Energy Probe Ontario

I was just investigating the Ontario governments decision to go Nuclear to the tune of $26B over 6 years starting construction in 2012 and start-up set for 2018. So I immediately considered looking at the Energy Probe position, since they had advised in the 1980’s against nuclear expansion and had proved providential – a $4B plant site at Darlington ended up costing 3.5 times the original estimate and came in at a thumping $14.4 billion. Ontario in the process went from energy rich, low cost producer of electricity to an energy buyer and high cost of electricity.

To my amazement, Lawrence Solomon, Energy Probe’s Executive Director is in the minority on Global Warming. In fact he has written a book, The Deniers, about those who are holding out against Climate Change and Global Warming. So far so good – in hypothesis testing one must be alert to and cognizant of dissenting/contrary viewpoints – particularly if they have well stated cases. However, Mr. Solomon’s approach is bit short.

I would expect a true scientist who knows they are in the minority to a)own up to it and b)marshall the key arguments why their minority viewpoint is more effective than the consensus. On the Energy Probe website, Mr. Solomon does indeed have two articles on Climate Change. But unlike the article at Wikipedia, does not give an inkling of the nature of the consensus on climate change, its extent   nor its causes. Instead, Mr. Solomon cites a dozen or so key scientists who are dissenters and gives short quotes of their viewpoints. But clearly there is no organized analysis as to why 90-95% of  scientists including over two dozen National Academies confirm climate change as being human-caused and having a high probability and wide range of potentially world-wide damaging effects. Presumably you must buy his book to get the gist of this crucial argument. So Mr. Solomon fails both tests of fairness in presentation – what is the current consensus on the issue and explaining clearly why that consensus may be wrong -exactly where the ideas clash and why the jury should still be out on the science involved.

Given this approach to a key energy and climate issue, I now have to reserve judgment on  Energy Probes pronouncements on the EnergyAlternatives in Ontario. If the Executive Director cannot be forthcoming on what are the key facts of the Climate Change issue, how can I trust him and his organization to be forthcoming on Ontario’s Energy Choices ? I can’t.

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