What she didn't ask

Lawrence Solomon
National Post
November 21, 2009

CBC’s Anna Maria Tremonti had tough questions for me this week, but none for a global warming propagandist.

You probably missed my heated on-air debate Thursday morning with Anna Maria Tremonto, host of CBC’s The Current. You certainly missed my superheated off-air debate in her studio immediately afterwards, when Tremonti lit into me for my skepticism of global warming orthodoxy. I don’t recall being berated after an interview by a broadcaster before, certainly not be a consummate professional like Tremonti. But Tremonti was visibly upset, so much so that she ended the second debate by turning away from me without the courtesy of a goodbye (she did properly thank me on air at the conclusion of our broadcast debate.

Climate change has been a frequent theme on The Current over the years — a Google search of the three search terms, “CBC,” “The Current,” and “climate change,” turns up 251,000 hits, an indication of this show’s reach. My appearance Thursday morning was, to my knowledge, just about the only time that The Current has ever invited a climate change skeptic. 

For this I was grateful, even if I wasn’t the headliner on the show that morning: That honour went to James Hoggan, the owner of a public relations firm who was promoting Climate Coverup, his book attacking global warming skeptics. I was third in the lineup, following a computer programmer who determines through Google searches of his own that credible global warming skeptics are rarely cited. My role Thursday morning, a CBC producer told me several days earlier, would be to respond to the two global warming asserters preceding me.

That role didn’t last long. The interview quickly turned confrontational with Tremonti — using her vaunted investigative skills — attempting to challenge my credibility. I don’t begrudge her aggressive questions — that’s fair game for good investigative journalists and, in any event, I believe they backfired. But I did think she cut me off excessively — an average of once every 30 seconds after her initial questions, when she seemed curious rather than confrontational.

I do begrudge her gentle, almost fawning treatment of Hoggan. Rather than serve her audience through probing questions that tested Hoggan’s thesis and explored his motivations, Tremonti posed questions that could have been scripted by his PR firm. (Hoggan’s firm or his website did provide her with at least some of the “gotcha” questions she posed to me, inadvertently laying a trap for her when the “gotchas” proved to be fabrications.) Tremonti even immunized herself against the obvious criticism that she was giving credibility in this global warming debate to a PR man, of all people, by airing what many in her audience must have been thinking: “You have a lifelong career in public relations. You’re also the chair of the Suzuki Foundation. Some would think you’re spinning me,” she stated, accepting as satisfactory his response that "I’m not telling you that I’m an expert in climate science and I’m not being funded by anyone.”

What would the investigative Tremonti of old — she was a correspondent and host of CBC’s Fifth Estate — have asked Hoggan? Here are some alternatives to the softball questions that Tremonti posed to him.

Mr. Hoggan, during this interview you have three times cited NASA in making your point that the science is settled on climate change. How does that square with the comments two years ago from the head of NASA, Mr. Michael Griffin, a scientist with six degrees, who said that global garming is nothing to worry about? Or with calculations by a group of NASA scientists, recently published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, which cites reduced solar activity as the most important cause of stagnating global warming?

Tremonti:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You say the debate over whether the globe is warming or cooling is taking place at the Kiwanis Club and small community newspapers, not among real climatologists or in peer-reviewed journals like Science. How do you explain the Science magazine article of last month, entitled "What Happened to Global Warming? Scientists Say Just Wait a Bit," in which scientists grapple with whether the globe is warming or cooling and whether their models are working? And how do you explain the stir caused in September at the UN’s World Climate Conference, where Mojib Latif of Kiel University — one of your own — shocked the gathering of 1,500 climate scientists by saying that temperatures could fall over the next two decades, again contradicting the past predictions of climate models?

You paint the corporate sector as working behind the scenes to undermine global warming legislation such as the Waxman-Markey bill, which the U.S. House of Representatives passed recently. Yet it is well known that this bill was largely written by a powerful lobby called the United States Climate Action Partnership. This lobby is dominated by a long list of multinationals, including major oil multinationals that you love to excoriate such as BP, Shell and ConocoPhillips. Doesn’t this support the claims of the skeptics, who point to the immense
profits that the multinationals stand to make should global warming legislation pass?

