My name is Blair King. As my blog name suggests, I am a Professional Chemist and a resident of the Township of Langley, British Columbia, Canada. I am a husband and the father of three great kids.
The general aim of this blog is to look at the news and everyday life through the lens of a Chemist; husband; father; and resident of my community, province and country. I have come to recognize that a lot of important decisions are being made by people who lack the basic understanding of science to make informed decisions. My fear is that we continue to waste our moral and financial capital on emotionally-charged and scientifically-indefensible projects leaving us without anything to spend when it comes to making real changes that can make tangible improvements locally, regionally and nationally.
I acknowledge that I will not always be the expert (or even right) but will endeavour to make corrections when my errors are pointed out and provide links to those who know more than I do on a topic.
Academically, I have an Interdisciplinary PhD in Chemistry and Environmental Studies with an undergraduate degree in Chemistry and Biology. Since I graduated at the dawn of the internet age and work in the private sector, my C.V. is not online at any university web site so the most common complaint is that I am making up my credentials. I can point out that my thesis is available at the University of Victoria library and my academic and professional qualifications have been vetted by the various professional bodies discussed below, but that is often not enough for some. Ad hominems go that way and if you are going to insult me based on nothing, supporting information isn’t going to stop you.
Professionally, I am a Registered Professional Chemist and a Registered Professional Biologist and have been appointed to the Roster of Approved Professionals by the BC Ministry of Environment’s Director of Waste Management both as a Numeric-based Standards Approved Professional and a Risk-based Standards Approved Professional (under the Society of Contaminated Sites Approved Professionals or CSAP). Many mistakenly confuse this to believe that I somehow work as a government scientist. This is not true. The CSAP Society is:
“an independent professional organization that is mandated by the Provincial Government, through the Ministry of Environment, to review environmental certification applications made under the Environmental Management Act and Contaminated Sites Regulation. The Society credentials its members and recommends they be appointed to the Ministry of Environment Roster of Approved Professionals (APs)”.
I work for a great private sector employer, but none of my blogging is done on behalf of that employer. My direct supervisors and managers are aware of my blog and I have assured them that I will avoid any potential conflicts between my work and my blog. Sometimes this means I won’t blog on a topic where my personal intellectual interests and my company’s corporate interests intersect. I do that willingly as I enjoy and appreciate my job too much to risk it by blogging on such topics. To make this clear, I have never been paid to write a blog post and receive no compensation for blogging. The contents of this blog are my thoughts and opinions only and do not reflect those of my employer.
My area of professional expertise is the investigation and remediation of former industrial and commercial sites with a specialty in the assessment of petroleum hydrocarbon contamination and its effects on human and ecological health. In my professional capacity I serve as a technical specialist in areas including: industrial chemistry; sources, fate and transport, and biodegradation of chemical contaminants; effects of contaminants on natural systems; and ecosystem restoration.
My graduate research was in the fields of Chemistry and Environmental Studies and involved improving the availability of high-quality multidisciplinary scientific data for use in environmental decision-making. This included developing standardised protocols to evaluate multidisciplinary data including specialised protocols for organic trace data, toxicological experiments and biological responses to organic contaminants. Coincidentally, one of my original research cases used to develop my thesis methodology was an examination of the field of climate change. As such I have been reading the literature on climate change since the early 1990’s and I have some pretty strong opinions on that topic as well.
As a professional researcher in the 1990’s, I also worked on developing an educational curriculum on ecosystem restoration and did research on human impacts and loadings in the Strait of Georgia and the Fraser River Basin. The best part of that job was that I was paid to spend my days reading about science and all that reading has served me well in my life and career.
In my private life, I spend most of my time working with my wife to raise thoughtful, moral and well-rounded children and reading science and sci-fi. At one point in my life I was a fairly competitive runner and soccer player but now instead of playing sports I coach my kids’ teams. In the last 20 years I have coached more soccer players than I can possibly remember, have taught long-distance running to high-school athletes and adults and in the last few years have added basketball and baseball to my coaching resume.
Just read your Huff Post article, Truth about Toxic Mold. I have seen your blog and very much like and relate to your arguments on Precautionary Principle, risk communication, and risk assessment.
Please feel free to look me up. I am not a ranter or angry victim. I wish you would have addressed it differently. The tone is that mold is not a problem, only the building condition if it’s wet and damp. You completely ignored the fact of removal of the mold is first and foremost for eliminating the exposure, high or low, frequent or rare. You also mis-quoted the unfortunate argument agains using the phrase, “no such thing as toxic mold”.
