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Energy Minister cites blog questioning man-made climate change in Question Period

MEREDITH BOND | posted Wednesday, Nov 27th, 2019

Energy Minister Greg Rickford has defended the provincial government’s decision to cancel green energy projects in the legislature by quoting an article from a blog that questions human-caused climate change.

A CityNews investigation revealed the PC government was spending $231 million to tear down and cancel 751 renewable energy projects, including a wind turbine project expected to cost the government $141 million.

Facing criticism from the NDP over the decision during Question Period this week, Rickford has twice quoted an article on Germany’s wind energy industry from the blog Climate Change Dispatch.

On Monday, Rickford called the blog, “one of his favourite periodicals,” and quoted the article, saying, “Power grid operators had been struggling to keep the grid stable due to erratic feed-in and the subsidized feed-in of wind energy caused German electricity prices to become among the most expensive worldwide.”

He used the same quote again on Tuesday.

The blog says its goal is to share “all the studies and papers that consistently contradict the theory of CO2-driven global warming,” and to “deconstruct the man-made global theory propagagted by ex-VP-turned-green-activist Al Gore and the highly politicized IPCC.”

According to the website, the blog is run by Thomas Richard who describes himself as a contributor to the far-right website Breitbart News and articles are written by “private citizens … doing it part-time and for free.” Some of the other articles featured include headlines like, “The Myth of Climate Change,” and “How Al Gore Built the Global Warming Fraud.”

The article Rickford cited in the legislature takes the position that “wind parks had scarred the German landscape.”

When asked afterwards by reporters about the credibility of the blog he quoted, Rickford said, “We do a scan of periodicals … all the time and in this, we found a suitable quote about a situation that’s going on in Germany right now and I though it was appropriate to do that … The kind of literature that says that those actions were taken supports what we are doing.”

Rickford said he believes in climate change, but also said “It’s important that you consider all periodicals and sources of literature with differing views and that’s was the consideration that was given.”

CityNews asked Rickford if he agreed with the blog’s view that climate change is not man-made, he responded, “I agree with the view that the solutions moving forward are a dynamic energy supply in Ontario that is cost-effective and simple and easy for people to understand.”

Ontario Green Party leader Mike Schreiner said it was shocking to hear Rickford quote the blog. “I’m just shocked and disappointed that the person in charge of our energy system would be freely saying that a website that denies climate change is one of his favourites to read.”

Ontario’s auditor general also announced Tuesday she has looked at the government’s $231 million estimate of the cost of cancelling green energy contracts and deemed it reasonable.

She says the office will revisit the costs again in March 2020 as part of its audit of this year’s financial statements, but for a full special audit, that request has to come from a cabinet minister, the legislative assembly or a legislative committee.

Energy Minister Greg Rickford says the auditor has done her work and was satisfied.

With files from The Canadian Press

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