Tremonti:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I’d like to follow up on why my listeners should trust someone in the PR business to be impartial in this debate. When I look at your client list on your firm’s corporate website, I see that it includes ALCOA among your firm’s blue chip clients. ALCOA happens to be part of this lobby, the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, that’s pushing climate change legislation. Can you explain why exactly you don’t have a con
flict of interest here, when you are attacking those who would derail your client’s legislation? While you’re at it, can you elaborate on the “Hoggan Credo” that you advertise on your website. The way I read it, your advice to corporations is that they need PR services, but that they should be sure that the public doesn’t know it’s having a PR job done on it.

Tremonti asked none of these questions. She not once interrupted Hoggan, or tried to throw him off his stride. Her favourite follow-ups, after letting him expound at will, were supportive interjections such as "Tell me more.”

Did Tremonti knowingly conduct a puff-piece of an interview with Hoggan? I doubt it. Does she herself have a conflic of interest as a journalist in the global warming issue? Unlikely in the extreme. Does she suspect that she has been a victim of PR spin? I have no way of knowing.

All I do know is that when it comes to global warming, Anna Maria Tremonti set aside her journalistic instincts. It would be impossible for any investigative reporter, let alone one as talented as she, to objectively delve into global warming and conclude that the science was settled.

Hear Anna Maria Tremonti’s interview of Solomon here.

Lawrence Solomon is executive director of Energy Probe and Urban Renaissance Institute and author of The Deniers: The world-renowned scientists who stood up against global warming hysteria, political persecution, and fraud.


Nov 20 2009

On listening to that interview with Anna Maria Tremonti and James Hoggan I thought exactly the same as you, Lawrence.  It was a powder puff interview – the complete opposite of the way she treated you. The suggested questions above that she could have asked Hoggan are relevant and valid and as an alleged investigative journalist I trust Ms Tremonti’s face is now an appropriate shade of red. PS Amazing as it may seem to Ms Tremonti, I have no connection with "big oil" or "big coal" and I was never a supporter of "big tobacco"!

by Tom Harris

Nov 21 2009

Your piece illustrates well why I turned down being interviewed for The Current a couple of years back – I simply did not trust them to conduct the interview in a balanced and fair fashion.

Tom Harris

Executive Director

International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC)

Ottawa, Ontario


by Robert_Prouse

Nov 21 2009
Tremonti at work!  The great "Ambusher" at it again.  This gotcha specialist is about as poor an excuse for a journalist as can be.  Why anyone intheir right mind would subject themselves to an interview with her, and expect fair treatment, is beyond me.  Shades of Kissinger! She fits in very well with that biased incompetent organization she works for!
by Fred . . .
Nov 21 2009

Tremonti & the CBC are perfect examples of the downtown Toronto Latte Liberal Oh So Progressive class that believe they have a right to impose their own petty biases on everyone. Wonder how fast their little pinheads will implode when the scientific fraud implications of the release of the CRU data are fully understood. Tremonti & Hoggan’s favorite Climate Scientists and Gloabal Warming Hysteria Fear Mongerers have been revealed.  Discussing how to avoid FOI requests for their data, how to destroy data and emails that might be revealing, how to "trick" data to "hide" global cooling, how to keep certain articles out of the scientific literature, how to steer the Peer Review process down the AGW Yellow Brick Road . . . . .   the list goes on and on. Massive fraud and all  a Tremonti style journalist can do is lob soft pitches at an admitted AGW propagandist.

She could of also asked how much money Hoggan’s firm has made from the BC Government led by Gordo "Carbon Tax" Campbell.

Apparently it is about $335 thousand. . . .  nice dough to spin AGW hsyteria and keep people afraid of a harmless trace element atmospheric gas that is really plant food not pollution.

by the shadow

Nov 21 2009

I stopped listening to CBC last year mainly because I got so frustrated with their inability to see more than one side of any argument.  One never saw an unbiased discussion.  It didn’t matter who the interviewer was (with the possible exception of Rex Murphy) the information being given was always suspect, tainted by the personal tenets of the interviewer.

by eustace

Nov 21 2009

I am not surprised that Tremonti was rude to Solomon off air, he was disputing her religion. In major orthodoxies, gun controll, climate change, American conservatism, the CBC no longer pretends to be neutral. The issues are just too important for objectivity. Friday morning Tremonti’s replacement interviewed Jim Prentice. Although no
t as obnoxious as Tremonti, she
did press the minister hard as to Canada not "doing" anything for a plan to present for Copengagen, as time is running out on the environment.

