Friends of Science Guerrilla Billboard Marketing Campaign in Canada Stirs up Freedom of Speech Controversy on Climate Change and Global Warming

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Despite Canada’s Charter Right of freedom of speech, and hundreds of years of scientific evidence that the sun is the main direct and indirect driver of climate change, the current Friends of Science billboard campaign has been met with calls to censor the group. Friends of Science point out that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has downplayed the evidence that global warming stopped naturally more than 16 years ago in the recent synthesis report, despite a rise in carbon dioxide, demonstrating that carbon dioxide is not the ‘knob’ on global temperature variability.

Ottawa Airport

Clearly the drop in solar irradiance is a factor. Why would it be immoral or unethical to make sure the public knows that expensive carbon reduction schemes do nothing for the climate?

As reported in Montreal's Le Soleil Nov. 20, 2014, the Friends of Science digital billboard campaign that says “The sun is the main driver of climate change. Not you. Not CO2” running in 6 selected Canadian cities, has erupted into controversy, especially in Montreal, as environmentalists and renewable energy proponents are calling for the message to be censored. Freedom of speech is enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Norm Kalmanovitch, P. Geoph. and resident scientific adviser to Friends of Science rejects such comments as antithetical to scientific inquiry.

Canada’s Globe and Mail published a report on Nov. 17, 2014 claiming that the Friends of Science campaign was running in over a dozen cities and would have cost $65,000 dollars, citing an anonymous advertising expert. PR man James Hoggan, the founder of DeSmogBlog, chair of the Suzuki Foundation and Climate Project Canada, an offshoot of Al Gore’s global outreach weighed in with his opinion.

“We’re only in 6 cities and on a beer budget,” says Kalmanovitch. “We wish the Globe and Mail would contact us first and not speculate.”

“We’ve taken them to task on this before,” he said, referring to a Jun. 18, 2014 Troy Media commentary."

Friends of Science billboards in Montreal, Quebec, translated into French, are sparking controversy. Reports appeared on Nov. 20, 2014 in Le Devoir, Le Soleil, Le Journal de Montreal, and in AVEQ on Nov. 21, 2014, all were widely critical.

Twitter burst into a stream of invective, primarily calling Friends of Science ‘deniers.’

In a tweet Friends of Science responded saying “We do not deny and we do not comply. We think for ourselves and rely on scientific evidence, not models.”

Merran Smith of Clean Energy Canada, an offshoot of TIDES Canada ENGO tweeted a letter of complaint about the Vancouver billboard claiming the billboard was ‘immoral and unethical,’ citing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Synthesis Report as evidence of climate change doom.

“As reported in the Wall Street Journal Oct. 1, 2013, the IPCC Working Group I report of September 2013, written by the physical scientists, stated there had been a long-term hiatus in global warming despite a rise in carbon dioxide,” says Kalmanovitch.

Kalmanovitch continues, “Clearly the drop in solar irradiance is a factor. Why would it be immoral or unethical to make sure the public knows that expensive carbon reduction schemes do nothing for the climate?”

“Clean Energy Canada has a mandate to push renewable power. The main rationale for so-called renewables like wind and solar, is the alleged threat of human-caused global warming,” he says. “So, is that why they want to censor us?”

A 2014 MIT publication entitled http:// Cheap and Clean identifies wind and solar as the most expensive and most unreliable forms of power generation, but the authors explain people are easily mislead into thinking they are free and clean because the sun and wind are ubiquitous and have happy personal associations with warmth, sunny and breezy days.


Friends of Science have spent a decade reviewing a broad spectrum of literature on climate change and have concluded the sun is the main driver of climate change, not carbon dioxide (CO2). The core group of the Friends of Science is made up of retired earth and atmospheric scientists.

Friends of Science Society
P.O. Box 23167, Mission P.O.
Calgary, Alberta
Canada T2S 3B1
Toll-free Telephone: 1-888-789-9597
E-mail: contact(at)friendsofscience(dot)org

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Michelle Stirling
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