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Energy minister cites climate change denial blog in defence of scrapping green energy projects

Ontario Energy Minister Greg Rickford cited a blog that denies human-induced climate change while defending the government's decision to scrap green energy projects in the province.

Energy Minister Greg Rickford called blog 'one of my favourite periodicals'

Ontario's Minister of Energy Greg Rickford says he believes in climate change but that it is 'important that you consider all periodicals and sources of literature with differing views.' (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Ontario Energy Minister Greg Rickford cited a blog that denies human-induced climate change while defending the government's decision to scrap green energy projects in the province.

During question period at Queen's Park Monday, Rickford called Climate Change Dispatch one of his "favourite periodicals."

The website says its mission is to "deconstruct" climate change theories "propagated" by former U.S. vice president Al Gore and "the highly politicized" International Panel on Climate Change. It asks for donations to help "fight garbage science."

Rickford quoted from a post on the site, titled "Germany Pulls Plug on Wind Energy As Industry Suffers 'Severe Crisis'," in response to questioning from the Opposition about $230-million in cancelled renewable enery contracts in Ontario.

"Well, I'll be a chicken fried in goose fat, Mr. Speaker. It turns out that there's another jurisdiction that's having the same challenges we are," Rickford said.

In its "About Us" section, the online publication says it "does not believe in consensus science" on global climate change.

'Science is pretty clear' on climate change

Rickford's comments come on the same day that the United Nations Environment Programme released its annual Emissions Gap Report.

The 168-page document, compiled by 57 leading scientists from 33 institutions across 25 countries, calls on governments to act immediately, within the next decade, to limit global warming to 1.5 C or 2 C by 2100.

"By now, we know all we need to know. The science is pretty clear, and very frightening," said one of the report's contributing authors.

"But we also know we have the technological options that are needed, at least to the short to medium term."

Minister talks about 'both sides'

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Rickford said it is "important that you consider all periodicals and sources of literature with differing views."

"I believe in climate change and I believe in literature that supports a balanced article on any given subject matter that points out both sides of the coin," he said.

Rickford did not provide a direct answer when asked whether he agrees with the suggestion that human activity is not contributing to climate change.

'We are past the point of debating,' says NDP

The NDP decried Rickford's reference on Tuesday, calling the site a "conspiracy website" and "digital rag."

It pointed out other articles on Climate Change Dispatch, including one post entitled "Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is Not a Pollutant" and a positive review of a book that compares climate activism to attitudes in Nazi Germany.

"Hate-filled conspiracy theories are not a foundation for good policy," said NDP Climate Crisis critic Peter Tabuns in a statement.

"We are past the point of debating whether climate change exists. Ontarians know climate change is real, and caused by human action. Does this government know that?"  

Meanwhile, a group of young Ontarians is suing the province over what they say is climate change inaction, arguing that the government has violated their charter rights by softening emissions reduction targets.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story stated Rickford's comments happened on Tuesday. In fact, Rickford made the comments at Queen's Park on Monday.
    Nov 26, 2019 6:43 PM ET

With files from Mike Crawley

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