Joe Oliver attempts to use science, gets schooled by Greens’ Andrew Weaver

OTTAWA – Minister of Natural Resources, the Hon. Joe Oliver cited climate scientist Dr. Andrew Weaver in Question Period on April 23rd, 2013, claiming that Weaver's research supports Oliver's call for oil sands expansion. Later the same week he slammed US leading scientist Dr. James Hansen claiming that Dr. Hansen has been "crying wolf" about climate science.

Today, Dr. Andrew Weaver offered to personally brief Minister Oliver at his earliest opportunity.  "Although I am very busy at the moment as the candidate for the Green Party of BC in Oak Bay-Gordon Head, it is important to explain my research to Mr. Oliver so he will not misrepresent it in the House of Commons. Given the opportunity I could also explain to him why attacking one of the world's leading scientists will not persuade anyone that his administration is serious about responding to the climate crisis.  Dr. Hansen takes it so seriously, that he has been willing to get arrested.  I take it so seriously that I am willing to be elected."   

Citing a discussion paper by Dr. Andrew Weaver, leading Canadian climate scientist and Deputy Leader of the Green Party of British Columbia, Minister Oliver tried, unsuccessfully, to showcase his scientific prowess, emphasizing the destructive potential of coal in order to deflect criticism from his most recent trip to Washington to try to sell bitumen and pipelines to the US. 

“Policy based on science and evidence is exactly what is needed, and found lacking, from this Conservative government, so I don’t mind that the Minister has referenced me in debate”, said Dr. Weaver. “But it is most unfortunate that Mr. Oliver has obviously not taken the time to read the paper he referenced, nor apparently made any effort to understand climate science generally.”

The discussion paper, called “The Alberta oil sands and climate”, and published in the journal Nature Climate Change, provides a hypothetical analysis of the relative impact on global climate change that would arise from burning all of the worlds reserves of different kinds of fossil fuels. 

“What Mr. Oliver has critically failed to grasp here is that although some scenarios are indeed much worse than others, these are all nightmare scenarios that we must not allow to happen”, said Weaver. “To prevent 2 degrees of warming, which is the stated goal of this government, we know that most of the world’s proven oil, coal, and gas reserves must be left in the ground. Once elected to the BC Legislature I would be happy to take a few minutes out of my schedule to explain this to Mr. Oliver.

"Sitting in the House of Commons, I was flabbergasted to hear Joe Oliver try to minimize oil sands emissions by misunderstanding Dr. Weaver's work. I certainly hope Joe Oliver will accept Dr. Weaver's offer for a briefing." said Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands and Leader of the Green Party of Canada.

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Media Contact:
Stéphane Vigneault
Communications Coordinator, Green Party of Canada 
cell: 613.614.4916