On the Current web site is a snotty score of federal minister invited for interviews, and those appearing. Is it any wonder that ministers might decline the Current inquisition.

The more biased CBC becomes, the more producers and their ombudsman deny any imbalance.

by Iconoclast

Nov 21 2009  

I can’t help but notice that both of my posts, along with those of several others which might not be considered favourable to Mr. Solomon and the global warming deniers have been removed i.e. censored. While those extolling Mr. Solomon’s interview performance and stance on global warming have been removed. For shame, Solomon.

by highplainsdrifter

Nov 21 2009 

Scrap the CBC or communist broadcasting corp as I like to think of it. Then the government should cut everyone’s taxes accordingly.

All government in Canada = monopolies over the individual which = nothing more than legal organized crime.

by rbren

Nov 21 2009  


They haven’t been removed.  Just look for the piece by clicking on full comment.  Pan down till you find it.

by charlie brown 73

Nov 21 2009  


Your post makes no sense.  Also, you do not have a carte blanche right to make remarks the editor finds offensive.  You always have the Star to print them.

by Douglas_Ball

Nov 21 2009  

I value Lawrence Solomon’s articles very much.  Through them, Solomon has introduced me to numerous scientists who question the role of human beings in generating climate change.  I am therefore firmly in the camp that disbelieves and question the motivations of those who hype man-made change change.

That said, I don’t think Mr Solomon is articulate enough to go up against Tremonti; he could hardly get his thoughts formed in a coherent manner.  I know from his writings he is a thoughtful and articulate person. On radio, unfortunately, he is a stammering reed in the wind.
Of course Tremonti wouldn’t cut him some slack; and she was after all under time constraints.  Still, I thought Lawrence wouldn’t be able to gather his thoughts fast enough even if he were given more time.  It’s pretty intimidating on radio.  Regretfully I must say that Lawrence is not the man for that media, especially when it’s arrayed against him, as expected.

But that should discourage him from continuing the fight.  His writing is invaluable.

by sonofkaz

Nov 21 2009  


– the user generated feedback at the NP cannot be understood by mere mortals.  To some it appears to be a mess, but I think it might be magic.  If you pay close attention, you’ll see posts disappearing, then inexplicably appearing again.  Or suddenly all of them go missing. Or the article vanishes, to be found at a different link at a different time, with or without posts.  Or some posts are like the ones here, others are in that frustrating little box at the bottom of an article, but not permanently as they can magically switch places at times. There
is a devil playing with us here, I say, a cruel but strangely all inclusive and fair beast that stomps on us all with amazing equality regardless of what we say on these pages.

by andersm

Nov 21 2009

I heard Lawrence Solomon being interviewed for Ideas, a CBC program.  It was on his climate change views and he did great so I don’t think his ability to articulate his thoughts was the problem.  

The problem was a hostile interviewer who had the power to shape the discussion any way she wanted.  And she so badly wanted to crowd her subject so he could only react and even at that not allow him time to fully state his answer.  Ever see an expert lawyer cross-examine a witness for the other side?  They know how to restrict the witness’s statements so they do minimum harm to their client’s position. Lawrence Solomon is the man who woke me up to the reality and extent of the fraud of AGW with his NP series ‘The Deniers’.  I have the greatest admiration for him and his sincere efforts to tell the truth in the fact of doubt and abuse.

by jimprall

Nov 21 2009  

It’s unfortunate that Mr. Solomon felt unfairly treated in the interview.

I am the person who wa
s on in between Mr. Hoggan and Mr. Solomon, describing my list of climate scientists. My intent for this list is to let readers see for themselves what the scientists say, how much they have published on climate and been cited by others. I’ve noted some 470 names who have signed statements against climate legislation/stressing uncertainty. I’ve also listed all 619 contributing authors to working group 1 of the IPCC 4th Assessment Report. I’ve linked to each person’s homepage at a university or national lab. Have a look to see for yourselves what the experts are saying:


by Iconoclast

Nov 21 2009  

Other research Mr. Solomon conveniently failed to note in his interview is the 2009 annual Climate Confidence Monitor survey. (A 12-country study, commissioned by the HSBC Climate Partnership).