I have submitted a list of questions and comments about the Harvest Fraser composting plant in Richmond, pursuant to their application to renew their permit for discharging Volatile Organic Compounds, etc. into the air. This has been an issue for me for awhile because the plant’s airborne effluent frankly stinks 12 km away (where I live in Steveston) and I am curious about its contents, especially since the application renewal seeks MUCH higher discharge amounts. I would appreciate getting your comments on my questions; I am a geologist and not an expert and this seems pretty close to your areas of expertise. Could you please send me your email so I can forward the questions I submitted to the GVRD? I think quite highly of your blogs and follow you on Twitter, and suspect you could bring some pretty informed opinions to the table.
Thanks very much for your help.
At http://www.ecofascism.com there is a recent post listing 356 enviro-critical websites plus additional information on the organized enviro-critical movement and their funders.
At http://www.ecofascism.com there is a new posting listing 356 enviro-critical websites plus additional info on the enviro-critical movement and its funders.
“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” – Isaac Asimov, Newsweek, 1980
Amazing, isn’t it, how much of the United States CULTure creeps into Canada?
Any website that has that much rhetoric and uses logical fallacies on it’s most basic points on it’s front page, and has followers, is functionally a cult.
Here’s a fictional quote that is true:
“”Wizard’s First Rule: people are stupid.
“People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it’s true, or because they are afraid it might be true. People’s heads are full of knowledge, facts, and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool.” – from ‘Wizard’s First Rule’-Terry Goodkind
With all your qualifications, intelligence, etc. would you have an opinion on chemtrails, geoengineering, HAARP or its equivalent, etc. I read geoengineering.org newsletters and the comments of readers from around the world cannot be ignored.
Blair: As a first time visitor to you blog, I am very impressed with the quality of your work and the clarity with which you describe yourself and your intended purpose for writing a blog. You and I seem to share many perspectives as well as a somewhat similar academic background — although my Little League coaching days are behind me and I’m now enjoying my first great-grandchild. Best wishes, good luck and keep up the good work!
While you state you do not intend your blog to reflect your employer’s stance on any issue, it would be very helpful to know who your employers are and have been. This might help someone reading your comments to understand where your influences are from.
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Hi Blair, I am glad I came across this. I am recently just getting back into chemistry. My youngest child started Kingergarten this year. I had several lab jobs in my undergrad and loved them, but I decided to go into teaching. After 7 years and two strikes, I learned teaching highschool wasn’t about teaching at all and I left to stay home with my kids. Now I would like to get back to working in a lab. I loved being a lab analyst. I also have a Master’s of Science degree now though it was in Kin. Any suggestions on where I can apply and where would be a good place to work?
Hey Blair, saw this on one of the facebook groups. http://boereport.com/2016/10/17/pipeline-companies-feeble-communications-efforts-no-wonder-nothing-gets-built/. I follow you religiously and like you I am a scientist so facts matter to me. Do you think that the industry needs to be better advocates for their industry? I wonder what it would cost to make a documentary about the benefits of oil and gas. The anti-oil side like Leo DiCaprio and documentaries like “Fracknation” spread all kinds of misinformation. Maybe those that support the gradual transition to renewables should fight fire with fire. Just a thought and to say that I love your efforts in trying to educate people about the realities.
Sandi Fracknation by Phelim McAleer is actually a pro industry documentary …and a very good one.
I did see that, I thought it was a great idea to try to combat all the misrepresentation by the anti-fossil fuel crowd. It is obvious that they have no interest in granting “social license” as Blair has pointed out many times. I think I meant to say “Gasland”, which is a massive smear campaign against fracking. I am sure you have seen it.
I enjoy your blog and find it to be a refreshing, pragmatic, and sane counter point to the hype of the emotionally charged environmental zealots and the agenda driven climate change evangelists.
And although I concur with the majority of your conclusions and comments, I do disagree on one point, carbon tax. In my opinion, any form of CO2 taxation on a regional/national basis is absolute folly if the rest of the world doesn’t follow suite. What possible benefit can be achieved by lowering the CO2 content of Canada’s 1.6% contribution to the world’s atmosphere by some ridiculously small percentage? Also, I am sure that you are aware that there is no scientific consensus on the contribution of anthropogenic CO2 to global warming. Therefore it is still a theory. This being the case, is it reasonable to require Canadians to pay tax for something that isn’t proven? As a scientist, I am surprised that you wouldn’t insist on consensus before recommending or supporting a policy or remedial action.
