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norman spector

Conservative candidate Maxime Bernier acknowledges applause during a Quebec City election rally on October 12, 2008.Reuters

While the Harper government has been widely criticized for its stance on climate change, it has not questioned the science behind international negotiations. And, notably, the government signed the agreement negotiated at the Copenhagen conference and has submitted its emission reduction targets as required.

Today, however, in a letter to La Presse (which he says was not seen by the PMO), ex-foreign minister Maxime Bernier defends the government's approach from the point of view of a "skeptic."

Some excerpts from the letter:

"Environmental groups in Copenhagen criticized our government for blocking an agreement … and again when Jim Prentice announced our targets at the end of January ... But with each passing week we see the wisdom of the government's moderate position … since December, a debate has broken out in the media over the science of warming, a debate that had been stifled due to political correctness … the numerous errors by the IPCC add to alternative theories of warming that have been put forward over the years.

We now recognize that it's possible to be a "skeptic," or at least to keep an open mind about nearly all critical aspects of the warming theory. For example, while no one questions whether there has been warming, there is no consensus among scientists as to its degree.

Moreover, we realize that during the period of greatest concern about warming - the last decade - temperatures have stopped increasing! Meanwhile, the quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere, said to be the cause of warming according to the official theory, is still increasing. Some very serious scientists believe that we are under-estimating the influence of the sun and other factors that have nothing to do with carbon emissions.

Mojib Latif, a German researcher associated with the IPCC who essentially supports the warming theory, said last fall that temperatures may decline for two decades before warming resumes. No model predicted this. But the same models claim to predict the number of degrees of warming by the end of the century. And that's only one of the "certainties" about which there is no consensus.

What is certain is that it would be irresponsible to spend billions of dollars and to impose unnecessarily stringent regulations to solve a problem whose gravity we still are not certain about. The alarmism that has characterized this debate is no longer appropriate. Canada is wise to be cautious."

(File photo: Chris Wattie/Reuters)

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