The results send a strong message to governments preparing to attend the climate change summit in Copenhagen in December to agree on a policy framework to tackle global warming.

In fact, 79 per cent want to see a commitment from their governments to "meet or significantly exceed’ a 50-80 per cent cut in emissions by 2050."

65 per cent of people across the globe indicated that a new international deal to cut emissions is ‘very important’.

Once again, you global warming deniers appear to be on the wrong planet, in more ways than one.

by maths1

Nov 21 2009  

My web-space*  records CBC versus the work of mathematicians and associates in a half century of irregularities (theft, corruption, false police minutes etc) and the immense range of politician response (direct contracts/replacement of delnquent deputy ministers) versus
exploitation) to "all-member" mailings to (municipal.provincial and Commons) legislatures.

The CBC has shut  out from its CBO/CBOT newsrooms (and its published names of candidates) mathematicians as candidates, has rigged "phone-in" with "the producer has instructed you not be aired" and after I wrote to R. Renaud about surgical changes to audio-tape of Minister/Deputy Minister support at NAC public meetings, he did not acknowledge, but the "surgeon" went to unqualified overseas assignment.


click Profile, click Documents and recover $7.1 billions for the Crown,

including one legal action "shuffled to next month" for three years.


by Fred . . .

Nov 21 2009

OK. Mr Iconclast, since you have the almighty high ground . . tell us what you would do to make our required Kyoto or 20/20 cuts and how we will meet the para 41 requirements.

Details, my boy, details . . . no blathering on about high ideals.  Put up or STFU. In order to fall in line with the Copenhagen/COP15 agreement Canada needs to cut 150,000 Mt of carbon emissions from our annual level.

The table below lists the major carbon emission sources. So your task is to choose which areas of the Canadian economy to devastate . . . but you total cuts needs to add up to 150,000 Mt.

After you have figured out what parts of the economy need to go bye-bye, then address the COP 15 para 41 requirement . . . you know the one where it says Canada needs to start paying an annual amount equal to a minimum of 0.7% of our GDP for our "Climate Debt".

0.7% is about $9 billion dollars annually . . . so what are you going to cut out of the current Federal budget to free up $9+ billion annually ?

I’d cut Equalization payments to Provinces – but you-know-who would go ballistic because although they deny they are net recipients of Canadian largesse, they would whine like stuck pigs if their entitlement to the entitlement was cut off.

Electric/heat generation 126 000

Fossil Fuel Industries 70,000

Mining & Gas 23,000

Residential 40,000

Automobile 41, 000

Light Gas trucks 45, 000

Heavy Gas Trucks 6,640

Heavy Diesel Trucks 40,100

Railways 7,000

Off Road Diesel 25,000

Off Road Gas 6,7000

Domestic Aviation 7, 804

Metal Production 13, 800

Have funds kiddies, cut away. Canada must be a good little Climate weenie boy scout and go along to get along.

My solution . . . take every car & truck off our roads, stop every train, ground every plane and tie up every ship.

That will meet the required target and shouldn’t have too much of an impact on our economy.

Should it?

by Tenuc

Nov 22 2009

Main-stream media do not present a balanced view of the scientific debate on the falsified AGW hypothesis.

It is obvious from the documents leaked last week by s
omeone at the CRU at the University of East Anglia that the science is far from settled and much effort is being put in there to ensure temperature trend match the fallacious IPCC models.

The full document is available at Wikileaks, under the caption Climatic Research Unit emails, data, models, 1996-2009.

I suggest everyone reads about the abysmal state of our politically driven system of climate science before it’s too late.

by Fred . . .

Nov 22 2009  

The CRU leaks/hack/whistleblowing should be the only topic of discussion at Hopehagen/COP15 next month.  The politicians have been made fools of, the vast majority of the media has gone along for the free hysteria ride.

Excellent summary by Andrew Bolt  . . .