Otherwise, keep up the great work. Oh, and for the record, I am one of the “grumpy old retirees” that you make reference to.
Hi Blair, as you always interested in Toxicology and risk I thought you might find this interesting. Ivo is a South African journalist who writes about bad science and biases and spin. This article is about a supposed link between fire retardant chemicals in fabrics and a link to bad behavior in children. https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2017-03-14-not-setting-children-on-fire-makes-them-angry/#.WMyQGZHOef0
Hi Blair, Can I get your gmail? As what you said you are a professional chemist and Im having a hard time looking for some professional chemists. I just want to ask you some question about my dream career which is to become a chemist. Please reply as soon as possible. Thank you so much!
Any suggestions for an equivalent to your blog in Alberta? You’ve talked about us a bit, which is good, but obviously you are focused on where you live. Since I don’t live in BC, I was hoping for some more perspective on where I am. Thanks for helping me get a grip on the science!
I have respect for your scientific opinions (although we have disagreed from time-to-time on areas outside your speciality). I have learned from your writings and you have changed my mind more than once. Thanks for that.
The attacks on you for being a shill and the attempts to undermine your are deplorable. Dana Nuccitelli from Skeptical Science, is also employed by a private sector environmental company and has suffered the same kind of attack from climate change dismissives. Those are low tactics, particularly when they come from anonymous sources. I too, have been assured of hypocrisy and concocted financial motives for being an ex-oil company guy, now dead set against further long-term development.
Now for some unsolicited advice. You generalize too much about the ill-informed opinions and general stupidity of “activists”. This puts people’s backs up and they overreact. Sometimes engaging you on Twitter is frustrating. I want a conversation, but it too often turns into a tit-for-tat bickering session in which scoring points matters more than seeking understanding. I think that if you toned down what looks to others like peevish anger and gave more credit for the reasonable points that even extremists sometimes make, your voice would be more effective.
I’m sure we could have more cordial conversations in a face-face- setting.
I acknowledge that my own contributions, especially on Twitter, often fall short of these standards and all too frequently i can’t resist being snarky.
Hi Blair, thank you for your efforts in publishing your blog, I will be reading your blog going forward.
I heard you on Daniell Smith. You said Dumping Raw Sewage into the ocean, and rivers are not that bad especially in Victoria because there is enough bacteria in the ocean to take care of it . That maybe, but I can not see where it is any good. I am sure it can not be good for the fish to eat anything that is covered in sewage, like the salmon, which people are alway complaining are depleting. I see know good reason why all cities and towns are not made to have adequate Sewage Treatment Plants, that you can actually drink the water when it comes out of the treatment plant, not that I would want to drink it, but it is a lot safer than dumping it straight into the rivers or the ocean. I think all water in the world should be protected.
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However, what concerning the bottom line?
Are you positive about the source? http://accounts.greennation.com.br/empresa/12/bess-multimedia?return=http%3a//kasino.vin%2Fhome%2Fjoker-123%2F56-joker123
I think I read an article you wrote the other day on Linkedin regarding imported emissions, but can’t seem to find it on your blog. Wondering if you would be able to share a link to it? I’d like to pass it along.
Just found your blog and enjoy reading your analyses. Thanks for the effort.
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Hello Blair, I have been following your ideas for more than a year…..and appreciate them very much. There is a lack of good discussion and debate in our Country, Thank you
Hi Blair — I’ve just heard book Deep-Hot-Biosphere-Fossil-Fuels by Thomas Gold in which he puts forward an idea of a non-biological origin for Fossil Fuels — does any of this make sense to you?
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For your information Dr Howarth is back with more of the same: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1943815X.2020.1789666
Just heard you speaking on the radio CHQR here in Alberta.
Thanks 🙏 I appreciate this topic and want people to consider their plastics waste and alternatives.
Increase temperature and sunlight produces decrease in CO2 at Barrow Alaska NOAA
check out https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/increase-temperature-decrease-co2-eric-keyser
I really like your blog… here is a contribution now that I am mostly retired!
Blair, sure would like to see something from you about the pollution from tankers, freighters, and cruise ships. Greeners are so concerned about cars/trucks and there is no control on vessels. We need both but I think we can do better on the water.