your continued support, we will get there.

The recent COP28 event in Dubai showed some of the cracks in the alarmist narrative. The COP28 president (Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber) was soundly chastised for his realistic statement 'there is no science out there, or no scenario out there, that says that the phase-out of fossil fuel is what's going to achieve 1.5 C'. ‘He also said eliminating fossil fuels would take the world back into caves’ (a line pulled from Joe Oliver’s Financial Post article (COP28 – Futile Climate Theatrics), that is well worth the read). To start with, the COP28 Dubai setting is a strange place to hold the annual alarmist “Climate Change” conference, since Dubai (a remarkable place) does not exist without the fossil fuels that built and maintain its existence. As usual, the conference itself was loaded with hypocrisy (or possibly hyCOPrisy), from the squadrons of carbon dioxide emitting jets, the obligatory air conditioning and gourmet food consumption (no insect protein or vegetarian restrictions here). However, I will admit the sight of some of these jets, delayed (stuck on the runways) throughout Europe due to severe freezing conditions, provided some humorous relief.

Historically, the COP conferences have had no measurable impact on atmospheric CO2 concentrations and COP28 (despite its record attendance, ±100,000 delegates) will continue that tradition. Interestingly, the attendee list this year has deviated a bit from past COPs. Many of the world’s “leaders” (notably United States, China, India, Russia, Canada (to name a few)) chose to stay home. Some indication of the overall commitment level to the green agenda by some of the world’s larger emitters? Maybe, there is no shortage of coal development happening in both the developed and undeveloped countries. This year has also seen an increase in delegates that are pushing back against the unrestricted, cost be damned implementation of the various green agendas. For Canada specifically, having provincial delegations there pushing back against our ideologically focused federal activist position was refreshing. Ultimately, the conference ended with a sputter. The big push was a final statement that called for the expedited phase-out of all fossil fuels. The final result was a watered-down version that called for a transition away from fossil fuels with no specific timeline. Something that is already in progress and inevitable (just not possible on the time frame envisioned by the activist/alarmist community). Robert Lyman has recently penned an op-ed in the Financial Post (Opinion: Massive spending on clean energy has garnered only meagre gains) that looks at the “transition” and the current progress (well worth the read).

Back at home, the Friends of Science Society had a productive quarter. Our annual event (October 17th, 2023, at the Red & White Club) was a great success. The event was sold out with a waiting list. We had two excellent speakers (Robert Lyman and Ian Clark) that were enthusiastically received. The presentations were recorded and are available on our website ( Notably, there was a younger presence in the crowd. Refreshing and important for the future of our society.

Director, Friends of Science
Ron Davison, P.Eng

COP28 – Some Takeaways

The 28th Conference of Parties under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Dubai ran from November 20 to December 13 (ending one day late). In July COP28’s president, who is also CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, sent a letter to parties outlining his vision for the COP, which included:
  • The first global stocktake under the Paris Agreement to see if the world is on track to limit global warming to 1.5°C. To achieve this, according to the IPCC’s science, global greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2025 and then decline 43% below 2019 levels by 2030. In September the UNFCCC published a technical dialog showing that emissions are not in line with this goal, with a gap of 20.3-23.9 Gt of CO2 equivalent in 2030 (para 10).
  • Fast-tracking the energy transition and slashing emissions before 2030.
  • Delivering old promises and setting the framework for a new deal on finance.
  • Putting nature, people, lives and livelihoods at the heart of climate action.
  • Mobilizing for the most inclusive COP.

Benny Peiser: Energy Realism Eclipses Climate Alarmism

In a 26-minute video (with computer-generated transcript) Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, assesses the results of COP28. The COP followed the usual ritual – the hopes, claims that time is running out, this is our last chance, a deadlock, then a breakthrough that everyone celebrates, but will in fact achieve little when reading the fine print. Before the COP some Western governments were adamant that this was the COP to phase out fossil fuels. However, one of the key paragraphs of the COP28 decision document (para 28(d)) proposes a “transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade, so as to achieve net zero by 2050 in keeping with the science.” Para 29 of the document recognizes the role of transitional fuels, while ensuring energy security. But the term “transitional fuel” can have different meanings, e.g., coal in the case of China which is transitioning away from it; gas for the Gulf states; oil for Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Peiser cites two stories from the BBC website where interviewees from Uganda and Iraq explain why their countries, like many other developing nations, are against phasing out fossil fuels. The transition won’t be cheap, and they need all the income they can get from fossil fuels to facilitate the transition and to deal with the effects of climate change. In short, developing countries are not on board with the idea that they should give up on their own energy resources, which is nothing new and has been known since the 2009 Copenhagen COP15.

The renewables industry is in a deep cost crisis, resulting in cancelled projects. However, a bigger problem is the recognition that you cannot power a country with renewables alone and that trying to cover their intermittency by storing gigantic amounts of electricity is unfeasible. Governments are now beginning to realize that they would need two parallel energy systems – one a renewables system that generates enough electricity when the sun shines and the wind blows and another that supplies power when there’s no sun and/or wind. As a result green energy stocks have suffered a decline this year, while conventional energy stocks have gained significantly.

At the beginning of the COP the US Energy Information Administration published a 25-year projection of world energy demand, based on government plans, showing that CO2 emissions will increase up to 2050 because energy demand will grow due to growing populations, income and industrialization – trends which totally contradict demands by climate scientists to reduce emissions.

If renewables were as cost-efficient as we’ve been told for the past 30 years, countries around the world would be deploying them. In fact the global energy mix hasn’t changed much in that time – it’s still ~80% fossil fuels. Despite being promised billions to move off coal and pledging to do so, counties like South Africa and Indonesia have been reneging.

Click to close