"It’s in fact a conspiracy of many of the world’s leading global warming scientists that involves massaging data, dodging scrutiny, hounding out sceptical editors, fudging figures, the possibly criminal destruction of data under FOI request, tax avoidance, gloating over a
sceptic’s death, character assassination of sceptics, admissions of using “tricks” to “hide” inconvenient trends, farming grants, private admissions of grave doubts in their own public warming  warnings, close collusion with green groups, . . . .

by jimshort19

Nov 22 2009  

Fred makes the point. We could afford to shut down co2 emmissions by 150,00 mt, but we’d have to turn the clock back not 50 years, when we could burn oil indescriminately, but 100 years to 1910 when we could not afford cars. It’s not happening. We are too many, too comfortable now to be so constrained.

by Tenuc

Nov 22 2009  

Just come across an interesting link at populartechnology.net, which gives a list of 450 papers which are sceptical of man-made global warming and managed to get through the peer review process. The debate about the causes of climate change is far from over, despite what the UN, IPCC and our new EU ‘leader’ want you to think. The scientific debate is far from over.


Looks like my reading material sorted for the next few months :-)

by charlie brown 73

Nov 22 2009

Well said Fred.  I await, with baited breath, Iconoclast’s detailed reply.

by Fred . . .

Nov 22 2009

And my point still waits for some pearls of wisdom from Mr. Iconoclast.


Still Waiting.

Yoooo Hooooo  Mr. Iconoclast, having trouble with some facts, some numbers, some detail ?  Still wrapping yourself up in you warm comfy "we should do something" fur.



Or get off your high & mighty throne.

Waiting . . .   still waiting.

by Les Bolschitt

Nov 22 2009  

Will be very revealing to watch which media outlets ignore the Climategate story involving the hacked emails and the fraud they confirmed.

Not expecting to see anything from the Watermelons at the the CBC. And so far nothing on the BBC despite the fact that it happened there.

Fortunately the internet is now far more important than the corporate media for revealing inconvenient truths.

by eveable

Nov 22 2009  

True, the only Canadian sources on this I have seen are the CFP and the Financial post. Fortunately, lots of information on the net. The emails do show changing of data, misuse of the peer review system which I always thought was a crock, manipulating data at the IPCC’s direction, misuse of budgets, etc. As well as all the members of the CRU team who should be jailed, there are many US scientist who should also be jailed and fined.

The IPCC should be disbanded.

by Jeff the thinker

ov 22 2009  

People like Hogan and Tremonti have to turn science into a juvenille debate because it’s all they understand. Scientist don’t write scientific papers on whether they think Gore is a liar.

Scientific journals sound something like this: “Arctic air temperature change amplification and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation”. Geophysical Research Letters" from lead author Petr Chylek.

Quotes from the paper:

"In the following analysis we confirm that the Arctic has indeed warmed during the 1970-2008 period by a factor of two to three faster than the global mean in agreement with model predictions but the reasons may not be entirely anthropogenic. We find that the ratio of
the Arctic to global temperature change was much larger during the years 1910-1970.”

“We consequently propose that the AMO is a major factor affecting inter-decadal variations of Arctic temperature"

Simply put, the natural ocean oscillations could account for much of the warming and cooling.

Petr Chylek does not deny man has an influence said this: “This value corresponds to a warming of about 1.6 (with uncertainty of 0.4) deg C due to doubling the amount of carbon dioxide from its pre-industrial level. The deduced value is close to the lower end of the IPCC 4AR assessment of 2 to 4.5 deg C (with 66% probability).”

You see if you give too much credit to natural sources and estimate the human effect below that of the IPCC you are clearly a paid of hack of the oil industry and therefore Petr Chylek earns a spot on Hogans DeSmog Blog list of deniers.

The IPCC covers ocean oscillations but gives no attribution to them as a cause of the late 20th century warming and of course is confounded by the current lack of rise in temperature when these natural variations swing the other way.

by Fred . . .

Nov 23 2009  

have some fun . .


I’m betting Mr. Iconoclast would score poorly on this wee quiz.

Very poorly.

Still waiting for a response.


And . . .  . .  waiting.

Dum dum diddle dee dum dum.


by Daystrom

Nov 23 2009  

After reading this gem from WUWT, I wonder if Tremonti will be jumping off the top of one of those rapidly melting glaciers in Greenland once AGW is exposed for what it is: a sham?


Jones can prattle on all he wants about what "trick" means but programming comments tell a different story.





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